I know what you are thinking-what in the world is Charnel House?
A charnel house is a vault or building where human skeletal remains are stored. From what I understand, in church graveyards while digging fresh graves, they deposited bones of other corpses that are unearthed and I imagine they would have to match them (sad to say I think they probably did not) because the church property back in those times was considered holy ground. I think this is a metaphor for many ministries and churches today.
I am leaving the Charnel House mentality, today, now.
I am done with digging up the sins of people who are forgiven and saved forever and tell them they can still lose their souls. I am weary with misconstruing true repentance with snotty and slobbering protestant penance that does not change anything, like embracing Jesus Christ the Lord of glory does. All of our preaching, programs and activities these days seem nothing more than morbid ritual digging up of bones and burying them again.
I refuse to pronounce curses on people who are blessed by preaching a warped twisted “gospel” that makes a toxic mixture and law and grace. I will not beat down people who are loved by God and crush them in the name of repentance and holiness. Those who are healed should not be wounded and battered. We have only produced the opposite effect, Christians who act like disconnected bones from their living Savior.
Ezekiel presents the problem clearly, “Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life.” (Ezek. 13:22). That is the wrong message and wrong targeted audience! Instead of connecting people with God we take the bones of their problems and keep relocating them to the seminars of the latest expert in human behavior, or we hide them under failing traditions until we know what to do with them next rather than exercising the gospel’s power and leading them into new life.
Do you ever wonder why God asked Ezekiel if the dry bones in that valley could live? I think God has been asking every preacher that same question since!
“Can these bones live?” Minister, pastor how would you answer the Lord?
Why ask me? What can I do about it? My seminary professor never told me about this.
I am a burnout already, why do you have to put me under such pressure, to ask such a question?
This is not my ministry, Lord.
OK Lord, what is punch line to this seemingly bad joke?
Shouldn’t I check with my organization first before I have any problems with bones?
God, do you even raise the dead anymore? I thought that stopped with the close of the canon.
Preacher, “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” (Acts 26:8).
Then somehow thinking too much, instead of leaving things to God, many preachers feel they must get the bones sanitized, organized and unified. Many preachers from that point on search for a human way to do something that only Deity can do.
You see if you see bones as anything other than dead dry bones there is a problem. If you see them as a bones belonging to a certain political party, or denominational bones, or bones of a certain nationality, if you see them old bones, young bones, bones of a certain gender, you will end up with a Charnel House and a bones ministry. Stop studying statistics on bones and immerse your heart in the power of the gospel message.
It is a sad gruesome scene watching the pastoral grave diggers try to organize the bones by leadership seminars, or disinfect those nasty bones by preaching God’s law and tradition or move bones around here and there in the name of unity. They have gone to bone seminars and have been taught to plant a beautiful garden around the bones or bought fireworks, flashing lights and video to make some noise that sounds like life. They think bones like music (even though they don’t really do much) and they provide wi-fi and coffee ’cause bones like technology and caffeine. They make sure the church building looks beautiful and wow that mausoleum sure looks nice. They think all this will put some meat on those bones. They even think the bones look more alive after a while.
The prophet Ezekiel was one of the smartest men I know. He left God to answer the question.
“Oh Lord God only you can answer a question like that!”
So God tells Ezekiel to prophesy which means nothing more that to preach the message that GOD gave him. Hear that preacher? Can you handle that Pastor? God tells him to speak to the bones and then talk to the Holy Spirit. Instead of bones he ends up with a huge army of beautiful, healed strong warriors.
Glory to God! What a novel idea! You see God is in the resurrection business, “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised.” (1 Cor 15:16). Raising the dead is based on the fact that Christ rose from the dead! If God does not raise the dead then Christ did not rise. We know he did -so we know they will! Preach the scripture. Talk to the Holy Spirit. Preach the risen Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life and the Holy Spirit will testify of him to human hearts and then you see LIFE, LIFE everywhere!
Only Christ and his voice that raises the dead. Speak with his voice and the sheep will hear. We must preach Christ, undiluted grace and truth with words that come from him who is from the resurrection and the life! He says, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Mt 10:8). God calls us to resurrect dry bones not relocate them.
“Can these bones live?” “Well, can THEY?” Not how, not may, but can they? It is a simple question about ability or possibility. It is not about permission or purpose or reason. It is not about manner or method. It is a simple question about ability.
Do bones have the ability? Does the preacher have the ability? Does God have the ability? God gives the ability to the preacher to prophesy his Word and the bones are given the ability by the Word and Spirit to come back to life.
Christ is the only resurrection and the only life. There is no other. People can only get life from Christ. He is the Prince of Life (Acts 3:15). People need not look to any other resource. He is the original and all others are failed imitations. The Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect Savior. We do not need to market, “how to get up out of the grave” techniques; we do not need to sell tickets to the next Sunday bone shaking show, for as scripture says clearly, “In him was life.” (John 1:4). In Christ is life! All the gods of all other religions are all fake and don’t deserve our attention or time, neither do these fake methods you are wasting your time, money and energy on. We do not need to look anywhere or to anyone else!
Jesus is life personified. He is life itself. He is reality! He promises abundant life or “a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10NLT). Once a believer has been resurrected spiritually, they will never die. “Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.” (1 Pet. 1:23NLT). Jesus says once again, “Whoever lives and believes in me will never die!” (11:26). When Christ saves he saves for a lifetime and for eternity.
It’s time for me to leave Charnel House, have fun with those bones, but guys but I believe in the power of the gospel alone. God tells us that, “we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead” (2 Cor 1:9). It is time to leave the methods of men, human ability and listen to Jesus who says, “What gives life is God’s Spirit; human power is of no use at all. The words I have spoken to you bring God’s life-giving Spirit.” (John 6:63GNT).
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