I’d be so depressed right now if I believed that I had preached my greatest sermon. I’d be so disappointed if I thought I’d never get any greater messages than the ones I have preached. I’d be so disgusted to think that I had learned and seen everything that God is going to reveal to me.
My God, you people that are blessed with good voices and talent to play music, I can’t believe that you would come here and say Oh, I’ve sung my best song; there aren’t anymore. Oh, come on. God can birth things in you, change things in you, and put a well in you that will spring up and give you music that nobody has ever heard before. I’m telling you that the biggest and the greatest and the best and the purest churches are yet to be built. The greatest saints are yet to walk this planet. The greatest sermons are yet to be preached. The greatest miracles are yet to come. There is a place in God that He wants to take us to that has not even entered our minds. God wants to change us and change us for the better, for He declares the things that are not as though they were.
If you can just somehow walk out of here with a fresh appreciation of previous confrontations and any confrontation tonight, you can get a new grip on what has happened to you. If you can grab hold, with a new appreciation, of how great salvation that God would even talk to us; that God would tap you on the shoulder and tell you that He wants to make you become something you’ve never been before. And don’t be afraid of My exposing areas of your life that are weak. I knew they were weak when I called you ten years ago. I knew you would failed here and would fall there, but I’ve got it all in my program; and when I get finished with you, you are going to be everything I destined you to be.
I was pleading with the Lord in prayer this afternoon to confront me, deal with me, change me, challenge me, prick my heart, talk to me. Whatever you do, please don’t be silent to me; talk to me. If I’m a dirt-bag, an idiot, a carnal jerk, tell me so that I can change. Lay out a map and give me a strategy; help me to know how I can improve my quality of life.
Don’t you understand the tragic welfare system that America has birthed? It’s the lack of the American government’s confronting people on how to change. Thus we breed weakness in people. There’s nothing wrong with helping people. When I was a kid, it wasn’t welfare, it was another name they had; Relief. You got commodities; two bags and you hung your head down; and man, you tried to get off Relief, but we’ve made it a lifestyle. You know why? Because the government doesn’t want to confront people. That’s the tragedy. We are breeding weakness.
When we don’t let God confront areas of our lives, He is stuck with welfare-saints who always get a spiritual fix on Wednesday and Sunday. They wait on the preacher to ring the bell and knock the ball out of the park, and for the choir to boogaloo and sing, and for the goose-bump machine to run until somehow the service fixes it. Do you know that it is possible to make an idol out of a service? Do you know it is possible to make an idol out of me so that the service absolutely transcends the greatness of God, and the service becomes God, and the feeling becomes God, and we never let God confront us?
If God doesn’t confront us, He cannot convert us; If God doesn’t confront us, He cannot convict us; If God does not confront us, He cannot change us. He comes to confront us from an absolute picture of total wisdom, knowledge, and power. When He confronts us, you must believe He has the ability to bring the necessary changes.
He gets on a well to confront a woman, not to condemn her. Please do not read into this. I am not here to damn or condemn anybody. I may disapprove of lifestyles and craziness, but I am going to tell you; I offer no condemnation, just an opportunity to be confronted so you can get convicted, so you can confess, so you can get cleansed and you can get changed, and so you can get committed.
And so here Jesus is sitting on the well, and the woman walks up and He asks her for a drink of water. Now He really messed her up because He confronted her with some amazing things. He confronted her with who He was! John 4:10 “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” (John 4, Verses 12-14) “Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst: but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” Jesus could have said, Yeah, I was the one at the top of the ladder when Jake had his dream; I am greater than your fathers.
He is confronting the woman with His greatness. He is telling her that He has the ability to give her that which she cannot find. He will give her not a stagnant well but a spring. The word that she used for well was well. He did not use the same word. He said what I give you will be a spring, life, bubbling, moving, helping, reaching upward. There are some people that don’t want different water.
(John 4:25-26) “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.” He just confronted her with a royal revelation, I am Messiah. He also confronted her in verses 10 and 14 with what He could do for her. He said that I can give you a spring that will spring up into everlasting life. He also confronts her in verses 16 and 18 with what she had become. May I say to you, sir and ma’am, passion indulged does not result in passion satisfied.
(Verse 16-18) “Jesus saith unto her. Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband. Thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.” It’s kind of embarrassing now. She is shackin’ up in front of Messiah. She’s got a moral problem, not condemned, confronted. He is saying to her, I know you’ve got a problem. You have had five husbands. We don’t even know whether the five husbands have died or whether she was divorced. We have no idea.
But you are living with a man right now that you are not married to, and you have rightly said; and when He said that, His confrontation made her evasive. Uh, ah, I believe You are a prophet. You know our fathers said that we should worship over here on the mountain and you
Jews say that we ought to be over here in Jerusalem. What’s that? Confrontation makes you uncomfortable? You know why? Because we are so used to being dealt with confrontation on a human level. Usually when humans confront you, they mean to hurt you. When God confronts you, He means to help you. Please hear me. You notice He confronted the lady in private. He sent twelve guys away so she could get honest.
Even now as you sit on your pew, if you feel the sweet touch of the Holy Spirit dealing with you in secret areas of your life and secret emotions and involvements of your life that are not possibly up to par, nobody around here knows anything about it. That is the kindness of God saying, We need this area taken care of. God always deals one-on-one.
He said, Woman, you got a problem. Now listen carefully. Because God loves us so much, He seeks to build up, not tear down. Now watch! And because He builds for eternity, He digs deep. That’s why I hate that shallow easy-believism. I believe in Jesus. Oh, Yuck!
Honey, when you get confronted with God, His main agenda is the debris, the refuse, the rubbish, the trash, the garbage. It doesn’t offend Him how much trash and garbage He has to deal with. He is building for eternity. What are you building? I am building a worshiper. It’s not; I’m going to get somebody saved. He is building a worshiper. Our eternal preoccupation in the city will be the worship of God, so we have to start here. That’s why He challenges areas in our lives that are not committed and surrendered. That’s why He probes; He convicts; He pricks, and He digs. That’s why we have 10,000 flavors of Christianity because people don’t want the digging! He preaches too strong there; I am going where I can be comfortable”.
Well, be comfortable, I hope you make it! God bless you; happy for you; see you whenever. But the one I am dealing with has this terrible problem. He is always pricking and pinching and digging and saying, What’s behind this door? Oh, that’s my childhood. Oh, let’s open it. Oh, no that’s locked. Ain’t locked now! And He just walks in Himself, because He is light, and He just looks at it and says; Oh, my God! — The trash, the junk, the hurts, the bleeding wounds, the problems, and all the things that flow out of that and into this which make you what you don’t want to be! He doesn’t turn around and say, Oh you are such a filthy dirty person!
