The Greatest Pink Elephant of All

The Greatest Pink Elephant of All
Robert Wurtz II

Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. (Acts 26:19–21 NKJV)

“Elephant in the room” or “Elephant in the living room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the first recorded use of the phrase, as a simile, as The New York Times on June 20, 1959: “Financing schools has become a problem about equal to having an elephant in the living room. It’s so big you just can’t ignore it.” (wiki) Nevertheless, for over 100 years the reality of Acts 26:19-21 has been largely, if not completely, ignored. When it’s not being ignored the passage is being wrested by those who cannot handle its implications. Why did Paul preach John the Baptist “type” repentance? Stephen gives the answer in Acts 7 when he concluded his sermon with, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.” (Acts 7:51 NKJV)



When we read Stephen’s word ” resist ” it is natural to conclude that this is a simple non-compliance. However, this is not the case. Stephen employs a rare Greek word (antipiptō) used once in the New Testament. It means to “run against” or “to fall upon.” This is an allusion to Numbers 23 and Isaiah 63 in which God had done everything in His power to bring about His purposes for His people — nevertheless; they  provoked (vexedHis Holy Spirit — who is not easily provoked (1 Cor. 13:5). This phenomenon could also be seen in the fact that the prophets’ words could not be resisted, but the prophets themselves could be, so they “ran upon” them as they soon did with Stephen. 

Repentance is vital to the Gospel because it addresses the issues of resisting the Holy Spirit head-on. There is no way to get by on some lesser thing. The resistance and rebellion against God must be brought to an end and the person come into a right attitude towards their Creator. The old timers used to say that people need to “get right with God.” This language is from Acts 8 when Peter told Simon that his heart was not “right” with the Lord. Nevertheless, multitudes of ministers and Christians search for ways to avoid this. In fact, the subject is rarely even brought up in discussion it is so detested. However, it is folly to invent doctrines and theologies that sidestep this need. The tragedy is that theologians and Bible teachers are often better at teaching people what a verse does not mean than what it truly means. In modern times clever theologians have tried to reduce repentance to a mere change of mind towards sin; but in practice the teaching is a dead forgery. Their is no expectation that the person with actually demonstrate a change of mind. The strategy is to address the passages in question so as to appear theologically correct; however, the verses are made of no effect. This is what happens when men become theologians who themselves are resisting the Holy Spirit.


It is interesting to consider just how long man has been actively resisting God’s authority. Our passage in Genesis 6:3 is a subtle commentary on the days of Noah; this would have been roughly 2800 BC, or nearly 5000 years ago. When we arrive at Acts 7:51 we have the same diagnoses, You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. In the 21st Century we have the same pattern of behavior. God is trying to establish His authority in the hearts of men and women and they do always “strive” or “resist.” I suggest that “always resisting the Holy Spirit” is the single greatest problem in mankind, and summarizes the relationship between God and unbelievers. Unfortunately, it is also the case in the lives of many professed believers.

In Genesis 6:3 we have the word “strive.” The context is found with Noah a preacher of righteousness, bringing forth a message of salvation. This is God striving with people outwardly. In this way, God had used men as His means of striving with man since the prophet Abel in Genesis 4:8 (compare Luke 11:50-51). Just as Cain rose up to snuff-out his witness to the truth of obedience to God, the response of the masses has rarely altered course. Inwardly, the people would feel the sting of their conscience, and the many strong impressions made upon them by the Spirit of God. The scripture is replete with men who quenched, grieved, resisted, vexed, and even blasphemed God’s Holy Spirit (Isaiah 63:101 Thess. 5:19Ephesians 4:30Matthew 12:24-32). This is the message of Stephen to the religious leaders, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.” (Acts 7:51 NKJV

The very people who prided themselves as instructors of the foolish, and teachers of babes — men who had the form of knowledge and truth in the law (Romans 2:20 NKJV) — did always resist the Holy Spirit. In fact, Stephen added, as your fathers did, so do you. It had been a tradition in families for generations. Stephen went on to ask them which of the prophets did their fathers not persecute? He then went on to show that Jesus Christ, the anti type of all who had gone before Him, was given the most hideous treatment of all. The one who was the greatest representation of God was the one most persecuted by the rebellious. The treatment of a man was proportional to His capacity to represent God in striving with men. In other words, the more godly he or she was, the worse they were treated. This is the record. 


