The Lord is telling us, “It’s not enough for you to be a caring, giving, diligent servant who grieves over sin and preaches truth. It’s not enough for you to uphold moral standards, endure suffering for My sake, or even be burned at the stake for your faith. This is all part of taking up My cross.
"You can do all these things in My name, but if your affection for Me does not increase in the process of doing them, if I am not becoming more and more the one great delight of your heart, then you have left your first love. If your affection for Me is no longer a matter of great concern to you, then I have something against you.""
Earlier today I shared briefly with grief I have had in my heart. The article itself would have made a poor sermon, though. As Tolkien once put it through the character of Bilbo Hobbit: “books ought to have good endings.” We could probably apply the same ‘principle’ to sermons or other textual or spoken forms, more or less homiletic in character. For what more than a disgruntled lament would any sermon, article or speech be if it did not offer hope, a solution and a cry for change? Therefore immediately after publishing my article I decided to write a sequel as soon as possible.
Again, I do not dare to claim to offer a perfect and detailed solution, nor do I intend to. Moreover, I doubt that it is possible to offer a detailed solution befitting every Christian who hungers for more. What I can do, though, is to share with a solution that certainly seems fitting to me and many more, however general or ordinary it might seem.
I wrote that we see too much of seen, too little of unseen and we covet what we see. Apostle Paul - I believe no one will argue with me on this - was a man of no compromise. A true hero and giant of faith. He wrote: …for we walk by faith, not by sight. (II Corinthians 5:7)
Clearly, he did not fall for the temptation of seen and temporal, because he walked by faith, that is the conviction of things not seen. We need little faith to acknowledge or lust after things that are seen. However, if we are to strive after things yet unseen, we are in desperate need of it. Now faith is a gift of God that comes from hearing of God’s Word.
How to end this deadly game of compromises? I suggest shutting our eyes and ears to Satan’s garbage, setting apart from this World and opening our hearts to what God has to say. In practical terms, turn the TV off, open your Bible. Pray instead of idling. Read books written by godly men and listen to music worshipping God rather than reading and listening to just about anything. Go to your church instead of clubs or shopping centers. Be extremely careful and picky in your choice of friends and things that feed your soul.
And I daresay your faith will grow ever stronger and you will fall in love with imperishable things yet unseen instead of things seen and perishing. Last but not least, you will be ever less willing to accept any compromise offered by the Temptor. And the result of such attitude? “And he (Jesus) returned in the power of the Spirit…” (Luke 4:14)
We have heard many opinions, insights and truths on today’s washed-out Christianity. We keep waiting and praying for awakening, we cry before the Lord and we fast. Yet, it seems that Christianity is lacking its power in the West. Of course, we understand it is not Christianity itself, but its professors who has the problem.
I have no time to think too deeply here and now. But as I observe my own life and lives of others, either with the help of [a]social networks or in person, I am starting to doubt there is much need in searching for a deeper or more complicated resolution to the problem than this:
Christians of the West constantly and perseveringly make compromises these days.
I see Christians watching movies that profit none. I see Christians listening to music worshipping [wo]men - or worse. I see Christians reading articles on the Internet written by persons called fools by the Bible. In short, I see Christians feeding their souls and hearts with things that - from eternity’s view - are junk. Even worse, I see Christians worshipping things that - from God’s view - are abominable and rubbish.
Small wonder than, that it is culture (or ‘the World’, if you like) that impacts Christianity, slowly changing it to its own likeness, instead of us impacting the culture and getting the World saved.
As of why do western Christians compromise, I can only say that we see
and we covet what we see.
When our lord Jesus Christ, whose name we bear, had been filled (or baptized, we may say) by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit led Him to the desert. There the Temptor came to Him and offered Him all seen goods in change of what was unseen. Refusing the offers, Jesus withstood the test. The result was that He left the desert full of the power of the Spirit.
See, that is exactly what we lack. The power of the Spirit. Why? Because we compromise. Unlike our Lord. Satan knows that we would at first refuse an offer too audacious, so he offers compromise. If he can’t kill us straight away, he first tries to get us rid of the power of God.
Instead of porn, he offers us romantic movies. Instead of occultism, he offers Harry Potter or Twilight. Instead of all the riches of the world he offers us some silly little thing to lust about or covet. Instead of downright rebellion against God he offers us negligence of God. And we take it all.