He just walks in the filthy room and says, We need to clean this up a little bit; that’s all, and He washes it with the blood! Oh yes He does. And He blesses it with the Word; and He fills that room with the wonderful gift of the Holy Ghost; and than, you know what He does? He walks down to another room. That’s what He is doing in this church! That’s what He is doing in our lives! He is walking down to the locked attics and the locked basements and the locked rooms of our lives and He is saying, Hey you Pentecostals, it is about time to change. It is about time to get rid of your pity party and get rid of your safe security and let me expose every area of your life! If you and I don’t let Him have total exposure, we can never experience total emancipation. Freedom flows from letting Him have His free way.
I can’t believe we claim the Holy Ghost and talk in tongues and hate people. We don’t talk to people. We say we have the love of God in our hearts, and we haven’t talked to anyone the whole week about the Holy Ghost, about the love of God, about Jesus-name baptism, about their need of salvation. Come on! There is something wrong here! There are some armadillos in somebody’s room; there are some opossums lying sleeping some place. Well, I’m not the witnessing kind. What? . . and after you get the Holy Ghost you shall be witnesses. That doesn’t mean talk; that means walk. That doesn’t mean an organized witnessing program and go banging on doors. That’s not what that is. Your life is to be a witness. You are a light; you are the salt; you are the flavor; you are the direction; you are the body of Christ. We are to manifest the life of Jesus Christ wherever we go.
What happens is we are afraid of contention; we are afraid of argument; and we are afraid of confronting people. We are afraid of witnessing to people lest we offend them. They are already damned; they are already going to hell; they are already lost; there is no way you can make them any more lost! Well, I don’t want them to be offended. But, if somebody doesn’t deal with them or challenge them or bring them the truth in love, they have NO chance. They are already lost!
I’m not the only one in the church that wrestles with that. Well, I worked with this guy only nine years now, and I’m about ready to talk to him about Jesus. (It’s) Funny! You talk to him about the Gators, the World Series; and you talk about all the nifty things in life as far as who is living with who and who divorced who and what Hillary and Billary said. You have no idea the guy is scheduled for an aneurysm tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., and you have had nine years of access to the guy; but, you don’t want to confront him.
Don’t you get it? Confrontation is the extension of Jesus. He spent His whole life confronting people. You have to understand something. You have to learn to live with loneliness and rejection. Jesus didn’t have such a fantastic success rate — 3 1/2 years of walking on water, raising the dead, healing the sick, cleansing the leper and casting out devils; and He starts Sunday school with 120. That’s not so good!
Because He loves us, He digs deep and checks for the debris. He wants to set us free from stuff. The problem is, when He confronts us, His presence always accentuates our flaws. It brings quickly to our mind the remembrance of our failures. It shows up so easily our imperfections. It screams to us of our own self-centeredness and our selfishness, and the contrast makes us uneasy.
It’s like Isaiah when he sees the Lord high and lifted up, he says, Woe is me! Why? Because of the contrast! As long as God hadn’t confronted him, he was happy just preaching to everybody else. Then all of a sudden, he gets ushered into the holy presence of God; and God confronts him with what He really is and what Isaiah is. The contrast makes him uncomfortable to the point that he confesses, Woe is me! And that’s all God wanted from Him, because as soon as he said, I am a man of unclean lips dwelling among people that are unclean, the angel touched him with hot coals and said, You’re fixed. He didn’t have to beg God to fix him. God was just waiting for him to open his mouth and say, I’m bad. We still don’t believe. We think we have to get in some sort of prayer posture and get right where we need to be before God will move on us.
CONFRONTATION BRINGS CONFESSION
Luke 5:5 “And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” When he let down the net, the net engulfed a great bunch of fish and the fish broke the net; and they filled the boats with the fish.
Verse 8) “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, 0 Lord.” Now watch! Here is the natural response to being confronted with the goodness of God — Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, 0 Lord.
Nobody brought up anything about your being a sinner. We are out here on a fishing trip. Listen to me carefully. The principle is underlying; that’s why most so-called Christian churches do not believe in nor practice the supernatural, because the supernatural will bring confession. The minute you start having a dynamic demonstration of the power of God, it will make sinners to get honest. He didn’t have any problem with having Jesus on his boat. He didn’t have any problem lending Him his boat to preach as a pulpit. He didn’t have any problem taking Jesus for a little ride out in his ferry, out into the deeper waters.
But the minute Jesus showed His stuff, once Jesus’ divinity superseded His humanity, Peter got uncomfortable. It happens in this church all the time. The power of God moves and all of a sudden . . . “You know I don’t believe in this shoutin’ stuff. You’re lying . . ” It ain’t the shoutin’; it ain’t the talking in tongues; it ain’t the boogalooing and banging into walls. It’s all of a sudden you are out of control and He is in control, and it gets you very embarrassed because you don’t know what He is going to say or do.
Peter said, Depart from me. Why did he say depart? Because He has confronted him with His deity, not His humanity. I’m comfortable with your humanity; you are my pal. But, when your Deity starts throwing its weight around, I want out of here!
Has anybody been in a service, besides me, when God’s Deity starts showing up so powerfull you don’t want to breathe? The place just sort of went ” holy”, and you are breathing, and you can hear your heartbeat, and you are going- stop! Your whole body is feeling it and you say- stop! You know what happened? God has just stepped in and said, I am going to confront some people right now. And you are afraid to get up and get out, and you are afraid to do anything! All of a sudden, it’s no more pleasant church, it is God building up His kingdom. It makes everybody uncomfortable. Why? Because, the contrast is so awesome. So, anybody that can say they have met God and can flippantly say, I believe in Jesus, hasn’t met Him.
In Luke, Chapter 4, the Bible tells me that there was a man full of the devil in the synagogue; and when Jesus walked up, the man full of the devil cried out, Leave us alone. That’s when you can tell you are being confronted. Because anytime the Deity of God shows up, anything that is not Godlike says Leave us alone.
THE CONFRONTATION PROCESS
This woman in Samaria, she progressed from evasion, to admission, to reception. She first dealt with Him as a Jew. She elevated it now to a prophet, and finally goes to tell the people that He is the Christ. Confrontation convicted her and convinced her. The scripture says she left her water pots. Isn’t it neat that when you are honest with a confrontation with God, God will let you leave behind what used to make you sag?
She carried the water pots until her shoulders sagged. That is what God is trying to do with us. He is trying to check those areas in our lives that make us limp and make us sag and make us drag. And, she left the water pots for the well that sprung up. Nobody had to give her a three hour course. She went right in and said, “Come meet a man that just confronted me with Deity. I believe He is the Messiah. He knew all about me; come see! And she evangelized an entire city because she responded to a confrontation properly.
