Move On Up That Mountain
Standard;Pro 4:18 But the path of the righteous is like the dawning light, That shines more and more until the perfect day.
Are you among the righteous? Have you been baptized and by faith apprehended the Good News that Jesus Christ died to pay for your sins, and that as you receive Him and His gift God gives you the right to be called His child? (Jn 1:12) Then the light has indeed dawned......however
Are you on the path? (In other words are you living and breathing?) OK, that's good, now.......
Are you shining more and more since the light of Christ dawned in your life?
Are you growing and maturing as a Christian or are you stuck in a contented rut? ( Now, I'll give you that there are seasons when we do get stuck in spiritual ruts....but we are not to stay there. Rock the car, shake up your life through faith wrought obedience, call God's towing, do whatever you can do to pull yourself out of it.) Because to get stuck and choose to remain there is to not finish the race, and to lose your claim to righteousness.
Mt 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
What is this verse in Proverbs telling us? Is it not saying that the righteous keep growing in grace and holiness until the Day of the Lord's return? Should not the fruit of the Spirit be growing in us as proof?
Where is the ever increasing love? Joy? Peace? Patience? Kindness? Goodness? And self-control of the Christian? What will the Lord say to such individual trees on that last day, who come before Him with fruit that has stopped growing before reaching maturity.........He will curse such a fig tree and it will die. Just as He did to that tree outside Jerusalem.
Mt 21:19 And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, "Let no fruit grow on you ever again." Immediately the fig tree withered away.
Or what are we to make of the parable of the talents? Two men invested their faith and it kept growing, one remained content where he was, and he was cast into outer darkness. Friend we must get out of our spiritual rut, we must move on up that mountain!
I've been reading A.W. Tozer's book I Talk Back To the Devil and he says, “ the sad thing is that there are many in our churches who do not have a long time to live. They have grown old and yet they are not one inch farther up the mountain than they were on that day when the sun first rose on them in conversion.”
Well, most of you here today have many years ahead of you should the Lord grant them, learn from this passage. Don't ever get lulled into a rut! Read. Mark. And inwardly digest the Word of God and purpose to trust it and obey it!
All of us here today need to hear these words of Jesus again.
Lu 14:26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
27 "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
28 "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it --
29 "lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
30 "saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'
Count the cost of being a true Christian beloved. Everything must take a back seat to Jesus. We must die to self and put His interests above our own. Anything less will result in a stalled sunrise, a light that did not finish to the full day. And the evidence that God longed to show the world through your life on Judgment Day will be a half-finished joke. Because you were content to stay where you were.
Beware of the foolish questions we ask of ourselves before we decide to risk following Jesus in trust or obedience. Is it safe? Will it be convenient? Will it be fun? Was there ever a cross that was safe, convenient, or fun?
Yet, ironically, there is no safer place to be than in the will of God, there is nothing more convenient than the Providence of God, and there is no more fullness of joy than walking with Him. But, we'll never know it until we are ready to leave our own definitions of safety, convenience, and joy behind.
These are things that can keep us from starting our spiritual journey up the mountain, but there are things that can also stall us along the way.
Tozer says our spiritual growth comes to a screeching halt when we hear a spiritual truth and refuse to obey it, refuse to yield to it.
Or when sin has been made evident in our lives and we refuse to confess it and repent of it.
Or if we find ourselves in a situation that needs to be straightened out and we keep putting it off.
Or some act of obedience has been brought to our attention and we refuse to perform it.
We also get stuck through what he calls “chronic discouragement.” We have struggled and not seen the immediate fruits of our labors and so we give up, settling for spiritual mediocrity as the norm. This is a bad place to be because to accept mediocrity is to become vomit in the Lord's mouth. The lukewarm who are spewed out in
Re 3:16 "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
Tozer says it's like those who have been sick so long that their illness has become their pet and they wouldn't want to lose it because they would no longer have a subject for conversation. Spiritual chronic disappointment can bring us to the point where we see no hope for a cure, and so we settle in with our disease of spiritual apathy.
