Sunday, May 13, 2012

WE ARE A REBELLIOUS HOUSE.



FOREHEAD TO FOREHEAD
A. Brother

“But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you
because they are not willing to listen to Me,
for the whole house of Israel is hardened
and obstinate.  But I will make you as hardened
and obstinate as they are.  I will make your
forehead like the hardest stone,
harder than flint.”
Ezekiel 3:7-9

There are different callings for different men under the administration of the Holy Spirit among the people of God.  God made each of us unique.  He creates the New Man in Christ we become, and we are still unique.  This incredible diversity, God’s mark upon all His creation, marks also the Body of Christ.

Unfortunately, religious Christianity creates a sameness, not a uniqueness, among God’s people.  Men and women are urged to conform to current religious standards, the structure and standards that are handed down through generations, which standards are generally, just because they have become standards, bound by tradition, impeding the work of the Holy Spirit.  They are not the fluid, powerful workings of a creative God, but the ideas, forms, and staid functions of a bound religious system, which does not allow anything unusual or uncomfortable into its sanctuaries.

These bound systems of Christianity include the so-called evangelical and charismatic traditions.  I grew up in a church that prided itself on its supposed non-conformity, and where regularly the “traditional churches” like the big denominations were skewered from the pulpit by preachers.  Yet our charismatic traditions were set in stone just as surely as the so-called “dead denominations” out there we derided.  We were defending and securing ground for our own traditions, not for the change the Lord requires of us.  We had pride, not in Christ, but in ourselves and our own “new” religious ways.

Today, we are being called out.  Today, the Lord is raising up Ezekiels and Jeremiahs.  God is calling those who will listen.  And God is giving them the hardest task He can, which is to speak to the house of Israel, the spiritual Israel, His people who claim the Name of Jesus.

Our hardness and obstinacy has brought God to this point.  We have ignored His Word, preaching and teaching weak and powerless versions of our own religious thoughts.  We have not clung to the faith handed down to us by Paul, Peter, John, James and the other apostles.  In fact, we have woven beautiful tapestries of our own choosing, lovely garments to wear which are made up of bits and pieces of the Truth, mixed in with the colors that strike our religious fancies.

For those whom God is calling, you will know the hardness of God’s people.  You will experience their anger, their censure, even their direct opposition.  You will be judged for speaking what you have been given to say.  Reference every man or woman who had a prophetic gift in Scripture, in both Old and New Testaments.

Jesus had few who stuck with Him, and many who dropped away when He began teaching harder truths.  He was bucking the religious system, the house of Israel’s traditions.  He was not what they wanted, and when they saw that, they began to turn away and go home.

Those who speak for the Lord will speak from the Word of God, and from the Truth, without defending themselves.  We are not the Word, we are the messengers called out to declare it.  We are not ourselves the Truth, we are only the ‘earthen vessels’ given the honor of speaking it to God’s people.  Never does defense need to be made for speaking out what the Word of God says, nor should we hold back what God gives us to say to accommodate the religious sensibilities of others. 

The whole system of man-made Christianity will be shaken down to the foundations in the coming floods and fires.  Even the foundation will be uprooted, wherever it is not Christ.  The simple Christ-life, devoid of religious trappings and sentimental foolishness, is what Christ is working in His people around the world.  It’s always been His Way.  We have been the ones who’ve strayed into false positions, and now find ourselves without a worthy ship, clinging to the wreckage of the religious system we thought would take us through the storm.

“But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth
and you shall say to them,
‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:  Whoever
will listen let him listen,
and whoever will refuse will refuse;
for they are a rebellious house.”
Ezekiel 3:27

God’s message is always positive in Christ Jesus.  Those who cling to Christ alone now, and leave behind the religious ways, all that is not foundational in Christ, all that is of the old man, and the old man’s comforts, will be found standing in Christ when all is shaken around them and under them.

In the early centuries of Christ on the earth, when the Romans and other pagan cultures dominated, it was routine for those who followed Jesus to follow Him in His crucifixion.  Today, it is still routine for many in cultures other than our affluent, western societies.

Where will you be when the walls of Jerusalem are destroyed, stone by stone, pulled down by the enemies of your Christian religion?  What will you be left with?  Will you be prepared for the coming tribulations?  Are you today facing trials you never expected or wanted to face?

If you build your life now on Christ, if you spend your time with Him, living in the Spirit, walking by the Spirit, embracing the difficulties and hardships as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, you will be ready for prison.  You will be ready for torture and pain.  You will be battle-hardened, tough-minded in Christ, able to withstand all the slings and arrows that the enemy throws at you.

Rejoice, for your Lord counts you worthy of His Kingdom, and would have you ready, lamp lit, when He comes.  Spend all your time seeking Him.  Work only for your daily bread, which He will provide, not for worldly things.  Let us seek together to become the Body Christ has prepared for Himself, full of His Spirit, rich in good works.  Let’s leave our weak and silly traditions behind, and give ourselves fully, as the martyrs have throughout history, to Christ now, so that we will be prepared when all the foundations are shaken, when all the stones crafted by man are pulled apart.

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