When the Lord talked to this woman, you know what He said? He said, Now look lady, your ignorance can hinder you. He said if you knew who it was, you would ask Him, but see, your ignorance is hindering you; because you don’t know who I am and what I want to do for you. Your blindness is keeping your blessings back. Your concepts are chaining you and holding you captive.
This isn’t a Jew thing; this isn’t a Gentile thing; this isn’t a Samaritan thing; this isn’t a religious thing. This is deity and dust. I want what’s best for you. Why do you keep bringing up the past, your religion, your priest, and your church? It’s Me and you.
Don’t you get it? When God deals with you, there is only room in that circle for two. Me and Jesus. So the Lord turns around and says, I love you so much I am going to keep confronting you until I can convict you so you will confess. I am going to keep confronting you until somehow you get inspired with a desire to change. I am going to expose your errors so I can emancipate your soul. I am come that you might have life and you might have it more abundantly.
ARRESTED BY HIS WORD
John 7:32 “The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.” Now, isn’t that something? They sent officers to take Him. Now, they sent officers to take Him and He speaks. And when He finishes talking, the officers are arrested. Can you imagine being a cop and going back to the station and telling the chief that ‘we couldn’t arrest Him because He arrested us.’ He wowed us with His words! We went to lay hands on Him, but He laid His hand on us.
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” That is a strained posture, because a teacher in Judaism never stood; the teacher sat. When Jesus stood, He stopped being a teacher and became a Herald and a proclaimer of a prophetic promise. When Jesus stood and cried, the word cried was intense emotion because it was the end of the feast of tabernacles where they poured the water out across the steps. It was commemorating God’s provision — the water — for them in the wilderness. And when all that water was sloshing all over the place, Jesus stood and said. “If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:37-39)
And these guys with handcuffs and billy clubs are standing there with their mouths open. I can just see a twinkle in Jesus’ eye. Did you come to arrest somebody? You know what He would say? You can’t arrest me now, it’s not My time.
OUR VISION AFFECTS HOW WE BEHOLD HIM
John 7:40-41 “Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ, But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?” What prophet? The prophet that was promised in Deuteronomy by Moses that the Lord shall raise up a prophet like unto myself. Him you will hear. They said, this is the prophet. Why? Because in the previous chapter He had just said, I am the bread that came down from heaven. You relate manna and Moses together. I am the true bread and the living bread. Then He turns around and talks about living water.
So they turned around and said, Whoa! This is the prophet; and others turned around and said, This is the anointed, the Christ. Now, do you get what just happened? Out of every Divine confrontation you will always have a divided response. Some say He is the prophet; some say He is the Christ; others say it couldn’t be the Christ because we have been studying geography.
Verse 42-46 “Rath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people because of him.” (Still the same today.) And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him. (Couldn’t do it , wasn’t time) Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?” (Why didn’t you arrest Him?) The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.”
Did you hear what he just said? There are no indefinite articles in the Grecian language, like it says God is a Spirit. That is a mistranslation. There is no indefinite article in Greek. It is not God is ‘a’ Spirit; It’s God IS Spirit. It didn’t say Never A man spake like this …It said, Never man spake like this. They just said, All of mankind couldn’t say this kind of stuff. The words we heard were beyond man. Deity spoke today!
Why didn’t you arrest Him? Because of His words. What was so powerful about His words? Well John 6 says, the words that I speak to you are not mine but my father’s. And my doctrine that I speak to you, it’s not mine, it’s my father’s. His power came from the fact that He was not speaking as man. He was speaking as Deity. For no man could ever challenge human
thirst and promise the ability to satisfy. He said if any man thirst — Notice the invitation, any. Notice there is no qualification to the thirst. It didn’t say spiritual thirst. It says, if any man thirst for wisdom; if any man thirst for power, for peace, for meaning… if any man thirst… I can take care of it.
He said, He that hears ME hears Him that sent Me. I and My Father are one. I have the words of eternal life. Where are you going to go? Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man will hear my voice and open… He did not say hear the knock, He said, hear my voice. The knock only gets your attention; the voice tells you who it is.
GOD’S STANCE IS CONFRONTATION
The service just gets your attention. The voice says who it is. All of God’s active moving among the human race has always been confronting. He confronted David when David took another man’s wife to bed got her pregnant, murdered her husband with a heathen sword and stayed as a hypocrite silent for a year. God confronted David because He loved David too much to let him be lost. When Nathan put that bony finger in David’s face and said, thou art the man, it was the kindness of God confronting David so he wouldn’t be con- demned.
Why are you afraid of God confronting you? as if He would expose your sins publicly? I think not. God is seeking worshipers, and it requires confrontation, exposure, revelation. He found Abram worshiping a false Deity at a mistaken altar. He found Moses backslid on the backside of a desert, sucking his thumb, reliving his failures, sitting out there for 40 years with the sheep until a bush finally bums and God calls him. Isn’t it funny that when God calls this guy, 40 years delinquent and AWOL, He never brought up his past? We specialize in people’s past!
When God found Jacob running away on the heels of his lie, his treachery and his indecent treatment of his own father in lying; when He gave him that dream. that vision, and that ladder with the angels going up and down in Genesis 28 at Bethel, God never brought up the fact that he was a liar, a deceiver, that he lacked integrity, that he had insulted him, (God), and insulted his family. God didn’t bring up any of that. He said, I’ll be with you wherever you go and I’ll watch over you; and when you come back, I’ll watch you when you’re coming.
It took God 20 years before He could get the second confrontation to change Jacob to Israel. Don’t become impatient with God’s multiple confrontations with your life. Don’t become impatient when God exposes you and me again and again in areas where we promise to do better and we don’t. It is God’s great desire, because He builds for eternity, to dig out debris and deal with the trash until finally we come clean. If God would take 20 years with Jacob, why are some of us impatient over five? Confrontation is God’s way to deal with the false in the flesh, for God forces us to face Him, to face ourselves, and to face others.
The incarnation was God’s confrontation from a Divine perspective. It was the Father, not a fiend, not a fuehrer, but a Father. Jesus’ entire ministry was confrontation. It was truth confronting error. It was light dealing with darkness. It was health dealing with sickness. It was eternal confronting the temporal. It was life confronting death. It was reality confronting religion. It was substance confronting shadow. He confronted cripples in John 5. He confronted the crazy in Mark 5 in the Gadarenes. He confronted the sinful ( the woman of Samaria John 4). He confronted the hypocrites of religion in John 8 when the adulterous woman was taken and the hypocrites wanted to kill her. He even confronted the dead in the widow of Nain and Lazarus and Jarius. He confronted the mistaken Saul of Tarsus; He confronted His friends who ran away and failed Him, Simon Peter who had denied, lied, and ran. He even confronted at Pentecost His foes who had fought against Him and crucified Him. For the murderers at Pentecost, they received mercy. He even confronts believers who are afflicted, alone, and overwhelmed as He comes to John on the Isle at Patmos.
