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No Corners Cut, No Pacifying, No Round-About Way

“It’s a Doggone Shame!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Our age is characterized by pathetic preachers and pitiful churches. Christ Himself gave this evaluation of the Laodicea church: “Thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, blind, and naked.” [Revelation 3:15-17]. The Head of the church [Jesus] was nauseated and said, “You make me sick!” You are a spectacle in the pulpit and a dis­grace in the community and need to be exposed for what you are. This was a church filled with self-deceived hypocrites. As a result of their ambivalence to spiritual things, Jesus would have nothing to do with them. He would “spit them out.” How did they get this way? [Jeremiah 14:3] says, “They came to the pits [cisterns], and found no water; they returned with their vessels empty.” The weeping prophet, Jeremiah, lamented, “They are not valiant for the truth… they know not me” [9:3].

Listen, you can’t put live chickens under a dead hen. There are too many preachers standing behind a sacred podium who have never been born again. They are spiritually dead. Their messages and manner of living reveal their inner condi­tion. Christ warned, “By their fruits ye shall know them” [Matt. 7:20]. Paul admonished, “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things” [I Cor. 2:15]. Don’t hate the messenger! I just deliver the mail….You cannot have the life of the kingdom of God until you have entered the kingdom of God. What you need is a conversion experience like that of Saul of Tarsus. You need a trip to Calvary. Let’s face it! Nehemiah was frank when he declared, “And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him” [6:12]. Preaching is a calling. It is not enough to like to preach or merely feel that one ought to preach. There must be a holy compulsion that says, “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” The spiritual plight of many ministers is found in the parable of the persistent friend [Luke 11:6]: “And I have nothing to set before him.” Job complained, “Miserable comforters are ye all” [6:2]. The Apostle Paul warned, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradi­tion of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” [CoI. 2:3]. Don’t get stuck on stupid! The religious world is full of un­sent preachers. “Wherefore wilt thou run, my son, seeing that thou hast no tidings ready?” [2Sam.18-22]

I tell you, there are a lot of windbags in the pulpit. Isaiah expressed the same opin­ion: “We have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth” [26:18]. Jeremiah deplored, “And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them” [5:13]. The writer of Proverbs states, “Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain” [25:14]. Job declares, [13:4] “But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value.”  Shall I remind you that the Laodicea church is head­ed for judgment? “God says in [Jeremiah 12:10] you have destroyed my vineyard.” The Head of the Church, Jesus Himself, is nauseated with a flabby, flaccid, halfhearted church. It is dope ad­diction of the spirit, alcoholism of the heart, cancer of the soul, and blindness of the mind and pover­ty of vision from which the peo­ple perish.

How did you get this way? The Prophet Haggai put it thus, “Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came too little” (1:9). Isaiah gives the reason: “This day is a day of trouble, and of re­buke, and of blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth” (37:3). I tell you, the early church turned the world upside down. Today the world is turning our churches up­side down! Almost a generation ago A. W.Tozer wrote: “The preaching that once an­gered the atheists and brought them charging out against God and the Bible has pretty much disappeared. Hellfire, miracles, and the necessity that men please Almighty God are no longer a serious part of current Christian teaching. Christianity has been watered down until it is little more than “cheer-’em-up stuff.” We are so afraid of being nar­row that we have opened the doors to worldliness. Christ would share the grief of Jeremiah who grieved, “Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets” (23:9). So many preachers these days are talking but not saying any­thing. The tragedy of today’s preaching is that most preachers give the people what they want to hear, not what God’s Word declares. Woe unto you!

So what can be done for pathetic preachers and pitiful churches you may ask? Consider the Potent Cure; Begin at My Sanctuary,” says the Lord [Ezek. 9:6]. “Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord,declared Prophet Isaiah [52:11)]. “Carry forth the filthiness out of the Holy place” [II Chron. 29:5].

Listen, Christ said, “He would spew the Laodicea church out of His mouth.”  “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the House of God…” “The hour is late. The invitation is open by the Savior Himself: Repent! “Behold, I stand at the door~ and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door~ I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me,” [Rev. 3:20]. Don’t wait too late! The clock is ticking… Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock!

 

“When You Know the Right Thing to Do and You Choose To Do The Wrong Thing…!”

