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Archive for March 9th, 2015

You hung there on that cross

Posted by appolus on March 9, 2015

You hung there on that cross
Bruised and battered and torn
You hung there for the Father’s glory
Yet it was not for that alone

You hung there on that cross
Naked, for all the world to see
For the joy that was set before you
You died there just for me

I’d often have my trials cut short
And wish the pain would go away
Thank you Lord in heaven above
You hung there till the end, that day

You hung there on that cross
On Calvary’s bloody hill
Twas there you suffered loss
Just to do your Father’s will

Oh Lord in the depths of my trial
Give me eyes that I might see
That you stayed there in the fires of hell
Right to the end at Calvary

Oh Lord give me strength for the battle
That I would not fall but continue to stand
To the end, to the end to the end of the road
On the Rock that is Christ not today’s shifting sand

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God does not dwell at the heart of men’s systems.

Posted by appolus on March 9, 2015

And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.(Act 6:13-14)

Can you see the accusations that are hurled towards Stephen who would become the first martyr? They accused him of blasphemy because of the words he spoke about the temple, the very heart and soul of the system that gave these men their position in society, their livelihood. Speaking against religious systems is a dangerous thing to do, it is not how to ” make friends and influence people.” Quite the opposite. You will suffer loss, perhaps not as Stephen did, but you will suffer loss. Consider what Stephen was speaking against. Just a few short years later the temple was completely destroyed, just as Jesus had prophesied, not one stone left unturned. The gold that adorned the walls were actually built into the structure, so the stones had to be overturned in order to get every last piece of gold. When Titus entered the Holy of Holies it was said that he uttered these words ” What is all this fuss about an empty room?” You see, the Ark of the Covenant was not there. It is now reckoned that it had been removed almost 500 years previously at the time of Jeremiah. Over 500 years of religious activity would follow, so much religious activity, and at the heart of it all was emptiness, certainly devoid of God. God did not speak until John the Baptist was found in the wilderness.

When the veil, the curtain that covered the holy of holies was torn from top to bottom when Jesus hung on the cross, God was undoubtedly saying ” look, I am not here, I am hanging outside the camp.” One can imagine the religious men furiously repairing the curtain to maintain the illusion that is religion. Brothers and sisters, we have a system today that has as much if not more religious activity that the Jewish people of old. God did not leave one stone unturned on the temple and was found outside the walls. If God does not burn at the heart of everything, then it is nothing. If He swept away that system, then represented by the temple which had stood for a thousand years, what will He do to our own modern system of religion? Consider the final nail in the coffin for Stephen. “Act 7:48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet.” Stephen would not recover from this statement. He had just struck at the very heart of everything they believed in. By saying that God did not reside in the Temple, which would soon be proved by Titus, he sealed his fate. They were ” cut to the heart and gnashed on him with their teeth.” Seething anger and rage does not truly convey what they felt for the man who had just exposed their religion for what it was, empty of Gods presence. And so the ultimate fate for all who expose the emptiness of religion and the fact that God’s presence does not reside there is at the very least rejection and isolation and in the days to come, a similar fate to Stephen. The first martyr was not the last, and there will be more prior to the return of Jesus, and religious men will lead the way in hunting down “blasphemers.”

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