Bible Ballistics: Vol. 18 No. 17 Empty Chairs???
I heard a message some years ago with an object lesson about three chairs, representing the generational obligation of those who believe in God. The first chair was occupied by the one who believed God and followed Him in obedient devotion, much like Joshua and his declaration:
“Now therefore fear the LORD,
and serve him
and in truth:
and put away the gods
which your fathers served
on the other side of the flood,
and in Egypt;
and serve ye the LORD.
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD,
choose you this day
whom ye will serve;
whether the gods
which your fathers served
that were on the other side
of the flood,
or the gods of the Amorites,
in whose land ye dwell:
but as for me and my house,
we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:14-15
I saw a post recently reminding us that our job as born-again believers, is to not only believe the gospel that Jesus Saves, but to live the life-changing transformation that the new birth produces, and to share the Gospel at every opportunity, especially when others inquire of the reason we live ‘differently’ (See 1 Peter 3:15). Yet, it seems to me that we haven’t joined Joshua in living, “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD”; but have rather caved to the compromising influences of the world allowing our homes and families to be so attached to the world, that our children and grandchildren have refused or ignored the call to take the next seat. Often, even when they do fill the second seat, they are so compromised with the world that their children and grandchildren see no difference between the church and the world. But to me the saddest part is that we have been so negligent of The Word of God, that we have brought our small ones to accept the things that the world calls good, even though God calls them evil. We have become like the people of Isaiah’s day and are due the same “woe” that God pronounced on them. Perhaps it’s why we are where we are? What about that chair? Are we leading the little ones to know and love Jesus?
“Woe unto them
that call evil good,
and good evil;
that put darkness
that put bitter
21 Woe unto them
that are wise
in their own eyes,
in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:20-21
Repetition usually notes importance of an issue, and Paul addresses this same issue—we cannot rely upon the “wisdom” of men over God’s—we must fill our “chair” with the same determined boldness that Joshua did; Joshua, who called all Israel to “choose you this day”, is our example of godly obedience rather than worldly compromise? We must stand fast on God’s Word? Yet, what I observe today is the message to just “add Jesus” to your life—no repentance—no change—no transforming salvation; but rather a call to just add Jesus to whatever else you’re leaning on for fulfillment, satisfaction, prosperity, financial success, making Jesus an “addendum” rather than THE Savior and Redeemer! Salvation requires the recognition of our own sin, then total reliance upon the substitutionary, atoning sacrifice of Jesus to save us from the penalty of sin—hell, and the transformation that the cleansing blood of Jesus works! We must heed God’s plan—simple but true (and I note ‘Blanche’s paraphrase’ of Jesus’ own words).
“I tell you, Nay:
but, except ye repent,
ye shall all likewise perish…
…. 5 I tell you, Nay:
but, except ye repent,
ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3 & 5
“As you go about your daily living,
teach all nations
(Anyone and everyone
God may place in your path),
in the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost
(Leading them to identify with Jesus
and His church
through the obedience of baptism):
20 Teaching them to obey/observe
all the things that I have commanded you
and, take heart,
I am with you always,
even unto the end of the world.
Amen.” Blanche’s paraphrase of Matthew 28:19-20
Even as the Apostle Peter proclaimed in the book of Acts:
“Neither is there salvation in any other:
for there is none other name under heaven
given among men,
whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
Paul’s message to the Corinthian believers is also profound, yet so simple! We must NEVER abandon the message of the cross—which is, that sin cost Jesus His life, so that we could have eternal life! Paul puts it so much better than I do!
“For Christ sent me not to baptize,
but to preach the gospel:
not with wisdom of words,
lest the cross of Christ
should be made of none effect.
18 For the preaching of the cross
is to them that perish foolishness;
but unto us which are saved
it is the power of God.
19 For it is written,
I will destroy
the wisdom of the wise,
and will bring to nothing
the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise?
where is the scribe?
where is the disputer of this world?
hath not God made foolish
the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God
the world by wisdom
knew not God,
it pleased God
by the foolishness of preaching
to save them that believe.