I say it again. Do not limit your possibility to what is visible, what has been, and what is now! God found Job in disaster and confronted him three times! When He confronted Job, the scripture says Job repented. Watch; when Job was confronted with loss, he worshiped; When Job was confronted with the death of his children, he worshiped; When Job was confronted with the loss of health, he worshiped; When Job was confronted with God’s raw presence, there is no record that he worshiped; he repented!
He said, I don’t know anything. I have spoken about stuff when I needed to keep my mouth shut. When God confronted him to a place where he was convicted to confession, God turned .around and said, That’s all I wanted; give him back twice as much as he had!
That is the purpose of Divine confrontation! — To get us honest enough to say, We thought we knew something, but now in your raw presence, we don’t know anything; and we need You to help us”. And God will show Himself strong !
CONVICTION IS NECESSARY
We’ve been dealing with worship and the differences between thanksgiving, praise, and worship. I have also been dealing with confrontation and the fact that confrontation usually produces conviction. But conviction is necessary for change. The real purpose of confrontation is change. It is the reason that God confronts us. It isn’t because He hates us. It is because He loves us and He wants us to be fully developed to our potential. The bottom line is, even beyond change, is worship.
In John 4 it says that God seeketh such to worship him. God is on a quest for worshipers. He is wanting worshipers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. The purpose of confrontation is change; change that will produce true worship, because worship will be the everlasting theme in the spirit world. There will be no non-worshipers in New Jerusalem. There will be no non-worshipers in the bride of Christ. It is, therefore, our duty to learn how to be worshipers. There will be no training later. This is a practice session; there we will be forever.
So, as God confronts us with His presence, He usually convicts us which I told you occurs because of the contrast between what He is and what we are. The contrast is so overwhelming that it brings to us conviction. If we confess when we are convicted, we will be cleansed. If we contest it, and we refuse and resist the conviction, we stay condemned. For we are all condemned now. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Nobody since Adam had been in covenant with God until God gestured with covenant when He went to Israel and gave them covenant; when He went into covenant with Noah; and now in the New Testament through the new birth He goes into covenant with us.
But when God finds us, we are aliens according to Ephesians 2:11-14, we are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, the promises of God, from the covenants of God, and have no right of access. The human species have been lied to by radio and TV preachers and nincompoops who write articles and books that say, You can just go up to God and somehow you’re accepted. Not hardly! It’s much harder for you to approach God than it is for you to approach Bill Clinton. Even though you are a taxpayer, you cannot catch a jet and go to D.C. and go in and talk to Bill. You wouldn’t make it past the security guards. You wouldn’t make it in to see him. You just don’t walk in to see the President. He is too important for you. You have nothing on common ground with him except buying his caviar. Other then that, you have no common ground.
Please don’t misread what I am saying. Any person that prays — are you saying that they are not welcome? Oh, they are welcome but they don’t have automatic self right access. It is the mercy of God that lets us approach. You just don’t barge in to God and say, Hey you, I want to talk to you. Not hardly! One fella barged in, the scripture says, and he went to offer up incense; and he wasn’t a priest, and God smote him with leprosy in his head and drove him back out. He died a leper even though he was a king of Israel. There is an approach to God; and until we can get the proper concept of who we are and who and what He is, our approach will be nothing more then mental concept.
The Bible says in Proverbs 28:13 “He that covereth his sin shall not prosper, he that confesseth and forsaketh shall find mercy.” In the gospel of John, Chapter 9, when they were arguing with the blind man that Jesus had healed, he made a very interesting statement when they were telling him that he didn’t know beans about anything; he turned around and said, Well, one thing I do know; I was blind, and now I see. And the fella that made me well — you say He broke the Sabbath — well, I don’t know. You asked me what I thought. I think He is a prophet. You didn’t accept that; but I know one thing, I know God heareth not sinners.
They accused Jesus of being a sinner because he violated, not the Sabbath, their concept of the Sabbath. God never violates His own truth. He only tramples under His holy feet human concepts. The Lord used this fellow to give us a very powerful statement, one that has concerned me for twenty years. We know that God heareth not sinners. Well, if God doesn’t hear sinners, how in the world are we ever going to get there?
John 9:31: “Now we know that God heareth not sinners, but if any man be a worshipper of God and doeth his will, him he heareth.” But everyone is a sinner; but, here is the key if any man be a worshipper of God and doeth His will. . . . It didn’t say if any man or woman have it all together. It said if any person is a worshipper of God and doeth His will.
Now, let’s interpret what that means. It doesn’t mean doing everything properly, exactly, all the time. God counts motive for action, desire for performance. Don’t we parents —when our children are learning how to walk — don’t we count desire for accomplishment? — learning how to go on skates, on bicycles and tricycles, with scuffs and bruises and boo-boo’s? We don’t damn them and condemn and say, Come back when you can do it right, stupid. We encourage and say, Oh, you did so good; that’s great. We are thrilled that they are trying. Hear what I am trying to tell you. God is thrilled when you try. Man is always thrilled when you perform.
The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:9 that it is not the will of God that any perish but that all come to repentance. So God isn’t happy about any being lost. He wants them to come to repentance. Thus, confrontation is required. For no one can come to repentance who God doesn’t withstand. Until a person is shown that they are wrong, why would they repent? Why would you want to change if you were never informed that you needed to be changed? That’s why confrontation is so important.
In Ezekiel, Chapter 33:1-6, the Lord gave them an illustration and said. If you take a man of your coast and you set him as a watchman on the wall and he see the enemy approach and he sounds the trumpet and the people take warning, they shall spare themselves for they took warning. But if that person take not warning he will be slain and his own blood shall be required on his own head for he took not warning. What is he saying? He did not respond to the confrontation!
The only other thing that is more serious than that is that the Lord warns the watchman. And he says, Woe to the watchman who doesn’t sound the trumpet and warn the people for they will indeed perish, but I will require their blood at the hand of the watchman. What foolish people who would not want their preacher to confront them, who would not want their preacher to come out of a prayer room and say I have something from God for you!
RESULT OF CONFRONTATION-CONFUSION
My message tonight is, “The Offspring of Confrontation is Always Confusion.” I can tell by the silence of your looks that you are confused, for I hear the words coming up from the whispers of your mind; but God is not the author of confusion. Yes, but He is the revealer of your confusion.
Ever heard a man talk on the radio, sing on the radio, or read a book by a certain author and then met that person and their appearance confused you? It is so humorous to me. As much traveling as I do, I have people come up to me at conferences and camp meetings everywhere and start talking to me, Oh Brother Arnold, I have so many of your tapes and I really enjoy your preaching, — You are Brother Arnold, aren’t you? Yes, I am. Well you don’t look like him. What does he look like? Now watch what they say, Well I had a mental picture of you. Well then, let’s ask the question. Am I the author of their confusion, or am I the revealer of their confusion? Has my personal presence just messed up their concept?
