A Call To The Remnant

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Are we offended in Him? (W.E. Smith)

Posted by appolus on May 16, 2012

Blessed is the one who is not offended by Me. (Matthew 11:6 ESV)

Dear ones – the Lord never minces words does He? He never pretends things are different than they really are? There is a spirit-scraping-bone honesty about everything He did and said while on this earth. He desires truth in the inner-most being, deep down, and unlike religious men and the church by and large today, He is satisfied with nothing less.

In this age of hyphenated, small “c” Christianity, the deep, purposeful, emptying work of the cross, has not only been lost, it have become somewhat of an offense to so many who name His name. Paul travailed for these babes, until “Christ be formed in them.” We have made the gospel so much about self-affirmation (humanism in short), not what the Word reveals it to be –  self-negation. We have turned sanctification largely into a work of renovation rather what it truly is – demolition and the building up (the filling up unto fullness) of Christ in the empty shell that remains.He emptied Himself to come down and then He went willingly up to the cross of death to pour Himself out for us unto life, and He is the way; the pattern – so why is it different for us I wonder?

“Oh He did everything for us so that we wouldn’t have to – praise the Lord!”

Oh really?

So then how does He deal with this “body of death” that Paul spoke of, that he wrestled with constantly, with the sin and self-life that remained? What does baptism picture? Cleansing? Washing your hands? No, it pictures death, being covered over, subsumed, buried, finished.

“I have died for you my friends, no need to take up your cross daily and follow me – all is done” – is this what the Master gave us? I dare say I wish it was.

To become something new, to receive a new name, a new identity in the Father’s House, we must receive a new life, the very life of the Final Adam, the Father’s Beloved Son. He alone is the basis of the New Creation, the fount and breath of life that sustains it. We are to become a new creature that lives and moves and exists solely in Him and out of Him and for His Father’s glory. This is all true, yet something stands in the way of all this, and we all know what it is –

THE OLD MAN!

It is you and I in all of our inherent fullness and self-life. It is everything in us and of us, not just the bad but even the good (especially the good as this is the wellspring of the pride of life). We in and of ourselves are not like most cities with good and bad neighborhoods, and the Holy Spirit is revitalizing the sundry parts. No, that is not what Paul taught in Romans and elsewhere. “In me there is no good thing”. The cross offered us isn’t like chemo-therapy that kills off only the bad cells – it destroys everything. It is also not like modern psychology that treats selective or destructive areas of your behavior and personality –

IT CUTS YOU DOWN. ALL OF YOU!

Such that you change from Moses the prince, to Moses the sheep-hand, from Jacob to an Israel, from Jeremiah the priest’s son, to Jeremiah the prophet, from Nehemiah the cup-bearer to Nehemiah the wall-builder, from Simon to Cephas, from Saul to Paul.

Oh dear beloved, truly it is a strange and terrible work the Lord is doing with those few willing to venture down this narrow path. Yet we are not to think it strange that so many fiery trails and afflictions and losses are working in painful ways to separate us from ourselves, to break us down, to bring us to death daily. Praise God that He employs the very curse of sin to slay it. “You will not die” – hissed the serpent under his foul breath, but indeed we must, we have to, it is the only way to truly live in the image of God.

Yet in the midst of it, He will refresh and encourage us, He will give a cup of water to those little ones who are fellow-shipping in His sufferings, and He will bless heartily all others who do so as well.

And may we each be encouraging one another as we see the day approaching. You do see it don’t you? May your eyes be opened, may He spit on the earth, rub your eyes and command them to be opened, and your ears to be opened too that you might hear what He is saying (in the spirit) to the churches at this very moment. We are Daniels in Babylon saints, and yet are we weeping over His fallen city, His fallen testimony, His captive people once redeemed and betrothed unto Himself? What are we concerned with or consumed with – this Sodom in which live?

Here take this hand and come out. Go ahead and take it -leave everything behind and come out! Don’t look back for this Sodom has nothing for you – leave it all – your place, your home, your citizenship, your affiliations, your painted treasures, even the loved ones who refuse to leave – Come out! And be counted with the Lord! Come out to stand on the mount with your father Abraham, for the time and the call is coming quickly to an end.

