Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Missionary Quotations – Richard Wurmbrand1

richard w“It was strictly forbidden to preach to other prisoners, as it is in captive nations today. It was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their terms. It was a deal: we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching; they were happy beating us, so everyone was happy.”

“The following scene happened more times than I can remember. A brother was preaching to the other prisoners when the guards suddenly burst in, surprising him halfway through a phrase. They hauled him down the corridor to their beating room. After what seemed an endless beating, they brought him back and threw him bloody and bruised on the prison floor. Slowly, he picked up his battered body, painfully straightened his clothing and said, ‘Now, brethren, where did I leave off when I was interrupted?’ He continued his gospel message! I have seen beautiful things!” Tortured For Christ

(Two quotes today, because they are both so good I couldn’t choose – blessings!)

 


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594 of His Last 600 Sermons Wesley Preached on the Street

street preachingHere is a list of the “persecutions” that I have personally suffered whilst street-preaching:

  • Been called an “idiot” to my face
  • Been mocked and ridiculed
  • Been leered at
  • Been outright laughed at
  • Been screamed at to “shut-up”
  • Been heckled
  • Rude gestures made at me
  • Blasphemies and curses screamed at me
  • Having the cord of the PA system pulled out while I preach
  • People taking photos of their friends standing next to me
  • People trying to rip the microphone out of my hand
  • Another PA system turned up loud to drown me out
  • Man putting his arm around me

BIG DEAL

Maybe it will get worse, I don’t know.  Maybe if you went out you would be beat up or put in jail or worse, I don’t know that either.

But what I do know is that there is a whole generation out there going to hell.  HELL.

(Do you really believe it?)

And why are they going to hell? Largely because of:

  • Our fear of man
  • Our excuses
  • Our feebleness in following Christ
  • Our “ministries” and church mindsets
  • Our busy lives

Why are we just letting Satan do whatever he pleases?

And that IS what he is doing.  If you don’t believe me, go out there and see for yourself the kids on drugs, the alcoholics, the homeless people, the business people spending their lives coveting, the girls wearing hardly clothes for attention.  Go to your nearest city and just sit and observe.

Open your eyes and open your heart.

That man with tattoos on his face, Jesus died for him.

That kid wandering aimlessly, Jesus died for him too.

That young woman with skinny legs and a hole on the inside of her elbow, Jesus shed His blood for her too.

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14)

You know, I’ve seen it with so many Christians, myself included.  We are so nice and polite.  We don’t want to offend people. “Best not to cause waves by shoving the gospel down people’s throats….”

And meanwhile the devil rubs his hands in glee and dances all over our craving to be accepted.

Jesus never told us to be gentle with the devil.  He never told us to accommodate him in any way or let him walk all over us.  No sir.

He did in fact say: “Behold I give you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy, nothing in any wise shall harm you.” Luke 10:19

One of the most powerful and effective forms of spiritual warfare is to preach the gospel.  Go to the sinners, don’t preach to the converted.  Get to where the sinners are and preach your heart out.

“Preaching is not a profession, it’s a passion” said Leonard Ravenhill.

Let’s get so full of the Holy Ghost fire that we are constrained by the love of Christ to take the good news of the Kingdom to the lost.

Let’s stop being cowardly, let’s stop being polite and comfortable, let’s meet the devil head on and give him something to worry about!

You can read more about what happened as I street-preached tonight here

Watch this for inspiration:

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Leonard+Ravenhill+Agony&Form=VQFRVP#view=detail&mid=87A580689D3A172D462B87A580689D3A172D462B

In Jesus name

Amen and Amen


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Ministry Accredited by God

What is true ministry?

How is true ministry accredited by God?

You may be surprised to learn that truly accredited ministry is through suffering.

T Austin Sparks explains:

“Accredited ministry represents a tremendous victory, set in a background of great conflict.

A determined effort is made through the age to discredit spiritual ministry, and to do so through the one engaged in that ministry.

In the case of the Lord, there was a persistent effort to discredit Him, and thereby discredit His ministry. It drew forth the words: “No prophet is acceptable in his own country” (Luke 4:24).

In the case of Paul, the Judaisers sought to discredit him, and thereby discredit his ministry. At Corinth a great battle raged over his position as an Apostle, and 2 Corinthians is much taken up with the establishment of his own position, and therefore his authority in ministry.

“For we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning our affliction which befell us in Asia, that we were weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power, insomuch that we despaired even of life: yea, we ourselves have had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead.” (2 Cor. 1:8-9).

