Paul in I Corinthians 3 is WRITING TO A PENTECOSTAL CHURCH. Of course, the entire New Testament Church was Pentecostal.
1. Frankly, Paul is writing to the MOST PENTECOSTAL CHURCH in the whole of the New Testament!
2. And, when you get into what he says to this PENTECOSTAL CHURCH, it is ABSOLUTELY SHOCKING!
-Here is what he says to them in I Cor. 3:1,
“AND I, BRETHREN, COULD NOT SPEAK UNTO YOU AS
UNTO SPIRITUAL, BUT AS UNTO CARNAL.”
-In other words:
“THE CORINTHIAN CHURCH WAS A VERY GIFTED, AND A
VERY NONSPIRITUAL, A VERY CARNAL CHURCH.”
1. It is AN OVERWHELMING thought, a DEVASTATING thought is more like it!
2. Just because WE HAVE THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT in EVIDENCE in our fellowship, thank God!
a. That does not IN ITSELF MAKE US SPIRITUAL AT ALL, for the gifts do not INDICATE SPIRITUALITY!
b. Rather, the fruits do, the fruits of the Holy Spirit, as we read in the Bible in Matthew 7:16,
“BY THEIR FRUITS YOU SHALL KNOW THEM.”
c. In fact, often those who DON’T CLAIM THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT, show MARKS OF MATURITY IN CHRIST THAT ARE MOST DESIRABLE!
“THE FRUITS ARE WHO WE ARE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT,
AND THE GIFTS ARE HOW WE ARE USED
BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.”
“THE FRUITS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT DEAL WITH GOD’S
CHARACTER IN US, WHILE THE GIFTS OF THE
HOLY SPIRIT DEAL WITH GOD’S
CAPABILITIES THROUGH US.”
I have met those who were not particularly gifted, but who were humble as pie and sweet as sugar. I have also met those who were very gifted, and were as cocky as roosters, and proud as peacocks. That does not mean that the gifted are in every case fruitless, or that the fruitful are in every case giftless. What all of this does mean is this:
“CHRISTIANS ARE KNOWN BY THEIR HOLY SPIRIT
FRUITEDNESS FIRST OF ALL, NOT BY THEIR
HOLY SPIRIT GIFTEDNESS. JESUS SAYS SO.”
The Apostle Paul put it so well in I Corinthians 13:1,
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have
not love, I have become a noisy gong or
a clanging cymbal.”
I. PERPETUAL SUCKING INFANTS
Paul goes on in I Cor. 3:1-2,
“EVEN AS UNTO BABES IN CHRIST, I HAVE FED YOU
WITH MILK, AND NOT WITH MEAT, FOR HITHERTO
YE WERE NOT ABLE TO BEAR IT, NEITHER YET
NOW ARE YE ABLE.”
The very gifted church at Corinth was also a very IMMATURE CHURCH. Like little children today, they loved their Christmas gifts under the tree, but they would not and could not eat the meat and spinach on their plates. They were still milk-bottle baby suckers.
If you will:
“THEY WERE TODDLERS WHO COULD BARELY WALK,
BUT CERTAINLY NOT ADULTS WHO COULD RUN THE
RACE WITHOUT FALLING ALL OVER THEMSELVES.”
You know what I am talking about:
“THEY ARE THE FIRST TO DISCERN A WEAKNESS IN
PEOPLE, BUT AT THE SAME TIME THE FIRST TO
TELL ANY ONE WHO WILL LISTEN, ‘JOHNNY
KNOCK ME DOWN.’”
“THEY ARE ALWAYS CHALLENGING OTHERS TO A
GREATER FAITH, AND YET THEY ARE LIKE
BABIES GETTING TOO CLOSE TO THE
EDGE OF THE CHAIR, WITH OTHERS
ALWAYS HAVING TO SWOOP IN
FOR A SHOESTRING CATCH
BEFORE THEIR FAITH
CRASHES AND THEY
AGAIN HIT THE
1. If someone COMES INTO OUR CHURCH with a NEW BORN BABY, ALL SWATHED IN PAMPERS, HOPEFULLY!
2. And, the baby is wrapped IN A BLUE OR PINK BLANKET, and lovely little clothes, bottle, pacifier.
3. And we all gather around that baby and we say, “WHAT A DARLING LITTLE BABY.” (and that’s true!)
a. But, if that same “FATHER, MOTHER” bring that “SAME CHILD” back to church 30 years later!
b. And, the 30 YEAR OLD CHILD is still wearing pampers, still nursing from the bottle.
c. Or, is STILL SUCKING NOISILY ON A PACIFIER, or STILL SHAKING A RATTLER etc.
d. That child IS NO LONGER CUTE, rather, THAT CHILD IS NOW GROTESQUE & UGLY!
4. WHEN PEOPLE ARE BORN AGAIN, AND DO NOT PROGRESS IN SPIRITUAL MATURITY, STABILITY, and all THE FRUITS, IT IS ABNORMAL!
a. At times, we have an ABNORMAL preoccupation WITH TESTIMONIES ABOUT SALVATION!
b. But the ISSUE IS FOR PAUL, in the Bible,
“WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU IN JESUS’ NAME SINCE
PROGRESS OR REGRESS
1. Regarding all of you here tonight, it doesn’t OCCUR TO ME TO BE CONCERNED about the issue of your birth!
2. Fact is, it IS QUITE OBVIOUS THAT WE HAVE BEEN BORN, otherwise WE WOULDN’T- COULDN’T BE HERE!
3. What is of concern is:
“WHAT’S HAPPENED TO US SINCE WE HAVE BEEN
BORN/REBORN, FILLED WITH HOLY SPIRIT!”
a. HAVE WE PROGRESSED? SPIRITUALLY? God knows, OTHER PEOPLE KNOW, our family knows.
b. HAVE WE PROGRESSED IN THE WORD OF GOD, AND OUR VALUES, AND OUR ENDEAVORS, AND OUR SERVICE TO OTHERS? HAS OUR GOD-AWARENESS MATURED?
c. Above all, have WE GROWN IN INNER PURITY OF THOUGHTS AND DESIRES? HAVE WE CRUCIFIED THE OLD NATURE. Remember:
“IT IS POSSIBLE TO NOW AND AGAIN RESTRAIN BAD
ACTIONS, WITHOUT DEEP CHANGE IN OUR INNER
AFFECTIONS AND DESIRES.”
