A Voice in the
This commentary begins with an adaptation of an e-mail receieved from one who presents themself as a "christian in the Middle East":
"Why do you people in the Unites States blame your president so much? After all, isn't he a member of your whole society? Then I looked closer and see that you blame your society too and point fingers at it all the time. If you would spend as much time praying for your society as much as many of you point fingers at them, I am sure things will be very different. We keep crying out for morality, and forget that morality doesn't come on the social level but on the individual's. And the one thing that can change a person's life is none other than Jesus Christ. Therefore, I think that you people should be more concerned with telling the world about faith in Jesus Christ rather than morality since he is the SOURCE of morality and so many brilliant things as we know. All I'm saying is this: instead of pin-pointing how much your society has gone ASTRAY, focus on how much it's individuals need to be CLOSE to Christ, because I know how much we all need Christ..."
Regular readers of VW mailings will know that, compared to press (and comedic) coverage, VW speaks 'very little' of Clinton. When a recent passing comment was made of his "acts of treason" somebody wrote, suggesting I take up -that- cause and let the whole world know what the media and politicians are stifling. I responded back that, while that might be a noble cause, the Lord did not commission me to politics, but to proclaim the Gospel.
You that have been on the e-list awhile know that VW does not come with "excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1Cor2:1-2) We proclaim Christ crucified, buried, risen (1Cor15:3-4) and man's need to "repent" and "believe" (Acts20:21) for the remission of sins. (Lk24:47,Acts5:31) And for those who have thus come to Faith in Christ, exhortation to "be close to Christ" as this person says. "Looking unto Jesus..." (Heb12:2)
But let us consider -how- the Gospel is presented. And why. Let us consider history. Daniel ch5 records an incredible account. The world's superpower was celebrating. There was no other power on earth that could stand before it. Nebuchadnezzar was the "head of gold" (Dan2:37-38) ruling over -all- the earth. Belshazzar, having inherited this greatness, was having a party of debauchery, and God proclaims destruction with the handwriting on the wall, which Daniel interprets for him. Rather than repenting, he decorates Daniel and continues partying. (Notice the parallels to America) And it says "that night Belshazzar...was killed." (5:30) And Medo-Persia became the world power.
At the height of the Roman empire they became morally decadent and corrupt. Shortly before its demise, they began embracing eastern religions, as America is now doing. And fell.
As Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth that Israel was an "example" (1Cor10:6); Corinth, itself, is an example. During the years in which Paul wrote those two letters to the -Church- at Corinth, Corinth, itself, was the most wealthy entity in the then-known-world. It was situated in a place where trade passed through. They had devised a method to transport ladened ships across the isthmus to cut down on water-travel time, and later dug out a canal. It was a center of pagan idolatry which Paul references. (1Cor12:2) History, literature and the arts record its total decadence and moral corruption. And they were overrun and destroyed because of it.
The Church at Corinth was like the "church" of today. There was immorality, pride, politics, carnality; and the pagan religions had infiltrated as they engaged in what churches do today...occult charismatic practises; which Paul wrote to 'correct' in chs12-14. And even today, the majority of the "church" does not rightly divide those Scriptures.
How does God proclaim the Gospel? Does He come and say "I love you and have a 'wonderful plan for your life'. Oh, I wish so much that you would be -closer- to Jesus. Why can't you just love one another. And, while you're at it, 'praise Me', too." ?? Well, as so often happens with these writings, as this message had been heavy upon my heart while getting up for the day, my personal reading for the morning was then, Amos. Let us hear the message...
