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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Isaiah's was to “preach the Word

In Isaiah chapter six, God told Isaiah that in spite of all the sermons
he would be preaching to the Jewish nation, still, the people would continue
in their sins, and would therefore, be destroyed. Wow! that doesn't sound
very encouraging, does it! If you were a preacher, how would you like for
God to tell you that in spite of all your studying, preparation, preaching
and pleading, no one will take your teaching to heart and He would have to
destroy them anyway?! This is more common that you might think. Sincere men
of God today spend much time in studying, preparation, preaching and
pleading, still, nothing ever changes. Members might shake their hand, and
pat them on the back saying, "Great sermon brother!" but their hearts remain
glued to the world (Ezekiel 33:30-32), and their commitment to Christ and
His church remains a matter of convenience.
However, Isaiah's first responsibility was to "preach the Word,"
and he was not slack in fulfilling that responsibility. God had an eternal
purpose to fulfill, and told Isaiah that even though Israel will look "dead
as a desert," still, He would see that the "substance" remains, and it would
bloom again. This event was written for our admonition and learning (Romans
15:4), and it's my conviction that it has application to the church that is
*truly* of Christ.
The church has gone through days of persecution so severe that
soil was turned red with blood. Virtually thousands of Christians were hung
on crosses, burned alive, thrown to wild, starving animals, and tortured in
every conceivable way. The church has experienced times of intense apostasy
from without and within (Acts 20:30). Yet, through every one of these bitter
"cold winters," the genuine *substance* of the church remains to bloom
There has always been apostates; there has always been lukewarm
members; there has always been feet-draggers, and the "spirit of
Diotrephese" (3John 9), continues to plague us generation after generation.
However, the *substance* of the church is still with us, and you and I are a
part of it if we are striving to do His will (Luke 13:24). The Lord's
church still exists - - don't ever doubt that! There is no more chance of
the church going out of existence than of God going out of existence! God
will always raise up men and women whose hearts are faithful to Him to
continue the work of the church till He is done with it (cf. Esther 4:14;
Matt. 3:9). God constantly searches to and fro throughout the whole earth
in order to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose heart is perfect
toward Him (2Chronicles 16:9). God is not going to let that which cost His
Son's Blood drift into oblivion.
The Holy Spirit is not dead! The Holy Spirit can still convict
men of their sins (John 16:8), just as powerfully and effectively today as
He ever has - - but not if we keep Him trapped inside the church
building - - not if we force Him to stay between the covers of our Bibles!
We need to open our Bibles and talk to people about the only soul-saving
institution on earth: The Church of the Living God.
Don't get discouraged and begin thinking negatively. Don't start
thinking, "I'm just one person," or "we're just a small congregation in a
small town in the middle of no where!" That's what people said about
Bethlehem and Nazareth, but look what came out of those villages!
Perhaps you've even grown lukewarm and some of your own leaves
have begun to fall off. Be assured that the substance is still there in your
heart. It can bloom again! You still have the ability to love and obey God
with all your heart, soul and strength. Don't think you're some kind of
"special sinner!" There have been a lot greater sinners than you who have
repented and began demonstrating their love toward God by obedience to His
Word, and are currently in Heaven. --Toby Miller

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