God is seated on His throne in heaven observing mankind, testing the heart of mankind.
“Your words have been harsh against Me,”
Says the LORD,
“Yet you say,
‘What have we spoken against You?’ You have said,
‘It is useless to serve God;
What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance,
And that we have walked as mourners
Before the LORD of hosts? So now we call the proud blessed,
For those who do wickedness are raised up;
They even tempt God and go free.’ ” – Malachi 3:13-15
“It is useless to serve God” is the thought carried by many of our young. They have grown up in the church but they are leaving it in droves because they see it as impotent to solve any of the problems plaguing our society today. The church has given them religion instead of Christianity. It has forgotten how the Church began –
“For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.” – Acts 2:39-43
The promise Peter was speaking about, of course, was the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Most of the Church today has relegated this experience to history or substituted a ritual for the experience thinking a man-made liturgy can replace an actual interaction with the Spirit of God.
But, the history of the Church’s beginning doesn’t stop with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It continued with a strong program of discipleship –
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine”
What is the ‘apostles’ doctrine’? It was a condensed version of the 3½ years they spent at the feet of Jesus. It was a message of ‘take up your cross and follow Jesus’. It was a teaching to deny worldly lusts and embrace holiness – ‘Be ye holy, for the Lord is holy!’ It was a crash course in the foundational teachings of Jesus –
“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” – Heb. 6:1-2
Their fellowship was more than a few hours once a week or on holidays such as Easter and Christmas. They were ‘breaking bread’ which was eating together as well as taking communion as often as they met. And they were praying, praying in the Spirit and praying with their understanding (1 Cor. 14:15).
If the Church leaves its beginning, it will become powerless against the wickedness of the world. Instead of society yielding to God, “we call the proud blessed, For those who do wickedness are raised up.” as Malachi predicted. But, God has never left Himself without a remnant –
“Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another,
And the LORD listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the LORD
And who meditate on His name. “They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts,
“On the day that I make them My jewels.
And I will spare them
As a man spares his own son who serves him.” Then you shall again discern
Between the righteous and the wicked,
Between one who serves God
And one who does not serve Him.” – Mal. 3:16-18
As the forces of the world assail God and His plans, He is allowing the separation to distinguish the righteous from the wicked. As the forces of radical Islam rise, as the media raises its voice against God, as the nations of the world rise up to cast off His bonds, He is seated on His throne in heaven observing those who have the fear of the Lord in their hearts and He is recording their names in the books that He will open on judgment day.
(Day of Eternity, used by permission)