22 For the Jews require a sign,
and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified,
unto the Jews
and unto the Greeks
24 But unto them which are called,
both Jews and Greeks,
Christ the power of God,
and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God
is wiser than men;
and the weakness of God
is stronger than men.” 1 Corinthians 1:17-25
So, what about the third chair? If the first chair fails to impart truth to the next generation, then the second chair may be filled, but often by one with weak faith, or even vain faith (See 1 Corinthians 15:1-5), leaving the third chair empty; for the truth of God’s plan has been disregarded for the plans of men—so like Israel of long ago, we will see the judgment of God fall upon our nation as well; all for the want of faithful moms and dads, teachers and preachers, and believers willing to stand by the cross—Salvation in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith in JESUS alone—”the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”! Amen and Amen!!!
This, my friends, will hopefully lead us to call upon our God and to pray the prayer of Daniel 9; a hard prayer to pray, but the loving prayer of a humble man of God who loved his people enough to identify with their sin and spiritual failure, yet interceding, asking God to move and spare us because of HIS mercy not our merit. I know this is a lengthy passage, but too powerful to shorten! I pray that you will ponder its import.
“And I prayed unto the LORD my God,
and made my confession, and said,
the great and dreadful God,
keeping the covenant
to them that love him,
and to them that keep his commandments;
5 We have sinned,
and have committed iniquity,
and have done wickedly,
and have rebelled,
even by departing from thy precepts
and from thy judgments:
6 Neither have we hearkened
unto thy servants the prophets,
which spake in thy name
to our kings,
and our fathers,
and to all the people
of the land.
7 O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee,
but unto us confusion of faces,
as at this day;
to the men of Judah,
and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
and unto all Israel,
that are near,
and that are far off,
through all the countries
whither thou hast driven them,
because of their trespass
that they have trespassed
8 O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face,
to our kings,
to our princes,
and to our fathers,
because we have sinned against thee.
9 To the Lord our God
though we have rebelled against him;
10 Neither have we obeyed
the voice of the LORD our God,
to walk in his laws,
which he set before us
by his servants the prophets.
11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law,
even by departing,
that they might not obey thy voice;
therefore the curse is poured upon us,
and the oath that is written
in the law of Moses
the servant of God,
because we have sinned against him.
12 And he hath confirmed his words,
which he spake against us,
and against our judges that judged us,
by bringing upon us a great evil:
for under the whole heaven
hath not been done as hath been done
13 As it is written in the law of Moses,
all this evil is come upon us:
yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God,
that we might turn from our iniquities,
and understand thy truth.
14 Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil,
and brought it upon us:
for the LORD our God is righteous
in all his works which he doeth:
for we obeyed not his voice.
15 And now, O Lord our God,
that hast brought thy people forth
out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand,
and hast gotten thee renown,
as at this day;
we have sinned,
we have done wickedly.
16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness,
I beseech thee,
let thine anger and thy fury
be turned away
from thy city Jerusalem,
thy holy mountain:
because for our sins,
and for the iniquities of our fathers,
and thy people are become a reproach
to all that are about us.
17 Now therefore, O our God,
hear the prayer of thy servant,
and his supplications,
and cause thy face to shine
upon thy sanctuary that is desolate,
for the Lord’s sake.
18 O my God,
incline thine ear,
open thine eyes,
and behold our desolations,
and the city which is called by thy name:
for we do not present our supplications
for our righteousnesses,
but for thy great mercies.
19 O Lord, hear;
O Lord, forgive;
O Lord, hearken
for thine own sake,
O my God:
for thy city
and thy people
are called by thy name.” Daniel 9:4-19
May we recognize as Daniel did, that only God can do the work of salvation—yet God gives us the responsibility to recognize the need for compassionate hearts to see the sin that has caused our demise, and seek God’s mercy, grace, and love for restoration; by asking for HIS forgiveness in our own lives, and conviction of sin unto repentance for those around us. Amen and Amen!!!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature:
old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God,
who hath reconciled us to himself
by Jesus Christ,
and hath given to us the ministry
19 To wit, that God was in Christ,
reconciling the world unto himself,
not imputing their trespasses unto them;
and hath committed unto us
the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,
as though God did beseech you by us:
we pray you in Christ’s stead,
be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him
to be sin for us,
who knew no sin;
that we might be made
the righteousness of God
in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Let’s fill our chair and prepare those around us to continue to pursue God and fill the next chair. May God have mercy on America—on our world!
Amen and Amen!!!