As panic spreads over the Coronavirus (COVID-19), it may be appropriate to draw attention to spiritual diseases, which pose serious risks to us all.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones." Proverbs 3:5-8
We cherish health for our bodies but most tolerate disease in their souls. Holiness is to our soul and spirit what health is to our bodies. We are body, mind and spirit. Our thoughts affect our emotions. Our understanding affects our decisions. It is all interconnected. Many people today are living far below their potential and failing to fulfil their purpose, or accomplish their destiny, because of spiritual diseases.
The Vision and Mission of Livingstone Fellowship
“Coming to Him as to a Living Stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 2:4-5
The Foundation and Chief Cornerstone is Christ
Jesus Christ is the Living Stone, the Chief Cornerstone, the Stone which the builders rejected as worthless. If anyone falls on that Stone, he will be cut to pieces, but if that Stone falls on someone it will crush him to dust. Solus Christus!
Christ Alone is the Head of the Church
Christ alone is the Head of the Church. Christ alone is the Mediator between God and man. The wise man builds his house on a Rock. Christ is our Rock solid foundation. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” John 1:1. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Truth conquers. It is the Truth which sets us free. “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” 1 Cor 3:11
Come to Christ in Repentance and Faith
We come to Christ in Repentance and faith. We who are God’s chosen people are a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a people belonging to God, called to worship, work and warfare, for the extension of God’s Kingdom. We who were dead in our trespasses and sins have been made alive by His grace, received by faith, on the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s own blood upon the Cross of Calvary.
Living Stones, Sons, Servants and Soldiers
He has taken out our heart of stone and regenerated us, so that now we are living stones being built up as part of His Church, His family, His army worldwide. What a privilege to be sons and daughters of the King of kings and Lord of lords! What a privilege to be servants and soldiers for the Creator, Saviour, Redeemer and Eternal Judge of the universe!
What Would You Say is the Greatest Sin?
If I was to ask you, what is the greatest sin anyone could commit, what would you answer?
Would you say murder, idolatry, adultery, hatred, perversion, blasphemy?
Those would be the sins one finds identified in the Ten Commandments.
When I was converted, 43 years ago, one of the main sins that seemed to be in most people’s minds was “judge not”, which was interpreted: think not, discern not. Many people accuse others of being legalistic, if they quote from the Law of the Lord.
“Intolerance and Racism”
Today, the greatest sins seem to be “intolerance” and “racism” (a term first developed by Leon Trotsky, head of the soviet Red Army, in order to counter criticisms of the communists. If you oppose communism, you are obviously “a racist”. An acronym for Racist: Rather Annoying Communist Inspired Silencing Tactic).
Another modern day sin is anti-Semitism. On my 5-country, 2-continent, 5-week mission for the Reformation 500, in 2017, ministering all the way across America and Europe through to Wittenberg, Germany, my first meeting was in San Jose, California. After a presentation on Martin Luther – Captive to the Word, the first question from a lady, sitting in the back was: “What about Martin Luther’s anti-Semitism?” I asked her what she was referring to? She said, he wrote the book “On the Jews and their Lies”. I asked her if she had read the book. “No”, she replied. I asked, “What is your position on blasphemy?” She replied, “I do not understand”. I said, “What do you think about blasphemy? The taking the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in vain? Cursing and using the Name of God like a filthy swear word, an expression of disgust?” “I do not know” she said, “but I am against anti-Semitism”.
What about Blasphemy?
“I understand that ma’am, but considering that you live in California, within a short distance of the greatest blasphemy industry on the planet, Hollywood, what is your position on blasphemy?” “I do not know” she replied, “but I am against anti-Semitism”. “Well Martin Luther was against blasphemy and he wrote a book against blasphemers and against those producing pornography, running child prostitution and a whole lot of other vices, including robbing widows and orphans of their homes, by usury and other unethical banking practices. It is not that Martin Luther was anti-Semitic, it was that he was pro-Christ and anti-blasphemy”. Should we be accused of being anti-Semitic because we are against Hollywood’s blasphemy industry? Because we protest against abortion and pornography? Or because we are against communism?
Redefining Sin by Guilt Manipulation
Today, many people have started to define sin, not in terms of God's Ten Commandments, but in terms of some kind of societal guilt manipulation social engineering. There are those who have now come up with terms that are not found in the Bible and assert that these are the worst sins anyone can commit.
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Joyful, Prayerful and Thankful
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Plainly, it is God's will for us to be joyful, prayerful and thankful.
Nicolae Moldoveanu – Composing Hymns in Prison
During one of our missions to Eastern Europe, Rev. Bill Bathman introduced me to an extraordinary Christian Hymn writer, who composed many hundreds of Hymns while being tortured by the communists in Romania. Nicolae Moldoveanu was called “The Bach of Romania.” In his lifetime, he composed more than 6,000 Hymns, hundreds of those while suffering excruciating torture in the communist prison system of Romania.
Extraordinary Creativity and Mental Discipline Under Torture
Without access to the Bible, or any books, without any musical instruments, without pen or paper, Moldoveanu determined to compose Hymns of praise to God and commit them to his memory, to later be put down on paper, when finally released from prison.
The Testimony of Richard Wurmbrand
Richard Wurmbrand testified that Moldoveanu was “one of the greatest saints I met in my 14 years of prison. He came smiling from the torture room. His approach was that of a lamb. While I was protesting against the guard’s abuses, against others, or myself, he never protested.”
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“Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. ‘The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:5-10
Madness and Wickedness in the Heart
"I am a good person!"
Jesus said no one is good except God alone (Mark 10:18). When we evaluate ourselves in the light of God's Ten Commandments, recognising that Jesus is the standard, no one should deceive themselves by claiming that: "I am a very good person!"
"Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." Isaiah 55:6-7
Loving Their Chains
We recently participated in a Children’s Ministry Leadership Summit. It was an excellent programme, but during question and answer time, some individuals showed how resistant so many are to Reformation and Revival. “Your message made me feel uncomfortable! The T.V. is what make our house a home. No one can say whether Madiba was a Christian or not. What hope do you give us? I feel discouraged! How can we deprive our children of T.V. It is the T.V. that brings us together…” Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe unto the person through whom it comes.
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“Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him and asked Him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?’ So Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honour your father and your mother.’’ And he answered and said to Him, ‘Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.’ Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in Heaven; and come, take up the cross and follow Me.’ But he was sad at this Word and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the Kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were astonished at His Words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, ‘Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.’ And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, ‘Who then can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.’ Then Peter began to say to Him, ‘See, we have left all and followed You.’ So Jesus answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the Gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time - houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions - and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last and the last first.” Mark 10:17-31
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“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:6-8
Pride Offends God
The Lord Jesus warns us of: "thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness..." Mark 7:22. Here pride is in the middle of a list of heinous offences. "A haughty look, a proud heart and the ploughing of the wicked are sin." Proverbs 21:4
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“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17
To Waste Time is to Waste Life
Time is the most valuable commodity of all. It is a non-renewable resource. Some people say that time is money. Time is vastly more valuable than money! Time is life! You may get some more money, but you will never get your time again. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs 9:10. In Pilgrims Progress we are warned against By-path Meadow, the Slough of Despond, being detained in the dungeons of Doubting Castle by Giant Despair and the time wasting distractions of Vanity Fair.
Chronos, Kairos and Eschatos
There are three Greek words that sum up the Biblical view of time: Chronos, Kairos and Eschatos.
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John the Baptist was "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight." Matthew 3:3
John said: "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I'm not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Matthew 3:11-12
"For our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:29