Onward, Through the Fog!
The Church has method. The
world has madness.
By Ken Raggio
Our modern world lives in a dense FOG of mental and spiritual chaos. Vicious forces never cease insulting, denigrating and attempting to silence the voices that declare the righteous cause of Jesus Christ. They would have us believe that the gospel is not good news but bad news. Even worse, they purport to have a better way than God's way. Let me make a very clear point. NOTHING is better than the gospel of Jesus Christ.
No one anywhere has more reason to feel a sense of self-worth than the true Church of Jesus Christ. God has blessed His people with revelation and understanding of
eternal principles and precepts that far exceeds the belief-systems of the masses of people today.
This is not a boast, but a sober observation. The Word of God is a priceless treasure in our world, and we are most fortunate to know both what it says and what it means.
In all ages, there were many more who did not understand than did. Jesus took note of the people's lack of understanding in His day. He felt compassion for the people "because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things."
But even though He ministered to countless thousands of people, only a very few became true disciples. While He ministered to multitudes, it is a fact that He rarely made a direct, pointed evangelistic appeal for them to know and follow Him.
You can analyze the New Testament record and find that, with the exception of His closest twelve disciples, Jesus did not practice hard-core recruiting. He presented His message, but it was up to the people to recognize the value of that message, and to decide to follow Him.
In the sixth chapter and also the seventeenth chapter of John, Jesus commented on His priorities. He revealed that His primary interest was to minister to those people who were GIVEN to Him of the Father. He said, "All that the Father GIVETH me will come to me," John 6:37.
They will come to Me.
He emphasized that the Spirit of God must first draw a man before he can become a disciple. He seemed to prove that He never expected the masses to understand Him or His purpose. He spoke often of their blinded eyes and their deaf ears.
He understood that most of the masses were not able to accept Him as God.
The crowd's mentality was so earth-bound that they regularly accused Jesus' phenomenal powers as being of the Devil. They would not give glory to God for what He was doing. They refused to believe that God was truly manifest as a mere man.
The masses were enveloped in a FOG of willful ignorance.
Jesus knew there was a premium on believing in Him: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God," Matthew 5:8.
If only the skeptics and doubters who invariably criticized Him could realize that by their skepticism, they were dashing their only chances of knowing the only true and living God.
Even today, critics and skeptics do not realize that their stiff-armed approach to God deprives them of their only meaningful purpose in life.
Oh, that all our hearts would unfailingly hunger and thirst for righteousness.
The sobering fact is that Jesus passed by far more people than He ever stopped to help.
He knew their eyes couldn't see, and their ears couldn't hear. His greatest pleasures came when, in isolated cases, someone recognized Him as God. "Blessed are your eyes, for they see."
Compared to most people, a real saint of God understands more of the value and purpose of life.
We know who Jesus is. He is our Lord, our God, our Creator and our Father. We have a solid rock foundation of truth that gives us more security and peace of mind than any of the entire world's philosophies or social mores.
Can we find a source of greater truth than we have found?
Should we abandon the truth we have for the world's empty illusions?
Sadly, entire masses of professing Christians feed in a hog pen of self-serving, Hollywood-styled, Madison Avenue-manufactured "ministries" that emphasize worldly prosperity and self-fulfillment, but are plagued with scandals and hypocrisy. They fail to realize that the true church is a sacred, sober, glorious body of believers.
Those who faithfully follow the Apostles' doctrines worship in a wonderful and holy environment that has for ages been a blood-stained sanctuary of truth, righteousness and holiness!
Extremists cannot negate what is at the core.
True Christianity is not about liberals or conservatives. It isn't about polarity on issues. It is about eternal, redemptive truth.
So many religious people practice extremist tendencies, straining at gnats, swallowing camels, dogmatically pounding on peripheral issues, turning liberal or conservative sectarianism into sacred cows. But no part of the gospel is as important as "all the counsel of God." If we would broaden our perspectives of God and truth, we could only improve our condition.
Despite its inherent human weaknesses, the real Church is a body of believers that is truly identifiably different from this present world.
Some people argue that those of us who embrace holiness teachings are bound up in legalistic chains. But I have found to the contrary, that in being UNENCUMBERED by the popular sins of our day, God's people have a wonderful freedom in their hearts and minds that society cannot even begin to imagine. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
The so-called "emerging" church is not emerging at all. It is submerging in carnality and worldliness. It has re-introduced all the worldliness and selfish living that centuries of gospel preachers spent trying to remove from the church.
As simple as it may sound, nothing the world has to offer is any better than living with a love for God, truth, righteousness and holiness. Nothing. Name one. You can't.
Would you trade the House of God for a football stadium? If you would, you are mentally ill. Would you exchange the fellowship of the saints of God for a block party? Would you prefer "American Idol" to the pure, unadulterated praise and worship of the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you prefer to be in local movie theatre on a Sunday night, than in the House of God listening to a man of God preach the word of God?
How many outrageous examples do you need of the appalling contrast between the sacred and the profane, before you awaken from your addictions to entertainment, and your spiritual stupor, to return unto God in sacrificial, consecrated living?
When a person truly loves and cherishes God and the things of eternal importance, the things of this world quickly dim and lose their value.
Loving truth, righteousness and holiness is a winning mindset.
We should be especially thankful for godly people and ministers who encourage us to abstain from even the appearances of evil. We cannot afford to fail to recognize and appreciate the helpful, supportive resources we have. If we do, they will surely diminish.
Too often, men and women of God are targets of harsh criticism from unbelievers. Too many religious bodies have virtually abandoned godly disciplines in favor of liberal flesh-serving policies. History has already shown that they will eventually fall into ruin.
If we fail to appreciate and reverence the Christian lifestyle, the most dynamic of all lifestyles, what will we become?
There is no reason to be embarrassed or ashamed of our positions concerning God, the name of Jesus, the spiritual birth, or the holy life. These are immutable pillars of life. They will stand every test.
We should aggressively assert our faith in God.
"Onward! Through the fog!"