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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Neutrality

I believe it was yesterday I read a comment from a brother George, sharing how as a minister of the gospel the enemy's attacks have been more frequent and pronounced as time continues its march. The following is a roundabout way of putting my two cents in, and hopefully encouraging those of you that are going through similar situations. I believe all those who strive for holiness have felt the enemy's attacks growing in frequency and outright force, which should only serve to encourage us, as we realize the enemy is getting desperate, and he is well aware his time is soon at an end.
For many Christians today, neutrality is a lifelong pursuit, an endeavor, which robs them of intimacy, fellowship and solid relationship with the heavenly Father. Many choose to pursue neutrality for the simple reason that spectators are never in danger of being wounded when the battle is raging. If the enemy attacks, it will most likely be those standing on the frontlines, those who have come not for a day of relaxation, ego stroking, or ear tickling, but to wage war against the darkness, to stand true and strong, unflinching in the face of the enemy.
In large part the church today has become a great mass of spectators, rooting on their favorite preacher or evangelist, unwilling to put for the effort, to get into the battle, because it would be too exhausting, and time consuming. We watch as the great debaters of our time attempt to convince and persuade people as to the veracity of their denominations, and even though we see them as doing battle, their constant struggle to sway people to their way of thinking rather than guide, lead, and direct them to Christ and Christ alone, shows the deficiency of their endeavor.
When it comes to the great commission, we cannot have individual agendas, or attempt to promote ourselves, because any hidden agenda, will inevitably lead to compromise in order for the individual to reach his or her desired result. Christ must be our all in all! Anything less is unacceptable.
The enemy is unconcerned with the neutral among us. Those who have chosen not to bother with putting on their armor, who never learned how to use the weapons of their warfare, are not those with whom the enemy has quarrel. It is those who strive and endeavor to live according to the Word, those who have learned to trust in the Father, and have established a foundation of truth that the enemy makes war against, it is they against whom the enemy rages.
What many who have chosen neutrality when it comes to their faith fail to understand is that one cannot have victory absent of conflict and battle. Absent the sufferings of Christ in us, we will never know consolation and comfort through Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:5, “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.”
By our continued attempts to make this present life easier and more comfortable, by our unwillingness to stand for truth for fear of men’s opinions and the enemy’s retaliation, we are living in the midst of a generation that has grown dull, static, inactive, and indifferent toward the fact that God’s scale is impeccably calibrated, flawless and beyond dispute in both execution and outcome. Only upon hearing the words booming with the authority of a sovereign and omnipotent God saying “you have been weighed in the balances, and have been found wanting”, will some realize the error of their ways, and the consequences of choosing neutrality over obedience, choosing the comforts of this present life over the consolation that abounds through Christ.
There is no suffering, no hardship that a child of God will endure in this world of trial, for which he will not also experience the comfort and grace of God. An abundance of suffering births an abundance of comfort and consolation. It is the means by which the grace of God works. We would never know God’s comforting embrace, if we had not first known the sufferings of Christ.
The most beautiful rainbows are those that have dark clouds for a backdrop. In fact there could be no rainbow absent of rain. Rainbows are produced by the refraction of sunlight going into and coming out of raindrops, with reflection of the light inside the drops. The darker the clouds of suffering for Christ the more hardship one endures, the more beautiful and vibrant the rainbow of God’s comfort.
When great trials abound, the grace of God abound evermore. The more difficult our labors, the more we will see the hand of God aiding us, strengthening us and comforting us.
Even when clouds surround the summer sun, it gives the earth more warmth than the winter sun at its zenith. The smallest consolation or comfort that comes from the throne room by way of the Holy Spirit is greater and more priceless than the greatest joys this earth has to offer. Though trials abound in the lives of believers, their inner peace is always greater in their trials, than the world’s in their debauchery.
We rejoice in suffering, we rejoice in sadness, we rejoice in tribulation, for the consolation that comes through Christ is never far behind. As we are partakers of sufferings, we will also partake of the consolation. This knowledge gives us strength to persevere, boldness to stand, and endurance to press ever onward toward the prize.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

8 comments:

bk.toy.design said...

