Every day, thousands of sincere Christians get robbed. Robbed bad and worse than if a gang of thieves broke into their homes and stole all the valuables and broke whatever they didn’t steal, robbed worse than if a carjacker held his gun to their heads and stole their car will all that was in it, robbed worse than if a pickpocket stole their credit cards, all their ID and jewelry. Worse than that, is this: The victim of the kinds of robberies I’m talking about knows immediately that something’s missing. The victims of the kind of robbery I’m getting ready to tell you about are completely oblivious to what they’ve lost and no, they’re proud of what they’ve lost for a while.
The Christian who’s been robbed of the simplicity that’s in Christ becomes a miserable creature slowly over time. Usually, the loss of simplicity comes when a Believer is really on fire for the Lord. So, she goes to the local Christian bookstore to find some books that’ll bring new meaning to the Bible. Instead of leaving out of the bookstore with books that would bring her CLOSER to the Lord, she leaves out with a stack of books that will utterly confuse her. Books about New Age and woes coming on earth over the next few years and books that promise to unlock the “hidden messages” of the Bible. Or, the hapless victim makes the mistake of turning on the local Christian talk radio station, hoping to find out more about Jesus. Sadly, he usually winds up frustrated and having more questions than he started out with. Soon, he’s looking up all kinds of obscure Bible passages to “prove that the guy on the radio is wrong”, and his simple quiet times in the Word, being taught by Jesus have all but disappeared.
It’s like what happened to the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration. They had been with Jesus and were very much devoted to the Master. Then, one day, when Jesus was praying up on a mountain top, a light shone and they suddenly saw with Jesus two other men of God. Moses and Elijah were both there, talking with Jesus. How thrilling that must’ve been. Peter blurted out, “Lord, it’s good for us to be here!” In other words, it was better to be with Jesus PLUS Moses and Elijah, than to just be with Jesus. They had already been with Jesus but now this was exciting and thrilling. Jesus. Moses. Elijah. Then, a cloud came down over them all and when it had lifted, Matthew 17:8 says, “they saw no man, except Jesus only.” As exciting as it was to have been with Moses and Elijah and Jesus, I believe that the best company in the whole world is to be “Jesus only.”
Some people have gone into the mountain, into the high places with Jesus and them a cloud comes down, just like with the disciples. For a while they see Jesus along with who knows what else, and then a cloud comes down and when they lift their eyes, they don’t see Jesus at all. This might have happened to you. You’ve been in a church service or at a crusade or reading the Word of God and all of a sudden you feel God like never before. The Holy Spirit is all over you, you feel the hand of God on your life and you’re elated, uplifted and exhilarated. But then, after it’s all over, there’s almost nothing left of the joy or even any benefit from what God revealed to you through the Bible. There’s nothing left out what was preached, from what you enjoyed so much, that you can take with you into the conflicts of your everyday life. All you had was a splendid experience and nothing more. No Moses, no Elijah and no Jesus. Not even the Evangelist or Preacher. You remember what you heard and felt, but it’s almost sad because you have nothing left.
Of course, some see only Moses. They come up into the mountain top with Jesus and then they get all tied up with Moses…the Law Giver. Now, when they open their Bibles, all they find is condemnation and guilt. They can’t hear a message without feeling condemned. They can take every promise of God and twist it into some kind of threat. They can take every sweet word of Jesus and somehow extract bitterness and vinegar out of it! They come to church primarily out of duty and they are incapable of feeling the presence of God unless they get their “toes stepped on”. By the way, they actually LIKE to get their toes stepped on. They profess to still be following Jesus, but their lives let you see that they’re really walking with Moses, the Law Giver.
Then, there are those incredible brothers and sisters who go up into the Mount with Jesus and come out with Elijah. You can tell when this is happening easily where at one time, they were excited about walking with Jesus daily, now things are different. They’re more fascinated by prophecies about the future, and about the future and about the impending woes than they are about their present salvation. They read every book, looking for some sign of the Anti-Christ and his minions. Their consciences thrill to every headline that sounds like it might usher in the time of Tribulation. How sad, they’re incapable of thrilling to an inspired word of comfort from the Savior, speaking out of the pages of the plain old Bible.
The simplicity that’s in Christ: When the cloud lifted in Matthew 17-8, the disciples saw no man, except Jesus only. They were so afraid by what they had seen and Moses couldn’t give them comfort and neither could but Elijah. But Jesus simply said, “Be not afraid.” Their fears disappeared immediately. All the comfort that you or I could ever desire found in Jesus and in Him alone and He’s all the Savior you or I could ever need. The others can give us rules, laws, visions and warnings, but they can’t keep us from going back into sin. Only Jesus can break the yoke of sin off our necks. Even in this day and age where people are calling out for something new, deep, miraculous, all we need to bring them is the Gospel of Jesus. The carnality in us wants to chase after the signs, wonders and the miracles but we need to bring people is the same simple Gospel that has saved and delivered people for the last two thousand years. All I ever want to preach about is Jesus. Period.
When are you the happiest: When you’re closest to Jesus? When is your time in church the most profitable? When you’re full of Jesus Christ? When is your life working smoother than when you’re the nearest to Jesus? My experience has been that whenever I’m feeling like I’m down in the “valley of the shadow” that nothing and no one can pull me out like Jesus. When I’m attacked by temptations, filled with anguish or overburdened with cares, nothing works for me like running to the “Rock of my Salvation…Jesus.”
I know. Some want to “feel something”, to feel bad about their sins before giving them up. Well, if that’s what you want, I hope that you DO feel something. Feel what it is for Jesus and only Jesus to take all of your sins in Himself so you could be free. Feel what it was for your sins to have driven the Savior to the cross – even though He was totally innocent. He did it so you could live. Maybe you feel like you have to have more of an appetite for taking Jesus as your nearest and dearest friend. What to do? Look at Jesus! I know that you can get an appetite that way. Aren’t you a little dangerous when you go to the grocery store? Some of us can do very well in our diets as long as we stay at home but we can hardly be trusted walking through the Baked goods section and no sooner are we near the sweet do we feel an urgent longing for them. Well, as soon as you draw near to Jesus, you’ll be wanting and craving Him all the more. Jesus Christ came into the world to save us and that means the He has come for you and for me. Jesus himself said, “He that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” If you come to Jesus and give your heart to Him, then as sure as there’s a God in Heaven, you will also be in Heaven one day. Don’t let prophecies about the future pull you away from the simplicity that’s in Jesus. Don’t let religious legalism bind you up so that you lose your familiar friendship with Jesus. Don’t let anyone rob you of the simplicity that’s in Jesus.
NEW BLOGS POSTED BY WEDNESDAY