Pink Elephant



I once attended a meeting where several men were speaking on the topic of the end-times. One man took the pulpit and opened his address with this unforgettable question, “How are we going to talk about 666 when we can’t even turn off HBO?” It was his way of saying that we love to speak about all kinds of topics that divert our attention away from unpleasant issues. In the late 19th and early 20th century a methodology for “getting saved” was invented that allowed people to continue to resist the Holy Spirit and anyone who preached a “book of Acts” type Gospel and still call themselves “saved.” This is the pink elephant in modern evangelicalism. A person can be actively resisting the Holy Spirit and be told “you are saved and don’t let the devil lie to you and tell you anything different!” And if they go on and try to receive the Holy Spirit they can say a few unintelligible sentences and be told “You got it! You got the Holy Ghost!” Wow. A thousand times, wow! 

If obstetricians were as reckless with childbirth as many ministers are with new birth we would have an infant mortality rate in the land that is unprecedented in world history. People have to be born of the Spirit and there is a right way to preach in order to see that reality come about. Becoming a Christian means we align ourselves with God and His holy word.The Holy Spirit and the word of God agree. If a person does not agree with God’s word — in reality — they are resisting Him no matter what they profess. Jesus asked the simple question , “and why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do the things I say?” As if He would ask, “why do you make my word of no effect by your traditions? Why do you keep doing things that are contrary to God’s word, just as your fathers did?” Answer, because once someone is bold enough to trample on a precept others are emboldened to follow. Soon everyone is doing it (well, not everyone). This is how we have veered off course so bad in the last 100 years. None now live that even remember how repentance and receiving the Holy Spirit is supposed to be.



Ours is the generation that can change all this. A person may have preached a soft Gospel for 75 years, but if they are sensitive to God they can still change. Others will go to their graves doing the same old thing that is not working. Meanwhile the churches fill up with people who have no real desire to comply with God’s will. it’s as if a whole new religion has been created to serve the people who never stopped resisting the Holy Spirit. Environments use music to forge the presence of God while the people keep on resisting. These and many type elixirs numb the conscience enabling people to read their bible and just skip past the verses they don’t like or agree with. This is the tragedy of our times. Nevertheless, there is hope for anyone who will hear the voice of God and truly repent. They can leave of resisting the Holy Spirit and finally receive the Holy Spirit in the genuine article. They can become the real thing — not a forgery. They can begin in the Spirit and live a life that agrees with God and longs to do His will. 

Rejecting The Counsel of God (God’s Will)

Rejecting The Counsel of God (God’s Will)
Robert Wurtz II

And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him. And the Lord said, “To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, saying: ‘We played the flute for you, And you did not dance; We mourned to you, And you did not weep.’ For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by all her children. (Luke 7:29-35)

Our passage is very sobering and insightful. It reveals one of the primary reasons why multitudes of people will never enter the kingdom of God. In the KJV, the underlined portion is translated, but the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves. Simply put, they refuse to acknowledge their need of repentance. They rejected John’s baptism of repentance. God’s will was for the people to repent, confess their sin, and be baptized in water. Nevertheless, they dismissed God’s counsel by attacking the messenger’s credibility. This is the oldest trick in the book. However, they were not rejecting John the Baptist; they were rejecting the Lord God and what He was saying about their lifestyles.

Our verses reveal how some people will say anything to discredit a true minister of God. When the message is unpopular, it’s open season on the messenger. They posited John the Baptist as “demon possessed” because he lived outside the city — away from the sinners and sin dens of society. When Jesus took the opposite approach, they discredited Him by saying He was “a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” In fact, His own neighbors dismissed Him by saying, “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” Here are effectively the two greatest men who ever lived, and both are being marginalized by any excuse the people can think up.

Where many ministers err is in trying to please people who are in rebellion against God. This is because God has given everyone a conscience that can register the truth of what is preached to them. Paul commended himself to every man’s conscience. He knew he could not reason with a person’s rebellious heart — so he targeted the conscience. In other words, in the heart rebellious people hated Paul’s message; however, their God-given conscience agreed with him. If he had preached to please their heart, the conscience would have rejected him as false. This is why it is impossible to please people who are in rebellion against God. The rebellious heart and the conscience are pleased by totally different messages. The rebellious heart wants an ear-tickling message, while the conscience wants to hear the truth.