Michael:

This is partially in response to your "Feedback" post as much as today's. If there was one subject on which I would request a teaching, it is on prayer. We need to draw our strength during this time, but I myself find my prayer life lacking. I move ahead for a while, but then, it becomes stale.

Any teaching to make our prayer time more valuable, more desired, more productive would be valued.

Blessings in Christ Jesus,
Brian

Anonymous said...

Mike,
The title is very fitting for what I'm seeing around me in my little world.

I've been having an ongoing debate with our new pastor about various issues. I see some problems with his views of Scripture that concerns me.

I've been trying to put all these concerns into a word to describe what I'm seeing. Thanks to you, I have now found that word; neutral.

Rather than following the Lord's leading, he's following a doctrine of neutrality. He stays away from those things that could be considered "controversial", "secondary truth", "extreme", "political", etc.

He wanted to talk to me about what we should be teaching in the church; which turned into him wanting me to stop teaching an apologetics course.

I laid it out for him that we need to prepare the people for the coming judgment. I explained why I believe we are near to judgment, and what we should do to prepare the church.

He considered all these issues secondary and didn't want to address them. He felt that they shouldn't even be in the church. He believes that they are damaging to the gospel and devisive.

If he continues on this path of neutrality, he'll find that he can no longer proclaim Christ to be the only way.

In fact, this has been a theme for me for the past several months. Everywhere I turn I get opposition. It's only been recent that a few of the members in the church have had a "light" go on, and now they too are starting to see these issues. I wasn't sure how to respond. I've gotten so use to people disagreeing that I forgot what it felt like for someone to agree. Obviously, they are not agreeing with me. We are both in agreement with Christ.

Anyway....thanks for that. It simplifies what I'm seeing.

God Bless,
Jeff

Anonymous said...

Mike,
Not having ever posted here before, I was praying this morning and felt that God would have me write a reply to your previous post. Not realizing that you had updated it w/ 'Neutrality' which actually was closer to what God has been laying
on my heart than the previous.

Your post hits home on many fronts. Putting our walk with Jesus first in our lives comes with a price. Aren't we to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." Matt22:37? Per Jesus we are commanded to.

Some may say that this should lead to blessing, etc. But in my life, my attempt to put God first leads to division, esp within my own house.

Matt 10:34-36
34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -
36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'

This is a very hard teaching and I always wondered about it. After all Jesus is the prince of 'peace' so shouldn't he bring love and kindness etc to our home life? It makes sense to me. Unfortunately what I'm experiencing is not peace but is exactly what Jesus said about. My pastor made mention on Sunday of the verse 'everything that can be shaken will be shaken so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain' Heb 12:27. And I think that not only includes physical things but also personal relationships. After all, it does say 'everything'.

Well as I ask God why this occurs in my life, what I think God is telling me is this:

In John 20, Jesus had died and Mary Magdelene had gone to Jesus tomb and saw the body missing:

13And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my LORD, and I know not where they have laid him.
14And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

When our world begins to shake and we look around and wonder why and become fearful, sad, angry etc, might it be because we don't recognize the presence of Jesus in the midst of it. We think we have taken a left turn or gotten lost and in reality Jesus is the one orchestrating it with a purpose. His purpose, not mine.

I'm beginning to see that he is weeding out those things within my own heart that
aren't built on the Rock. And to be perfectly honest, those things are there. And since His purposes excel exceeding better thru the use of painful experience, versus 'good times', I guess I need to see Him as a loving Dad you is using it to mold my character. And then hopefully my character will shine forth unto others and they will see Christ and not just the imperfections of me.

Lastly John 1:10-11 the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart last night about this.
10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

If Jesus was rejected by his own people, why should I think that 'Jesus in me' won't be also. Thank you for your obedience and your timely word. Don't be discouraged Keep up the good work. We notice!
D

Anonymous said...

Thanks Brother, I needed that.

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael,

THANK YOU for a post that penetrates deeply, as if custom-made just for me. By striving to follow after Jesus Christ according to His word, I have been disdained and rejected by nearly every member of my family, including my husband and our two grown sons, and also by most friends. They consider me a fanatic because I dare to speak freely the name and word of Jesus. It's acceptable to be a fan of whatever celebrity, football team, car, or pet dog you like; you can enthusiastically idolize any of these and most people will think nothing of it and even consider you "normal". But become an enthusiastic fan of Jesus Christ, and instantly you are "weird" in the eyes of the world.