May God have mercy on us!
"Sometimes I wonder how God ever could have looked down on us and loved us. We are so unlovable, so mean sometimes, so unworthy. But in His mercy He says to each of us, “I want you, I choose you, because I want to be a Father to you!”"
"You’ve been glad-handed and buddied up and positive thinking and you’re a winner and Jesus loves you and you can do better. And I’m telling you, you’re a joke. And the real men in the room know it and they see it. And maybe there’s one woman that you fooled and she doesn’t see it because like Eve, she’s deceived."
By the grace of God I have had another privelege to preach outside the borders of my motherland. This time in a small church in Beli Manastir, Croatia (near Osijek). I was preaching in English, so I had to have an interpreter. A good young man named Marko. Thank you, Marko! :)
￼Grace and peace to you, in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Dávid. I study at the bible school in Kolín - a town near Prague - the Czech capitol. And our school is taking part on the mission of the Horvath family in Osijek. So, basically, right now I’m a missionary O:-)
First of all, it is a wonderful privilege for me to stand here. What I mean is that here I stand, a complete stranger, a bible school student in Czech Republic, coming from Slovakia, about to preach a sermon in Croatia, speaking in English. So I appreciate this opportunity to share a word of God with you.
As I mentioned, I am only a student. And that means… that I’m still learning. Even now, I am not standing here as a “great preacher” or a missionary. I’m standing before you as one of you. As a brother in Christ. Nothing more, nothing less.
Turn your Bibles (if you will) to Matthew, chapter 25, verses 1 to 13.
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.
The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’” ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
What do we see in this parable? First of all, notice that it is a parable. Jesus is trying to illustrate something. Our part is to think about it and understand.
He starts by saying: “at that time the kingdom of heaven will be…” At what time? Well, Jesus is answering a question that His disciples asked Him at the beginning of the previous chapter. The question was: “what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” So Jesus is answering these two questions. He is talking about the end of the age.
Notice He also speaks about the kingdom of heaven. Basically, this parable is about the kingdom of heaven at the end of the age.
Now, some of you may be wondering what exactly might this ‘kingdom of heaven be’. When I was younger, I used to think that the kindgom of heaven is the heaven itself. That it is the place where God the Father lives with all of the angels and righteous people after they die.
However, the Bible gives us a different picture. I don’t have enough time to completely explain it, but the fact is that the kingdom of heaven is right here, at this place. We are the citizens of it. We used to be citizens of the kingdom of this world, but we have entered the kingdom of heaven by believing in Jesus and obeying His word. And so now we do not belong to this world, but to the kingdom of heaven, where Jesus Christ is the King!
So, back to our parable. What we see here is that kingdom of heaven is likened to a rather unusual situation. There are 10 virgins. All of them await the bridegroom, all of them fall asleep.
I want us to think about it. John the baptist calls Jesus “the bridegroom” and and even Jesus likenes Himself to a bridegroom.. In this parable, 10 virgins are waiting on Him to show up and marry them.
You see, apostle Paul clearly calls the Church ”a pure virgin” that is to be presented to Christ as a bride to a bridegroom.
We have 10 virgins, all of them representing a part of the Church. At the end of the age, we find the Church asleep. Asleep. All of it. All ten virgins fell asleep. Suddenly, there is a loud cry! Some voice cries out - right in the midnight: “Wake up, wake up! The bridegroom is coming, He is almost there, almost with you!” The cry is pretty loud as we see all of them quickly waking up and trying to look their best.
And I want to testify, yes, even today, there are voices raising all over the Earth. There are voices shouting “wake up! Christ is near! He is coming! Wake up and be ready!”
￼And we see that the church is indeed waking up. It would almost look great. BUT… when the bridegroom arrives… half of the vrigins are gone. They are not there. They are not waiting for Him. They are momentarily indisposed. Nevermind, Jesus takes the other half with them and enters.
And you know the rest of the story.
Have you ever wondered what the difference was between those virgins who entered and those who didn’t enter?
- all ten of them were pretty,
- All ten of them were virgins,
- All ten of them were well-dressed and equipped,
- All ten of them fell asleep,
- All ten of them woke up at the loud cry.
What’s the difference?
The Bible is clear. Half of them had enough oil, the other one did not. And they seemed content with it. At least until the bridegroom came. Then - all of a suden - they started to realize their precarious situation. And the first thing they could come up with was to beg for some oil from the 5 wise virgins. How foolish!