If you will:
“WE MUST GROW NOT ONLY IN GOD’S RESTRAINING
GRACE, BUT IN HIS SANCTIFYING GRACE. WE MAY
FOR A MOMENT NOT TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY
TO SIN, AND YET BE LEFT AS WICKED DEEP
DOWN AS WE WERE BEFORE.”
4. Progress/maturing is not optional. If there is no progress, there will always be regress. A body that does not grow and progress, will shrink and regress.
-Spiritual and moral progress is the sign that the HOLY SPIRIT is at work. Remember:
“THE SPIRIT OF GOD WILL IMITATE PROGRESS IN THE
NATURAL, EVEN THOUGH HE IS WORKING
SOMETHING FAR ABOVE IT
IN THE SPIRITUAL.”
5. So then it is right to start out as babes physically and spiritually. We all have to start somewhere, and infancy is where.
-However, just don’t end where you started, don’t live and die as babes.
-If you will:
“WE MUST ALL GROW UP INTO CHILDHOOD, BUT WE
MUST ALSO GROW OUT OF IT, SO THAT WE DON’T
GO OUT OF THE WORLD SEVENTY OR EIGHTY
YEAR OLD SPIRITUAL AND MORAL INFANTS
-Some people go on their whole life long with their main refrains being – MY, MY, MY – ME, ME, ME – MINE, MINE , MINE – GIVE ME, GIVE ME, GIVE ME – I WANT, I WANT, WANT – NO, NO, NO.
-And generally those are the same people who soil their pants whenever they feel like it. Then they cry and others always have to clean them up when they mess themselves up. You know who I am talking about! Yes pastor, those stunted spiritual and moral infants who make you change their diaper at every counseling session. These are the folks who would turn pastors into bleary-eyed mothers at three in the morning tending to their babies’ dirties.
-In this Christmas season, these babes don’t mind having their children bathed in Santa lore, namely that Claus shall visit every home before dawn. That is all viewed as fun and cute. But don’t press the baby Christian with the thought that Jesus Christ could come before Santa ever makes it, for he views that as fanaticism and over the top. It is fine for baby Christians that their children are basted in more lies, such as their gifts being made by merry elves. Just don’t remind baby Christian of the truth that the gifts were really made by grossly underpaid Asians. Please don’t pop the baby-land bubbles with the pin of reality, for that requires far too much maturity and mental toughness.
These are the same people that we read about in Hebrews 5:12-13,
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have
need again for someone to teach you the elementary
principles of the oracles of God, and you have come
to need milk and not solid food.”
“For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed
to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.”
a. These spiritual babies don’t like to be told what they may and may not do, what they may and may not have, which here is called the WORD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. That is when they throw a fit, and go to another crib-church.
b. They don’t like strong preaching/meat, but they love baby food and baby stuff. They love being entertained and dazzled and humored. They want preachers to tell them that they can have anything they want when they want it. They want a milk-man preacher who delivers white milk, chocolate mild, whole milk, and some milk duds too. They want preachers who then coo them to sleep, only after burping them first.
c. They want to be told that they can live in NIRVANA, DISNEY WORLD, and UTOPIA here and now. They want heaven on earth and heaven forever. Just don’t complicate their lives with reality. Entire churches today are nothing more than Disney Worlds. Each Sunday, give them an hour of weightlessness, free of the pull of gravity, in a world where the Biblical absolutes of right and wrong do not apply.
II. LABORERS AND FARMERS – NOT STARS AND STARLETS
Go on with me now to I Cor. 3:9,
“FOR WE ARE LABORERS TOGETHER WITH GOD: YE ARE
GOD’S HUSBANDRY, YE ARE HIS BUILDING”.
1. Where Paul uses the words – WE ARE HIS LABORERS – he is talking about APOLLOS, AND HIMSELF – preachers!
a. Preachers, pastors, are NOT “STARS”, we ARE LABORERS, that’s all, co-laborers with the Lord!
b. NOT ICONS, PERFORMERS, OR ECCLESIASTICAL SUPERSTARS, not SPIRITUAL GIANTS, OR EXTRATERRESTRIAL persons.
c. Just because a MAN IS CALLED INTO THE MINISTRY, does NOT MAKE HIM A SPIRITUAL GIANT!
d. Nor, on the other hand, simply because MINISTERS ARE HUMAN, DOES NOT LESSEN GOD’S CALL ON THEIR LIVES!
e. WE ARE LABORERS, WORKERS, THAT IS WHO WE ARE, nothing more, nothing less!
f. Ministry is just plain HARD WORK:
-Building the Church of Christ is not for the lazy! There are too many of those lazy ones, and it is just laziness and idleness that creates impossibilities and failures. Remember Christ’s parable of the UNJUST STEWARD who said in Luke 16:3,
“I AM NOT STRONG ENOUGH TO DIG.”