When Jesus saw the paralytic by the pool of Siloam, He asked, “ Joh 5:6 `Dost thou wish to become whole?' 7 The ailing man answered him, `Sir, I have no man, that, when the water may be troubled, he may put me into the pool, and while I am coming, another doth go down before me.'
Listen to that response, it smacks of chronic disappointment! And how does Jesus answer chronic disaapointment?
8 Jesus saith to him, `Rise, take up thy couch, and be walking;'
Get moving you spiritual couch potato!
Then there's the “cult of respectability. Don't rock the boat! Fit in at all costs! Friends you and I need to become radical. Radical – marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional.
Does Jesus fit that definition? Moses? Paul? Pater? Martin Luther? Then why not you or I? Why not someone in this generation step out of the cult of respectability and into the radical realm of trusting and obeying God's Word? Let's step out and start moving that light up the mountain again!
God created you! He redeemed you! He does it all for you. He even creates the divine impulses to send your way to create spiritually pleasing activity in you, to get you moving up the mountain. It's called grace. We are not only in need of it for salvation but we are in need of it to work out our salvation. Grace is defined as divine impulses on your heart.
When's the last time you ever felt a godly desire to do something. A sudden kindling from Him that warmed your heart and ALMOST stirred you into action! You see, that's the tragedy.......almost. Forget the almost............full speed ahead beloved! Do it before the devil's bucket brigade forms up against you and douses the flame.
How many divine impulses have been doused in such a way? The devil works especially hard at discouraging you...dousing the godly impulses because the last thing he wants so see is a raging inferno of holiness and grace!
Something has been bothering me about the church's presentation of the Gospel lately. It has been treated in the church like the headline of a newspaper. GOOD NEWS! GOOD NEWS! YOU CAN BE SAVED! JUST BELIEVE IN GOD!
And we're buying the paper, but not reading it. We're stopping at the headline! Even here at Living Word we seem to be content to be hearers of the word rather than doers. Oh we learn a lot about what God says, but are we acting on it?
Is the headline of GOOD NEWS enough or do we need to read the rest of the story? I think the answer to that question is found in the writings of the New Testament.
Listen to Paul in his letter to the Romans as he speaks about the purpose of the calling of the apostles:
“we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith.” Hey, wait a minute,,,,the headline said nothing about “the obedience of faith!”
And what about 2 Thessalonians 1:8 where Paul talks talks about judgement against those who do not OBEY the gospel?
2Th 1:8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He is so concerned about this faith wrought obedience that he prays earnestly for the Thessalonians
2Th 1:11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,
There it is again, the “work of faith,”
In 1 Peter 4:17 we get a chilling thought regarding those who do not “obey the gospel.”
1Pe 4:17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
And to make sure we see the necessity of gospel produced obedience, he says in v19:
“Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator WHILE DOING GOOD.
The end result then of the Gospel is to bring about and inward change that produces obedience and conformity to the will of God. If the gospel has truly been received than we ought to be growing in the likeness of Jesus.
Ro 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
2Co 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
If the Gospel stops at regeneration, why then did the apostle write to the CHRISTIANS AT ROME,
Ro 1:15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.
There is much more to the Gospel than regeneration. God is not in this to collect souls. He is not in this to collect YOUR soul. He's in this to CAPTURE love......your love. And guess what? Every time you express love for others, (which is the chief command and radical call of the gospel) you express love toward God. ....and you move on up the mountain.
Let's get out of the rut. Let's loosen the tent pegs of complacency and follow the pillar of God's presence which will lead us to obedience and trust of His Word. It's not about wandering around aimlessly, it's about simply loving, trusting, and obeying right where you are. This is the path that leads to the top of the mountain and pulls us out of our rut. Let's look for places to spend His love.
We have a prayer vigil coming up this Saturday. I urge you to come and spend some time in thanksgiving and confession of any spiritual complacency. Then ask God to open up your spiritual receptacles to His divine impulses. When received, take your flesh out of the picture and measure them according to His Word, and then, ask Him to show you who and how to love. purpose to act on them!
Let's break camp here at Living Word! God is calling us to something higher. Let's purpose to follow His divine impulses and see where they lead us as individuals and as a congregation.