Friday, June 18, 2010
Today’s Topic: I See The Lord
Today’s Text: I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. (Isaiah 6:1)
In case you were wondering, yes, I’m still alive and well. Very well, except for this nasty cough that has returned. The only time I haven’t had this cough since January is when I was in Swaziland with our friends Dudley and Inge Donaldson who are missionaries there. But no, I am not seeing that as a sign that I am supposed to return. I would need a clear vision from God for that to happen.
What is your reaction to the word “vision”? Mine used to be one of apprehension and doubt. Not anymore. I now understand that my previous doubt and maybe even fear of some spiritual things was caused by a lack of faith and not by good doctrine. Here’s what I mean. Whenever by belief in anything spiritual is conditioned by my need for understanding I am walking by sight and not by faith. When I need to be able to explain in human terms and with human logic the ways of God, I am not walking by faith. When the things I believe to be from God must fit into a neatly organized box of human experience, then I am guilty of weak faith.
When I say that I would need to see a clear vision from God to make a move anywhere, I am stating the truth that I believe it is possible to see a clear vision from God. I could hear His voice speak to me. I could be led by the Holy Spirit through a dream. I might even hear the Holy Spirit speak to me directly through you.
I believe we have constrained and quenched the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives by our lack of faith and our humanistic need for sight. I believe this applies to both the ultra-conservative people who reject any miraculous manifestation of the Holy Spirit and the Pentecostal churches who seem to experience miracles but have made the miraculous signs the proof of their faith rather than simple trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The excessive extremism of some spiritual movements has caused a pendulum swing of constrained extremism that is equally wrong. Those who have focused far too much on the miraculous manifestations of the Holy Spirit have built huge walls of defense against the attacks of those who have quenched all but a thimble-full of the work of the Holy Spirit. The attacks are being launched in both directions. The spiritual warfare of our day is not being directed by the Holy Spirit against the enemy, but rather is being done by prideful people who use their doctrine of the Holy Spirit to fight what they call false doctrine. In essence, the church has decided to use the Holy Spirit as a weapon against Himself.
I can only speak to you from one side of the wall that has been constructed to divide the church. I have been to the top of the wall and looked down at the other side. I have been to the gate in the wall and opened the door to fellowship with those on the other side. I have cowered under my self-built shield of faith as the arrows of similarly prideful people have been launched at me from the other side of the wall. I have responded in kind. I am ashamed of my actions and attitudes, but most of all I am ashamed of the wall that has been built. It was not built with bricks baked in the ovens of heaven and delivered to us by the Holy Spirit. It is a wall of man’s pride, and it must come down.
Somewhere, right about where the wall stands now, is a place of agreement – a place of truth. Truth that will only be discovered as people on each side of the wall humble themselves before the throne of God. You see, the wall has been built right on the spot where Isaiah saw his vision of God on His throne. The wall now blocks us from seeing God in all of His glory. Because of the wall all we can see is the territory on our side of the wall, and we believe that everything on the other side must be wrong and kept out. The wall must come down.
What a grand and glorious day it will be for the church when brothers and sisters in Christ from both sides of the wall stand united before the throne of God and see Him high and exalted and filling the whole earth with His glory. That will happen perfectly in heaven someday, but is it not possible for it to happen today to the degree that sinful humans are capable of being humble before Him? I not only believe it is possible, but that we hinder the glory of God from filling the whole earth by not pursuing it.
Will it be hard? Yes! So-called conservative Christians will have to open their hearts and minds to the filling of the Holy Spirit and His miraculous ministry. Pentecostals and Charismatics will have to accept every member of the Body of Christ as equals whether they speak in tongues or not. Right where the wall stands there is a place of unity before the throne of God. On that spot we will see the Body of Christ from the Lord’s perspective and not ours. Right there we will fall on our faces and declare that all we have done from a human perspective to know and teach truth has been unclean and we are ruined. And while we are on our faces before the throne, we will be cleansed and commissioned to be the church of Jesus Christ.