-The fact of the matter is:
“GENERALLY SPEAKING, MINISTERS WHO ARE TOO
LAZY TO DO ANYTHING OUTSIDE THE BOX,
SHELTER THEMSELVES UNDER THE
EXCUSE THAT IT CANNOT BE DONE.”
-But when it comes right down to it:
“THE SUREST AND ONLY WAY TO PROVE SOMETHING
POSSIBLE IS TO STRENUOUSLY SET
ABOUT DOING IT.”
2. Where Paul uses the WORD -YE ARE GOD’S HUSBANDRY, he means FARMER – those who plant, water, weed, harvest. He says, “WE are God’s laborers, YE are God’s farmers.” He now switches from WE to YOU.”
a. Some people feel IF WE COULD JUST HIRE THE RIGHT PERSON, who could PREACH LIKE PETER MARSHALL, BILLY GRAHAM etc. all rolled into one!
b. Then WE COULD GET THE JOB DONE, but nothing could be further from the truth!
c. YE ARE HIS PLANTERS, SOWERS, AND NO ECCLESIASTICAL SUPERSTAR, CAN TAKE THE PLACE OF INDIVIDUAL SOWING AND REAPING CHRISTIANS!
d. I married a godly farmer’s daughter, and she knows only hard work and getting the job done. After 53 years of marriage to my beloved Ruthie, I still stand amazed at her servant’s heart and farmer’s work ethic. She is not only a farmer’s daughter, she is a farmer-sower of Gospel seed to everyone she meets. I married far above myself!
3. And, Paul goes ON TO SAY,
“YOU ARE HIS BUILDING!”
a. You see, GOD MADE YOU/US ESPECIALLY FOR HIMSELF, we are his building!
b. Remember, in Genesis, God SPOKE EVERYTHING INTO EXISTENCE, LIGHT, DARKNESS, DAY, NIGHT!
c. He spoke everything into existence, except when HE CAME TO MAN, HE SAID,
“LET US MAKE MAN!”
d. WE ARE GOD’S BUILDING, you and I, WE ARE SPECIALLY CREATED AND RECREATED! SPECIAL BREED! Hear it:
“GOD HAS A SPECIAL RIGHT TO US, AND WE DO NOT
HAVE ANY RIGHTS OF OUR OWN!”
f. What an awful phrase the world has coined,
“DO YOUR OWN THING.”
III. THE HEART OF THE ISSUE – THE BIG X
Read I Cor. 3:11-14,
“FOR OTHER FOUNDATION CAN NO MAN LAY THAN
THAT IS LAID, WHICH IS JESUS CHRIST.”
“NOW – if ANY MAN BUILD UPON THIS FOUNDATION
GOLD (hard to come by); SILVER (hard to come by);
PRECIOUS STONES (hard to come by)….WOOD,
HAY, STUBBLE (common).”
“EVERY MAN’S WORK SHALL BE MADE MANIFEST, FOR
THE DAY, (judgement day) SHALL DECLARE IT,
BECAUSE IT SHALL BE REVEALED BY
FIRE, AND THE FIRE SHALL TRY
EVERY MAN’S WORK OF WHAT
SORT IT IS!”
“IF ANY MAN’S WORK ABIDE WHICH HE BUILT
THEREUPON, HE SHALL RECEIVE A REWARD!”
1. EVERY MAN’S WORK SHALL BE MADE “MANIFEST.”
a. There is “A DAY OF RECKONING” for which all of US HERE SHALL BE RESPONSIBLE!
b. WE ARE RESPONSIBLE TO A HOLY GOD, we DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO OUR OWN THING.
2. And, IF ANY MAN’S WORK ABIDE, he shall RECEIVE A REWARD!
a. Notice the word “IF”, IF ANY MAN’S WORK ABIDE! It is not a taken-for-granted thing!
b. We are not talking about SALVATION HERE, we are talking about DISCIPLESHIP!
c. Salvation “IS FREE”, but, discipleship IS NOT FREE! It is a costly reality!
d. WHAT’S THE IF? Well, we SHALL NOTE THAT IN JUST A FEW MINUTES!
e. BUT…It is NOT AUTOMATIC, IF OUR WORK ABIDE, we SHALL RECEIVE A REWARD!
1. What IS THE X-FACTOR that MAKES THE DIFFERENCE AMONGST CHRISTIANS, amongst ALL OF US!
a. I mean, “THERE IS A TREMENDOUS DIFFERENCE” amongst those who “ARE CALLED CHRISTIANS.”
b. There are those WHO SO OFTEN ARE VERY VOCAL, BUT AFTER A WHILE THEY ABANDON SHIP.
c. While there ARE THOSE, who though “NOT SO VOCAL”, but THEY ARE THERE, loving, faithful, constant! What’s THE DIFFERENCE, because, there is a BIG VARIANCE!
2. Some Pentecostals like myself might say, the “DIFFERENCE IS THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT”.
a. No, I don’t think so, I don’t think that’s Biblical, I don’t THINK that THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT PRODUCES ABIDING COMMITMENT!
b. Fact of the matter is, TOTAL COMMITMENT MUST BE THERE FIRST, as we read in Acts 5:32,
“GOD GIVES THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THEM WHO
OBEY HIM”. (commitment there FIRST!)
c. True, THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT gives you the GREATEST POTENTIAL – POWER to carry out your call as a WITNESS TO JESUS CHRIST.
d. But, the COMMITMENT MUST BE THERE FIRST, the SOLD- OUTNESS TO JESUS MUST BE THERE FIRST!
“THE MORE THE COMMITMENT, THE MORE THE SPIRIT
COMES FOR ALL THE MORE TO EMPOWER!”