Obviously, these people had determined already to “reject the counsel of God,” so it was a waste of time trying to conform to their standard of living. No matter what type of godly person came along — these people will reject them. The reason for this was not in the fact that one ate and the other did not; or that one lived in seclusion and the other among ” tax collectors and sinners” but because they did not like hearing God’s counsel. Simply put, they were not willing to agree with what God was saying to them through the mouth of His ministers. You will recall that in Acts 7, Stephen said that they always resisted the Holy Spirit. The primary way people do this is by rejecting the word of God as it is preached under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This is why the prophets were persecuted and killed. They snuffed out that voice.

Afraid to Repent

Many people will never get into God’s will because they love keeping up appearances. God’s will for these religious leaders was to confess (acknowledge) their sins. Because they had built up a reputation for themselves as holy and righteous, they could not bring themselves to repent (especially publicly). To confess now would be “reputational suicide.” What happened? They went on playing the game. Why? Because they were slaves to peoples’ opinions about them. They were too worried about sitting in the chief seats and appearing to be righteous. This is why they were called hypocrites (stage actors). They were not concerned with being righteous — only play acting like they were. Preaching repentance pulled their masks off in front of everybody. They did not like that.

Multitudes of common people lined up to respond to the message of John the Baptist. They had nothing to lose. They did not care what people thought about them. They were concerned with what God thought. However, the Pharisees and lawyers stood afar off and thought up ways to assassinate the character of the preacher. This is a sobering fact. John the Baptist reminded them of the wrath that was to come — something they were supposed to believe in (at least doctrinally). It turns out that in practice, these Pharisees no more believed in an afterlife or the resurrection than did the Sadducees. They proved this by their opposition to the call to repentance. With judgment at the door, they were building heir own kingdoms while smearing and slamming everyone who proclaimed the word of repentance. In modern times, it would be like saying, “He’s crazy,” “he has a bad attitude,” or “he’s angry at the world.” This is because people are either out-of-touch with the times, or they do not really believe in the resurrection and final judgment. They can discern the face of the sky, but not God’s time of visitation. They can argue doctrinally issues concerning eschatology (end time events), but never act on those beliefs. In the words of Jesus, they were too busy honoring one another to take off their acting clothes and come clean before God. (John 5:44)

Desperate Times — Desperate Measures




Sometimes we forget the hour we are living. It’s easy to buy in to the propaganda that comes from lukewarm preaching if we are not vigilant. Living in what must be one of the most evil times in the history of mankind, where man shakes his fist at God in new and profound ways, what type of word do we expect should be coming to this generation? Seriously. Think about it. If the Bible is any history guide, what type of preaching or “counsel” would you expect a consistent God to be sending forth? That’s right. Repent. There may be pockets of people who need no repentance; but this is not true in the main stream.

Not only does this generation smear true ministers, they have systematically redefined the character of God. Nevertheless, they are in for a real shock. There are two statements that I believe will be the most frequently thought or said by people who exit this life. The first will be of the lost who say, “I had no idea hell would be so hot.” And the redeemed who will say, “I had no idea heaven would be so holy.” Our world is so far removed from the kingdom of God that we have no idea how bad things truly are. All we know is the relative godliness that has existed at times among God’s people. But heaven, we haven’t seen anything like heaven.

The message of John the Baptist was meant to “prepare the way of the Lord.” This is very serious business. We are all about to step foot into the very presence of God — and all we know about heaven that is trustworthy is found on the pages of the Bible. Paul said, knowing therefore the terror of the Lord we persuade men. The writer to the Hebrews said we ought to serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear because “our God” is a consuming fire. Peter asks what manner of persons ought we to be knowing that God is going to destroy the world with fire and a great noise? What do we say? I’m afraid an entirely different religion has been created in modern times and stamped with the name “Christianity.”

A simple, child-like, cursory read of the New Testament reveals a much different situation than is found in most of what is termed “Christendom.” Nevertheless, it is nothing more than a different brand of the same old rejection of the will of God that the lawyers and Pharisees moved in. Any message that negatively effects a person’s self-esteem is shunned. Understand that self-esteem is a concept that has made pride fashionable and acceptable. In fact, personal pride is promoted in our times. How can you preach a message of repentance to these type of people? The whole world is telling them how great they are, while God is saying you are a sinner and you must repent! That is like two semi-trucks hitting head on on a high-speed motorway.