 

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: Whatever you sow, you will also reap.  If you sow to the flesh, you will of the flesh reap corruption.  If you sow to the Spirit, you will reap everlasting life. Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant [Galatians 6:7-8].  [Proverbs 4:14-19] says… “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on…

The Apostle Paul places this warning in strong language, designed to make sure the point gets across without mistake.  It would be the height of foolishness to think that you are a match for the wits of God.  You cannot trifle with God. There is a caveat to the decisions of life and the choices you make.  Every choice has a consequence and every consequence is preceded by a choice.  It comes down to this, you can choose your choice, but you cannot choose your consequences.

The apostle Paul got down to specifics with respect to the pattern we should imitate, and the path we should avoid. He wrote; therefore be imitators of God as dear children and walk in love as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them (Ephesians 5:1-7).

I tell you, there is great value—and even the prospect of eternal reward—in taking the time to stop and ask yourself, “Am I walking on the right path? Am I headed toward a good end? Don’t be another Jehoram, [2 Chronicles 21] who knew the path to take but chose not to walk in the godly pathway that his father took. After all that he saw, he knowingly chose to follow the ungodly path of the wicked kings of the northern kingdom of Israel. And as a consequence of his choice, his end was the most pathetic and dishonorable of any of the other kings of Judah. His life story—and the end of it—is a great reminder to us that we must choose wisely the path we’ll walk before God; because—as invariably as night follows day—there are consequences to our choice.

I want you to know that in verse [12 of 2 Chronicles 12], it seems that the time finally came when God had enough of Jehoram’s unfaithful walk; “And a letter came to him from Elijah the prophet . . .” (v. 12a). It was a letter that had all the authority of a word directly from God Himself; and here’s what it said: Thus says the LORD God of your father David: Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot like the harlotry of the house of Ahab, and also have killed your brothers, those of your father’s household, who were better than yourself, behold, the LORD will strike your people with a serious affliction—your children, your wives, and all your possessions; and you will become very sick with a disease of your intestines, until your intestines come out by reason of the sickness, day by day (vv. 12-15). I tell you warning comes before destruction!

May God help us learn the hard lesson from the life of Jehoram; and choose to walk—all the way to the end—the path that leads to life!

“That’s What’s Wrong with You Now…!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Can’t nobody tell you nothing! You think you know it all!  Mark Twain said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”  You ought to mimic Paul who said, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified [1 Corin 2: 2].

There are just some people you can’t tell anything. Their minds are like steel traps – tightly shut and difficult to open. They have their mind made up and they’re not going to change for you, me… or even God. That’s pretty much the situation we discover in [Jeremiah 44] when Jeremiah warns the people that God is upset with their behavior… and they respond: “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD!” [Jeremiah 44:16]. They’ve made up their minds.  They liked what they’re doing. And they had no intention of stopping for Jeremiah or God.

I will venture to say that we all have come across people who think they know everything. Usually, they like to tell us how they know so much and make us feel like we are inferior. These arrogant personalities are perhaps the most difficult types of people to deal with.

But I just want to bring to remembrance to all the “Can’t tell me nothing” individuals. [Psalm 81:11-14], tells the story of a sad saga of a people who would not listen to God. From this Psalm, we learned that the nation of Israel did not listen to the counsel of God.  They tuned Him out and followed their own “stubborn hearts.”  You see, God told Israel through His commandments not to bow down to other gods, but they did not listen to Him.  Instead, [1 Kings 17:12] says, they worshiped idols, though the Lord had said, “You shall not do this.”  They chose to follow their own ways instead of God’s ways. And do you know what happened to the Northern Kingdom known as Israel? And because of their hard-headiness, in 722 BC, they were destroyed by the Assyrian army. Since they did not listen to God, and follow His will, God allowed the Assyrian army to defeat them.

What will happen to those of us who do not listen to God’s Word?  “He will punish us who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of Jesus” [2 Thess. 1:8]….. [2 John 9] says, “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”

Listen, if we want to live godly lives, then we must listen to God’s will and then put it into practice.  The Bible teaches in [Deuteronomy 11] that if we listen and obey God, we will be blessed.  On the other hand, if we do not listen to God, we will be cursed.

God still lives and His Word still speaks. We need to listen to His Word because of our position before Him and our responsibility to Him. It is Finished!