“THE LESS THE COMMITMENT, THE LESS THE SPIRIT
COMES, FOR ALL THE LESS TO EMPOWER!”
-That’s WHY SOME CHRISTIANS have “POWER TO TURN WORLD UPSIDE DOWN”, some don’t HAVE ENOUGH POWER TO BLOW THEIR NOSE!
3. Well then, what MAKES THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMMITTED and LESS COMMITTED CHRISTIANS?
a. Frankly, the difference BETWEEN CHRISTIANS AND BETWEEN MINISTERS IS SOMETHING THAT OUGHT TO MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE.
b. And that X-FACTOR IS this:
“SOME UNDERSTAND/EMBRACE THE PRINCIPLE OF
ACCOUNTABILITY, SOME DON’T!”
-That some day we will have to ANSWER FOR/TO GOD ALMIGHTY, FOR ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING WE HAVE DONE!
-And, not ONLY ANSWER TO GOD FOR WHAT WE HAVE/HAVE NOT DONE, BUT ALSO, AND AS IMPORTANT: WHY THEY HAVE/HAVE NOT DONE IT!
-It is NOT ENOUGH THAT IT WAS DONE, BUT IT IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT WHY IT WAS DONE.
4. Let’s face it, the absence of the principle of MAN’S ACCOUNTABILITY TO GOD is devastating, no matter how you state it:
“HE HAS NO FEAR OF BREAKING THE LAW WHO
BELIEVES THAT HE CAN TRAMPLE UPON THE
LAW SAFELY AND WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE.”
“PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THAT THEIR SINS WILL NEVER
FIND THEM OUT, PERSUADE THEMSELVES
THAT PUNISHMENT WILL NEVER
FIND THEM EITHER.”
-Come on now:
“THOSE WHO THOROUGHLY ENJOY THE PLEASURES
AND THE FILTH OF SIN DO SO, BECAUSE THEY
BELIEVE THEY WILL NEVER HAVE TO
ENDURE THE PAINFUL AND SAD
CONSEQUENCES OF SIN.”
-All of this is so vividly illustrated by the world’s conversations and songs, such as the well known Frank Sinatra hit:
“I’M GONNA LIVE – LIVE – LIVE UNTIL I DIE.”
The meaning is that you should really live it up like mad, for you only go around once, and then death is the end. There is no more – NO ACCOUNTABILITY TO GOD. When you croak, you croak, and that is it. If you will:
“LIVE LIKE HELL – FOR THERE IS NO HELL.”
What is glaring at the typical American funeral and graveside is not the power of Jesus Christ, but the power of death. The Christian knows better, because for the believer, God is going to restore that old collection of bones into something far better like unto the glorious body of the resurrected Christ, and receive his reward before the Lord. For the unbeliever, his old carcass will be raised in all of its old crumpled deathness, and he will stand before God and receive his eternal death sentence. ACCOUNTABILITY!
5. We are living in the most dangerous and deceptive age for the church ever. The entire Gospel construct of REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS, HEAVEN AND HELL, ACCOUNTABILITY TO GOD, is being denied by prominent church personalities as never before in church history. Multiplied thousands adhere to their falsehoods. In other words:
“THERE IS ONLY HEAVEN AND NO HELL, EVERYTHING
TO HOPE FOR AND NOTHING TO FEAR.”
-Thus the whole fabric OF ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE WORD OF GOD is shredded not only, but it gives religious and unreligious folks a false confidence. It numbs the conscience into a kind of stupor, even while sin has a complete dominion over the soul. It fills man with a peace, albeit it is a totally false peace.
-And on top of all of this, as a matter of astonishing fact, we are being told today in many far-out churches that:
“GOD IS ACCOUNTABLE TO US TO GIVE US WHAT WE
EXPECT AND DEMAND OF HIM, OR AT LEAST
GIVE US AN EXPLANATION WHY HE
IS NOT CO-OPERATING.”
-It has all gone totally berserk, namely, that God is responsible to man, and not man responsible to God. It is no longer that we are to obey God, but rather, God is to obey us. It is no longer God holding us accountable, but rather, man holding God accountable, believe it or not!!!
-I heard a prominent preacher very recently tell his multi-thousand member church, as well as telling all the people of God across the earth watching by television:
“COMMAND YE ME (GOD.)”
-He shouted it over and over and over again, demanding that the congregation chant it together with him:
“COMMAND YE ME (GOD) – COMMAND YE ME (G0D) –
COMMAND YE ME (GOD.)”
-What he in fact was having them chant was:
“COMMAND GOD – COMMAND GOD – COMMAND GOD.”
-He was instructing his mega-church and the global TV audience to COMMAND GOD as a way of life. It struck me as I watched and heard this fiasco going on, that the entire church looked and sounded like a bunch of Mexican Chihuahuas standing on their back legs barking and yipping at Heaven, being led by their head yipper dog. It was a sight and sound that reminded me of a church nursery where all of the babies are crying and screaming because they were set off by one loud, squawking baby. What a zoo!
-He based his shocking imperative to God on an isolated text (isogesis) in Isaiah 45:11 KJV,
“Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker,
‘Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons,
and concerning the works of My hands
command ye Me.”
The KJV is a very poor, misleading, and totally anti-context translation at this point. Isaiah 45:11 NASV puts it far more accurately,
“Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker,
“Ask Me about the things to come concerning My Sons,
and you shall commit to Me the works of My hands.'”
In other words:
“YOU SHALL LEAVE IT UP TO ME WHAT I WORK OR
DON’T WORK WITH MY HANDS, THE SAME HANDS
THAT CREATED YOU IN THE FIRST PLACE.”