"For three transgressions of Damascus, yea for four, I will not turn away from it...I will send a fire...which shall devour..." (Amos1:3-4) This same message of doom is pronounced half dozen times to different nations. And then He gets down to Judah and Israel. "For the Lord Jehovah will do nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. The Lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord Jehovah has spoken; who will not prophesy?" (3:7-8)
"For they do not know to do right..those who store up violence and robbery in their palaces."(3:10) "..in the day that I visit the transgressions of Israel on him, I will also visit the altars of Bethel. And the horns [leaders?] of the altar shall be cut off and shall fall to the ground." (3:14) Judgment. Doom. Judgment. "For I know your many transgressions and your many sins. They afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate. So the understanding ones shall keep silent in that time; for it is an evil time." (5:12-13) "Woe to those desiring the day of the LORD! What is this for you? The day of the LORD is darkness and not light." (5:18)
Well, what we need to do is "praise the Lord" more...and "WORSHIP" Him. God says, "I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not delight in your solemn assemblies...Take the noise of your songs away from Me; for I will not hear the melody [wail] of your stringed instruments [rock guitars]." (~5:21-23)
Why do God's proclamations always begin with condemnation? Pointing out the evil and sin? "He made me see this: and behold, the Lord was standing by the plumbline-wall, and a plumbline in His hand...behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of My people..." (7:7-8) What is a plumbline? A -standard- by which to compare and judge. If you want a straight wall, the plumbline shows how to lay the bricks. God gave the Law. What was its purpose? To illustrate the sinfulness of sin, "..for through the Law is the knowledge of sin." (Rom3:20) It illustrated the standard [plumbline] of righteousness.
Something people forget is that -WRATH- is coming! God's wrath "against all ungodliness and unrighteousness." (Rom1:18) But I thought God was a "luuuuving" God! "Is God unrighteous who lays on wrath? Let it not be! For then how shall God judge the world?" (Rom3:5-6)
In modern-day terms, how do we -identify- the wickedness and sin? We see it around us. We see it in our president, who represents the people. Has there been a night during the past year in which Jay Leno or David Letterman have -NOT- made some comedic joke about Clinton/Monica? And the audience, rather than getting on their faces in repentance before God, they -laugh-! A recent show on "funny-videos" was giving away monetary reward for viewers writing in with the correct number of 'groin hits' that would appear during that hour! ..as the audience would laugh hysterically..! (Please pardon the -graphics-, but we are "plumblining" how deeply into the gutter society's minds are, here!)
Many of you look at me or others who are bold enough to proclaim, and you criticize. Just remember "I was no prophet...But I was [a musician and sign & banner maker] ...and the Lord took me from [these things], and the LORD said to me, Go, prophesy to My people [the "church"]. (7:14-15)
You who desire luuuv, graeeessss and 'worship songs', when wrath comes, God promises, "..the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day.." (8:3) The dearth we see is "not a famine of bread nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD." (8:11) The charismatics spend their time "worshiping" and the 'Bible'/independents in telling jokes and having entertainment singing groups come through. The more jokes a pastor tells, and the more 'cleverly' he can present his sermon, the more people will come. But God's Word is watered down, or non-existent!
When judgment comes, "the Lord Jehovah of hosts is He who touches the land, and it shall melt" (9:5) because "the eyes of the Lord Jehovah are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth." (9:8) America! Are you listening? January is a month when there are usually -no- tornadoes. This past January several have wreaked havoc in our president's home state where he was governor; and it included damage to the governor's mansion. Mr. President, are you noticing?
The Gospel of God's salvation through the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ can only be presented in the light of the 'plumbline' against sinfulness and wickedness. Otherwise, what is the -need-? People are proclaiming a 'gospel' of being "closer to" Jesus. Of "loving Him" more. Of promising to "do better" and -being- "better people." They are told to "believe in themselves." Thing is, salvation is "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us..." (Tit3:5) How do we understand "mercy" if we do not understand the -depths- of our sin? How do we fathom "forgiveness" and "salvation" if we do not realize God's -wrath- upon that sin? Jesus did not come for -good- people. He came to "call sinners to repentance." (Mt9:13) If we see ourselves as -good- and not 'needing' His cleansing, He proclaims, "unless I wash you, you have no part with Me." (Jn13:8) We cannot be "closer to" Jesus, until we've seen the sin, repented of it, and received remission and the 'new birth'. (Jn3:3)
Thus, we proclaim the light of God's Gospel against the backdrop of "sin." When we "point fingers" (as the writer complained) we are merely pointing out the "condition" of humanity. This condition is one, collectively, of -lack- of 'morality'. "Sin"! I'm an American. What I see is our president and American society. All of you in your own countries see the same things in your surroundings. It's the same all around the world. "..all the world lies in evil." (1Jn5:19)
God provides His Word, prophets, and works of judgment. And yet the world (specifically the "church") has "not returned" to Him. Thus, He announces 'WRATH' and proclaims, "..PREPARE TO MEET YOUR GOD.." (~Amos4:11-12)