I dare say we should be wary of any follower of His who never struggles with the Lord, never grapples with Him and His violent move on their life and heart. All is song and happiness, in other words. All is buttoned-up pretense. Then where, I dare say, is the offense of the cross; where is the blood and sweat pouring out from their old man, where is the authentic disciple experience of life rising up out of death in them? Where is the dislocated hip from such a violent encounter with the Lord? Are we offended when we come across a saint who walks with a limp because he has contended heartfully and violently with the Lord? Why is this? Why has this faith become incapable of dealing with things on such a deeper level, such an honest level? Can we grow from milk to meat, from childhood to maturity with anything less I ask? Why are we so quick to judge, when the Word exhorts us against such things?

Why no hard and bitter questions for Him? Like John, we are only men, only so much like Jacob, yes becoming sons of God, but still mostly just men. “Are you really the promised Christ?” “Why do you sleep Lord when the storm rages all around us and we are consumed?”

It is the cross that is so offensive to the flesh in man, and to this modern testimony of the Lord on this earth. They will have none of it it seems. No self-denial, no loss, no affliction, no self-emptying, no bruising, no narrow way, no sore affliction, no rejection, no betrayal, no false accusations, no hatred from this world and its god. “GET AWAY FROM ME SATAN!” is how our Lord thinks of such a cross-less pursuit of Him. It is offensive to Him and His Father and so it should be to us.

Yet this is the path to the increase of Christ is it not? This is where His life comes from and how it increases in us. “Unless it dies…” says the Word. Not by more study, more church, more religion, more fellowship with always-happy, water-spider christians, dancing on the surface of life but never plunging into the depths. Does even this word offend you? Does it sound wrong or twisted to you? Perhaps we can go around the Red Sea rather than through it. Perhaps we can build a golden bridge across the Jordan, rather than get our ankles wet. Perhaps we can take up a sword or do anything else in our power to keep death and hell from knocking at the door. Perhaps we can slay Saul so that he will stop hunting us down. Perhaps the baker or the butler will put in a good word for us to get us out of this pit.

I know my friends, how hard this is, how deep these things must go. I know how lonely is this path into His very heart, once so many others have abandoned this narrow way back to the Father’s love. I know what it is like to want to sing His praises when only hard questions will come out. I know what it is like to be so blinded by tears that you cant see Him in the storm.

The Lord minced no words in such matters and so how can we? Will He find (the) faith on the earth among His own when He returns? No, because the true faith, the true call has become so offensive to so many in this pleasure-loving generation, who associate Him with the “good life”, and the affirmation of everything this world has to offer. The modern church has become little more than a country club serving up psycho-social milk and pabulum to babes who are always learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth. The milk goes down easy and it is warm in their mouths, no chewing required, no effort, nothing to really digest and become flesh in them.

No, no our Lord in His great love never soft-balled anything to us. He never floated any pitches, or sugar-coated just how serious these matters of life and death really are. Modern-day come as you are, stay as you are, leave as you are preachers do certainly, but our Great Teacher never need, and never will.

My encouragement to all those presently striving with the Lord is don’t let go of Him until He blesses (wounds) you. Don’t let go. Cling to Him out of a tenacious love. Don’t lose heart. Don’t listen to those who try to convince you that you are “of little faith”, or somehow outside of His will and blessing. Real faith, the faith that will endure until the end, is a faith that is forged in these private struggles with Him and His way. Don’t give up on Him, don’t relinquish your grip on his heart. Love so often, if it is really a love that has gone down deep into a man – it must be tried and tested. It must yearn for Him, it must strive to know Him, all of Him, all that He is and has gone through for us. It is a love than knows death and silence and confusion – yet it clings to Him, to even a piece of His clothing if that is all you can get hold of.

