HOW FAR? The Church of Jesus Christ has prayed for years for a deeper, experience with God. How far do you want to go?
22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. 23 Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.
25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
It has had revivals, fasts, rallies, retreats, and promotions. People have been blessed — clapping their hands, enjoying the presence of the Lord, dancing in the Spirit, experiencing times of great joy and blessing. The trouble is that the Church, year after year after year, has stopped at the point of blessing and has not entered into the depth of relationship that God intends it to have. We have not gone far enough. The big question is how far do you want to go?
We have beautiful edifices, lovely choir robes, artistic crosses, and elaborate stained glass windows. We have great choirs singing tremendous anthems. We have fellowships and spaghetti dinners. We have men in the pulpit who have been to a theological seminary or a three-or four-year Bible course and know the meaning of homiletics. They can deliver a beautiful sermon point-by-point. They baptize children, marry them when they are grown, listen to their problems, wipe their tears, bury their dead…but as needful as the day-to-day religious chores are, something is missing. It is not enough! HOW FAR?
What I am sharing with you about the general condition of the Church today is what may be called “negative input.” No one likes to deal with negatives. However, in order to learn how to work the works of God, we must deal with things as they are and not as we would like them to be. We must “take the mask off.” We must face the truth even if that truth hurts or is completely contrary to what we have believed all our lives. HOW FAR?
Here is a truth that, if you learn, absorb, and put it to use, will be one of the most valuable assets you will ever have in dealing with people or things. It is this: All success is based on dealing with people, places and things exactly as they are and not as you would like them to be, or as you are. HOW FAR?
If you are dealing with a crook, you must deal with him as a crook. You may be the most honest person in the world, but you cannot deal with the crook successfully if you deal with him as if he were honest, after your standards of morality or ethics. He will steal you blind. In order to be successful, you must deal with him as a crook. You must make him sign his name on the dotted line, have his signature notarized, secure collateral from him, and lock it in a safe deposit box for which you have the only key. You deal with a crook as a crook if you want to be successful. HOW FAR?
Now, all truth is parallel. We must also deal with situations as they are. The Bible says: “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). The truth about the situation of the Church today is that as churches, ministers, and laypeople, we are in desperate trouble. How will we ever reach this world for God if we continue to do business as usual inside the walls of our churches? HOW FAR?
Make this declaration:
I don’t want to do business as usual in the spiritual realm. I want to go all the way with God!