Thursday, July 2, 2009

SOMETHING ON THE INSIDE

"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36, KJV)

Earlier, as I was meditating, I thought on the old Apostolic song, "Jesus on the inside, working on the outside, O what a change in my life...". If you have been around Pentecostal Apostolic churches (or some others) for any considerable length of time, then you have probably heard it. As I thought on it, I added some words, like: "Grace on the inside", or "Mercy on the inside", and finally, "Love on the inside". I guess, I broke it down because, we all are convinced that we have Jesus on the inside--but what about the grace, mercy and love???

I often think of our rich heritage, too, and the great blessings that our forefathers left us. Most of it is an awesome blessing, but there were some limitations. Let's be honest; all of them were not educated and they simply didn't have the tools for study available, that we have (of course, they had great revelation!). I do believe they did the best that they knew. Today, though, we have a greater responsibility--to whom much is given much is required; and we have been given much more to work with. They worked hard, with so little. We have so much, but how hard are we utilizing those available tools to "rightly divide the Word of Truth"? Our forefathers will not be held accountable for teaching based on their limitations--but this generation will, because, we don't have those limitations, yet, we choose to teach those same erroneous "doctrines"; without excuse.

When leaders and teachers of the Gospel don't study to show themselves approved (before God), it harms the Body. It leaves them open and free to continue teaching (as doctrine), their own personal likes and dislikes, hang-up's and vain traditions.

Teaching about clothing, divorce and remarriage, etc. really has to be Scriptural and not based on your opinion, or our traditions. It has left many confused and hurt but not truly convicted--at least, not by God, but by man. If pastors have preferences, it should be stated as such, and adhered to as obedience to the head of that assembly, but not taught as doctrine. That is false doctrine.

As far as, divorce and remarriage is concerned, because leadership refuses to recognize the role of grace, many are destroyed (for lack of knowledge). It leads to some falling away, fornication, and misery for many. It is time for our leaders to stop being so stubborn and hardhearted, and consider that their understanding may be amiss. I implore them to honestly seek God and search the Scriptures and release people from the bondage they have placed them in.

With GRACE comes freedom--not to sin, but to focus on the "weightier matters of the Law". The weightier matters of the Law are: JUDGMENT, MERCY, and FAITH. Judgment refers to "justice". Mercy refers to "compassion". Faith refers to "conviction". In Matthew 23, when Jesus was speaking to the leaders of that day--the scribes and Pharisees, He started out by calling them "Hypocrites!" He went on..."for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have ommitted the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."

For too long, our focus has been outward appearance. Long skirts, no slacks (for ladies!), no makeup (again, for ladies), no jewelry--except a watch, maybe (in many circles), etc. These same saints won't say, "Praise the Lord!" or crack a smile, oftentimes (I suppose because I am not dressed exactly as they are, sometimes!). We are way too caught up in the outward appearance, when you consider that God "looketh on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). It speaks volumes about what is in our hearts when we don't speak to our brothers and sisters in Christ. It also speaks volumes when we don't have kind things to say out of their presence, too. We must guard our hearts and minds--it is a subtle, yet well-used trick of the enemy, to keep our focus away from the heart. As long as we continue to battle and debate these less weightier matters and issues, the heart remains unchanged--and satan is satisfied, his work is accomplished, in us.

Let's really shake up the gates of hell! Let Jesus really go to work on the inside! Lose focus on these outward things--you have to know, at least, they are not Heaven or Hell issues. What resides in our hearts WILL determine where we spend eternity, though! Let's make sure our focus is on the weightier matters of the Law! What Law? "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:34,35) "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear O Israel; The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:29-31).

Now..."Something on the inside, working on the outside; O what a change in my life.
Jesus on the inside, working on the outside; O what a change in my life.
Mercy on the inside, working on the outside; O what a change in my life.
Grace on the inside, working on the outside; O what a change in my life.
Love on the inside, working on the outside; O what a change in my life. O what a change--in my life...."