God is not the author of confusion, but He becomes the revealer of our confusion, which is birthed from our concept — which is usually erroneous. When God confronts us—because He is the truth — He is not a truth— He is the truth, the contrast between what He presents in person and what our concepts have given to us cause confusion. If we are not willing to adjust to His presence, we will start another church; or we will leave the one we go to because the more His presence confronts us, the more confusing will be our concepts that He doesn’t measure up to.
The easy thing is to become religious, and in being religious, it’s simple; You pull Him down to the level of your last revelation and make Him stay there. The problem is that all of us possess, and probably honestly learned, preconceived ideas about God. Now we have a schoolteacher back here; we have nurses and other medical people, some business entrepreneurs, computer experts and what-have-you, so I should be able to find some of you here. I should be able to reach you.
In learning, we always proceed from the known to the unknown. You can only proceed into the unknown from what you now possess. If I am going to learn the multiplication tables I have to learn how to add and subtract first. If I am going to learn algebra, I must first learn the basics of math. If I am going to go into geometry, trigonometry, higher numbers, way-out-space-cadet math, calculus, you cannot do that if you have not learned that 2 + 2 = 4. Because you are always building on the platform of the known to launch into the unknown.
In the realm of science, the only reason we’ve been able to go to the moon is because we first started with some Sputniks dropping into the ocean. We learned rocket energy. We went past propeller energy on planes. It was step by step, little by little, so that we finally ended up with what we know as a platform with which we can progress into the unknown. Suppose your platform is wrong? Then being challenged by the unknown will really make us angry. I don’t believe that, I’m gonna join a different church.
I can’t play music. Many of you ladies and gentlemen are gifted and can play. Most of you probably aren’t so gifted; you probably are disciplined to sit down and practice. It’s so easy to say, I’m not gifted. No, you just didn’t practice. You don’t have to be super-gifted to play; you just have to sit down and practice. I’d like to be able to just sit down — I used to hear Liberace play — I’d just like to be able to sit down and do that. Well, at one time Liberace used to go dink, dink, dink.
When I took typing in high school we learned home keys and then they made you stretch w-a-a-a-a-y up there; and then I learned how to do the parenthesis, set the margins, use the space bar, and then prepare legal forms. I used to love to watch my dad. My dad had real big fat fingers and he had an old-fashioned typewriter, and he could still type almost 100 words a minute with those fat fingers. It would be like smoke comin’ out of there. I would try that every once in awhile, and in my ignorance I thought if you just go fast it works. Then after taking class, I realized you have to learn where the keys are and you don’t go real fast. I remember finally learning how to type six words, eight words and fifteen words, and passed each level and got up to about oh, 50-55 words per minute; and that was as far as I ever got.
I went to college to be a court stenographer (a court reporter) and you wrote phonetically. You had all these abbreviations and legal symbols. You’d write, making all these abbreviations, and I got up to where I could write 160 words per minute. You needed 200 to graduate, and just when I was getting ready to get my diploma, God called me, saved me, and I. got delivered — and didn’t get my diploma!
But I’ve said all that to say this; in order to get up to 160-180 words, you had to learn how to do home keys and basics. What I am saying is, in the realm of confrontation with God and conviction with God, confusion always follows on the heels of confrontation because our concepts are not always right. And with those concepts that are right, God comes near to expand them.
NO BASIS OF COMPARISON IN THE SPIRIT REALM
Concepts that are right, that have been lived in for a long time, become safety buffer zones; and we don’t want out of them. You cannot build anything higher without a foundation. You have to always progress from what is known to the unknown. That is where our problem is. In the spirit realm, we lack the basis of comparison. When someone walks up and says God loves you unconditionally and you are immoral, a drunkard, a liar, a drug addict, an average-Joe tax payer, whatever; that does not compute. You have nothing to tie it to because there is nothing in your realm that loves you uncondi- tionally as you are.
And then we blow you away with, He has all power and can do anything. That does not compute. There is nothing in this world that has all power. Everything I deal with has limits. Yet we wonder sometimes. When a sinner walks in off the streets and the presence of God comes here and we juke and boogaloo, we look at him and say, What’s your problem; why don’t you respond? They say, To what? To God! They say, Who, where, what God? You run up and scream, He loves you. Who loves me? Well, everything in my life love is always
predicated on performance, reciprocation, and earning. You don’t know what I’ve knows what you’ve done; that’s what scares me. He knows what I’ve done? Ho up to Him? So you have to convince them. He loves you in spite of yourself. education and my upbringing gives me that platform.
That’s why we that are called must come to God in faith. We must believe tha He is what? That He is what He has revealed Himself as, though you have that you have to tie yourself to but His word.
See how easy it is to be confused. Then you turn around and insult intelligence by telling him a story about a dead man who got Himself murder He hung on a pole; they put Him in a hole; He got back up in three days; He He is flying around in the air now; and He loves you. When is the last ti anybody get bumped off, thrown in a hole, come out of the ground, fly in some keys talking to people out of clouds? And then you turn around and c some more and say, He is so big He fills the whole universe, and He wants to be bitsy heart right now. He is going to step right down and get right inside you. We 1 for comparison.
One time the Lord just seemed to boom out to the prophet Isaiah and said, A to whom will you liken me? In Exodus 15, he cries out after a Red Sea jubi Whom can we compare unto thee? None of the gods of Egypt can hold a candle opened the Red Sea and spared us and killed everything, and brought u mighty arm. There is no one like you!
That’s why God’s people have always seemed a little weird living in soc society wants to relate their god to their baseball stars, their Hollywood fil entrepreneurs, their successful business men; and God ain’t nothing like tha beyond that, and He expects us not to be like them!
Israel’s great sin was always that they wanted a god like the other ones, ri carrying a spear and looking like Ivanhoe and fighting like Robin Hood. T want! God says, I am bigger than that; don’t put Me into a saddle. I sit on the cir predicated on performance, reciprocation, and earning. You don’t know what I’ve done. Oh, He knows what you’ve done; that’s what scares me. He knows what I’ve done? How can I come up to Him? So you have to convince them. He loves you in spite of yourself. Nothing in my education and my upbringing gives me that platform.
That’s why we that are called must come to God in faith. We must believe that He is. That He is what? That He is what He has revealed Himself as, though you have no platform that you have to tie yourself to but His word.
