Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sep | 26 | The Bare Facts

Dream Word – REAL

Ezekiel 16:25 "You built yourself a high place at the top of every street and made your beauty abominable, and you spread your legs to every passer-by to multiply your harlotry. NASU

The Bare Facts

I am not a pornographer. Though I could be. No, the abuse and the misuse of women in glossy magazines and internet titillation, is in my mind, an offence to all real men and is an abomination to God, for the marriage bed is holy and undefiled. Yes indeed, according to the Bible, sex is good and great and holy to boot! How wonderful. Imagine that!

Therefore, dragging sex through the dirt is a terrible offence to the gift of God and a stain on His beautiful creation. However, I am no prude, no, I have no problem with fine art and the odd bosom and bare behind. It is all a matter of context you see, a matter of what is being portrayed and said. Yes, the misuse of sex is a terrible thing, but the misunderstanding of naked portrayal is simply immature and silly. As a verbalist, in the same way I suppose, the naked words I use must also have some relevant artistic ‘context’ lest they too become pornographically offensive. Yes that sounds right doesn’t it? For our culture I mean. It sounds right? Right? However, God does not seem to follow these same cultural rules.
Our text for tonight for example is raw and naked. It contains no misunderstandings. It is straightforward, it is grossly offensive and it is God that is speaking! Imagine a Pastor or church member using that kind of language! They would be excommunicated! No, don’t play the cultural context card here, for if anything, in that culture the impact of these words in our text for tonight have more offense and power than we can possibly imagine. God knew it and so God used it. God is very offensive. He doesn’t care. He’s not polite and He’s not respectable.

You see the problem with naked words, words without any culturally respectable mores, is that the pictures they paint are shocking! Indeed, they sometimes paint so large a portrait that it is only the vast unbounded context of the mind that can house those word pictures painted upon it. We need to be careful don’t we then, regarding just what kind of pictures we can paint with the words of our mouth? I mean last night’s poetic quote from the ‘Poet Bank Robber Black Bart,’ was pretty offensive, I mean, fancy finding 'that' in a Christian devotional. It is a good job that it was only verbal art wasn’t it? What's more important for me though, is that it is a good job I didn’t go as far as Jesus did in giving astonishing cultural and religious verbal offense. Phew! Thank goodness I did not go as far as Jesus in being offensive in my language. You see God is often very offensive. He doesn't care. He's not polite. He's not respectable.

Shall I be brave? Yes, I think I shall. Why not? Let me introduce you tonight then to some of the most offensive words ever spoken. Libellous they are! Outrageous they are! Astonishing even! Unfortunately though, the words are true and the passion in which they were spoken is rightly powerful, even spitting in its condemnation. So much so, that they got the speaker killed.

Listen – Jesus speaking to religious hypocrites says -"If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. John 8:42-44 NKJV

Now friends, we have little felt import regarding the extreme offensiveness to a learned Jew of being called “A lying and murdering son of Satan!” When Jesus shouted and spat this verbal slap at the great and the gowned , all the listening mothers began holding their hands over the ears of their children. All the grandmothers were saying “Tush” and sucking their breath in deeply and shaking their heads in outrageous disbelief! All the Pharisees were reaching for rocks and all the disciples were wide-eyed and open-mouthed, staring at Jesus in disbelief! Its outrageous I know, but it’s nothing compared to another place, where He’s really going to go ‘word wild’ on them and open up His big verbal guns and blast them with nomenclature like you’ve never heard before! Names that explode like hot shrapnel on the ringing ears of dumbfounded, pompously pious and polite big hypocrites whose nice religious language has camouflaged a festering and a fallen reality. “Open graves!” He shall call them, “White washed walls and nests of snakes” He throws at them, and a whole lot more besides. Yes indeed, there is many a religious and respectable Christian that should be thankful that not all the works and choice words of Jesus have been fully recorded for us.

Christianity is for real men. Men with swords, men itching for action, men willing to hazard their lives for the Gospel, men who can face lions and the strongest of charging bulls, grapple them by the horns, look them in the eyes and tell them the truth in full and not so glorious technicolor, even if it costs them their lives. The words of Jesus are for men, for they are spoken by the very best of men.

Christianity is for real women, godly women, strong of life and sure of lip, throbbing in heart, weeping at His feet, serving with singing, tough and tender, ready to glean in the fields of Boaz, ready to labour long, love lots, hope much, and command the dignity they deserve in every market place that they may tread. The words of Jesus are for real women who are sick of lies.

I have to say to some of you tonight that it is time to grow up. It is time to get real, it is time to lay aside the large offense you attach to small words and become as Christ. Christianity is not polite. Christianity is not respectable. Christianity is like its founder, like its Commander in Chief, it is righteous, robust and holy and that is the way you and your ears must become.

I spend my time encouraging folk to come to Christ! I spend my time encouraging folk to come to church, but I tell you tonight, that with some of you, I need to encourage you to put down your gold-engraved, red- leather Bibles and go join the Masons or the Women’s Institute or some other non-offensive little club. I say this because Christ and His cause is not for you. Frankly your polite and pressed suit approach to the beautifully raw and everlasting Gospel, is keeping people away from the Kingdom, yes it’s keeping them away in their thousands. I invite you tonight then to either get saved, get real, or get out, for I wonder if you really know the real Jesus of the real Bible all red in word and raw?

Listen: - "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it." When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:51-60 NKJV

Pray: Lord, forgive me for treating Your house like a club for old ladies. Lord, let the words of my mouth, the meditations of my heart, the passion of my pulse and the presence of my true self, be acceptable in Your sight, Oh God my strength and my redeemer. Amen!

2 comments:

Zoe Brain said...

If I had a prayer, it would be that I be kind.

Like Stephen. Using his last breath not to ask forgiveness for himself - though I'm sure he knew he could do with some in his last hour - but for those who were torture/murdering him.

God knows I have enough burden of sin on me, so how can I possibly condemn in my heart those who sin against me without being a hypocrite too?

And yet, how can I not speak out against the sin itself, how can I not do my utmost to prevent it?

He doesn't make things easy, does He?

I think - as long as whatever you do, you are guided by Charity, you won't go too far wrong. As you show forgiveness and charity and compassion and mercy and just plain human decency to others, so the same shall be shown to you. I don't have much Faith, but I have faith in that.

That means taking action sometimes, not remaining passive, but speaking out, sometimes bluntly. Not to do so would not be kind.

All the best, Rev.

Robert said...

Amen Zoe! How U doing girl?