For the Pharisees to repent it would be reputational suicide. The Devil wants us to believe that if we preach repentance we may drive people to true suicide. That is the force of his lies. What is the common denominator here? Whether it was John and Jesus or a minister in the 21st Century, it is the counsel of God that is being rejected. Perhaps we can ask ourselves in this generation the question the Lord Jesus asked in the first century:


And the Lord said, “To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like? 

Sighs and Cries that Saved their Lives

Sighs and Cries that Saved their Lives

Robert Wurtz II



And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. (Ezekiel 9:4-7)


There are two basic type of people in the world; they who are vexed by righteousness, and they who are vexed by wickedness. One group sighs and murmurs because of the overflow of sin, the other group sighs and murmurs because of holiness. 

As Paul was writing to the Corinthians he was careful to advise the people that events that took place in the Old Testament were written for our example and for our learning. Moses, who had been seeking to lead the people in the Covenant of God and righteousness was faced with a group that would not follow God. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” The people did not want to live holy and righteous before God. They wanted to go back to Egypt (a type of this present evil world). What did they do? They murmured against Moses. 

Then there was the other group of “murmurers” if you will that appear in the time of Ezekiel. Israel had backslidden and was carrying on like the rest of the pagan world. However, not everyone was pleased with the sin and evil. In fact, God told a recording angel to go through the city and mark the forehead of each one that did “sign and cry” for all of the abominations that were going on in Israel. The backsliders had so defiled the Temple of God that He was departing and there was a group that lamented for it. What the backsliders did not know is that the Temple was about to be destroyed and the people killed or led into exile in Babylon. What can we learn from these events?


First: that they are recorded for our learning. There was no reason to record it for the people that suffered these things as they were already dead. So we see then, that it is a clear warning to the living. God will not long live with sin and compromise. This is our example. People are afforded a space to repent, as was Jezebel in the Revelation. If there be no repentance then we are certain that God will act in some way, of which we only have samplings spread throughout the New Testament. For Jezebel, she was cast into a bed of great tribulation along with those that agreed with her. For those in Ezekiel, they beheld the sin and as a result of their agreement or indifference, they were judged all the same.

Second: although it is impossible to know the counsel of God in such matters, we know that the examples of the Old Testament are exemplary. That is to say, they are a revelation of God’s estimate of the behaviors. Whether one dies in the same way as Jerusalem is God’s prerogative; but it is certain that He has demonstrated for all time by this one act of judgment how He feels about this type sin. God being no respecter of persons, each that commit the same sins under the same conditions deserve equal punishment. 

Third: that there was a group that lamented for the sin. They did not walk around indifferent, but as was Lot in Sodom, they were vexed from day to day with the unlawful deeds. This means that God is taking account of how we react to sin and compromise. Do we lament for sin in such a way that had we lived in Ezekiel’s day God would have marked our foreheads? Would we have been spared from the wrath of God? This is an important question to ask in a day and age where the knowledge of God is being resisted at unprecedented levels. Sodom had no Bible. What aggravated the crimes in Jerusalem was that they had been entrusted with the oracles of God. To whom much is given, much is required. 

Fourth: none that did not have the mark of God in there forehead were shown mercy. They were slain from the oldest to the youngest. Again, God is no respecter of persons. The youth that refuse to lament are just as guilty as the elders that refuse to lament. Why? Because they have casually sided with the enemy. They did not agree with God in the matters of sin that was being committed. Had they agreed with God, they would have been offended for His sake. They would have been stirred with zeal for God and His sanctuary. They were not and were left to perish with those that committed the acts. They were passive participants. This tells us that there is no middle ground. One is either a child of God that is vexed by sin and unrighteousness, or a child of the devil and are at home in it. Do you and I hate what God hates? Do we love what God loves? Or do we have those two reversed? 

The people under Moses murmured against him and against righteousness, but the people in Ezekiel’s day murmured against sin and compromise. The one group was destroyed and the other group was spared. God heard the murmurings of both groups and He acted accordingly. 

Drug To Church

Drug To Church
Robert Wurtz II

But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:13-15 NKJV)

During the meeting last evening, as is customary, we had a time of testimonies. This is often a very fruitful time as believers share things the Lord has done in their lives or insights He has shown them in their Christian walk. As things were drawing to a close a dear brother stood up and testified that he had been one year serving the Lord. He spoke passionately of being liberated from many dreadful, unfulfilling years of drugs. He ended his testimony with a statement I shall not forget. He said in effect, “the best drug I ever knew was being drug to church as a child.” 

