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February 15, 1997

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" Like All the Nations "

In my personal reading recently I was in 1 Samuel chapter 8, and was reminded of some rather "sad" words.

"Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, "No, but we will have a king over us," (1 Sam 8:19)

This, in and of itself, is heartbreaking. Samuel, Israel's probably first real "good" ("speak Lord, for your servant is listening") prophet since Joshua is getting old, and his sons are less than reliable as good leaders. The people have gathered together to Samuel to ask for a king, and Samuel has just told them the harshness with which their king will rule them, and yet they don't want God's representative to rule, but a man.

And, what is their "reasoning?"

"that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles." (1 Sam 8:20)

While we struggle at times to help people realize the difference between "Israel and the Church" in understanding prophecy and such things ....Oh, how like the "church" this is!!

"That we may be like...the World." After all, we "don't want to offend them!" We want to be "relevant" to them. We want to use "entertainment" of the world to entice them in...and THEN we'll preach the Gospel to them. (If we still remember "what" the Gospel message is!)

God told Samuel, "they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should reign over them." (1Sam8:7)

We are told, "Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1Jn2:15)

The other thing Israel wanted was for someone to "go out before us and fight our battles."

For a time years ago I was seeking a pastorate, and would get listings of churches looking for pastors from Moody Referral Service. These listings would include brief descriptions of themselves, and a brief statement of what they were looking for in a pastor. I would say that a good 90% of churches were looking for people to "build them a church." Or, they had just built a new building, and now wanted a man to "fill it." In some cases, they would desire qualities such as intelligence, handsome appearance, eloquence in speaking, etc.etc. Very rarely were they looking for someone who was close to the Lord, that would teach God's Word, who would guide them in their walk with the Lord. That was 15 years ago...I shudder to imagine what the listings look like today!

Speaking of Believers...the "CHURCH" Paul writes, "For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. (Eph 5:30) And for the "responsibilities" of the Body members..."from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Eph 4:16)

All Believers (those washed in the Lamb's blood) are part of His body, and ALL of us as "members" are to be engaged in the work at hand. Not leaving all the duties to the pastor or the deacons. We are not to shirk our duties. "so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (~Rom12:5-8)

So...what about the world? Don't we need to have church dances, or that rock group or...or...to entice people in? Let us not forget that Christians are DISTINCTIVE. "Come out from among them and be separate says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you..." (2Cor6:17)

Oh "but"...you may think..."we don't want to be considered 'weird'." Well, look at it this way. How do we get to heaven? Through the death of Christ on the cross. What did He sacrifice for us? He gave His life! Do we deserve anything less?! Remember Jesus' words, "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." (Jn15:18-19)

So, just remember, "..the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, (2 Cor 10:4)


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