SEEKING WHAT WAS LOST. Most of us know how motivated we are to find something important which we have lost… where can it be??? But what if one forgets what one lost?? Unfortunately, what this message discusses has been both collectively & individually lost & FORGOTTEN! We are so disoriented spiritually, that we don’t realize that we have lost the guiding presence of God…which was what directed the lives of many of the early settlers to the New World… AND was a major factor in their desire for liberty when this great U.S.A was created. Not realizing it has been lost, we are slow to look for it. Intuitively, we still know God, & realize we need some spirituality, yet we ask what are the spiritual possibilities for us today?
THE BIBLICAL FOUNDATION OF LIBERTY. Long before the Christian English colonists came to the New World, the seed of liberty had been planted in their hearts. When the English began to read the Bible in their own language, they realized that all men are equal in the sight of God. “Wickliffe [an early English Bible translator]…published certain conclusions…that the New Testament or Gospel is the perfect rule of life and manners and ought to be read by the people…he was the first that translated the New Testament into English.”(A) All of this is echoed several hundred years later in 1698 in England, “This appears so plainly in scripture, that the asserters of liberty want no other patron than God himself;…”(B) And yet again later in 1772, it is echoed by Samuel Adams, a Christian involved with the creation of the USA, “…The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty…’The Rights of the Colonists as Christians’…may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver…which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.”(C) These are just a few samples of a great amount of written records that show that Christians in colonial America looked to God’s Word (“the Mind of Christ”)(D) for how to live life, and they could easily see that the Bible ennobles men & wants them to have liberty. This Christian view of man (that man is made in God’s image & meant to have liberty) was in contrast with the pagan view (such as one could so prominently observe in Babylon & Egypt). The pagan view (adopted by Catholic church along with other paganisms) is that a man had value in what he could contribute to the State or Church State. America has returned to this pagan concept. We’ve disconnected our lives from the soul of the Universe. Now where are we headed? Let’s take a min. to remember where we came from…
LOCAL SELF-GOVT. In colonial America, the congregations of the Puritans, the Amish & others were based on local self-govt. A person established his God given purpose, and recognized it in others. Each congregation fellowshipped with other congregations based on their unity of faith & hope, not ecumenicalism or denominationalism. Today, large organizations with hierarchies direct many churches.
AN INVISIBLE GOD — USES VISIBLE WRITTEN WORDS. The Word of God establishes that our God is invisible–which is disconcerting to many, even Moses asked God, “Show me Your glory”…therefore, God’s Spirit has spoken to men and expressed the deep things of God in human language. Granted, the entire universe speaks for God, and He enjoys speaking through the universe…but to clarify things, He has inspired written words to help us find His guiding presence in our lives. It was the written Word of God that was so treasured in the early history of America. Those Christians who were led by God’s Spirit also realized 2 COR 3:6, “The letter kills, the Spirit gives life.” In other words, what is the Spirit behind the words? When we legalistically apply the Word of God to our lives without the Spirit of Life…those same words can bring death. This is the difference between rules v. relationship. And the Bible is clear…we were made by God for relationship & fellowship & love, we were not made for rules. More rules is not the answer we seek.
SOLVING THE PUZZLE. The missing piece in our lives is Messiah. As some are saying, “Jesus is missing, and we miss Jesus.” Yes, deep down many are missing him & not realizing what it is that is lost! Yahshua said, “And you shall know the truth, & The truth shall set you free…. you shall be free indeed.”(E) In fact he said that his purpose in life was to bear witness to the truth.(F) The messiah offered more than freedom, he offered real life, “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.”(G) He describes himself as life giving bread, and a life-giving flow of spiritual water.
A FAMINE OF GENUINE SPIRITUAL NUTRITION. Today’s time period, in which we have lost the guiding presence of God is prophesied by God’s prophet, “Behold the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord….They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it.” (H) So it is. People are going to church, getting spiritual fast food, with no spiritual nutrition, and not feeling filled. They may sing, “Worthy is the Lamb”–but do they really understand WHY the lamb is worthy?? Do they understand why their unclean lips make their singing unworthy? Spiritually disoriented people are seeking everywhere for spirituality. They want to find God on their own terms, not His. Maybe, they think, we can buy happiness. But without hope, they are dead inside. They need the life Christ promised. They need the liberty he offered. He gives liberty & guidance, he doesn’t sell them. But he only gives them if you seek it with all your heart, and want to have a new identity–a new life. As many people can’t even find themselves, no wonder they don’t find God. But anyone can put all their failures behind them, and open their heart—AND then amazingly, when they look to Christ, one discovers He was there knocking on the door to our heart all along! Talk about being spiritually disoriented!
THE MYSTERY OF THE FUTURE. As we move deeper into the reality of God, we are asked to lay hold of the hope before us. (I) [God]…who made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever.” (J) Most people believe in an afterlife. Most people even believe in heaven. But it seems so remote…in another world, that they rarely think about it. Seeing heaven is part of seeing a better world, the world of possibilities for us. In the Lord’s prayer, Messiah taught us to prayer “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We need to cultivate that, it is part of the cultivating the guiding presence of God in our lives. This is part of how we sanctify everyday things. This is how we recognize God in our everyday life. Nurture the divine spark in you. Like making a fire in the dark cold woods from a small spark, likewise we can bring the fire of the Spirit into our lives. A little match can send out a lot of light that may be seen for miles. In this dark time, in this new dark age, may we find the guiding light of Christ, both individually & collectively. This nation has already wandered around lost in the dark enough.
(A) Daniel Neal, History of the Puritans (1731) (reprinted in 1844 by Harper Bros.) (B) Algernon Sidney, Discourses Concerning Government (1698) (reprinted NY in 1805 by Deare & Andrews) (C) Samuel Adams, Rights of the Colonists (1772) (D) Leonard Bacon, Genesis of the New England Churches (1874) describes how colonial life was based on “the mind of Christ”.(E) JN 8:32, 36b (F) JN 18:37 (G) JN 6:57 (H) AMOS 8:11, 12b (I) HEB 6:18 (J) PS 146:6, ISA 65:16