Sunday, August 20, 2017

Only the Wise or WROUGHT Man Wins Souls

“I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has WROUGHT through me to win obedience from the Gentiles” (Romans 15:18 RSV).

This verse of scripture has burned in my soul as of late.  And the word “wrought” is the key to understanding its significance.  Wrought means, “to work fully, accomplish; fashion.”  It is derived from “opposition, distribution or intensity” and “to toil, work or effect.”  It is to “wrestle” with the divine nature in our mortal bodies until a victor emerges.  It is like Jacob wrestling the Angel of the Lord all night long, until, at the breaking of the dawn, he emerges with a new name (Israel) and nature (spiritual). Finally, we are dead, and Jacob (whom God loves) has supplanted Esau (whom He hates); as a consequence, the true Israel of God emerges from his wrestling match limping but spiritual. 
When Jesus commanded the disciples to eat His flesh and drink His blood (meaning they needed to eat His words—described as spirit and life—John 6:63) He meant that they needed to feed on Him in the fullest sense of what feeding consists of.  They needed to do more than merely “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8); they needed also to digest Him to the point of becoming flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone.  They needed to taste (yes...seeing that He is good), chew (mediating day and night; chewing the cud, ruminating on His words), swallow (swallowing the WHOLE Lamb/Truth, even disagreeable parts), digest (breaking it down; rightly dividing the word of truth) and nourish (putting the divine nature into their human DNA).

And digestion (where food and nourishment is “wrought through” to usefulness) is a form of wrestling or working out fully in the belly what the body needs to nourish it.  The act of eating the whole Lamb (and with bitter herbs) is to feed on Christ AND His sufferings (sweet in the mouth but bitter in the gut or visceral seat); but if we are obedient (and clean our plates) we purge out the old Adamic nature and replace it with the new/second Adamic nature—and all the way down to a molecular level.  This is otherwise known as manifesting Christ in mortal flesh.

Proverbs 11:30 teaches that wisdom wins souls, and assuredly, wisdom is only  fashioned in the depths of hearts that have long wrestled with truth, in hearts that have “wrought through” in order to “win obedience” to their testimony of Jesus Christ.  Only Christ fully digested and glory glowing out of divine DNA intertwined with human DNA (Christ incarnate and inside man) is wise enough to win souls.  A full and nourishing feeding must nourish to the extent of molecular structure; manifesting Christ in mortal flesh is God glorifying Himself from the depths of the human heart outward to the flesh and bones.

Only preaching drawn out of the depths of the preacher’s heart saves people deeply enough to genuinely convert them, and until a preacher personifies what they preach, their preaching is too shallow to convert anyone.  Mental assent (superficially ascertaining the message) without heart assent (ascertaining to the depth of conscience and will compliance) plagues our generation.  I agree with Richard Foster: “Superficiality is the curse of our age.  The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem.  The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.”

I see, in contradistinction to Paul’s modus operandi, many ministers speaking from shallow understanding with powerless effect.  Paul even personified the gospel of Jesus Christ to such an extent that he dared called it “my gospel” (see Romans 16:25).  E. M. Bounds, in regards to Paul calling the gospel his, said, “Not that he [Paul] has degraded it [the gospel] by his personal eccentricities or diverted it by selfish approbation, but the gospel was put into the heart and lifeblood of the man Paul, as a personal trust to be executed by his Pauline traits, to be set aflame and empowered by the fiery energy of his fiery soul.”  Bounds also said,

“The preacher must impersonate the gospel.  Its divine, most distinctive features must be embodied in him.  The constraining power of love must be in the preacher as a projecting, eccentric, an all-commanding self-oblivious force.  The energy of self-denial must be his being, his heart and blood and bones.  He must go forth as a man among men, clothed with humility, abiding in meekness, wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove; the bonds of a servant with the spirit of a king, a king in high, royal, in dependent bearing, with the simplicity and sweetness of a child.  The preacher must throw himself, with all the abandon of a perfect, self-emptying faith and a self-consuming zeal, into his work for the salvation of men.  Hearty, heroic, compassionate, fearless martyrs must the men be who take hold of and shape a generation for God.  If they be timid time servers, place seekers, if they be men pleasers or men fearers, if their faith has a weak hold on God or his Word, if their denial be broken by any phase of self or the world, they cannot take hold of the Church nor the world for God...The preacher’s sharpest and strongest preaching should be to himself.  His most difficult, delicate, laborious, and thorough work must be with himself.”

In the end, ONLY THE WISE OR WROUGHT MAN WINS SOULS because only the wise wrestle with God until God gets the mastery over him and rules supreme in his heart.  Wisdom is justified of her children; limping but spiritually fruitful is better than whole and pseudo-spiritually sterile.