And stop pretending with one another. Stop holding back your questions and difficulties. The only real fellowship in the spirit we can hope to have is the fellowship in His sufferings. As you see the day approaching (and my friends, it is approaching) encourage others to endure, those who are dying daily to the things of the old man and this world. Hold one another, embrace each others pain and confusion, weep with one another, and let your tears run down together to wash the feet of our Lord. As you watch painfully as beloved brothers and sisters are being emptied and poured out to all the things of the flesh and the world, weep with them, pray with them, ache with them, join with them, minister strength to them as another member of the body. Don’t preach! Don’t judge! Don’t try to explain it all away! Don’t be like Job’s well-meaning but useless friends!  It is, after all, just the Cross doing what it is intended to do. It is the Word becoming flesh in that man before your very eyes. It is newness of life rising up out of death, it is, in the end – the only way home.

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life!

If this way, and truth and life offends you, then turn back now – stop pretending with yourself, God and everyone else! For when the final shaking comes, all that is false, all that is loosely attached, will fall away.

I encourage all of you, and love you and I do understand, truly I do.

The Word of God does take account of the possibility of our being offended with Him. It does not say anywhere that that possibility should never arise and will never arise. The Lord has no where said that we shall never have any occasion for being offended with Him. He HAS indicated that there will be PLENTY of opportunity for so stumbling at Him, falling over Him, coming down because of Him – if you like: crashing because of Him. There will be plenty of occasion or opportunity for doing so. He has never said that it will never be so. It is as well for us to recognize that.

The Lord sent no word of rebuke to poor John the Baptist in the prison when he was perilously near to being offended with the Lord because of his situation. The Lord was not hard on John because of his question. He might, had He been another, have said, “But John, did you not point Me out as the Lamb of God? Did you not proclaim Me as the One, the Messiah? Haven’t you preached about Me to multitudes? Have you not made the strongest declarations and affirmations as to what you believed about Me? And here you’re asking a fundamental question about Me. John, what’s gone wrong with you?” No, nothing like that. The Lord knows our frame, that we are dust. And the Lord, I’m saying, takes account of this ever present possibility, in our weakness, of being offended with Him. But He does attach to this matter a particular blessedness if we don’t crash over the Stumbling Block of His ways with us, “AND blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me.” (TAS)

http://livingwalk.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/are-we-offended-in-him/

4 Responses to “Are we offended in Him? (W.E. Smith)”

  1. Tim said

    was just sitting in the sitting room with my wife niether of us spoke for a while and then she asked me what I was thinking. I replied what it will be like when I die and leave this world. She like many others think it strange for a person to be thinking like that all the time, but I say for those who have died to this world and have set their affections on things above where christ sits at the right hand of the father this should be normal.

    Philippians 1: 21- 23 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

    for the most part Christians are to affectionate about this life to be offended whith him. This was an awesome post and reading it right after that moment whith my wife was like God speaking it to me himself saying right on trac son right on trac. Narrow is the path and few will find it. God always uses a remnant and they have always suffered for his sake.

  2. appolus said

    Narrow is the path brother Tim, but what a joy that is set before us. When we set our faces into the son(sun) then the shadows of the world fall behind us. Only what is real lies ahead, to turn away from the son is to see our shadow, the old man, the flesh go before us. Let us have joy in the midst of tears in this world for the time is coming soon enough when every tear will be wiped away and we will rejoice to have come to the end of this narrow path called the Christian walk. This joy keeps us in this life not away from it for the Kingdom of God reigns even now in our hearts and we shall overcome the difficult path………….bro Frank

  3. Tim said

    Amen!! Frank, I do not seek to leave this world I know God has a plan and purpose for me in it. When that light shines in our hearts it is joy, but at the same time it exposes how dark the world around us really is and the truth is that we are still in that darkness the light that has shown in our hearts at times is just a taste of things to come.

    Remember that post you did where the Ark of God came down and zapped certain people. That has happened to me, and that zap was just a glimpse of what God wants for his people but that zap was enough to seek and set my affection on that wich is above where that Ark came down from. at the same time I must remain in the darkness around me to bring that light. I am trying to tell others of that light just as that post described even Christians I am trying to tell them that dead religion you think is that light is not its darkness. They have become so custome to the darkness they dont realize its darkness.

    • appolus said

      May the Lord empower you by HIs Spirit to share this message with others Tim, God bless you my brother………….bro Frank

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