This dear brother had come to learn the value of a Christian upbringing. Although I wish this was a universal sentiment, not everybody shares his perspective. The phrase “drug the church” is obviously the language of the cynic, who is typically in rebellion. We have all heard it, have we not? “I never had a choice, my parents MADE me go to church! They forced religion down my throat!” I’m reminded of a conversation I had a few months ago with another brother who was dealing with being abused and cursed out on his job by a so-called “atheist” who was angry because his parents “drug him to church.” So he’s angry and bitter because he was made to go to church? Hmmm. Let’s see. His parents made wipe himself after using the restroom, brush his teeth, bath, comb his hair, put on deodorant, change his underwear, eat his dinner, go to school, ad infinitum. I wonder which of these he has also boycotted? 

It must be a dreadful experience for kids to be raised in church to know the Lord. Perhaps someone will someday see the need and start a support group. Solomon would have probably named it “Fool’s Anonymous” if we consider how frequently he spoke of the subject in Proverbs. The time would fail to even start to list the verses where Solomon is trying to train his sons in the ways of God and how he contrasts that reality with the one who despises instruction. Poor man. In all his wisdom nobody ever told him that raising your child to know the Lord was child abuse. 

It is a shame that none of these mentally scarred children of Christian parents were ever afforded the luxury of having to pray themselves to sleep at night. They never laid in a darkened room hearing the regular sounds of screaming and cursing after another bad fight had broke out. Perhaps, none of their uncles ever tried to corrupt their mind with vulgarity and filth? They missed out on so much! God bless, em. How do they cope? They were never blessed with having a gun put to their head by a deranged dad, who had to be talked down by an interventionist (as one person I have known). They never watched their drunk parent attempt suicide before their eyes. If only they could have been punched in the face a few times or had a cigarette put out on their arm, maybe they would be better men and women today? At least, that’s how I take it. I could go on for days.

It all seems like so much satire, perhaps? But what is a man to say when he was never raised in church and has to hear so much bleeding and complaining by those who resent having experienced it? You know, it’s a funny thing. Not funny as in comedy, but funny as in peculiar. I almost never talk about my childhood, even though I was raised in sin. I don’t know many kids that were raised in church in my generation. I don’t mean to boast in evil, but most of us have seen it all. We have been in the bars and the smoke filled living rooms that would be rated “R” at best. In fact, sin was so thick at times, it would almost penetrate your skin. I don’t know. Perhaps now as an adult after trying to raise my own children to know the Lord and hearing all of this complaining by so many, I can finally understand the lyrics of an old bar song that stands out in my memory. It was written by ole Johnny Payday, I mean Paycheck, who was apparently “drug to church.” Blinded by sin and bombed out of his mind he had a moment of clarity. With a microphone in hand he made a sobering confession:

I sing ‘Precious memories’, take me back to the good ol’ days
Let me hear mama singing, ‘Rock of ages’ cleft for me
She tried to turn me on to Jesus, but I turned on to the devil’s ways
And I turned out to be the only hell my mama ever raised.

        

The Road of No Return

The Road of No Return
Robert Wurtz II

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:38, 39)

Our passage is a sobering conclusion that leads up to Hebrews 11 where the writer gives multiple examples of people who died in faith. The faithful of Hebrews 11 pleased God. They are contrasted with those in chapter 10 who hear the Gospel and yet go on as if they never heard. God said, “My soul will have no pleasure in them.” They are unfaithful and are compared to those who died without mercy after they heard and then despised Moses’ Law. The word preached did not profit them because it was not mixed with faith in them that heard it. Some hear and then “draw back” unto perdition (total destruction). We are left to contemplate their fate by considering a great question: Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy of punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29 MKJV)  

They Died Without Mercy

There are many examples of people who died or were sorely punished for profaning the holy things of God. Nadab and Abihu were burned up for offering strange fire. They died for their innovation. So serious was their crime that their father, Aaron, was not allowed to mourn their death. Uzzah was another innovator. In the time of David he and his assistants placed the Ark of the Covenant on a “new” cart- as if his new idea somehow trumped God’s ancient laws. When his new idea started to fail he made the mistake of reaching up to steady the Ark. As we know, he was smitten dead for his error. Many years later King Uzziah became another innovator. Though withstood by some eighty valiant men he went into the House of God to offer incense and was smitten with leprosy. He died that way. In time Belshazzar the Babylonian ruler was another innovator. He decided to liven up his party by bringing in and drinking from the sacred cups of the Levitical priesthood that were captured when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. A hand appeared on the wall with a message that in effect he had been weighed in the balance and found wanting. He was killed that night. 

