Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Are you Starving at the Father's Table?

     So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed My lambs." --John 21:15

     There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals of the faith year after year, strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest  Presence, nor anything unusual in their personal lives. They minister constantly to believers who feel within their breasts a longing which their teaching simply does not satisfy.
     I trust I speak in charity, but the lack in our pulpits is real. Milton's terrible sentence applies to our day as accurately as it did to his: "The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed." It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God's children starving while actually seated at the Father's table. The Pursuit of God, p.8, By A.W. Tozer

     Brother Tozer is so “right on” about the sheep dying of hunger. Oh, they are getting many messages from other sheep who like to boast how much knowledge of the scripture they possess; some to the point of ad nauseum infinitum. By this we mean that that these ersatz evangelicals believe their views (or misinterpretation of the Bible) are more accurate than others, and who also feel they possess sufficiently enough (or more) wisdom than their audience, feeling superior enough to even pass judgment on them.  Sadly, it has become more fashionable for many to boast they have a better grasp of scripture rather than feeding their listeners with the message God would have them receive.
     Nowadays, teaching or sharing the basic message of salvation that should serve as scripture-building blocks to greater wisdom, many in the church choose to debate such issues as the trinity, predestination and discerning the signs of the end of the world.
      Yes, I wrote a book (The End Times Passover) twenty-five years ago about the perception many have about the Rapture to Heaven and Left Behind mythology. My purpose was to biblically debunk that titillating message and warn the church of God that it would not escape tribulation. My books most certainly did not deal with predictions or the signs of the times, no life-saving suggestions and most certainly no date settings whatsoever. Those who have read it completely, recognize the Bible tells us that God’s children will indeed experience much tribulation; but (sadly) they are not prepared to endure perilous times, because they are not being fed the truth!
     Yet, the incessant debates on matters of eschatology are aflame more so than ever due to the more visible life crisis and smoldering events being reported via the advanced communications technology that was nonexistent twenty years ago. Now, anyone who has a computer has jumped into the fray and has become a prognosticator of future events and a prophet of doom. The major problem with this is their failure to recognize that true prophecy has nothing to do with predicting the future, nor discerning that the calamitous events we are experiencing should be based on their analysis of news items and misinterpretation of Old Testament prophecies. True prophecy is about proclaiming the will of God!
     Throughout the entire Bible, especially in the New Testament, God has provided us with all the wisdom and knowledge we need to walk with Him until His return. We are told that no one knows when that time will come, nor should we concern ourselves with times and epochs, that only the Father knows that precise date. Yet, modern day (and self appointed) prophets are more preoccupied with matters of the end times rather than feeding the sheep.
     Rather than being fed the food that builds faith and the knowledge the sheep need to pick up their cross and follow Jesus more effectively, they are being inundated with paranormal minutia (such as UFOlogy, demonology, secret societies and conspiratorial machinations) that few have any control over. While some of these theories of ancient knowledge are illuminating, these matters are not equipping the servants of Christ with the knowledge that God wants them to have to carry their respective crosses.
     Throughout the New Testament, in the writings of Paul and others, God has given us specific guidelines to strengthen our faith through prayer and worship. He has provided us with all the wisdom to deal with all of the personal and societal relationships and issues we face daily through proverbs, and how to overcome our fears under all circumstances. He has provided instructions and guidelines as to how the sheep should collectively work together and, more importantly, how we should practice true religion, (James 1:26-27).
     Yet, the sheep are starving. Rather than receiving meat, they are being fed milk. Rather than moving from a pablum diet to full course Bible banquet, and teaching others how to be leaders in their respective environments, they are being fed spiritual soup de jour rather than a loaf of true bread, which can only come from above (Matthew 16:11-12; John 6:32-35, 41, 48, 50, 51, 58; 1 Corinthians

     When Jesus asked John to feed my sheep (John 21:15), we know He wasn’t speaking about filling the stomach, but encouraging him that the true word of God does not include a diet of man-perceived esoteric information, but rather God’s wisdom that sustains the heart and soul. Some sheep may complain they are receiving only small portions of the same grain each day. Some may not be ready for bigger portions, yet. However, the planting and harvesting of the kernels of God’s wisdom are sufficient to meet our every need. Empowered by the living waters of Holy Spirit, the specific seeds of God’s knowledge should produce flocks that will begat more sheep to the glory of the Kingdom of God.
     It has been written and recorded that Americans are the most well-fed nation in the world, one whose citizens also have become the most obese. We Americans (Christians included) have become the most indulgent people in the world. Because we have so much more abundance that other countries don’t have, we have also become so spoiled that food no longer represents basic sustenance, it has become a preoccupation (think of TV shows like Man Vs Food, Food Wars, etc.). 
     It’s the same with the titillating and soothing gospel we are being fed today, religious-style dogma that fails to feed the hungry hearts of a spiritually dying nation. Rather than focusing on the widows, the poor, the orphans, the aliens and others in need, we fill ourselves to the brim with seductive dogma and other ungodly distractions to our own demise. It is unnecessary information and such data (regardless of their religious overcoats) that fails to build up the faith that produces the fruit of the spirit that is so sorely needed in these perilous times we live in.
Peter? Do you love me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed My lambs.”
     Who prepares your meals, and what’s on your plate, O fellow disciple?

For more information about the author’s two books, The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation. To access his web sites and blogs, please click on Joe Ortiz.

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