The Bible in Chains

Bible in ChainsThe word of God is not bound.” (2 Tim. 2:9).  But sadly, there have been times in history that the Bible was chained to an altar written in a language only scholars could understand. Thank God for great men like Wycliffe, Luther and Tyndale we can read the Bible in the language of the people. Now many years later, with so many interpretations something has gone wrong and many are still thirsty for the fountains of the scripture to be opened by men who call on the Lord with a pure heart whose sole motive is to glorify God (2 Tim. 2:22).

This day of doctrinal chaos is heartbreaking. What is worse is when men who profess to believe the “cardinal doctrines” of scripture suppress the truth in unrighteousness by holding back and committing spiritual fraud by not proclaiming what the Bible really says (Rom. 1:18)!  There lies the Bible in chains! God hates the false doctrine of preachers who preach from their own spirit, desires and thoughts! He loathes when men hold the party line, being political and he ridicules the pastors who reinterpret his Word in order to pander to people.

Many preachers on the television, radio, and Internet are so misleading by making the word either ambiguous or uncertain or they preach only what they deem to be practical and positive. The focus on the agenda issues and negelct the weightier matters of the Word of God. In some cases, domestic abuse, perversion, adultery, malfeasance is the poison fruit of these ministries because they have chosen another god with another message because they have discarded the scripture and its proper interpretation (Hosea 7:4). It is high definition heresy. The issue is clear: to abandon God’s Word is to abandon God. To not preach the scripture is abandoning his covenant (Deut 29:25) and despising his Word by breaking his commandments (Num 15:31; 2 Sam 12:9).

All the religious experts want you to buy what they are selling: knowledge of God without embracing the teaching of scripture. God has called men who preach to be charitable not marketable. We must in love freely give what the Lord says not wholesale the fashionable ideas of our day. These diabolical hunters of the souls of men are becoming worse “deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim 3:13) and they are regarded as the experts on church growth and about God. Yet the Bible seems chained up, relegated to a small corner and back room for those who “want to go deeper.” The Bible is peripheral, the scripture is marginalized any way you look at it-it cannot be central when the agenda of flesh is in the center.

A bone chilling verdict has been pronounced many times against those people who profess to serve the one true God in any time period who become backslidden and even apostatize from the faith. This judgment begins “the house of God first” (1 Peter 4:17) and the pastors and churches that refuse to obey will be robbed of the most precious gift God has ever given his people: the Word of God. Imagine that! God will no longer speak to his people. Evangelicals may have the Bible, our wonderful confessions and creeds, but could it be possible, could it be they do not have the testimony of Christ because a shroud blinds their eyes, a cold mist covers their heart because of their unbelief (John 5:39; 2 Cor. 4:3-4)? 

If Christianity chained the scriptures to an altar for one thousand years and the Jews of Christ day rejected the Messiah even with the scriptures and the voice of the prophets read in their synagogues every day (Acts 13:27) can we no longer be suspect? Have we provoked the Lord to jealousy are we greater than him (1 Cor. 10:22)? This unbelief is the notion of being relevant without being prophetic. It charges God with lying by saying that his Word is not enough. I insist that God can, will and may have begun already a deep sleep upon their hearts, blindness to his truth and muffled their voice (Isaiah 29). The unintelligible spittle that I have seen lately in the media from the pulpit is not the word of God but it the useless wisdom of man. The prophecy of the scriptures lies dormant  because we have made it irrelevant fine print.

The United States has entered into another era which comes in history from time to time where it is said, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.” (Amos 8:11-13).  Even today we have to reach back many years to the commentary of the reformers and a few men of like precious faith.

There is a lot of “sharing” of religious thoughts and ideas going on today in many different ways, shapes and forms but it is not the word of God.  Why shoul we complain then when we see that God sends this famine. He is the source of it. People have serious problems with such a statement. In the church today we defend God as if he was flawed somehow and that when tragedy happens we use some other excuse saying that this is not God and even attributing it to the devil, global warming and the like. But God is Sovereign and he issues a guilty sentence on apostasy and he does it by removing the gift of his Word and his servants who preach it and the signs that accompany it in God ordained, God anointed preaching (Ps. 74:9; Mk. 16:20).

Arthur Pink commenting on the witness protection program of Elijah the prophet says about God. “The most valuable gift He grants any people is the sending of His own qualified servants among them, and that the greatest possible calamity which can befall any land is God’s withdrawal of those whom He appoints to minister unto the soul, then no uncertainty should remain. The removal of the ministers of His truth is a sure sign of God’s displeasure, a token that He is dealing in judgment with a people who have provoked Him to anger.” 

In the Gospel of Luke there is a lesson in the account of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man is sent to eternal hell and is tormented.  His family saw him die. They had his funeral. The sent the flowers. They mourned and dispersed his inheritance. The buried him. He was dead. But they are unaware of where he is after he is dead. He is in a burning hell. This man sees Abraham and suddenly he is gripped with the condition of his family. He knows they are not ready to die and they will end up in where is he is. Even in his own pain a sense of unselfish desire grips him. He must tell his family about this place!