One who counts for the Lord, is a joint of supply, who can be of value in any way to the Lord’s people, and stand in His testimony, will know the enemy’s effort to render those spiritual values nil by discrediting. The enemy will give a strong sense of unworthiness, unfitness, uselessness to the Lord, or he will cause something to be associated with the vessel for the discrediting of the ministry; he may even patronize in order to compromise, as when the demons cried: “These men are servants of the Most High God, which proclaim unto you the way of salvation”. Sometimes he will cause to associate with a pure thing people who are unsaved, to bring discredit.

The Lord’s answer to that is to keep the vessel of ministry in weakness, dependence upon Himself; so that all is kept spiritual, and all is of the Lord alone….

Metal is passed through the crucible and refined then the stamp is put upon it to show its calibre.

So God brings through the fires of Satanic antagonism, allows the thing to reach a point where He alone is its life, and then brings it up out of the conflict, and puts the stamp of resurrection life on it, so that it has in it the power of an indestructible life – that only comes through death.

All ministry that is to be accredited will be bound up with suffering; a decision we have to make is as to the object of our ministry. A good many things can be taken into consideration, but there comes a point where all other things have to be ranged on one side, and one thing on the other side – the real spiritual value, without alloy: that which is wholly of God and not at all of man. In the measure in which that is true there will be suffering. To stand utterly for what is spiritual is a costly thing.

There must be a willingness to be dealt with by the Lord, in such a way as to keep the ministry living and pure. All ministry which issues from such suffering is going to count. It may not be welcomed or desired by the mass, but where there is need and a call for that which we have gained through suffering there will be response.

Two tragedies today amongst the Lord’s people:

(1). So many have no knowledge of the truth in any adequate way, and are therefore spiritually immature.

(2). So many have a great deal of truth, and are dead. The Lord needs a vessel to meet these conditions – a vessel that has gone through the fire, and is living in the power of resurrection.

Such a vessel is going to be a suffering vessel, which has come to the place where God Himself meets the situation.

This may explain much; it may be a challenge; it may be a call.

“Seeing we have this ministry… we obtained mercy” – we have received grace to help – and so “we faint not”. But the treasure is in vessels of fragile clay, the vessel is being broken day by day. To stand in the power of God, the revelation of the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, represents cost. Are we prepared for that? That is the way of the accredited ministry.

God has accredited the ministry of His Son, yet there was a universal combination to set Him at naught.

God has accredited the ministry of His servant Paul, but he was taken through depths of suffering.

So for us; ministry accredited of God is linked with suffering, but the suffering produces that which is wholly of God and cannot be destroyed.”

First published in “A Witness and A        Testimony” magazine, Sep-Oct 1946, Vol 24-5


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Hanakkuh and Persecution

Wednesday night began Hanakkuh, also known as the “Feast of Dedication” or the “Feast of Lights”.

Hanakkuh is an 8 day Jewish holiday, beginning on the 25th day of Kislev, celebrating the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees in about BC 164.

Hanukkah has now become a special time for us because on Wednesday, the first night of the feast, both our daughter and our son were baptized in our bathtub by their Dad.

We had friends and family over for a meal last night whom witnessed our children’s public declaration of their faith in Jesus Christ.  At the same time we asked their Poppy to dedicate them to the Lord, since this is a Feast of Dedication.

The interesting thing is that until yesterday I didn’t know that Jesus actually attended this very feast Himself in Jerusalem.

“Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.  And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.”  John 10:22, 23

Because all of the Feasts point to Christ, and by the fact that Jesus attended this Feast Himself, I think we could say that Jesus attached some significance to it, and so it is worthy of our consideration.

During the period of the Syrian rule over Palestine the Jews suffered extreme persecution.  Under Antiochus Epiphanes many Jewish men, women and children were slaughtered mercilessly.  He also desecrated the Temple of the Lord by removing the golden altar, candlestick and vessels and setting up a statue of his false god Jupiter in the Holiest of All.  The Jews were commanded to worship this idol and only (un-kosher) pigs were allowed to be sacrificed in the Temple.  The Jews were forbidden from keeping the Sabbath and from practicing circumcision.

Eventually a godly remnant of Jews revolted against this oppression and the desecration of the Temple.  The Maccabees family led the revolt which eventually drove the Syrians from Jerusalem.  Judas Maccabees then cleansed the Temple and re-dedicated it to the Lord.  During this time the Temple was illuminated with a consecrated oil which miraculously lasted for eight days.  This is why Jews today light nine candles, one for each day of the Feast, during the “Feast of Lights”.

Eventually there arose from the revolt three sects amongst the Jews – the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Essenes.