See how easy it is to be confused. Then you turn around and insult somebody’s intelligence by telling him a story about a dead man who got Himself murdered one day; He hung on a pole; they put Him in a hole; He got back up in three days; He has the keys; He is flying around in the air now; and He loves you. When is the last time they saw anybody get bumped off, thrown in a hole, come out of the ground, fly in the air with some keys talking to people out of clouds? And then you turn around and confuse them some more and say, He is so big He fills the whole universe, and He wants to get in your little bitsy heart right now. He is going to step right down and get right inside you. We lack the basis for comparison.
One time the Lord just seemed to boom out to the prophet Isaiah and said, Ask the people, to whom will you liken me? In Exodus 15, he cries out after a Red Sea jubilee and says, Whom can we compare unto thee? None of the gods of Egypt can hold a candle to you. You opened the Red Sea and spared us and killed everything, and brought us out with a mighty arm. There is no one like you!
That’s why God’s people have always seemed a little weird living in society because society wants to relate their god to their baseball stars, their Hollywood film stars, their entrepreneurs, their successful business men; and God ain’t nothing like that! He is so far beyond that, and He expects us not to be like them!
Israel’s great sin was always that they wanted a god like the other ones, riding a horse, carrying a spear and looking like Ivanhoe and fighting like Robin Hood. That’s what we want! God says, I am bigger than that; don’t put Me into a saddle. I sit on the circle of the earth
and you are going to put Me into a saddle? You are going to make Me wear armor and carry a javelin when I can, with the breath of my nostrils, open the Red Sea? And you want to put Me on a horse? We are not the first people that have trouble with an invisible concept God.
In the spiritual realm, we lack the basis for comparison. There is no platform from which to proceed except how we’ve been raised, what our Sunday school teachers taught us, sermons that we heard, stories we read, pictures we created, and formulating images in our minds from information received to the point that the image created will often be greater then the actual personage when He comes.
So that when Jesus confronts you and me and says, I am He, our image says, No! We thought you were like THIS! So when God confronts us personally, it is simple; we get confused. Most of us have been to church when we were little kids — we were Baptists, Catholics, Methodist, Episcopalians, whatever — went to a few different ones, fine; then one time we came into a full-gospel church, a charismatic church, a Pentecostal church, or an Apostolic church that believed in the literal visitation and the manifestation of the move of the Spirit of God which in previous religious knowledge we had never experienced, and all of a sudden God moved down the pew where we were sitting. Our hair stood up, tears ran from our eyes and our goose-bump machine said, Whoa! What is going on here?
Then someone next to you says, That’s God. But everything in your concept and all your teachings, your stories, and your sermons have formulated a picture and a presence that do not equate to that; so it is hard to move in that direction. Therefore, we get confused and step back. If we Holy-Roller people aren’t careful, we’ll add to their confusion by indicting them saying, What’s wrong with you; Praise Jesus! They don’t even know what’s going on, and they’d like a way out of here!
Confusion comes when my concepts and ideas clash with His presence thus making me very, very uncomfortable. I’ve told you before that people walk up and say, Hi Brother Arnold, how are you? Man, I’ve enjoyed you sermons and I heard you preach . . . You are Brother Arnold? I’ve had some people that thought I was black; some people thought I was much, much older; some people thought I was younger, thinner, fatter. Now, I’m standing there and these people are doing this very sincerely and honestly; and I am looking at them going, Now, am I the cause of your confusion? Or, is your confusion caused because your concept does not match the reality of who I am?
If you are not honest, your concept will say, Change the reality; make God conform. Thus you have modern Christianity where God is forced to conform to concept and behave. God is not permitted in most churches to interrupt or interfere — or dare take over! Sometimes He has the audacity to act like it is His church; that He could interrupt the choir; that He could move with the gifts of the Spirit; or He could bring conviction, throw people down on their face as His Bold Majesty just stalks its way through an auditorium. But after God has been made to feel very unwelcome, and He Himself becomes uncomfortable with chained concepts; He will usually leave church people alone. Even in this church, He will leave people alone — those who do not want God to turn the cart over and wreck the false platform, and take them where they have no desire to go.
WHEN CONCEPTS CLASH WITH GOD’S CONDITIONS
Naaman was dying with leprosy in II Kings, Chapter 5. His healing was brought about by the witness and testimony of a little girl who had been mistreated, taken prisoner, and instead of being sour-pussed and bitter, (because she got the short end of the stick) said, Oh I wish my master Naaman was in my hometown where there is a prophet who would pray for him, and God would heal him of his leprosy.
There had never been a recording in the Bible to that date of anybody being healed of leprosy. What great faith children have! Yet she turned around and moved that guy until he was the captain of the host of Syria; and he took a whole squadron with him with all kinds of gold, jewels, and treasures, and he is the one dying and needing mercy. Now watch what happens! He needs a miracle, but he almost misses his deliverance because his concept clashes with God’s conditions. The preacher tells the servant to go tell the man to dip seven times in the River Jordan, and the Lord of Israel will heal his flesh and make him whole. The guy gets ticked, bent out of shape, furious and throwing a fit, and here is what he says; I thought surely he would come out and strike his hand over the place. I am assuming (by scripture) that when he said he thought he would strike his hand over the place, he meant he would put his hand over the leprosy where it was eating away his flesh and would heal him. So he had a preconceived idea of how the miracle would work and how God should do it.
When God didn’t do it, the man went into a tirade. He just bolted out of there. You have to understand he has no previous platform of how Jehovah works, so the only thing he has is his concept, his ideas, and all the miles that he rode into Judea and the picture in his mind of how the healing was going to happen. When God turned around and said, Nope! Watch; Clash! If you don’t respond properly, you lose. So, thank God for some humble servants who ran up to him and said. Master, had he asked you to wipe out half an army somewhere or do some mighty deed, take a battalion army, climb a mountain, swim an ocean — you are a mighty man of valor and that would have appealed to your ego — you could have accepted that because that’s your image! But, he asked you to humble yourself. You’re dying of leprosy, why don’t you humble yourself and do what the preacher asked you to do and go dip in the Jordan seven times? So he dips in the Jordan and, boom, his flesh comes back as a little child, the Bible says, and he comes back to the preacher and says, Now I know! Before I thought, but now I know!
A lot of us ought to be able to say that. You know, there was a time I thought, but now I know. I used to think the Pentecostal stuff was crazy, but now I know. I used to think that talking-in-tongues stuff was of the devil, but now I know. I used to think that they were crazy with all that emotional worship, hand-clapping and screaming, but now I know.
Confusion is always the offspring of a Divine confrontation. It is not always the work of the devil. People will say that confusion is the work of the devil. No it isn’t. Many times it is the first step of Deity working with dust. Anybody besides me ever confused when you first came into a Pentecostal church? You were wondering what all the noise was about. What is the matter with these people? (I’ve) Been going to church since I was six years old; my mom was Roman Catholic; my dad was German Lutheran, and every church we went to people behaved! We went to the Pentecostal church, and it was like a circus —Screaming and boogalooin’, and making noise — disrespectful, gonna wake up God after awhile!