He begins a heart rending dialogue with Abraham and asks for the chance to be sent from hell back to the world of the living and to his family. This man would have been the greatest evangelist that ever lived. A man, who dies, buried and sent to hell and then resurrected to tell others to repent so they won’t go to hell. But Abraham does not say it is impossible, (Christ holds this title of Great Evangelist) but Abraham it is quite unnecessary. Notice what Jesus reports in Luke 16:29-31:

“Abraham saith unto him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.”

And he said, “Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.”

And he said unto him, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” 

Jesus Christ the resurrected Prince of Life teaches us that if people do not believe the scriptures, they will not believe the miraculous and, “though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him.” (John 12:37). If they cannot believe the Bible they will not believe in the testimony of one who has come back and has witnessed what is on the other side of eternity.

Oh that we had people that would turn to Christ just because the Bible says to do it and because men of God challenge them by the preached Word! The Bible says that John the Baptizer “did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man (Christ) were true.” (John 10:41). I pray that once again we would base the worth of a man’s preaching ministry on his love for God in the accuracy of his testimony about Jesus Christ.

When a man steps behind the pulpit and really preaches the Word as intended he must leave the consequences to God Almighty. When the barrel of the Bible gun is pointed at the world in its politics, sexual orientation, abortion and evolutionistic beliefs there is no problem. But when the bullets fly in the church-that is a different story and you will see plenty of elbows and heels. Many times when a preacher begins to compare the scripture with the way the church is being run I am sure that they will be seen as a threat. Many man pleasers end up in leadership in this structure with their sycophantic brown noses and spread the odious gospel of flesh without harm. But anyone who desires to preach the Word will be berated as unspiritual, unteachable, and unaccountable and bullied verbally or shunned stealthily. The Bible does never, ever agrees with sinful man, it does not compromise with rulers and it does not change for the law breaker. It brings comprehensive and total change.

 

God is calling men today to speak his unfettered, uncontrolled and undomesticated Word. To preach the Bible with fire of the Holy Ghost burning in their belly, with lips touched by the finger of God, with heads anointed with the oil God’s presence who do not trust in their own words but in the scriptures testimony about itself that it is God speaking to the people.

 

How long will the Bible be in chains? How long will it be shackled to the altars of denominational, religious and political rhetoric? When will we allow the same book that released an entire continent from religious slavery as in the Protestant Reformation to liberate the United States from it sins? How long will we cower from the message of the scripture because we are afraid of the power it carries and the sword that it wields to overthrow everything we hold dear and replace it with God’s glory and life? It shakes all that can be shaken until only it the living Word of God remains which cannot be toppled.

 

How long will we shun the same word that brought sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, mobility to the paralyzed and life to the dead? How long will we limit the Holy One and resist the Holy Ghost because of uncircumcised hearts and ears! The word of the Lord is near us, it need not be brought down from heaven or lifted up from the depths and that word is come to test us and everything we are to see if we will speak it for God and his glory. Oh dear brother, preacher, pastor unchain the Book of books, let his words fill your tongue and God will give you his authority, power and Word as he speaks in his Divine Right, “Let My people go!”

A Heart Offering

my heart I offer you Lord“Cor Meum Tibi Offero Domine, Prompte Et Sincere.” is a lovely Latin phrase that is translated as, “My heart I offer to you Lord, promptly and sincerely.”  It was a motto of one of the greatest reformation leaders ever known, John Calvin and it shows that the most noble and sincere gift given to God Almighty is that offering of the heart-our affections and thoughts. A person is willing to give their heart to God because in the day of God’s grace and power has come when Christ takes the granite heart of stone of out them and gives them a soft pliable heart. Out of sheer gratefulness the person who is forgiven much loves much. Our first love is Christ and to him our hearts belong!

In this day and age the heart and spirit are neglected and abandoned by the business of life and even church ministry. The tasks which we once loved now bleed dry our passion all because we have mistreated our own hearts by ignoring the need for fresh hearts warmed with gratitude and affection as we give a minchah or a thank offering to God.  God still speaks in the dreary caves of disappointment and disillusionment to those who in the past used to serve the Lord with such contagious enthusiasm! He calls to us with a still small voice that asks for all our heart, energy and every faculty of our being, promising greater power and desire to do his will as we offer our hearts to him, promptly and sincerely.

How sad, that we give our hearts to anyone and everything in the name of the Lord! Yet to the Lord the one who strengthens our hearts we give so little of the very hub of all we are and often we are surprised that we are drained doing his work.  If you would be generous with God he would be generous with you. Going to God in private even when no one sees or hears is the place where the weary heart finds it easier to exchange itself for a fresh vigor and life only found in the presence if him whose heart once shattered in his labors. How gracious and generous he was to give his heart to us and you and I must be big hearted enough to give this fountain of life and affection to him for our own welfare.