So, as I seek with each passing day to draw closer to god, I become more and more a stranger to this increasingly antichrist world. Jesus has become whatever people want Him to be, conveniently remade into their own image to suit their fleshly whims. As you have said, Michael, they don't care to be engaged in the battle. They are preoccupied with their creature comforts, their next meal, or their upcoming cruise or trip to Las Vegas. Or they are addicted to TV shows such as "American Idol" or worse. Question even casually whether these pastimes are right for a Christian, and you can expect fiery indignation. You might even be accused of "judging", although these same ones are blissfully oblivious to their own freely voiced opinion that we follow Christ "too literally".

My decision to follow Christ "too literally" has caused me recently to be forced out of my own home by my husband of 26years. Now I am living alone in another state, left with only a few precious souls on whom I can call - those who, like myself, rejoice at the name of Jesus. The pain of my loneliness pierces my heart with horrible intensity at times, but as you point out, interspersed with the times of grief there are seasons of sweetest consolation and reassurance. Therefore, even when in deepest anguish, I can now declare to the Lord with conviction, "Thy grace is sufficient for me. It is enough that my name is written in Heaven."

Thank you, Michael, for brightening my day! Your wonderful description of the bright rainbow against the dark clouds will remain with me.

Praying for you and your ministry,

Melanie

Bonny said...

Melanie, I relate to your testimony. Won't go into that here, but thank you Michael as usual, for this word which has come at a time where I have needed encouragement to persevere, and endurance in my own situation. Thank you also 'D', I agree that often we still sometimes think that when things are hard or don't go as we expect, that we have taken a wrong turn, or not heard the Lord correctly, or moved away....when in actual fact, we can expect trials to come and they serve only to drive us into Him all the more. It is the fellowship of His suffering.

Anonymous said...

I can identify with each of these posts! It is amazing that the most opposition for those with a true hunger for God face the greatest opposition from those who are proclaim to be followers of Christ!

I have attended several churches in my area and not one touches the "itch" I have for a fresh word from the Throne. I need a word from a man who proclaims to be a shepherd of His sheep who has heard directly from God. Not some 20 minute ditty on how to have success this week on the job or at home.

My only source of food comes from an 87 year old retired Minister who taught the Word as it is written. We sit and talk of Jesus for hours at a time. We have communion together and pray together about everything. Last year his wife of 65 years went to her eternal reward. He suffers, of course, from loneliness quite a bit of the time. His sleep pattern is messed up now but he walks around his home at 2 and 3 oclock in the early morning praising God, rebukeing the enemy, and interceeding for his two sons and my family. What a blessing this man is!

Visiting him several times a week reminds me of going to see one of the old testament prophets. He is the ONLY ONE I know with a heart for God on a personal basis.

A short while back I was wondering what I was going to do, who I was going to talk to, who was going to intercede for me and my family and others in need? I ask God these questions and I know He said for me to " take his place..." When these men elderly men of God go to meet Him who will take their place? We must!

God will send those with a heart for Him to us, as he sent me to this elderly Pastor. We must prepare to take their place of intercession for the lost and dying. If not us, Who?

jrpeacher mtzion@hughes.net

a seed sower said...

It is sad but true that many a minister/pastor has looked to his "calling" as a means to make a comfortable secure living financially (not referring to the prosperity bunch here)and looked upon it as a good career. They have been bound by church boards who are more interested in their own agendas than the heart of God.

Many a pastor has watered down the Word of God, and not chastened and corrected those in sin in the congregations,fearing he would loose funds and popularity, possibly his job, therefore further poluting the house of God. They have swept sin under the rug in order to give the impression of Holiness. They have had more fear of man than of God.

Many a church is run by "families" which protect their own, while "Lording" it over the general congregation...I have personally witnessed these things.

A true man of God in this day and this hour is a rareity, an exception a jewel indeed.

Lest we all forget, we will all answer to God. It seems from the pope on down to the penticostal preacher and regular run of the mill sheep like myself, we have no fear of The Most High God. We don't believe He lives, because if we did, brother, sister, things would be different in the house of prayer and in the world in which we live, and we wouldn't be facing iminent judgment.