I had never heard a preacher say, Let’s pray. When I went to church and the preacher said, Let’s pray, everybody just bowed their head and you paid him $100, so you let him pray. And he’d say, Oh, most holy Father . . . and he just prayed. When I went to your church and the preacher said, Let’s pray, . . . Yeah! It freaked me out! I thought, What’s the matter with you people? I used to think you thought God was deaf. I used to think you thought heaven was a l-o-o-ng way off and since you didn’t have any microphone or megaphone, you had to try to get it up there! You mean I’m the only one that has ever been confused to hear 200-300 people pray and my little carnal mind says, I wonder how He deciphers all of this?
CONFUSION: THE BIRTHPLACE OF FAITH
Consider the nation of Israel and how confused they were about Messiah. They had no confusion about Messiah until Messiah showed up. Until the presence clashed with the concept, the Jews were happy. As soon as the one they had a concept about showed up in a pair of sandals, it drove them crazy. I’ve got news for you. I’ve been living for the Lord for quite a while now, and He still confuses me. But I’m learning that when my confusion comes from a confrontation with His word or His Spirit, it is a step in the right direction; because confusion is the birthplace of faith.
Here the Messiah shows up and they missed Him. Every day they are singing at the wall, chanting in the temple, doing their rituals, offering their sacrifices, the priesthood is singing, and here comes the Lord suddenly to His temple. Here He is, I’m the One you’ve been singing about. They say, Who are You? I’m your rest. I’m the way, the truth, the life. I’m the Father in flesh. I’m Messiah. I’m Christos, I’m Him!
Come on, we know your father and your mother down there at that stupid carpenter shop. What are you telling us? What are you telling these poor dumb people here, ‘my Father which is in heaven? Your father is Joe who lives down the street at 5238 56th Street. What are you talking about? Stupid religious people don’t know anything. We know who your old man is; it’s Joe. We know your brothers and your sisters. You all went to the same Sabbath school here. What is He pulling off here?
Concepts confronted with the absolute truth will cause confusion. But the confusion is never caused to bring delusion; the confusion is caused to bring deliverance from incorrect concept. Either the presence has to change or the concept has to change. Either the truth has to cease being all-truth or the concept has to adjust. Or, we can get religious and live without the presence and now all we are is concept, and we hope for the best. We hope we make it. We hope that when we die we were right!
Jesus contacted the Jews, confronted the Jews, and they clashed with Him; because their preconceived ideas did not match what He was saying. Their conception of Messiah was to whip the Romans, liberate the Jews, stop the taxes. They saw Him as a natural savior, and He kept dealing with spiritual issues. He clashed with them and they with Him over His and their interpretation and fulfillment of the law. He clashed with them and confronted them because He healed on the Sabbath, and their concept of the Sabbath was; no work. Healing was a work. (John, Chapter 5) Why are you carrying your cot, it’s the Sabbath? He that healed me told me to carry it. He must be a Sabbath-breaker. No! He was a Sabbath-interpreter and His presence revealed their confusion. So what did they do? What all religious people do, got rid of His presence, and (it was) business as usual.
You could have a great church if God won’t show up. You can chain, shackle, pervert and twist people. You can cause them to be slaves to religiosity. You can make them live in fear of your thunders and He don’t show up. But, if He ever messes up a meeting by showing up and doing stuff that your concept says isn’t done today, you have an insurrection; and you walk away and say, I hate it when the presence of God shows up. It’s taken me 25 years to get this the way I wanted it, and He shows up and heals somebody. He knows that we don’t believe in divine healing! It must be psychosomatic, that’s what it is. I know. It’s Christian Science. There is no such thing as sickness; it’s all in your mind.
Come on folks, I’m trying to be so kind. Don’t you get what I am trying to tell you in a kind way? Don’t you see how privileged we are? Don’t you understand? He chose us out of the tens of thousands of wonderful precious people in this city who gather under the banner of whatever kind of church they gather together in, and yet are never taught the glorious presence of God? They never come in contact with it, or are told it’s not for us; it’s an invisible something. Those things don’t happen that used to happen in the book of Acts. God doesn’t baptize with the…don’t you get it?
Don’t you understand why I have such a horrendous anger against shallow, pretentious Christianity. Of easy believ-ism? Or of sign a card and accept Jesus? Do you understand how horrible that is? God is not allowed to move. He is not allowed to throw His weight around. He is not allowed to flex His biceps. He can’t expand His chest. He can’t speak His word. He is locked out!
Now here is the lawgiver, and they were enraged because He is not conforming, not to the law, but to their concept of the law. He said, If you only understood what this meant that I would have mercy and not sacrifice, you would not condemn the guiltless; for I am Lord even of the Sabbath.
What do you mean you are Lord of the Sabbath? You are Jesus of Nazareth. No, I am Yahweh in a body. I am the invisible God, manifested in flesh. I am the fulfillment of Isaiah. I am your King, and I come to your temple. Here I am, and you don’t see Me because your concepts have locked Me out. Now it is very easy for us today to say; them Jews…I’m not talking about them Jews, I’m talking about us Pentecostals. The greatest problem is for any one who has ever had an experience with God and then lock Him out.
They clashed with Jesus because Jesus exalted people over precepts and practices. He ruined their ideology of separation from sinners by eating with sinners, sitting with women and men who were immoral, of ill repute, who were tax collectors, who were the unacceptable, who were considered trash. He found enjoyment with people. He didn’t condone their living; neither did He condemn them. He came among them because He realized that they were sheep that were lost, people that were hurting, and folks that were in darkness and needed light, truth, and mercy. There is no sense telling a drunk that he is a drunk; he knows he is a drunk. There is no sense telling a liar he is a liar; he knows he is a liar No sense telling someone who is immoral they are immoral; they know they are immoral.
ADMIT AND ADJUST
The only people that you have to deal with are people that are deceived. Because people who are deceived do not know they are deceived. That’s why they need light and truth.
As He confronted the Jews, He confused them because their concepts of God, of Messiah, of the kingdom, were off And because they were off, it enraged them. All He wanted them to do was to admit error and adjust; but because they refused to admit and adjust, conflict arose and caused them to hate Him and to hunt Him. Their rejection of Him did not change the truth. It just left them condemned. Walking on His way to Calvary and weeping at the brow of Jerusalem, He said, Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how oft I would have gathered thee as a hen doth her brood. I wanted your children, like a hen gathers her chicks, but you would not; henceforth your house is left desolate. I came to deliver your house but being you will not change your concept then I leave you condemned. Wow! That’s scary! Those were religious folks. They were not heathens. Those are the folks that had supernatural experiences with God superseding any other people on the planet. They were the ones that walked through the Red Sea, ate manna from heaven, and drank water out of a rock, who saw a cloud watch over them during the day and a pillar of fire by night. They were the ones that heard the audible voice of God shaking from the top of Mount Sinai and God coming down through Moses with the ten commandments, civilian law, ceremonial law, ritualistic law, Levitical law, and the Mosaic priesthood.
