1 Kings 4-7, Psalm 95
A number of years ago I read a book by Paul Smith, the brother of Pastor Chuck Smith, called New Evangelicalism: The New World Order. In this book he revealed how much of the current megachurch movement had grown by the influence of business gurus who were engaged by the pastors to teach them how to grow their church. He outlined the 3-legged stool paradigm for societal transformation used by Peter Drucker to influence one of the first megachurches in California. He goes on to reveal how the Emergent Church Movement is a complete departure from how earlier churches grew under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The shift and compromise in these churches and evangelical pastors includes the notion that the church must become postmodern to reach a secular America, and sadly incorporates the sad belief that the Bible is not perfect. Charles Spurgeon is quoted as saying, "I believe, brethren, that whenever the church of God declines, one of the most effectual ways of reviving her is to preach much truth concerning the Holy Spirit. After all, He is the very breath of the church. Where the Spirit of God is, there is power. If the Spirit be withdrawn, then the vitality of the godliness begins to decline and we are backsliding....If we sorrowfully perceive that any church is growing lukewarm, be it our prayer that the Holy Spirit may work graciously for its revival. Let us return to the Lord." We read Jesus' words in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
We read in 1 Kings 3:10-14, "The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God said to him: "Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold I have done according to your words; see I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days." In today's reading we go on to read of the fulfillment of God's promises to young Solomon because he sought first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, that God lavished his kingdom with many other things. In chapter 4:20, we read, "Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing." We see that his borders had enlarged and he enjoyed a time of unparalleled peace. We go on to read of his many riches in every area. Solomon's earlier successes rested completely by his acting and living according to the quote of Jesus in Matthew 6:33.
But our walk with God must be a continuous one. We read in Matthew 7:7, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." In the Greek, the process of asking, seeking and knocking was not a once and done procedure, but a continuous procedure to experience the blessings of God. Church size should not captivate the awe of any church member. The question is not the size, but whether or not that church is what it is by the movement of the Holy Spirit or by the power of man. The same goes for each and every one of us. In our ministries both within the church and outside personally, do we seek to influence others by our own power and ingenuity, or by being vessels to be used by the power of the Holy Spirit? God doesn't need our help, but in His grace and mercy He allows us, His imperfect vessels, to be instruments to exert His will on this earth. There can be no room for compromise in the area of the Holy Spirit or the area of Biblical authenticity. We need to continually abide in Him daily to maintain the authenticity of our own walk. We can never allow our personal desires to get ahead of the moving of the Holy Spirit. Jesus' words and promises are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: