THE CALL TO CHANGE DIRECTION
by paul hoffmaster
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When Jesus taught, He did it with boldness and purpose. He did not trim or beat around the bush when it came to sharing God’s Word. There was no timidity or apology for bringing the directional teaching He was commissioned to proclaim. His instructional wisdom basically began in the Synagogues. He was sent, according to His own words, “…unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matt. 15:24) The religious community listened at first, but then turned a hostile ear. Soon His pulpit became the open air arena instead of the Synagogue. (John 11:54)
John the Baptist came preaching repentance to the misguided “synagogue” throngs. The Messiah was about to be revealed, and there needed to be a turning (repentance) from traditional man-made doctrines to an openness to the real Truth. The Jews left their citadels of religious instruction and journeyed out into the wilderness to seek a life-changing experience. I believe Jesus is coming again! In anticipation of His return, we need to prepare by getting rid of misguided teachings and doctrines that have been seeded throughout the Christian community. It is time to move from our mind set of “synagogue” learning to a spiritual openness to the real truth. Jesus acquired a great following in the early stages of His ministry, but as time progressed, many turned back to their old ways. (John 6:66) The calling to the Church today is to repent, with the evidence of a change in its direction. John not only stressed baptism of repentance, but also the baptism “…with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Luke 3:16) The Church is lacking in its ministry today because it is exhibiting only human power. Instead of catching fire, Christians have a tendency to be the spiritual fire department by putting out any spark that might ignite a melting of their traditions. The reason the Church is having such a difficult time fulfilling its mission is it has neglected the power of the Holy Spirit. Without His empowering, we are like the waves of the sea, tossed about without direction or solid foundations. (James 1:6)
There has been a great deal of excitement over the stand Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty took in proclaiming his beliefs. It is exciting to see the supportive response of so many Christians. At least, it got some Believers out of their cocoons to have a little flight of excitement. I believe his actions were a two-edged sword. He did defend his faith, but he did it in the wrong venue. Jesus made it clear that we are not to take what is holy and expose it to the unholy, for they will ridicule it and attack the one who shares it. (Matt. 7:6) GQ magazine is a worldly periodical that elevates the things of the world. Their top published article for 2013 was the interview they did with Phil Robertson. The other top articles were “50 Most Unforgettable Breasts in Movie History,” “The Drinking Man’s Guide to Hangovers,” and “GQ’s Sexiest Women of 2013.” To use the secular media as a platform to display your faith is playing right into the enemies’ hands. One of the positive aspects of that article was it woke up the Christian community to take a rare stand of unity. There is a time and place to draw the line, but we must not provide an opportunity for Satan to so easily stage his opposition. We must always be ready to share our faith, but we must be careful where we “cast our pearls.”
Thank God there is a remnant of Believers that have made the journey to the wilderness of change. Some Fellowships are so on fire that they have put a sign in front of their building that says, “Call 911, this place is on fire!” Thank God there are Believers that know when, how, and where to share the Gospel.
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