“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1&2
Christianity, in general, is drifting. It has been drifting for quite some time, but it is far out at sea with no land in sight at this point. Why would I make such a claim? I make that claim because of several tendencies of those who confess to be Christians. Those tendencies are:
· Lukewarm attention toward Jesus.
· Inability to speak the name of Jesus.
· Failure to focus solely on Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith.
The time is already upon us that those who are the true sheep of His fold will be called out by Him. They will receive His rebuke, repent and turn to following their shepherd.
Lukewarm toward Jesus
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I
could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you
are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
– Revelations 3:15 & 16
This is a warning to the Lukewarm Christians. These are Christians who are on fire for Christianity on Sunday morning, maybe Wednesday night and during special church programs, but are cold toward Jesus throughout the week. The result of that sort of living makes them lukewarm. He who sits on the throne would rather those Christians were hot or cold.
God showed us the manner in which He wants us to commune with Him when He provided the manna and quail for the people of Israel in the desert (Exodus 16). God might have provided those things once a week. He might have provided them on Sunday mornings only or He might have provided them on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. That’s not what He did.
We are to eat of the manna daily. We are to eat of the Bread of Heaven daily. We are to commune with Jesus daily. If you are not in the word and in prayer daily, then you are lukewarm and you will be vomited out of God’s mouth.
Inability to Speak the Name of Jesus
“This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:11 & 12
The power for salvation is in the name of Jesus. If you’ll read through the book of Acts, you’ll see a phrase that is used over and over again “in the name of Jesus.” Take a look:
· For the remission of sins in Acts 2:38
· The lame walk in Acts 3:6
· Salvation in Acts 4:10
· The name of Jesus is forbidden in Acts 4:18
· Healing in Acts 4:30
· Baptized in the name of Jesus in Acts 8:12 and 8:16
· Preaching in the name of Jesus in Acts 9:27
· Disputed the Greeks with the name of Jesus in Acts 9:29
· Risked their lives in the name of Jesus in Acts 15:26
In total, there are 18 direct references to this phrase in the book of Acts, which is more than half of the references throughout the New Testament. What was recorded in Acts was the most powerful period in the history of the church. The disciples going forth and preaching, baptizing and healing in the name of Jesus was so much of a threat that the name of Jesus was forbidden.
I’ve been as bad as or worse than anyone else. For a very long time I was afraid to speak the name of Jesus. I would use every other name that He has. I would speak of God, Christ, the Lord, the Savior, the Messiah, the Good Shepherd, etc., but for some reason, speaking the name of Jesus was very difficult. I got over that fear and began to watch my life change.
Christians, listen! There is power in the name of Jesus. Speak His name boldly. Stop avoiding it. Yes, all of those other names are who He is, but the name of Jesus has special significance and power behind it. Call your brother, Jesus, by name. Speak of Him boldly.
Failure to Focus Solely on Jesus
“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking
unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” – Hebrews 12:1&2
If you’re putting your faith in your job, in your bank account, in your pension check, in Trump, in baptism, in prepping, in church, in Sunday school, in the virgin, in the mass, in the Lord’s supper, in praise and worship, in Saturday morning prayer breakfast, in your home group, in the ten commandments… I could go on and on, but I’ve made my point. If your faith is in anything apart from Jesus, IN ALL THINGS, then you are adrift.
Back when I could still lift my stiff legs, I ran hurdles. There was one thing about running hurdles that was truer than in any other even on the track; you had to keep your eyes focused straight ahead. I don’t mean mostly so, with glances through your peripheral vision to either side. If your focus wasn’t 100% on the next hurdle, you were going to wipe out.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we cannot run this race of faith by looking behind us, to the right or to the left. We must focus our eyes straight ahead and fix them on Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith; NOTHING ELSE. Not church politics, not the youth group, not the rosary, nor any idol. We don’t NEED anything else. In fact, the time is rapidly approaching when there won’t be anything or anyone else, but Jesus to deliver us.