-But more importantly, to even suggest that we should have the unmitigated gall to command God to do anything, flies crashing and burning into the entire context and flow of truth in the passage! And what is that context? Very clearly:
“WHO ARE WE TO EVEN QUESTION GOD ABOUT HIS
WAYS, LET ALONE COMMANDING HIM TO
CONFORM TO OUR WAYS?”
Look at Verses 9-10, and it will clear out plugged exegetical sinuses immediately,
“Woe to one who quarrels with His Maker – an earthenware
vessel among the vessels of the earth! Will the clay say to
the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are
making say, “He has no hands?'”
“Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
Or go a woman, ‘To what are you giving birth?'”
-Without exegeting those verses, for time and space do not permit, taking it all together:
“WHO WOULD HAVE THE GUTS TO EVEN QUESTION THE
GOD WHO MADE HIM, LET ALONE COMMANDING HIM
AS TO WHAT HE SHOULD MAKE?”
-The entire context contradicts and shames the KJV at this point in its even giving the suggestion that man can order God to do anything. And that pastor owes the entire church and world an apology and a request for forgiveness for telling them to ORDER GOD AROUND. We are living in the biggest nutso age of the church in all of history. Hear me, given:
“THAT MAN’S ACCOUNTABILITY TO GOD IS THE
then it must also be said:
“THAT THE NOTION OF GOD’S ACCOUNTABILITY TO
MAN IS NOTHING SHORT OF BEING
-The fallacies of God being accountable to man is not only ludicrous, but the implications of this heresy are devastating in that they present to people a false god who only exists in their fantasies. A God who is held accountable to and commanded by man does not exist in the entire Bible, nor in Jesus’ teachings, and in truth does not exist period. He only exists in the minds of mentally and emotionally dictatorial and authoritative people who want to control God, and who do not want to be controlled by God. Much of the modern church has so sadly been saturated with this kind of heretical and deceptive stuff, and it is out of control. Tragic!!! Trash!!!
-For that matter, can you imagine Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane saying to His Father,
“I COMMAND YOU – LET THIS CUP PASS FROM ME.”
After all, Jesus is God too! If anyone has a right to command God , certainly God the Son can command God the Father! But such a thought does not even remotely appear in Jesus’ earthly walk. Instead, He humbles Himself before His Heavenly Father and prays,
“IF IT BE POSSIBLE, LET THIS CUP PASS FROM ME, BUT
NOT AS I WILL, BUT AS THOU WILT.”
Jesus says to us,
“IF YOU LOVE ME, YOU WILL KEEP MY
He did not say,
“BECAUSE I LOVE YOU, I WILL KEEP YOUR
(The fact is that God being held accountable to man, and ordered around by man, is in its deepest roots total PAGANISM. This is how pagans/unbelievers deal with God. In the fox hole/crisis of life, they expect God to do what they need Him to do when they need Him to do it. They hold God accountable to come through, and when He doesn’t, they once more discount the entire God thing. They will even shout at and shake their fists toward Heaven in rage toward the God they discount, for He is just plain unaccountable to them. Holding God accountable to man is the essence of paganism, and in the final results enforces unbelief, agnosticism, and atheism.
In fact, man commanding God and holding God accountable to man, is the perverting and corrupting of Christianity. It is paganism being christened into the form and name of Christianity. In reality, it is Satan being transformed into an angel of light.
“GOD ACCOUNTABLE TO MAN AND BEING COMMANDED
BY MAN ARE ASSERTIONS SO BLASPHEMOUS AND
MONSTROUS TO THE VERY ESSENCE AND
ATTRIBUTES OF DIVINITY, THAT NOTHING
CAN EQUAL THE PROFANENESS OF THEM
EXCEPT THE ABSURDITY OF THEM.”)
6. Holding God to account? The entire Word of God says totally otherwise. Total ACCOUNTABILITY FOR EVERY MAN TO GOD! Period! Hear it again and again as Paul states in I Cor. 3:13,
“EVERY MAN’S WORK SHALL BE MADE
-Or, as Paul states again and again that THIS GREAT PLACE OF ACCOUNTABILITY IS THE JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST, as we read in Romans 14:10-12,
“BUT WHY DOST THOU JUDGE THY BROTHER? OR WHY
DOST THOU SET AT NAUGHT THY BROTHER? FOR WE
SHALL ALL STAND BEFORE THE JUDGEMENT
SEAT OF CHRIST.”
“FOR IT IS WRITTEN, ‘AS I LIVE SAITH THE LORD, EVERY
KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE
SHALL CONFESS TO GOD.’”
“SO THEN EVERY ONE OF US SHALL GIVE ACCOUNT OF
HIMSELF TO GOD.”
–II Cor. 5:10,
“FOR WE MUST ALL APPEAR BEFORE THE JUDGEMENT
SEAT OF CHRIST, THAT EVERYONE MAY RECEIVE
THE THINGS DONE IN HIS BODY, ACCORDING
TO THAT HE HATH DONE, WHETHER IT
BE GOOD OR BAD.”
-And Jesus in Rev. 22:12,
“AND BEHOLD, I COME QUICKLY, AND MY REWARD IS
WITH ME, TO GIVE EVERY MAN ACCORDING
AS HIS WORK SHALL BE.”
And the difference among believers IS THAT AWARENESS, THAT I/YOU SHALL GIVE ACCOUNT TO ALMIGHTY GOD!
-You see, many don’t REALLY BELIEVE THAT, OR for sure, MANY REALLY DON’T LIKE TO THINK ABOUT THAT!
