Zeal, Love Ablaze!
The present lethargy in the Church is almost unpardonable. The Jehovah's Witnesses have zeal. The Mormons claim they are gaining more people from the evangelicals than we are gaining from them. The cultists zealously persist in getting a hearing in the streets.
Saul of Tarsus had fanatical zeal. He threw men and women in prison and broke up their families, persecuting them from city to city. Miraculously God cleansed him, baptized him with fire, and made him a model zealot for His Kingdom.
It is not enough in these days of such vast worldliness in the Church to say that we are fundamental or uncompromising in "doctrine." We must be ablaze with Holy Spirit-born anger. ("Be angry, and yet do not sin." Eph. 4:26) We must feel the hurt of God over the devil's domination of this age. We must apologize to the Almighty that we have turned to our own way, and have been more loyal to a manmade theology than to the exceedingly sober words of our Master. Like Paul, we must be able to say in His holy presence, This one thing I do..." I bear a broken heart over the coldness in the Church (including my own!). True, the zealous man of God lives for one thing only: to please God. He is impervious to the opinions of others about his zeal. He cares not what it costs him to burn out for God. In sickness or in health, in poverty or in wealth, whether he is esteemed or despised, flattered or flattened, considered a fool or a philosopher, through evil report or good report, kisses or curses, he is set to do the will of God!
This man sees the Church today fouled with showmanship, bingo and bake sales, dances, tinsel and trivia, "holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power. (II Tim. 3:5) He sees the ministers condoning divorce in high places. Maybe his minister is divorced and remarried himself.
Jesus today sees His Church unclean with disobedience by a watered-down gospel. We do not obey His commandments to "love one another," or rejoice to act out Matthew 23:11 "But the greatest among you shall be your servant." If there comes a man into the assembly with a gold ring, we do give him honor (James 2:2). If he has great wealth but little spirituality, he is still welcomed as a member of the board. We do not insist that our young preacher boys tarry (until they get a seminary diploma? No!) until they are endued with power from on high!
The Pharisee's Prayer
The Pharisee who prayed in the temple said, "God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people; swindlers, unjust, adulterers." There are many so-called Spirit-filled men today, who cannot even pray that prayer! Unjust they are for sure, they pay low wages and tell their workers that they are "doing this sacrifice for Jesus." Adulterers-there are famous preachers in this awful category. They, of course, have an explanation for their infidelity, yet many are accepted at conferences as keynote speakers. Extortioners - the radio preachers almost have this as a monopoly. A $25 Bible (God's Holy Word) is offered for a $100 gift! Other books are offered at five times their cost. "You are judging!" someone will say. Correct, I am told to judge (John 7:24). Jesus says, "Judge with righteous judgment." Also I, along with other true preachers of the Gospel, am a watchman and so have to warn others. Also, "judgment must begin at the house of the Lord." This bait to get money is an abomination. Preachers whine for money over the radio and television. "For this ministry" they say, and yet much of it is to sustain their extravagant lifestyle, costly airplanes, and fixing up luxury Bible conference grounds. And now they have joined the Pharisees who "rob widows' houses. After emptying your pockets while you live, they ask for your house and estate after you die. What next?
Stealing the Glory
This is a day of the personality cult. Men on TV gospel shows are presented as having given up so much for the Lord. All they gave up with their retirement from stardom was hell and eternal punishment. Let it be shouted from the housetops that no man does God a favor. Elegant living, etc. for the rich evangelists proves nothing except that they have not left all to follow Him. The Spirit-filled need no status symbols.
The flattering introduction for gospel preachers is another great piece of blockage to revival. John 5:41 and 44 need soul-searching consideration. My heart is burdened and burning. God's house is polluted. The sinners scoff and say of the rich preachers, "Their creed is greed and their god is gold." We need a baptism of holy zeal to get us back to holy indignation that the money grabbers are back in the temple, and that God's heart is hurting.
The Church began in the Spirit, now She is operating in the flesh. There is no pillar of fire over the sanctuary. There are no preachers who can hold the hell-bound spell-bound. I am not sure that it can be proved that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. It can be proved that the Church is fiddling while the world is burning! The one reason that we do not have revival today is that we are content to live without it.
O for a generation of believers who can honestly say,"Zeal for Thy house will consume Me."