Thought for the Week - 18th SeptemberPastor Gareth Watkins
“As for you also,
Because of the blood of your covenant,
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
Return to the stronghold,
You prisoners of hope.
Even today I declare
That I will restore double to you.
For I have bent Judah, My bow,
Fitted the bow with Ephraim,
And raised up your sons, O Zion,
Against your sons, O Greece,
And made you like the sword of a mighty man.”
This is the Way, walk in it: Part 3
One of the things I find sadly lacking in churches these days, is the ability to take Christians on in their Christian lives. They’re happy to preach salvation, but that’s just the beginning! There’s needs to be a growing, maturing and going on in God.
When we walk on in God, all sorts of things come against us. One of those things is humanism – look at the EU, Germany, Belgium, Holland etc. They’ve gone away from God, but this humanism goes right through the countries. The words in this passage that stood out for me is “O Greece” – the spirit of Greece for me stands for the education that pulls us away from God, the philosophy that pulls us away from God etc. The nations that surround us have this running through them; they no longer look to God. They all look to education, philosophy and other different things.
A Spirit of our age
As we walk in God, we’re going to bump into these things. In humanism we learn that man decides what matters, that man is the centre of everything, that man is the measure of all things, there are no moral absolutes, and that man is advanced by his own efforts! These statements are not of God. There are moral absolutes! God has set them out in His Bible – things that are true and eternal! When we move to the thinking of the world, we are in trouble. We have no moral absolutes, or standards to live by. God has set us free from careless living , God has standards and God can save us from those care-less sins that bind us.
What an evil force! Such thinking turns people into prisoners. But we read in God’s Word “I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.” He sets us free, out of that pit to a place where He provides so much more! Man is never going to be the measure of all things. He is in charge! Man is not in control of when he is born, nor when he dies. God is the beginning and the end, and the sustenance of all things.
The world is held by a grip by this humanism. Is the world unstable because of it? The world isn’t a stable place – generally there’s huge amounts of political unrest, warfare, and refugees. A part of it comes down to humanism, and what God calls “men of Greece”.
Look at Israel and the miracle in the life of Prime Minister Rabin. He was a soldier for 25 years, riding through the ranks to Prime Minister. During the Israeli Ward of Independence (the Six Day war) he was Chief of Operations when 600,000 Jews were surrounded by 40,000,000 Arabs and six fully-equipped professional armies. The Israeli army defeated those armies and Arabs! What are the chances? No chance! That for me is like something out of the Bible… what a miracle! Like Gideon, He led God’s victory despite being vastly outnumbered.
What I didn’t like was the statement Rabin made saying that “Israel is now a nation like any other nation”. But they’re not! They were a nation founded on the things of God, kept by God and – despite turning their backs on Christ – loved by God. That statement is that they’re no longer going to be a Godly nation, but one based on humanism and man. If you go to Israel today, you’ll see that – so many people not interested in the things of God. Humanism was at the centre of his heart.
God wants us to “return to the stronghold” where the prisoners of hope are. If we come back into that stronghold, God has promised us that He will give double to us and bring us to a place where we have water.
2 Thessalonians 2: 3-12
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
We see a great falling away today, and many things – like humanism – exalting itself above God and opposing the things of God. As a Christian today, you’re unable to speak the things of God, in case you offend someone. There’s things you can’t say. We read the “mystery of lawlessness is already at work” – you can pretty much do anything these days, as long as it’s not in God’s way! The spirit of humanism runs right through society.
We read “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders”. Many today seek a sign. The devil creates them and many churches lap it up! David Wilkinson wrote of a church that doesn’t allow you to speak of or sing of the blood of Christ, in case someone is offended! This is the foundation and fabric of the truth of the scripture! Christ’s blood has cleanses us, sets us free, and gives us a hope! This hope sees us through this humanism, the signs and lying wonders, and things that come against us. We’re encountering these problems day by day. The only hope we have is Christ!
Humanism says there’s no absolute truth, and if there is truth it comes from a man. There’s no absolute truth that comes from man! Absolute truth comes from Christ “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). People in the church are being confused – they’re looking for signs and wonders that is deceiving them from the truth that is in Christ Jesus.
In John 14:16-17 we read “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” We will know when we’re sinning, when we’re not walking rightly, why? Because the Spirit of truth has been given to us!
We’re walking this path. Keep pressing back into the stronghold that is in Christ! The helper – the Spirit of truth – will come to you. We will come across these things, like humanism, but we can keep on walking. The secret is we Keep on going back to that stronghold – He has made us free and He will keep us free!