The time would fail to mention others such as Achan who decided to flagrantly disobey God by stealing the spoils that were to be set apart to God. He and his whole family perished for their sin and their bodies burned. These are the type of stories that ought to come to mind when we read the words, Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy of punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 

Profaning

To “profane” something means to trample it down as was the ground outside the door of the Tabernacle. The ground outside the door was like any other ground on earth; but when you passed the thresh hold into the House of God, you were in another world. In a figure- you just passed into the heavenlies. This was God’s domain. It was utterly sacred. To err here is to risk ones life. And yet all of these things were merely figures of the truth. Men died for treating this place as “common” and “unholy.” To tread here as if you were any place else was to be met with judgment. God was teaching us the difference between the holy and the profane.

How more worse punishment do you suppose one deserves who is trampling the Son of God? They are profaning the blood of Christ as if His death were no different than any other man’s death. Some may reverence the work of the cross with their mouth, but their rebellious and sinful actions are trodding Christ under foot. Interestingly, the same Greek word is used here for men who trod under foot salt that has lost its savor. Nobody in their right mind would think of trampling under foot the Ark of the Covenant, the blood of the sacrifices, the holy anointing oil or the other sacred objects of Temple service; nevertheless, Jesus Christ is trampled under foot on a regular basis by multitudes of people who have heard the Gospel and have not repented and turned to Him in faith. They think they are waiting to “get saved” when they are ready; but they are really trampling Christ and His shed blood under their feet. People under the Old Covenant died without mercy under two or three witnesses. What punishment do these people deserve? This is what the writer to the Hebrews is asking us to consider.

People all over the world will wake up today having heard the Gospel at some point in their life and will go on sinning as if it’s no big deal. Some are so proud and rebellious that they have heard bits and pieces and scorn the message- refusing to take time to hear the whole thing. They are their own worst enemy. Most are crazy enough to believe that what they are doing is normal and that people live in sin all the time and repent when they get ready. I have wondered all my Christian life where this notion of “I’ll get saved when I’m ready” comes from. Many ministers almost console people that reject Christ as if they are afraid they are offending them. As if what they are doing is no big deal. Truly, to reject Christ is the worst of all sins because it is a road covered with Christ and His shed blood. It is a road of no return. It is the pathway to total perdition. In the New Testament when a person rejected the Gospel Jesus said to wipe the dust off your feet as a testimony against them for the day of judgment (Mark 6:7-13). Wiping the dust off was a way of totally disassociating yourself from the person’s actions. It suggested that you are now free from the blood of that person. Your conscience is clear- even as Paul told the Ephesians when he left them for the last time. 

In modern times multitudes of people are taking a cavalier and neglectful attitude towards repentance and faith. This is the very thing that the writer to the Hebrews repeatedly warned about. He tells us four times that “today if we hear His voice we are not to harden our heart.” To continue on is to presume to trod underfoot the Son of God, His blood and the covenant that God is offering. To complete the description of the sin one is said to do “despite unto the Spirit of grace.” This is the Holy Spirit. Men resist the Holy Spirit, grieve, and vex the Holy Spirit- but here they are said to insult the Spirit. This is the meaning of Greek word. The root word huper carries the idea of acting superior to. “You are not my boss!” type of attitude. Even if a person does not say it, Hebrews says that is what they are doing when they reject repentance and faith. 

