The words and actions of the Lord and are often confusing to many of us. Consider John 3:5-6. Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Yet when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days. It could have been written in this manner: “the Lord loved Lazarus so much that He did not go see him.” The difference between us and those living in that
moment is that we see the plan unfold while they could not. Martha was managing the moment; tending to her dying brother and hoping that Jesus would hurry to heal him. Mary was praying for the Lord’s arrival, but Jesus was nowhere to be found. How could a God that loves us so much wait for things to get worse before He steps onto the scene? Why would Jesus
proclaim such love for His friends, but then purposely stay away? For those who are in the middle of their moment; managing what they can, these questions are very apparent. It’s only when you’re on the other side of the story that you can rejoice and take comfort.
This is what I know: His Glory is the most important part of the miracle. That sounds counter to our thinking, but God must be known in the earth. His saving power is paramount. He can heal, but the greater portion is His salvation. Lazarus would not have “come forth” had he never been buried. Lazarus, those present, and all who might view from afar would not have known the wonder of God’s resurrection power had Jesus simply come when He was called. And His Glory; the Awesome work of His hand would not be in full display as it was when they rolled back the stone and a man wrapped in grave clothes appeared. So don’t be dismayed by what you see in your moment. Jesus is not late. Jesus is never late. He might just be waiting for His Glory to have enough room to shine.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
Ed Stetzer provided the details: “Our culture has 3 Christian sub-groups: cultural, congregational, and convictional. The first two identify, but do not shape their lives around the Christian faith. They see themselves as connected through heritage or involvement.”
The last shape their lives around their faith. Stetzer says that Christianity means “different things to different people, and that while all are valid, not all are equal.” Of course this philosophy has become the mindset of so many that it’s difficult for people to hear what the scripture actually declares. The scripture is by no private interpretation. Neither the Bible nor Christianity, can be defined by opinions. And finally, God is not a different God to segments or groups.
The great danger is when we veer from the established Word which declares Jesus as God; Baptism as necessary for salvation; the Holy Ghost as the Spirit infilling; and God’s call to be separate from the world. Who said we could choose what we like and what we can discard? Who told us that everyone’s view is valid and that the Bible is a book of choices and options?
The Bible is God’s Word. It’s not a tool for our pleasure. Christianity originated by people who obeyed the doctrine of Jesus Christ. He told us that no one could enter the Kingdom of God unless
they were born again of water and the Spirit. Jesus said, “unless you believe that I am He (God-Jehovah-Creator-Savior) you will die in your sins.” The scripture is the inspired Word; the God-breathed book that transcends conventional wisdom and secularism.
We are not Christianity by association, nor are we tied by denomination, and I might even refute that we should shape our lives around the Christian faith. No, the scripture shapes us. The Faith molds us. God’s commandments are our bidding and “In Him we live and move and have our being.”
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
What is the price of a single soul? A new car cost about $30,000. A new built house—$150,000. A new career might cost every Sunday.
Jesus asked the question, “What would a man give in exchange for his soul?” The Lord explained further that if a man should gain the whole world, it still would not match the value of his soul. Think of it; all the fame, wealth, gold, and possessions that the entire world might grant does not measure up to the price of a single soul. Jesus spoke of a man who built larger barns not knowing that the time of his life was drawing near. The man had no time to serve the Lord, rather he served his own flesh. The Lord said, “thou fool” who will possess all that you have worked for? Clearly, to the Lord, the soul of mankind was and is the most precious of all things.
Sadly, it’s not just physical possessions that are exchanged. Bitterness, tragedy, and offenses have stolen the faith of many. Some have exchanged their eternal salvation for the intangible wounds that afflict the mind and heart. That is why Jesus offered Himself as the remedy for the emotionally wounded: “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy burden, and I will give you rest.”
Lastly, I am urged to draw your attention to the souls of the lost. There are hundreds—thousands which have not had a chance to hear this great gospel. Their souls are weighed in the balance and it is the duty of the church to reach them with the only saving name of Jesus. Lost souls are worth our time to come and worship. Lost souls are worth our energies and focus. Church must go back to the Soul-Saving Station that it was meant to be. Worship must become the vehicle that moves us into the Presence of Him that touches the faithless and the hurting. Saving the soul is the Lord’s business and by virtue of our relationship to Him and His Lordship; it is our business too.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
Jonathon is the son of Saul. He is a young man full of faith and courage. The scene is set wherein Israel is depleted of their military weapons. Jonathon has one of the two remaining swords. Ahead is a garrison of Philistines, some 20 armed men, waiting for war. Jonathon says to his armor bearer “Let’s go fight. Perhaps the Lord will help us.” The scripture gives us no indication that God told him to fight. There was no Spiritual unction that caused him to engage. Jonathon just believed that the Lord could save by many or by few. He believed the odds were not important as long as the Lord was with them. And yet, he did not know that the Lord was with them. He said, “Perhaps… it may be, that the Lord will fight for us.”
Faith is often stepping out on nothing and finding something there. It is doing the right thing without a word and finding unknown power in the process. The problem today is that many want proof that God will do the work before they enter the process, but God calls people into His mission. He wants us involved in winning the lost and praying for the sick. We should not need a word from God to do these things. Could it be that many of our victories have not been realized because we are waiting for confirmation? Paul admonished us to fight the good fight of faith. Jesus has given us power over the enemy.
I submit to you that victories are waiting to be won if we would step out on faith and believe that God will be with us. Hearing the command or having a message to move forward is far easier than gathering yourself and saying, “I’m moving by faith and trusting in a God that can do anything.” Resources and tools; skills and talents mean very little when God is on your side. If you’re waiting on ability then you might never act. Now is the time to be bold and say, “Perhaps the Lord will be with us.”
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole