Friday, October 07, 2005

Stuffy noses and making ditches

Currently I am struggling with a cold that my group of friends and I keeping passing back and forth among ourselves. We are practicing the Biblical principle of sharing in a sick, twisted way. Even my friend in Florida has it! I thought that was cool (another symptom of being sick, you want others to join in your misery).

I wanted to share also with you some stuff from Opened Windows by James Stewart. (Don't worry this is healthy, unlike the colds. I am sharing something good.)

He was talking about how to get the blessings of revival and what condition our hearts must have. And one of them that caught my eye was being prepared for the blessings so God will be able to pour them on you. And he used an image/story from the Bible.

In 2 Kings 3, the Israelites were stuck in a battle and they were sure they were going to die because they had no water. So they asked Elijah what they should do and he in turn asked God. And God said, "Make this valley full of ditches." After they were done digging the ditches God came and filled them full of water.

James Stewart says, "In like manner, when there is obedience on our part to the divine condition, there follows abundant blessing and continuous victory. The depth of the ditch shows the measure of the expected blessing."
The condition he mentions that is required of us for that blessing is true acknowledgement and confession of sin, "making ditches."
He says again, "There are times when we must stop praying for revival and get up from our knees and deal with the sin in our midst."
That really spoke to me in that I pray a lot for revival, but do I have a true revival, a turning away from my sin to the light that God offers? In myself I can see what that means for me, but as church I don't know what that means. Do we confront people of their sins openly? I always think, "I will pray for them and God will do it." But in that quote it says to stop praying for it, and deal with it. That is not openly accepted in our churches today. Charles Finney did it though. And he called people out on their sin from the pulpit. Wow! A bit scary. We say nowdays in our churches that judging a brother in Christ is wrong. But is there a difference between judging and dealing with sin? Where is the fine line there? I know there has to be one. In James 4:11-12 it says that God is the only one who can judge (which is true) and that we should stop judging one another. But in Matthew 18:15-17 it says that if a brother among you sins you should confront him quietly and if he continues to sin to meet with him and the elders and the pastor. And if that doesn't work to tell it to the church. If that doesn't work you are to "let him be as a heathen unto thee." I guess those two passages work together in unison when you think about it.
I wonder what our churches would be like if we followed those words.

It is something I have thought seriously about in the last few days. Please if you have anything to say or answer to my questions I have posed here, say something. It might be good to discuss.


Chris said...

I agree with you. There is definately a fine line there. It is definately "uncomfortable" to deal with sin, because we deem sin to be a personal matter. It is a personal matter, between the offender and God...yet we are ONE body, so it affects the rest of the Church too. Matthew 18 is definately our guide in dealing with individual's sins. Yet there is a fine line there too. Think of what else Jesus said about judging your brother who has a speck in his eye when you have a plank in your own eye.

I also think of the adulterous woman whom the Pharisees cast at Jesus' feet. Jesus said to them: "He who is without sin, cast the first stone," and they all left. Then He said to her: "Neither do I condemn you."

It's a toughie, I think. Especially watching one of my close high school friends go through all the steps of Matthew 18 without any repentance. That's hard to see, and confusing. I wonder if it's a case by case thing? Lord knows, and prayerfully, believers who see fellow believers sin will have ears to hear when the Holy Spirit asks them to confront them.

I like what the author said about dealing with it instead of "just" praying for it. It's easy to be a Christian until it's time for the rubber to meat the road...

Chris said...

I mean "meet" the road. Not "meat" it. Although I guess there's that too...