Pastor Bill Randles writes this about the Pharisees in his article “Why Saul Hated Christians”:

“Pharisees were not rationalistic unbelievers as the Sadducees were, nor were they political schemers as the Herodians of Jesus day. Pharisaism was a serious attempt to systematically observe the laws of God, and to separate from ungodliness. However, of all of the known sects of Israel in Judea at the time of Christ, Pharisaism was closest to the theology of Jesus.”

(From “Pastor Bill Randles Blog”)

Think about it.

The Pharisees were the religious leaders during the time that Jesus walked the earth.  They observed the Feast of Dedication as a way of commemorating the Maccabees cleansing and re-dedication of the Temple at a time when the Jews were set free from massive persecution.  They lit candles in honour of the miracle of the light shining for eight days.

hanukkah photo: Hanukkah Wallpaper 1920x1080x300 ppi HAN_WALL_06_zps899f55ee.png

Yet  when Jesus, the fulfillment of the feast, was walking right among them –  they didn’t recognize Him.

While they were lighting the candles in the temple, He who is the Light of the World was walking amongst them in the temple.

While they were commemorating the cleansing of the temple all those years ago, He, who had cleansed the Temple twice in front of them, was there.

While they were celebrating the emancipation from their persecution, they were persecuting the Son of God Himself.

Why?  Because they couldn’t see Him.  For all of their knowledge of the Torah, their good works and their religion, they didn’t recognize their Messiah even when He was right in front of them.  Whilst they were celebrating a feast that pointed to Christ, He was there in their midst and they missed Him.

 “The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[c]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” John 10

Further to not being able to see Him, they also persecuted Him:

“ Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” John 10

As Kevin Conner writes in “The Feasts of Israel:

“They had become worshippers of the Temple but failed to worship the Lord of the Temple.

They kept the Feast of Dedication but sought to stone the One to whom the Temple was dedicated.  Thus they missed Him at another Feast, even as they had at previous Feasts.”

They had external works of the natural – but none of the spiritual

They kept the letter of the law – but had not the spirit of it.

They had the ritual, but not the reality – Jesus Himself!

How easy it could be for us to now say “Tut-tut how could they have missed Him?” But….have we ever done this ourselves?

Do we have a worship of God based on ritual, on the external works of man?  Are we, ourselves, of the letter and not of the Spirit?

Do we actually have the reality of Christ Himself?

And here is a BIG question – Have we actually, amidst our profession of Christ, missed Christ Himself? Or worse still, have we persecuted Him?

As a Christian, we may well wonder whether it is actually possible to persecute Jesus.

The answer is yes.

When Saul was persecuting the Christians, Jesus appeared to him on the Damascus Road.  Notice that Jesus didn’t say “Saul, why are you persecuting my children?”,

No. He said “Saul why do you persecute Me?”

We need to be careful that we don’t persecute Him, by persecuting one of His children

We need to be careful that we don’t reject Him, by rejecting one of His children

Have we ever deliberately withdrawn our fellowship from another believer because they do not conform entirely to our own concepts and viewpoints?

Have we ever slandered other Christians?  Caused division between brothers and sisters?  Have we accused others of having a spirit other than the Holy Spirit?

And…what if we are wrong…?

We need to watch that in our quest to be right we do not miss the Saviour.  What if He were to come to us in a way we did not expect – in a meek and lowly way, in a way of weakness?

What if He were to come to us through someone outcast or poor?  Or how about a mentally- ill person?

What if it were through a Christian whom didn’t conform to our idea of ‘Christian’?

Jesus spoke a lot with the Pharisees. He warned them, spoke honestly to them, because He loved them.  He wanted them to see Him, but they wouldn’t.  If He was the Messiah then they didn’t want Him.  He wasn’t what they were looking for, He didn’t come to them as they expected – so they rejected Him.

No wonder Jesus wept over Jerusalem and said:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”  Luke 13:33-35

This brings us to a very important point:

It is possible to know the Word of God without knowing the God of the Word.

If the Pharisees had truly known God they would have recognized Jesus.  They knew the scriptures, they knew the Law, but Jesus they didn’t know.

Jesus is not separate from His Body, the Church.  So when one of His members is persecuted He takes it personally.  We need to be careful, oh so careful, that we don’t become so full of head-knowledge that we can no longer recognize Jesus nor His Body.  Because in doing so we may become like Saul, like the Pharisees, and persecute the very Lord we profess to follow.

Jesus said, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Mark 7:6

The letter truly kills, but the Spirit gives life.  This Feast of Dedication, let us re-dedicate our lives to Christ Himself, not to a creed, not to a denomination, nor to a set of rules or ideals, but to the Son of God Himself.  Let us live in the light of His illumination and really get to know Him personally.

Once we truly know Him, then we will recognize Him, even in the unexpected.