How many people believe that when they have finally sown all their wild oats they will settle down and “get saved.” That is the most dangerous thing they could possibly do. To go on refusing to repent after God has already ceased overlooking sin and ignorance is to invite judgment worse than dying without mercy. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy of punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29 MKJV) If you are doing such things you are no sowing wild oats- you are trampling down the blood of Christ. You are not having a little fun before you get old and gray- you are insulting the Holy Spirit. The only remedy is to stop it- right here and right now- turn from all your sin and turn to Christ. It is your only chance. While it is said, “Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” (Hebrews 3:15)
 
   
 

Broken Beyond Healing

Broken Beyond Healing
Robert Wurtz II

He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing. (Proverbs 29:1 ESV)

He that is often corrected, yet remains stubborn and obstinate, shall suddenly be broken. The emphasis in the passage is on suddenness. “We must think first not of actual punishment, but of chastening, reproving words; and the man to whom are spoken the reproving words is one whose conduct merits more and more severe censure, and continually receives correction from those who are concerned for his welfare. The door of repentance, to which earnest, well-meant admonition calls a man, does not always remain open. He who with stiff-necked persistence in sin and in self-delusion sets himself in opposition to all endeavours to save his soul, shall one day suddenly, and without the prospect and possibility of restoration (cf. Jeremiah 19:11), become a wreck.” (KD)

The steps to stiff-necked

Recently a young woman was brought before one of our courts on a drug charge. Rather than taking the charge and the court seriously, she behaved in a most flippant and disrespectful manor. At first she was giddy, but as the judge reproved her for her silliness she became increasingly angry, disrespectful and hateful. She seemed to be unconcerned by the fact that the judge had the power to place her in jail suddenly. At last she received a higher bond for her actions at which time she turned and gestured to the judge and cursed him at the same time. This drew a criminal contempt charge and she was given 30 days in the county jail. She went away still acting out all the more. It was this event that passed before my mind in prayer last evening that God used to speak to my heart.

Breaking the rebellion

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but rebellion is a very foolish and dangerous attitude. The Bible warns repeatedly about it and even likens it to witchcraft and adds that obstinacy is as iniquity and idolatry. It is rooted in pride, the most noxious of all sins. It is the attitude of Lucifer who exalted himself above the star’s of God and sought to be like God. It manifests at an early age and if not dealt with will grow into a monstrous, uncontrollable menace to everyone. The attitude? “I will not bow the knee! Not to authorities and not to God.” God systematically works to break this spirit (attitude) in a person. It is the very first step that we must all take towards God. Let me say plainly that the reason many people never get on with God is because they have come to Him for salvation, but have never really bowed the knee. They refuse to acknowledge Him for who He really is; choosing rather to behave as the young woman in court. They are oblivious to the fact that Jesus said, “But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.'” (Luke 19:27)

Turning the temperature up

 The bellows are burned, the lead is melted by the fire; the refiner melts in vain; for the wicked are not plucked away. Reprobate silver they call them, because Jehovah has rejected them. (Jeremiah 6:29-30)

Our passage deals with what is effectively an experiment that God is desperately conducting upon His people. Like a person suffering from a terminal disease and are not responding to any treatment, these people are long enduring the goodness and chastening of God who seeks to remedy their rebellion. He turns the temperature up higher and higher and still the wicked are not plucked away. There is no change. Finally, the bellows that is used to fan the flames catches fire and burns up. At that point it is realized that there is no hope. Reprobate silver they call them, because Jehovah has rejected them. (Jeremiah 6:30) They, being often reproved, remained obstinate (stiff-necked) and there was nothing left to do but reject them. It is the saddest of affairs. “The trial of the people has brought about no purification, no separation of the wicked ones. The trial is viewed under the figure of a long-continued but resultless process of smelting.” (K&D) 


A sobering question

What’s it gonna take to see some folks leave off the rebellious obstinate attitude that they go on displaying before God? He chastens and they only grow angrier and more hate-filled. They will do almost anything before they will bow the knee before their God. Time is running out. With each passing day the heart grows harder and more difficult to reach. For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each one of us will give account concerning himself to God. (Romans 14:11-12) God is going to bring to light the hidden counsels of the hearts of all men and in that day there will be no cover; no hiding place. No excuses. No blaming this person or that person. No blaming our circumstances. By the time we get before the Great White Throne, God will have already thoroughly displayed the faithful who humbled themselves and persevered under similar or worse circumstances than we went through. What will it take to make a change? Men and women are as silver in the smelting pot. The fire is growing ever hotter and the lead is running out.  



