Welcome to the next post of this series that asks: is God’s power predictable? Recall our theme verse:
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. – Jeremiah 6:16 (KJV)
Last time we talked about a few old paths that need re-trailblazing. We looked at how the preachers preached Bible-repentance, people heeded the call to repent, and God’s people sought his glory, not their own.
The goal of the series is to come up with a way to make God’s power predictable. Do not construe the previous sentence as arrogance; no man can control God, and we are not seeking authority over him. Here’s what that means: based on Scripture, there are obvious conclusions to be drawn – outcomes that God deliberately wants for us to know about!
So if it wasn’t obvious before, it should be pretty obvious by now that this author believes that God’s power is predominantly predictable. Not 100% predictable, because he’s still in control, and sees things that we can’t that limit him. But just as in his dealings with Israel in the Old Testament, if we do this he’ll do that. If we don’t do the other thing, we can forget him doing another thing. These are all things he wants us to be informed of.
We saw what worked then. Today our goal is to prove that just like it worked back then, it will work today. But not so fast – it comes with a price that many aren’t willing to pay. God help it to never be said of us. What is the common crossover between then and now? Let’s consider:
- God hasn’t changed
- God will never change
1. God Hasn’t Changed
For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. – Malachi 3:6 (KJV)
If God doesn’t change, that means that the way God operates doesn’t change either. So here’s the not-so-secret secret: the difference between how God operated in the 1950s and today is STILL EXACTLY THE SAME.
And just like back then, the message of the Gospel is still unpopular. People still have to be saved God’s way or he’s not going to save them any which way. That requires people to take a good long look at themselves and be honest with themselves – looking ugly square in the face is just as unpleasant as it was 100, 200, 2000 years ago, take your pick.
God still expects us to act like Christians, and when we don’t, he expects us to confess and forsake our sin. Family members are still going to be offended, and coworkers are still going to ridicule. And also as then, we have every opportunity to experience and know the power of the Lord if we submit to his leadership as saints throughout the ages have. It may be difficult today, but it was hard back then too – and in most cases A LOT harder back then, because a stance for Christ often meant being tortured, and often times executed.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. – Hebrews 13:8 (KJV)
Here’s what the Bible conveys repeatedly: everything Christ was back then is STILL everything he is today. Remember what the two men in white apparel said at Christ’s ascension?
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. – Acts 1:11 (KJV)
2. God Will Never Change
But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. – 1 Peter 1:25 (KJV)
When will the Bible stop mattering, and become obsolete? Never. In other words, if it’s in the Bible, it applied since time began, and it will apply clear into eternity. It sure sounds a lot like God himself, doesn’t it? Unbound by time and space, the great I AM, the Lord God Omnipotent reigns forevermore, Amen.
And it’s a god that emanates lovingkindness and mercy who makes it abundantly clear repeatedly in Scripture that he has no plans of reneging or shifting gears in his dealings with man. Ever.
My favorite kind of person is a “what you see is what you get” person. God help us all to be more open and less hypocritical. And if God tells us everything we need to know for having a relationship with him in Scripture (which he does), he’s as “what you see is what you get it” as it gets.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. – Matthew 24:35 (KJV)
Through Scripture, we should all be very thankful that we know what to expect. We may not know what’s going to happen tomorrow, or the date and cause of our death, but praise the Lord if we’re saved, we know how it’s going to end. What’s even more exciting is the fact that we’re going to win and Christ is going to be glorified –whether anyone likes it or not.
God never changes – that’s a huge benefit which is easy to take for granted. In this “here today, gone tomorrow” world, isn’t it great to know that we’re putting our hope in someone that will never change?
Today we saw the precious truth that God hasn’t changed. And if that wasn’t enough, better yet, he’s never going to change. That tells us that his actions/reactions, dealings, and wisdom contained in Scripture apply just as much today as they ever have. Isn’t it exciting that God’s power is very much within our grasp! This next part is depressing.
Here’s the unpopular truth: the reason we don’t have it like we say we want it is because secretly we really don’t want it. And by we, I’m referring to saved Baptist church members. Consider these passages:
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? – Jeremiah 5:31 (KJV)
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! – Luke 13:34 (KJV)
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old path, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. – Jeremiah 6:16 (KJV)
But aren’t these verses talking about people who are lost? Sure, I agree that a majority of those being referred to were unsaved. But this much is also true (and I speak from experience): a saved person can be just as stiffnecked, hardheaded, and rebellious as any lost person ever thought to be.
We’re cozy right where we’re at (my people love to have it so) and we won’t get uncozy for the Lord (ye would not). Even our theme verse contains the response of many of God’s own people (“we will not walk therein”).
The reason we see so little of God’s power is those who lay exclusive claim to it don’t want it. We’re talking groups of people as a whole, not just one or two on the fringes of the church. We’re talking about majorities in Baptist churches that insist on being comfortable rather than being right or on fire for Jesus.
But here’s the good news: just as a group of believers can collectively decide that they’d rather have a conveniently useless Christianity, another group may decide that the time has come to do whatever it takes to get God’s attention.
That means it’s time to kill and confess my sin that’s grieving the Holy Spirit. It’s time to drop my grudge and drown my bitterness in Calvary’s blood. Stop living like the devil and polishing your halo for church. If enough people in a church do that, it’s safe to say that God’s power showing up to do some serious heavy lifting isn’t probable, it’s certain.
But how can I make a difference? I’m just one person, only capable of so much…right? WRONG! Next time we’ll take a look at how God uses individuals (not hordes of people) to usher in his ability to blow the doors off a church service and ultimately a community. What can God possibly do with you? I have no idea – and if I had to speculate, it would be nowhere near what is truly possible if God gets involved! Who can tell? God bless and see you next time Lord willing.