Calvary was Christ’s “sweat and blood” laboring over the souls of men, yet he rose in great power in and strength because he feared. What does this mean? He feared God enough not to give his heart in Calvary’s offering in his own strength! He committed what he did through the eternal spirit of God and offered himself without spot to God (Heb. 9:14). We must commit what we have poured our sweat and blood over to God everyday by doing it through the Spirits power and purity of heart not fleshly energy. Not one act should be done, preaching, praying, worship, and any good work without GOD’s power and presence. This can only be done by offering our hearts to him, promptly and sincerely. 

You cannot claim to have given your heart to him making a loud bragging noise because it is given in a silent frequency that only the ears of God and the very holiest of angels can hear. The reward of men’s praise is only a corruptible crown that soon fades away. The heart can never be given as a surplus because the giving of the abundance of the heart is always all we have and speak. This act of giving may leave us poor in spirit, but only for a short time until the tearless joys of the kingdom of heaven fill its place.

Sometimes the heart must consciously be given over to Jesus more than just once. yes, you can only be saved once, but we must go from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18 ) by forsaking the flesh and those secret hidden sins that shrink back from exposure in our hearts. We act so surprised when we think we have given all of it to him, yet there lurks some part of us that has been held back! Like Ananias and Sapphira we hold back part of the price of our love and the feet of them that carry away such hearts into worldly things wait outside the door of desolation and weariness.  It is also true that when God wants our heart we postpone or delay in our giving. It repeats often in the Gospel of Mark that “the servant of the Lord” Jesus Christ did heal and rescue people in his love “straightway” or “immediately.” What do we wait for? We should give him what he seeks for as soon as the request is made. Let us pour out our hearts to him without lingering and procrastination.

Sadly, the most common pitfall in every age in which people have lived, is replacing heart love with ministry, works or religious ritual.  Yet, there is nothing we can do or say that will meet up with GOD’s standard of perfection and nothing we can do that will satisfy him except the generous offering of our heart.  Have you given your heart to Jesus? Have you offered it to him, promptly and sincerely?

Words for the Fickle

heal“Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”  The prophet Hosea is speaking to a people that God dealt with so severely he uses words as torn and smitten.  The Contemporary English version words it bluntly, ‘he has torn us to shreds.” The Message version says “he hurt us…he hit us hard…”

People today are not used to hearing about God becoming angry at sin. The post modern Babylonians that have invaded the church with an unbiblical foreign tongue would call such a concept brutal, abusive or legalistic.  They cannot possibly understand how that anyone could be hurt or hit hard, needless torn to shreds by God. They think they have tamed God by changing the wallpaper and curtains as the market the church to the world but God remains an untamed lover of his people. The Bible clearly says, “They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.” (Deut 32:16).

John Calvin says, “The Prophet means by these words, that God does not so punish men as to pour forth his wrath upon them for their destruction; but that he intends, on the contrary, to promote their salvation, when he is severe in punishing their sins…God has not inflicted on us deadly wounds; but he has smitten, that he might heal.” God chastisement of sin is non lethal for his own (Heb. 12:5-11). It is his purging and refining of his people. “When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.” (Isaiah 4:4). It is with this, “hot breath of fiery judgment” (NLT) that he deals with them.

Why? 

Israel has been faithless to God who is like their husband. Any husband seeing his wife and wife seeing her husband not only distracted but involved with another man or woman would be provoked to jealousy. God, “whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14) in his holiness has become like a consuming fire (Deut. 4:24) to cleanse away their unpredictable, fickle love.

God’s love always is revealed as a “covenant love.” The Hebrew word chesed (hesed) describes it as a love beyond law. It is beyond the stones given in the glorious older Covenant. That Covenant with the two copies of the Decalogue were given for God and his people and stored in the Ark of the Covenant. In the place of his throne, his heart, his presence they were stored. But now the New Covenant communicated from his heart is written on fleshly tablets of the human heart. Therefore, God is supremely devoted to his elect people and he desires them to love him supremely. He is committed to them not only to save their souls but to purify and make them holy in his sight.

God brought Eve to Adam. In the same way, Christ must present the church to himself.  He loves the church and gave himself for her. He loves her as his own body. The side of Adam was opened up to bring forth the sophisticated woman, Eve and Christ side was pierced on a bloody cross so that the water and blood to purchase our salvation!  In order for  us to be come closer to Christ He must be our Master and King. His role therefore is, “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. ” (Eph. 5:26-27).

It was the sun burned, weathered Shulamite, the woman who symbolizes the church who said, “the king hath brought me into his chambers”  (Song 1:4). She stands out like an Eliza Dolittle among the religious fashion models of the palace, and they will attempt to teach her all the right words to say and how to act. But her lover has seen a beauty beyond all the sterile, manicured looks of the daughters of Jerusalem. He loves her and he will work in her and transform her, “So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” (Psalm 45:11). 

Have you left him for other loves? Have you substituted and replaced him with other things? You have provoked the one who gave his all for you. He has dealt with you harshly in your own eyes but our own human stubbornness must be broken by seeing the futility of a life that is lived without God. He invites you to return. His healing may not be immediate as your wounds scab over for a while but after a few days you will see that his face will shine on you and a new day will begin as you in his wholeness and love walk with him and know him more and more as the lover of your souls.