Oil in the Bible is always the symbol for the Holy Spirit (if it is a symbol).
Now what I want to tell you today, is that our bridegroom is coming. His arrival is very, very near. And we have to be careful. Let us not be one of those foolish virgins! You know, all of them belong to the bride of Christ. But only half of them is invited to the wedding! Half of them is staying outside!
Let us not be one of those foolish virgins!
The Holy Spirit makes all the difference. We have to understand:
- it does not matter how good we look,
- It does not matter how well-equipped we are.
What matters is whether we have the Holy Spirit or not. Are we empty? … Aren’t we doing the same as the foolish virgins were? “Give us some of your oil…” When we see a brother or a sister full of the Holy Spirit, bearing lots of His fruit - joy, peace, love - we admire him (or her) and we want a share of his love, of his joy and of his peace - and all kinds of fruit. But the power to love cannot be borrowed!
Let us not be one of those foolish virgins!
Without the oil, the lamp will give no light! Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot be the light we are supposed to be! But the power to be the light cannot be borrowed. We have to go and buy it. We have go right to the source. “I counsel you to buy from me…” says Jesus.
Alright, but how do we pay?
He wants nothing we have. He needs nothing we can offer Him. Our time? Our money? Our talents? No. The only thing He is interested in - is you. Is me. And He is calling today.
￼Can you hear His voice? He’s calling today: “come, come and buy from me. I will give you enough of the oil. You will be filled with my Spirit, your light will shine bright in this present darkness. But you have to pay. And I take nothing but you.”
And I want to encourage all of you. He loves, oh, how much He loves you! Do not hesitate! Give your all to Jesus. Surrender. Tell Him your life is now His. I can tell you that when I did this, it was the best decision of my life. Surrender. He loves you. He loves you… He will gladly pour out His Spirit on you and you will have the oil. And you will be the light in this present darkness. And when He comes - and it will be soon - you will enter the wedding with Him.
Do you want to be a wise virgin?
Do you want to be a bright light in this present age?
Do you want to be full of the Holy Spirit?
Then pray. But remember it will cost you. Leave nothing to yourself, give your all to Christ, the King of the kingdom of heaven… An the King of yours. Oh, and don’t worry. You can trust your Savior complely.
Let us pray…
"To be a soul winner is the happiest thing in the world. And with every soul you bring to Jesus Christ, you seem to get a new heaven here upon earth."
And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.
~ Daniel 5:24-28
Society and morals in present age are very similar to those of Rome before its infamous fall. And they were similar to those of Babylon in days of Belshazzar king. History tends to be very repetitive:
What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
~ Ecclestiastes 1:9
And so we can see that this spirit of Babylon always starts to show itself when people become more and more immoral. Incredible amount of earthly riches, incredible arrogance, incredible immorality. All of these happened in Babylon’s final days. All of these happened in Rome in its final and not-so-glorious days:
What has become of those laws which checked extravagance and ostentation? those which ordered that not more than a hundred pence should be allowed for a dinner, that not more than one fowl and that not specially fattened should be served, which removed a patrician from the senate, because he had ten pounds weight of wrought silver, on the ground that this was a notable proof of ostentation, which proceeded at once to destroy theatres as they rose for the corruption of morals, which did not allow the badges of office or noble birth to be employed lightly or with impunity? (I ask these questions) for I see dinners, which can only be called centuries from the 100,000 sesterces they cost, and whole mines of silver worked out into plates, a small thing if they were the property of senators only and not of freedmen or of those who are still liable to be flogged. I see too that one theatre, or a theatre open to the sky, is not enough for each town; for doubtless it was to prevent their immodest pleasure from being too cold in winter, that the Spartans first invented their cloak for the sports. I see too that there is no difference left between the dress of matrons and that of prostitutes.
~ Apologeticum, Tertullian
And we see that God, after a time, weighted Rome and saw it wanting, unworthy, lacking. It was destroyed.
We should wary. “Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin!” This is a warning, a message God is now speaking to this morally depraved, ungodly world! He is coming again, Christians! And when He comes, will He find us holy or wanting?
"…Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy. Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
~ Revelation 22:11-13
"We are not called to trust our own intellect. We are not called to trust in flesh, or men or anything that is of this world. Jesus calls to us, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”."