1 Samuel 8:19-20 “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.”
Each of us are faced with choices every day. Today may have been that day you said, “I’m hitting the snooze button one more time”. Or “I really don’t want to go in to work today”. You may have woke up with expectation, anxiety or dread. You may have went to bed thinking that your problems would leave overnight only to find them waiting for you as you awoke. Whatever it was that brought you here, you chose.
‘Choose Democrat – Choose Republican – Choose Independent…’ Choose this soap, this food, this car, this neighborhood, this church… Choices. I have come to find as a child of God that I do have the freedom to make my own choices – God gave us a free will to just that. But the consequences of those choices affect not only me, but all those around me.
In the Book of Samuel, we see the Israelites turning from a theocracy (God-ruled) to a monarchy (man-ruled). They saw other nations and their rule of law; the governing by one king and so sought to have it rather than allowing God to be their ruler.
1 Samuel 8:20 “That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.”
You do not have to look too far to see how the church today has become so much more like the world than what God set up in the Book of Acts. Whether it is the music or the dress, the message or the methods, we see a distinct movement away from what God set His church up to be to the world.
As the church is made up of individual, saved members, I must take care of my part to align myself with what God desires me to be. Each of us has been uniquely gifted to take our place and do our part in the church where we are members. Without the exercise of those gifts, the body will suffer.
We look to worldly, sometimes business-like methods and think that this is how the church should be run. God gifts His people with the gift of administration to be used for His glory – not the increase of popularity, expansion of our property or name. I truly believe that God’s heart is the winning of the lost to Himself and then training, maintaining and sustaining the body to a level of health that will go on for generations.
One of the best illustrations I have heard is a church landlocked in a certain city in Pennsylvania. Over time, they grew so much that they either needed to expand or move the whole church to a new and different area. I believe the pastor listened to God and brought this idea to his people.
The had strong families and godly men that they ordained and began, as a church, to seek out starting a new church in an area of their town. The church helped to choose the location, purchase the property, canvas the neighborhood and use their people to build this new, fledgling church to a sustainable level.
When that church became able to thrive on their own, they repeated the process. Over the years and the life of the church. they saw many hundreds of people come to be saved, join the church and go on to become thriving, contributing members of each of the local, New Testament churches. To my knowledge, they have started over ten churches in their city and are still following the same blueprint for winning their city to Christ.
When man becomes the focal point, we lose evangelism, tear-stained altars, and testimonies of transformed lives. Revival becomes a scheduled event on a calendar instead of a heart’s desire of the church body. Sin is managed instead of confessed and repented.
The call to seek lost souls at a time of invitation has been all but lost in our generation. We are more concerned with getting out of church than what we get out of the sermon. If we would only mind the Spirit of God and allow His leadership in our services, we would begin to see true revival.
In this age of technology, we feel that viewing a service online is obeying the command of Christ found in Hebrews:
Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
I have been ill and had been forced to watch our church’s service online. There was such a disconnected feeling; like I was watching a show on television. I felt empty. I felt the need for human interaction.
When our choices take us past the boundaries of God’s Word, we must be brought back to a loving relationship with God through the church. When God seeks to do something, He uses a man.
Ezekiel 22:30 “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”
The sad lament is that God is still searching for a man to lead His people in His way. Sadder still is when that man takes the glory that only God deserves for the fruit and increase that He brings.
God allows us to go our own way, knowing that there will come a time that we will come to the end of ourselves and need Him again. The apostle Paul sought, out of the best of intentions, to do more for the cause of Christ. He felt that if God would only remove the thorn in his flesh, he could do more and be more for the kingdom. But God had a plan:
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Paul realized and teaches us as well, that dependence on God is paramount in anything we do for Him. It totally goes against my nature to think that when I am weak, then I become stronger. But when you see God move and do the miraculous, then you and I can begin to admonish one another to be weak together, walk together and support one another in our weakness.
Realizing that the body is only as strong as its weakest members, we must reach out to all and point them to trust wholly and totally on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 3:5-7 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.”
We know and quote verses 5 and 6, but verse 7 admonishes us to “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” May our choices today be those which depend on God to fulfill and our faith to believe. Do not allow what you and I can do in the flesh to be enough… Believe that our God can do the impossible. Pray that He will do the impossible. Believe that He will. Then, we can testify to others just how magnificent, marvelous and wonderful our God truly is!