-We really don’t like LIFE TO BE LIKE THAT, for many of us are LIKE THE TENNIS PLAYER:
a. He doesn’t really WANT TO KEEP SCORE when he is playing TENNIS WITH A BETTER PLAYER!
b. Rather, he prefers to VOLLEY A LOT, FOR THAT DOESN’T COUNT, BUT LIFE ISN’T LIKE THAT AT ALL!
-GOD IS KEEPING SCORE, EVERY MOVE COUNTS, AND LIFE IS NOT IN A VOLLEYING STATE!
-Rather, this IS FOR REAL, TODAY, EVERY MOMENT, OF OUR LIFE, IS FOR REAL, we are “NOT VOLLEYING WITH GOD.”
-Jesus’ ENTIRE MINISTRY was intended TO CREATE IN US A SENSE OF URGENCY:
“LIFE IS IN A STATE OF EMERGENCY, FOLLOW ME
QUICKLY, NOW IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY,
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE THE RACE,
-HE IS NOT TREATING US AS VEGETABLES, BUT AS RESPONSIBLE BEINGS WHOM HE LOVES.
-HE HAS A RIGHT TO EXPECT OF HIS SONS AND DAUGHTERS, WE ARE NOT HIS PUPPETS OR HIS PUPPIES, WE WILL HAVE TO GIVE ACCOUNT TO GOD PERSONALLY FOR ALL IN OUR LIFE AND WHY.” (David Redding – The Faith Of Our Fathers)
IV. THE MARRIAGE SUPPER – THE BEMA SEAT – THE HOPE CHESTS
Follow along closer AS WE MOVE DEEPER AND DEEPER INTO THIS THING!
-You and I are HEADED FOR WHAT THE BIBLE CALLS,
“THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB.”
“LET US BE GLAD AND REJOICE, AND GIVE HONOR TO
HIM, FOR THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB IS COME,
AND HIS WIFE HATH MADE HERSELF READY.”
“AND HE SAITH UNTO ME, WRITE, BLESSED ARE THEY
WHICH ARE CALLED UNTO THE MARRIAGE SUPPER
OF THE LAMB. AND HE SAITH UNTO
ME, THESE ARE TRUE
SAYINGS OF GOD.”
We are HEADED FOR THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF JESUS AND HIS BRIDE, THE CHURCH HE GAVE HIS LIFE FOR!
But, “YOU AND I,” SO CAUGHT IN OUR CULTURES, tend TO SEE SCRIPTURE THROUGH OUR CULTURAL EYES:
1. For EXAMPLE, an ENGAGEMENT AND WEDDING in our WESTERN CULTURE IS FOR THE BRIDE! Really!
2. If you don’t believe that, look in the paper, to see THE FACE OF ONE GROOM ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED! But, in Jesus day, in His EASTERN CULTURE, because Israel is in Asia Minor:
a. In His EASTERN CULTURE, a wedding IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM OUR WESTERN CULTURE WEDDINGS!
b. If you WERE TO OBSERVE A WEDDING IN THAT EASTERN CULTURE, YOU WOULD FIND THE FOLLOWING OFTEN:
c. You would find that the CELEBRATION lasts for quite a few days!
d. You would find THE TOWN – VILLAGE where the WEDDING IS, would be FULL OF MEN AND BOYS, dancing, jumping, celebrating, singing!
e. In the middle of that, you might FIND A DONKEY, with THE GROOM SITTING ON IT, well dressed!
f. HE MIGHT BE HOLDING AN UMBRELLA OVER HIS HEAD, QUILTED WITH FRINGES, no women around!
g. And, for sure NO BRIDE VISIBLE, FOR WEDDINGS IN THAT CULTURE, THE WEDDING IS FOR THE GROOM!
h. THEN AFTER ALL THE EATING, DANCING, CELEBRATING AND OPENING OF PRESENTS, which are all for Him.
i. THEN, after all of that for Him, the GROOM LEAVES, AND ON THE WAY OUT, HE PICKS UP THE WOMAN. (It’s the truth, men, somewhere along the way, we blew it!)
3. WHY? Because in THAT ORIENTAL WEDDING, NOTHING WILL BE ALLOWED TO DETRACT FROM THE GROOM!
a. We are the BRIDE OF CHRIST, HE IS THE GROOM AND AT THE MARRIAGE SUPPER IN HEAVEN, NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING SHALL BE ALLOWED TO DETRACT ATTENTION FROM JESUS CHRIST! Hallelujah!
b. BUT BEFORE WE ENTER THAT PLACE:
-We go to the (BEMA) JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST AND OUR HOPE CHESTS ARE BROUGHT OUT!
-And, they ARE OPENED AND ARE CAREFULLY INSPECTED, I Cor 3:13,
“BY THE FIRE OF GOD’S EYES.”
-To see, if WE ARE TRYING TO TAKE ANYTHING INTO THE MARRIAGE SUPPER THAT DRAWS ATTENTION TO OURSELVES.
An ASSEMBLY OF GOD PASTOR tells the TRUE STORY THAT BEARS THE POINT SO BEAUTIFULLY:
“HE STARTED OUT IN A CHURCH OF ABOUT 900, as Youth-Music minister! Sunday morning, first Sunday on job, enters with his Pastor on Pulpit, place packed, about 900 folks. Choir of about 75-80 folks, piano over here, organ over there.
He recalls walking OUT ON PULPIT with Pastor, and standing there in silence, NO ORGANIST, just standing there looking at people, for what SEEMED LIKE AN ETERNITY! He turned to Pastor and asked. “WHY ARE WE STANDING HERE”, (900 people looking at them). The Pastor said,
“WE’RE WAITING FOR ORGANIST.”
The Associate said,
“WHERE IS SHE?”
