Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

AND THEY KNOW

Part 5

“Declare his glory among the heathen,

his wonders among all people.” – Psalm 96:3

       Maybe it’s safe to assume that in almost every home there is at least one mirror situated so a person can view their own reflection. It’s hard to imagine how we women could “fix” our faces and fashion our hair without a mirror! No doubt it would be just as difficult for a man to shave or trim his beard without the aid of a mirror. Probably the last place you would ever find a mirror affixed to a wall would be next to the floor so that only the reflection of a person’s feet could be seen. Therefore, how do we know how our feet really look? As we age, it gets harder to see our own feet in order to care for them, and even bifocals don’t help all that much!

       The Bible mentions feet 261 times, and the word foot 113 times in the KJV. And, the Word even tells us the secret of beautiful feet. In Romans 10:15 we read “And how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Based on that criterion, perhaps we should honestly ask ourselves how beautiful our feet are in the sight of God, and others around us who have no knowledge or hope of the Gospel.

       Thus far in this series I’ve written on how others know we are disciples of Jesus, beginning with John 13:25 which says, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” The bottom line is if we truly love God, we will have fervent love for one another and it will manifest itself in visible ways through practical helps, good deeds, sacrificial giving, walking in humility and obedience to the Lord. All of these things should become, not just an occasional “part of our life” when we “feel like it,” or when it is convenient, or even beneficial for us. In other words, we need to guard against merely “tacking Jesus on to our lives” in order to give an outward appearance of piety while rebellion lurks within.

       The real Christian life is a character-building process that demands evidence of progress if we are to follow Jesus all the way, enduring “to the end.” It takes a daily heart determination to obey Romans 12:1, 2 which says, “I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Concerning beautiful feet, they only come about when a transformed mind and a “new heart” commands one’s feet to take the “road less traveled” in order to proclaim the good news (the Gospel) to those who are lost. Feet have no will of their own, but only go where the mind tells them to go. That is why it is so important to have the mind of Christ, who prayed, “…not my will, but Thine, be done.” Luke 22:42b. Consider that the last words Jesus spoke to His disciples before He ascended to His Father were “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” Matthew 28:18b-20. is H

       The question is, are we “going” or are we just busy “doing”. Some say that they “go to church” and that’s enough, but nowhere in Scripture is the Body of Christ commanded to “go to church and spend yourself out “doing.” Churches have a tendency to keep people so busy serving “the church” with non-salvation plans, programs and policies that troubled, wounded, hurting, and even lost souls “fall through the cracks.” Years ago, when I commented to a certain person who thought herself to be a Christian that we should be concerned for the lost, she retorted, “That’s the job of the minister!” But, is that what God teaches us in His Word? No!!! Acts 1:8 gives us the reason Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

       Knowing that even the weakest church-goer must have read the great commission of Christ (Matthew 28:18b-20) at least once, one has to wonder why what was once a great tidal wave of zeal and vision for lost souls has petered out to a mere trickle. From https://www.kouya.net/?p=6921 we read: “During that period, which is roughly coterminous with the nineteenth century, more new Christians emerged from a wider number of new people groups than at any previous time in the history of the church. Never before had so many Christians moved to so many vast and remote parts of the Globe and communicated the gospel across so many cultural boundaries. The period from 1792-1910 is a kairos moment for the history of the church. The great century of missions” from 1792 to 1910.” [The word kairos was an ancient Greek word meaning“opportunity,” “season,” or “fitting time.”]

       When you add to this the decline of the Western church in the 20th century, this period seems even more significant. One has to wonder why the “restless zeal and visionary spirit” that resulted in scores of “beautiful feet” since our Lord ascended have slowly cooled from red hot to barely lukewarm, or even worse yet to cold. Discerning Christians are increasingly voicing their conclusion that we are indeed living in the prophesied time of the “falling away” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Obviously, one of the signs of this is the great lack of “restless zeal and visionary spirit” that stirred the hearts and minds of hundreds, even thousands, of self-sacrificing men and women who gave their all to spread the Gospel throughout the world. We find it both astonishing and alarming that so many professing Christians today cannot give an adequate testimony of their salvation, neither do they know how to lead a person to Christ. Truly, the bottom line is there is an appalling lack of genuine concern for lost souls whether they be in far off lands, living next door, or sitting in a church. This is a disturbing symptom of growing spiritual dullness, divided hearts that have lost their first love, and carelessness concerning a backslidden condition of darkness and unbelief.

       The Bible plainly tells us what causes a “falling away.” In fact, we are warned in 1 Timothy 4:1,2 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy: having their conscience seared with a hot iron”. Why do people “depart from the faith” and give “heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”? One reason is given in 2 Timothy 3,4 which states, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables”. Notice the word “lusts,” a list of which you can read in 2 Timothy 3 along with how to be “wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

       Satan, the enemy of every soul, hates the “restless zeal and visionary spirit” of the true Church through the ages, and hates it still in every individual heart that still catches the vision and burns with a holy fire to spread the Gospel far and wide. While the “fallen away” organized, worldly, man-centered churches long for a type of fleshly ear-tickling “revival,” what they should be seeking is for a place of true repentance, and then ask the Lord to give them a vision, a return to the simplicity of Christ, the Gospel, and the true Word of God. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29:18a. Although a true revival could cause some to gain a “restless zeal and visionary spirit” for lost souls, there first must be a genuine turning away from sin, iniquity, pride and love for the evil systems of the world. The truth is, as long as the world is in the church it can never faithfully fulfill the commission of Christ because its love is misdirected. We are clearly told “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any many love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” 1 John 2:15.  

       Concerning how others know we belong to God, have you noticed that it all begins and ends with God and love? “We love Him, because He first loved us” 1 John 4:19, and we are to not only love Him supremely, but to love one another, humbly serving others while walking in obedience. “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” 1 John 4:8. The Holy Spirit is our teacher as we dedicate ourselves to “Study to shew [ourselves] approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15. The following quote from Oswald Chambers gives us “the bottom line” of a born again Christian’s duty: “The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service to Him. It is never ‘Do, do’ with the Lord, but ‘Be, be’ and He will ‘do’ through you. The only way to keep true to God is by a steady persistent refusal to be interested in Christian work and to be interested alone in Jesus Christ.” Is Jesus “doing” through you the work of harvesting lost souls in these end days, or are your feet too busily entangled in the affairs of this life, and endless “doing” that will bear no eternal fruit in the end?  

        Because the love of God is “shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (see Romans 5:5) we are to let the light (Jesus) which is in us “so shine before men, that they may see [our] good works, and glorify [our] Father which is in heaven” Matthew 5:16. Is our light shining and are our feet beautiful? May every saint rejoice in this powerful word: “He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail” 1 Samuel 2:9. So be it, LORD. Amen.

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The Goal of Gentle Shepherd Ministries is to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to make disciples in compliance with the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19).

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