I Fear For You

I Fear For You
Robert Wurtz II

 I fear for you, lest my work towards you has been wasted. (Galatians 4:11)

 Of all of Paul’s letters, this is the only one we know of that was written with his own hand writing. Generally he began his letters with a greeting, written with his own hand, and then dictated the letter to a trusted helper (amanuensis). He then closed the letter with his own hand so that the recipient would know it had come from Paul and was authentic. This was likely due to poor eyesight or poor handwriting that prevented Paul from writing neatly and uniformly. This letter to the Galatians was written from beginning to end with Paul’s own handwriting. Can you imagine the reaction of the people receiving this letter? It would likely have looked like a child had written it, because the letters would have been so large (Galatians 6:11 NKJV) What could possibly be so urgent that Paul would take up his pen and write an entire epistle all by himself? the readers knew immediately that this was a very serious situation. Why did he do it? I fear for you, lest my work towards you has been wasted. (Galatians 4:11)

The Bellows is Burned!



I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way. They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are brass and iron; they are all corrupters. The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away. Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them. (Jeremiah 6:27-30)


This is a most troubling passage. The prophet employs the metaphor of a founder (similar to a blacksmith) to show how God had ‘turned the temperature up’ in the peoples lives in an attempt to see them purified, but they would not repent. In ancient times a founder would build a fire inside a fire proof box and then use a large bellows to force air into the fire making it hotter and hotter. This is how the temperature could rise to melt and purify metals. Our passage is dealing with God as the Founder heating a person’s life up until the fire got so hot that the bellows burned up! This is an amazing picture of God trying to see folk saved that just got worse and worse in the process until figuratively even the bellows caught fire. Amazing! That is a hopeless situation. Everything just consumed in the fire. Some people will never repent no matter how difficult the circumstances become or what God employs in their life to secure their repentance. It was a total waste of time or in Paul’s words, 
I fear for you, lest my work towards you has been in vain. (Galatians 4:11)


Fearing for others

Have you ever been at the bedside of a person that knowingly and willfully lived for the Devil all of their life and then tried to come to God at the end? I have. I know of a man that cursed and blasphemed as if God was not listening- all the while knowing the Bible and what was right and wrong. After many years of this I watched him struggle to believe that God could forgive him. At last he told me after many weeks that knowing he was facing the Judgment of God he was scared ________, having used and explicative. Those were the last words I ever remember him saying to me. He died the following week. I think of a man now deceased that others and I poured countless hours into. He would mock and make light of the things of God as if God was not watching him. The time would fail to tell of people I have ministered to, living and dead that I fear for. We all know people like this. The stories are common place. What was the problem? 

Rebellion

It was rebellion pure and simple. Rebels often portray themselves as victims. God is not buying it. Seven billion people in this world and every one of them has a story. Jesus contrasted societies to bring reality home to the Jews. He talked about Sodom and Gomorrah rising up in judgment; a people known for their perversion. He spoke of Nineveh that was the capitol of Assyria- an empire so violent that God nearly wiped their capitol city off the face of the earth, rising in judgment against those that would not believe. Why? Because Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah and the people of Sodom would have repented in sackloth and ashes if they had heard the preaching of Jesus. We have heard it! What about us? We think God sent Sodom to hell and turned the temperature up, but Jesus said it will be worse for us than for them on the day of judgment. Paul said, “I fear for you!” Amen.   

Foolishness

Rebellion is deceptive because the person rebelling doesn’t realize that the enemy is at their beckon call providing them with the resources they need to rebel. He is the master excuse seller. He is the manufacturer of lies and can churn them out at a pace to make Henry Ford step back. He gets the people doped up or drunk and then they start uttering all kinds of Satan’s horrendous blasphemies and lies against God and Heaven. Some commit sins that would make a demon tremble. Many of these are people that once knew the truth that are turning back to other gods not knowing that they may well be damning their own soul in their folly. Paul said, “I fear for you!” Many have hardened their hearts and seared their conscience until they don’t even feel conviction anymore.   

 As Paul was dealing with the situation at Galatia, we too have to deal with folks turning away from the faith in our times; people that play games with God not knowing the danger they are in. “I fear for you” is not just an expression: it is a reality that many of us as ministers feel for folks that live in rebellion. It is a dangerous thing to live in sin and know better. Judgment will be proportional to knowledge. But even now in this life I have seen the hand of God’s judgment upon people. Even as I type this my mind is swirling with names and faces of people that I have sought to reach with the Gospel and they have trod it all under foot- generally with the attitude that they will serve God when they get ready. I fear for them.     

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