Finally after many minutes, out of the side door she came, took a ring of keys out of her purse, fumbled around for right key, slid up the lid, all the people watching, then in silence, turned THE ORGAN ON, IT WAS ONE OF THESE PRE-TRANSISTOR JOBS, STARTED playing it before PROPER PRESSURE and all they heard was rrrrrrrrrrrrr!(Terrific, inspiring, people came from miles to hear that!)
After the service, the Senior Pastor/wife, and associate Pastor/wife went OUT FOR DINNER, and the new Associate Pastor inquired of the Senior Pastor,
“DOES SHE DO THAT OFTEN?”
“YES WE GO THROUGH THAT EVERY SERVICE.”
The Associate said,
“WHY IS SHE THE ORGANIST?”
The Senior Pastor said,
“BECAUSE, SHE HAS THE ONLY KEY!”
The Associate asked,
“WELL, WHY PASTOR DON’T YOU ASK HER FOR IT!”
The Pastor said,
“YOU’RE THE NEW MUSIC MINISTER, YOU ASK
HER FOR IT!”
So the Associate made an appointment with her, and HE WENT THERE. She had made tea and cookies! They sat there a while, and then he said he to her,
“BY THE WAY, I WANT THE KEY TO THE ORGAN.” (did
you ever hear of the great tribulation?)
She stood up FURIOUSLY and said,
“WELL, WHY DO YOU WANT THE KEY?”
“WELL, I’M GOING TO MAKE ABOUT A 100 COPIES OF IT,
AND THEN GIVE ONE TO ANYONE THAT WANTS ONE,
AND IF YOU’RE LATE, I’ll HAVE ANY NUMBER OF
PEOPLE TO PLAY, AND WHEN YOU COME,
WE WILL ALREADY BE GOING.”
“FOR 20 YEARS, I HAVE BEEN THE CHURCH ORGANIST,
AND I’LL BE THE CHURCH ORGANIST 20
YEARS AFTER YOU’RE DEAD.”
“LEAVE MY HOUSE!”
“BUT I HAVEN’T FINISHED MY COOKIE!”
The next Sunday morning, she came LATE, the SERVICE WAS GOING, the PEOPLE SINGING, the PIANIST AND NEW ORGANIST PLAYING, CHOIR SINGING, no, the associate hadn’t got the key, but as HE RELATES,
“YOU CAN DO INCREDIBLE THINGS WITH A CROW BAR!”
NOW THEN, I TELL YOU THAT TRUE STORY, simply because first of all, ONE DAY, you’re going to see her:
1. She will “BE AT THE JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST”, the BEMA, there she will STAND!
2. You say: “YOU MEAN, SHE’S SAVED”….0h yes, AMAZING GRACE, God’s grace is incredible!”
3. She’ll be there, and she’ll be called down before God TO GIVE ACCOUNT FOR HER LIFE.
4. And God will say:
“WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DECLARE THIS DAY?”
5. And she’ll say,
“FOR 20 YEARS I PLAYED THE ORGAN IN MY CHURCH,
FOR 20 YEARS, OH GOD!!
6. And GOD WILL SAY,
“WHY DID YOU PLAY THE ORGAN FOR 20 YEARS, WHY?”
7. And she’ll say,
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN, WHY DID I PLAY IT, I PLAYED IT,
THE BEST I COULD!”
8. No, No,
“DID YOU EACH WEEK, GET DOWN ON YOUR KNEES,
AND SAY, GOD TAKE THIS TALENT AND Father,
use it to lift people up to behold your glory, and
to enable them to SEE THE BEAUTY OF
JESUS. Is that why you played it?”
-She WILL HAVE TO TELL THE TRUTH,
“No! I played it, because I didn’t want anyone else to play it!”
–I Corinthians 3:12,
“WOOD, HAY, STUBBLE, TO BE BURNED BEFORE ALL.”
–I Corinthians 3:15,
“IF ANY MAN’S WORK IS BURNED UP, HE SHALL SUFFER
LOSS; BUT HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED,
YET SO AS BY FIRE.”
I GUESS IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO THIS:
1. Are WE PREMODONAHS, or ARE WE BUT YIELDED SERVANTS OF THE LIVING GOD!
2. Have I REALLY ABDICATED ALL RIGHTS TO MY LIFE, AND SAID,
“WHATEVER JESUS, ALL FOR YOU! ONLY FOR YOU!”
3. NOT ONLY, WHAT AM I DOING, BUT, WHY AM I DOING IT, ALL SHALL I GIVE ACCOUNT FOR BEFORE HIM!
4. Hear it:
“PURE LOVE IS LIKE A GREAT FIRE, AND ALL
DIFFICULTIES, BARRIERS, AND TIME
ITSELF ARE BURNED BEFORE IT
-What made Jacob think that those seven years of hard service for Rachel were but a few days? It was the extraordinary and invincible love which he bore for her. That must be magnified by infinity in all of our loving service to Jesus Christ. Seventy years of loving and serving the Christ that we adore seems but a moment. We can never do enough, and there is never enough time in a day.
V. I DON’T WANT TO FOLLOW PAUL
Remember the Apostle Paul, I mean, the REAL PAUL, the living Paul, not just an inspired Bible writer!
-I think of a few things at this point, once again the words of II Cor. 5:10,
“FOR WE MUST ALL APPEAR BEFORE THE JUDGEMENT
SEAT OF CHRIST, THAT EVERYONE MAY RECEIVE THE
THINGS DONE IN THE BODY, ACCORDING TO
THAT HE HATH DONE, WHETHER
IT BE GOOD OR BAD.”
a. First of all, in that connection, I am GLAD MY NAME (first or last) DOESN’T BEGIN WITH THE LETTER “P.”
b. Because if WE ARE TAKEN ALPHABETICALLY at the judgment seat of Christ, (God is God of order)
c. After all, we ALL CAN’T BE CALLED AT THE SAME TIME, AND I WOULDN’T WANT TO FOLLOW PAUL AT ALL!
d. I DON’T WANT TO BE ANYWHERE NEAR PAUL, RATHER, I WOULD RATHER BE NEAR TO /AFTER Martha, better yet, the saved thief on the cross.
