A Miracle Can Happen!
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If your heart and your life are emanating the life of Christ, you can just be absolutely certain that as Christ is lifted up, He will draw all men to Himself. If He is lifted up in your life, there will be an effect from that. Planting seeds as you talk about it, as you walk along the way is very appropriate. We shouldn’t be silent, but on the other hand, we should be talking to people in leadership and very carefully and loving and cautiously and wisely be who we are, live it out, show people by the quality of our lives and explain it by the Word of God as we do it, but to create some kind of club off to the side that is murmuring, or to just totally bottle it up and not act on what God has done in your heart and your life, both of those things have to be wrong.
Let me address another issue. “Well, I’m in that situation. It seems to me it is hopeless, so I think I will just scram.” First of all, Nineveh was as hopeless as any situation on planet earth could ever have been. These Assyrians were barbarians; they ate their enemies after they killed them. This was a very seriously decadent society. Somehow, a man of God named Jonah, who had so much worship and praise in his heart he could say the kind of things that he said when he was in the belly of the fish, this was a man of God to an extreme, to have that kind of thing overflowing out of his heart. We sang it earlier today. “Those who cling to worthless idols...” That was the song that Jonah sang in the belly of the fish. His heart was full of God and because that was true, he kind of had an idea that even this terribly wicked nation, Nineveh, would and could repent.
Unlike the prodigal son’s big brother, the closer we are to God, the more able we are to see the possibilities of a “Nineveh” repentance from the king on down. We can see it in the eyes of our heart. We can see this mountain being cast into the sea. We can see that it is possible that a miracle could take place in this mega church of 8,000 that I am a part of that is so far off the mark it’s unbelievable. Yet somehow you can see that from the least to the greatest that something explosive and wonderful and miraculous could happen.
On the day of Pentecost, who would have ever guessed 3,000 people in one day could have turned that kind of a radical corner? That’s not possible. One day, one small discussion from a fisherman and this amazing thing happened that not only resulted in people calling on the name of the Lord and baptism, but it related in that day forward that none of the believers counted any of his possessions as his own. All the believers were together. Radical lifestyle change in one day. Not just a belief system, “I didn’t think the Messiah had come and now I believe He has,” but a radical, radical lifestyle change in one day. If you believe in your Bible and you believe in your God, you have to believe that there is a reason for you to do everything you can to lay down your life in the situation you are in. I would admonish you not to bail out at the first sign of opposition. The first time that you feel something in your heart is happening that is not part of a normal way of life of what you have experienced in the past and you sense it could cost you something in terms of opposition and friendships, etc. so you just “turn tail and run,” I would admonish you not to do that. Because that is not a man or woman of God that doesn’t believe that God is able to do something miraculous as He has so many other times. You have to believe God is able to do that. You have to believe that. That’s Christianity. What’s the point of doing anything else if you don’t believe that about God? Why go anywhere else? You don’t believe in God anyway!
God has given you a series of relationships. He’s given you a sphere of responsibility of loved ones that you have some level of interaction with. Use those windows to love on people. If you have already lost that opportunity, go back through those windows and get them. God has called you to be an ambassador of His grace and His love and truth, and until you have explored every possible opportunity, you have not served God with a whole heart just yet. Go back through those windows and see if there is anything in there, and you may be very surprised at what’s there. If you are more interested in preserving yourself, your own reputation, etc., then you are not liable to risk like that. I would sure encourage you to give it a shot, to try for Jesus’ sake, because Nineveh and Jerusalem in A.D. 33 were very unlikely situations, too.
Another thing that is lost if we just run, bail out based on our elevated doctrine of what church is supposed to be is our own growth. You have heard the examples of the caterpillar, that if you cut open the cocoon it’s sort of a butterfly but it can’t fly. You have heard the example of if you crack open the egg before the chick cracks it open himself he is too weak to be able to live his life. You have heard those examples. That is the same thing that happens to us spiritually. If we don’t explore the relationships that God has given us, lay down our life, let nothing be done in secret, to open up our hearts and lives not as a rebel, not as a rabble-rouser, not as one whose voice is shouting in the streets. Jesus isn’t like that. That’s what the prophecy said. His voice would not be heard crying out in the streets. He wasn’t a rabble-rouser, but He did nothing in secret. If we live that way and explore every relationship that God has given us, it will stretch us, it will teach us to worship, it is going to teach us how to lay down our lives, how to understand the scriptures, how to intercede for others - it’s going to bring a passion and an understanding and a wisdom that we never could have had if we just bailed out based on our elevated doctrine and we are gone. Scram! And we are going to do it a better way now. God is interested more in our character than He is in creating a utopian society for us. If we just skirt every issue and take the easy way out of every circumstance, we are missing the main thing He wants to do, which is to make us like Himself. Jesus didn’t run off to the side and start something else. He had people that He related to on a daily basis and He did it as best He could in the middle of the religious world that He was a part of until they killed Him.
That’s a pretty good model to stay with. I would recommend that model of life to you, the model of Jesus in the midst of a similar sort of circumstances as many of us have found ourselves in. Is there more?