Saturday, January 12, 2013

Remodel the Barn

Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.
Isaiah 56:6-8

It seems clear to all who are discerning of the times that the church is in desperate need of a revival, a true awakening, or even as some have suggested--a new Great Awakening.  Possibly what we need is a really new "Reformation".  In order to understand this we may need to quickly revisit the first Reformation to see what it was all about.  The first Reformation boiled down to a return to a few main tenants:  Sola Fide--by faith alone, Sola-gratia--by grace alone, Sola Scriptura--through scripture alone, and Sola Christos--through Christ alone.  The focus of salvation being a work of God had been replaced with preaching of good works as the centerpiece.  Prayer degenerated into just another good work.  Many Reformation leaders emphasized the "priesthood of all believers" as a means to get men to see that the basis of a work of God stems from a close, intimate, loving relationship with God by faith through the atoning work of Jesus our Redeemer.  Prayer was to be considered more than a worked out formula of sayings from a dusty old prayer book; ultimately, prayer was the life giving communication directed from a personal relationship with God.  In prayer the truths of scripture were to come alive.

As we lose focus of these concepts we begin to allow the church to stand in the place of an ongoing personal relationship with God through the power that is in Christ's cross.  By faith through grace we must experience that life giving power of God which intimacy with Him brings.  It is by the grace of the shed blood that any relationship with God is possible--hence Christ alone.  Our experiences must be centered on the basis of our faith--His Word.  Jesus, through intimate prayer, must become our true and undeniable passion.  Our relationship must not be centered on the bride, his church, but with the Bridegroom Himself.  Can you see how the four tenets above were to work together?  This brings us to the tenet that was not mentioned above with the others: Sola Deo Gloria--To GOD's Glory Alone.  Is your personal relationship with God more about what He can do for you or for His greater glory?

This brings us to the scripture above.  How does it fit in?  When God's purposes become our purposes we tend to set self aside and seek the will of God and the needs of others.  It is the pattern Christ, Himself, gave.  We are to love God as well as love others.  The LORD wills for His church to reach outside of the 4 walls of their individual sanctuaries to share the message of salvation, love, and hope that is in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.  Verse 7 states that God is yearning to bring them into the house of prayer if they will accept the conditions of His salvation.  He wants to "make them joyful in my house of prayer".  A house of prayer--a place of relationship with GOD that seeks to bless others.  This may be the missing element.  It is, after all, His house first--not ours!

Blessings! Sorry I was away so long.  Moving has a tendency to cause us to lose focus!!!!!