HERE’S THE BEMA SETTING
1. Above the throne, according to Is. 6:2, and Rev. 4:8, are “THOSE GREAT SIX-WINGED ANGELS – SERAPHIM.”
-Isaiah saw THEM, John saw them, the great Seraphim, fiery ones, mind you, “ABOVE THE THRONE”.
-Six wings each, WITH TWO THEY COVER THEIR FACE, WITH TWO THEY COVER THEIR FEET, WITH TWO THEY DO FLY!
-And as they do, from the beginning of all things, they cry we are told, without REST, DAY AND NIGHT.
“HOOOOOO000LY, H000000oo1y, H0000000ly,
“HOOOOOO000LY, H000000ooly, H0000000ly,
2. FROM OUT OF THE THRONE proceed, as Revelation 4:5 states,
“THUNDERING AND LIGHTNING!”
3. And, BEFORE THE THRONE, AS Rev. 4:5 states,
“ARE SEVEN FIRES BURNING.” (the personality traits of
the Holy Spirit.”
-THAT’S WHERE WE ALL SHALL TAKE OUR STAND, ALONE, before Jesus!
4. And, then, A MIGHTY ANGEL CRIES OUT,
“PAUL – APOSTLE PAUL”,
as we all CRANE OUR NECKS TO GET A LOOK AT THIS MAN WHOSE TURN HAS COME.
a. I don’t really know what Paul looked like down here, only CONJECTURE AT BEST
b. I feel HE WAS KIND OF SKINNY, great BEAKED NOSE, little WATERY EYES!
c. But, now HE COMES FORTH TO HAVE HIS WORKS MANIFEST, in HIS GLORIFIED BODY, no more thorn in flesh!
d. God LOOKS DOWN and says,
“PAUL, IT”S SO GOOD TO SEE YOU, WHAT DO YOU HAVE
TO DECLARE SINCE YOU MET JESUS ON THE
ROAD TO DAMASCUS.”
e. I hear Paul say, “I WAS HOPING YOU ASKED LORD.” II Tim 4:7,
“I HAVE FOUGHT A GOOD FIGHT, I HAVE FINISHED THE
COURSE, I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH, HENCEFORTH
THERE IS LAID UP FOR ME A CROWN OF
RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH THE LORD,
THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE SHALL GIVE ME AT THAT
DAY, AND NOT TO ME ONLY, BUT UNTO
ALL THEM ALSO THAT LOVE
(I don’t understand those who just want to squeak into heaven, Paul wants NOTHING OF THAT – I’VE FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, I’VE RUN THE RACE – FAITH)
f. God says, “What more do you have to declare Paul?” Gal. 6:17,
“LORD, 5 TIMES I RECEIVED AT THE HAND OF THE JEWS
39 LASHES …3 TIMES LORD I WAS BEATEN WITH RODS,
1 TIME I WAS STONED… 3 TIMES LORD, I WAS
SHIPWRECKED… IN HUNGER, THIRST,
WITHOUT FOOD, COLD, EXPOSURE.”
(II Cor. 11:24-27)
-And finally, after they ARE ALL OPENED BEFORE THE JUDGEMENT SEAT, God says to Paul,
“IS THAT ABOUT IT PAUL?”
“NO, NO, ONE MORE THING GOD. THERE IS JUST ONE
MORE THING TO DECLARE.”
-And Paul UNDOES THE TOP OF HIS TUNIC, AND SAYS TO GOD,
“SEE THAT MARK IN MY NECK, THAT’S WHERE THE AX
WENT THROUGH, LORD, I GAVE YOU MY LIFE.”
g. Friend, DO YOU WANT TO FOLLOW THAT? SOMEBODY WILL!
-What if IT IS THAT ORGANIST! What if it’s you?”
“KNOW YE NOT, WE MUST ALL APPEAR BEFORE THE
JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST.”
-And the fire of God hits all of Paul’s work, its gold, its silver, its precious stone.
-And OUT OF THAT COMES THE MATERIAL FOR THE DIADEMS, THE CROWNS, THE REWARDS (self-centered work is burned away).
-And, Paul is USHERED INTO THE MARRIAGE FEAST OF THE LAMB:
a. And, THERE, HE SEES JESUS, FOR THE FIRST TIME, THE LORD IN ALL HIS GLORY!
b. And, NOW, IT ALL WAS TRUE, what HE WROTE BEFORE IN HIS LIFE:
“I RECKON THAT THE PRESENT SUFFERINGS, ARE NOT
WORTHY TO BE COMPARED TO THE GLORY THAT
AWAITS ME, AND NOW HE’S IN THE GLORY.”
c. And, HE REACHES OUT HIS HANDS TO GOD, LAYS AT HIS FEET ALL THE REWARDS THAT HAVE COME FROM THE TESTING AND THE FIRE.
-And THE ORGANIST COMES IN, KNEELS BEFORE JESUS, OPENS HER HANDS, but EMPTY, all BURNED AWAY! ASHES!
-MY FRIEND, that is AS REAL AS ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD! And it includes each and every one of us. We each, as they say today, will make that scene. May the Holy Spirit witness it strong and vivid to our hearts. See you there, there is no doubt about it! ACCOUNTABILITY!