They were privileged; they had angels that did battle for them; they had walls of Jericho fall, and the Jordan River roll back. These people knew the supernatural and the miraculous. It was they and they alone who had patriarchs of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and the twelve sons of Jacob that made the whole nation of Israel. It was they that had prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Obadiah. It was they that had great seers like John-the-Baptist. It was they who became the lineage of choice for God to give Messiah to the earth; and He came to His own, it says in John 1, and His own received Him not. He came, but because He clashed with their concept and their concept was set in concrete, it means they couldn’t expand it, so He had to destroy it! He said the kingdom is taken from you, and given to those who will adjust. As He confronted them, He confused them because He revealed their errors and their unwillingness to change.
John 5:37: “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.” He accused them—Ye have never heard God’s voice, nor ever seen His image; so all you have of God is a written holy book and a concept. It is dangerous when people have received Divine truth with unregenerated spirits. Because, when the God of truth walks in our midst, nine times out of nine, we will miss it.
If God tries to do anything different in any assembly, it will breed so much confusion that people won’t know what to do with themselves. I’ve heard people. I’ve seen a move of God across this nation in different churches. I remember preaching one time in Mattoon, Illinois, as a young hot-riding evangelist, and I walked in there and preached a stem-winder. When I finished, the Lord plugged me in and I gave a message in tongues and an interpretation and it put that whole place on their faces, and people got the Holy Ghost. People got to crying and balling, and about 60 percent of the church just sat there stunned. When it was over, I said What in the world is going on in this church? And a lady said, We’ve not had a message in tongues and an interpretation in five years. In fact, we never have any gifts of the Spirit exercised unless a visiting preacher comes.
THE POWER OF THE PULPIT AND PEW
That told me something — pulpit concept. It’s scary how powerful the pulpit can be; for error or truth! It’s Scary how powerful the pew can be for error or truth, when the pulpit tries and the pew says, No! I’ve got a nice little club here. Everybody behaves. We know how to respond on cue. We know how long we give him.
I wonder if we could be honest enough to ask God for a special gift. A gift is something you don’t deserve. You just ask and hope. It’s not in faith; it’s in hope. I wonder if this church could ask God for a Christmas gift. God, would you confront me as a person and my concepts, and what needs to be altered and changed? Let me work through the confusion to a place of being convinced.
I firmly stand on the scripture that says, God is not the author of confusion. That means that He is not the source or the cause, but He is the revealer. When He steps in, He is bright light, and He is bright truth, and He is absolute sovereignty. When He steps in and we begin to have confusion because something is caused by His presence, you can rest assured it’s not the devil. His presence is exposing a mistake or a limited perspective that He wants to expand and lift us to a higher plateau so we can enjoy Him and have the full liberty of being a real child of God rather than always worrying about being lost the next day.
OPEN TO CONFRONTATION
I wonder if we could ask God to challenge and confront our concepts. I wonder if we are big enough to turn around and say, Okay, this is what we believe and this is how we perceive and how we interpreted this. Now Lord, this may have been here a long time. Whatever is wrong; wherever I’ve misread or misunderstood; if I’ve constricted something too much here; didn’t restrict this enough here, would you burn in my spirit and my heart and open me so I don’t mind being confused if the confusion is caused by Your presence being near to me?
Now I am concerned when confusion comes without the presence of God. If confusion comes with His presence, it means He is leading us beyond where we are. You know how hard it is to change. You know how hard it is to admit, You know, I think I’m wrong.
WORD MUST ABIDE IN YOU
John 5:38 “And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.” Now they had His word; they had it written out, in scrolls, tablets. They chanted it and read it. They had little things on their head. They had those little things on their belly; they had the word. They didn’t have it abiding in them. That goes beyond memorization. He said it doesn’t abide in you because something that abides in you operates and lives and functions and expands.
He said, You have not His word abiding in you and here’s how I can tell. Watch what He says, For whom ye have sent Him, you believe not. If the word were abiding in you, you would embrace Me. But because the word isn’t abiding in Me but your concepts are abiding in Me, then when the living word walks up to you: Clash!
John 5:39 “Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
Now watch! Look at the printed page and take your refuge in the printed page and reject the person that the page prophesied about. I am here to take the principles of the page and make it live in your person. I am standing right here in a body. I can make that book live because I am the author of that book. My words are spirit and they are life. But you will not receive my word because the written word doesn’t even abide in you. You are just churchy.
Verse 40-42 “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you”. See. You don’t have the love of God in you. He said, You don’t have the love of God in you because if you had the love of God in you, you would love Me because I am the manifestation of the love of God. But there is no room in your life for Me. Why? Because if I move in, I will clash with your concept; and something will have to change, or I will be forced to leave. You can’t have it both ways.
Verse 43 “I am come in my Father’s name, and you receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” In other words, there is room in your heart for flesh and personality and performers; but not for truth. Remember I’ve told this church one hundred times I am sure; let me say it one-hundred and one. Truth was a person before it was a precept. God is truth and has always been truth. He didn’t change when He put His truth on printed page nor did He diminish!
Verse 44 “How can you believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” There is an honor that comes only from God but it will not come your way; it will not come my way. Jesus gave it to us; seek it. You don’t want the honor that cometh from . . . seek it. It has to be sought; it has to be searched for; it has to be yearned after; it requires time.
Verse 45 “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.” Jesus wouldn’t even insult the Father by accusing you to the Father. You are not even worthy to be accused to the Father. I’ll tell you what I’ll do with you. I’ll judge you and condemn you by the guy that you think is your hero. I’ll take you to Moses . . . you know what He was saying? To you Jews, Moses was a greater savior than was Christ.
I could take you through the book of Acts and show you the greatest hell, trouble and sorrow that Paul ever had was the Jews who came into the church and never stopped worshiping and following Moses. Don’t you see what a terrible disaster that is? That is a combination of law and grace — compelling people to be circumcised as if Moses had as much authority as Jesus — turn around and make him keep ceremonies and rituals. This is clean and that’s unclean, and this is okay and that ain’t okay. They went behind Paul everywhere he had a revival, and they undid what he did.
That’s why you have the book of Galatians, the Judaizers coming down and undoing everything that Paul did saying that you couldn’t be saved except you be circumcised. What were they saying? You have to be a Jew before you can be a Christian. Watch! You have to be a Pentecostal before you can be a Christian.
Verse 46 “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.” What did He just say? Here is what He said. I hate to tell you, fellas, but you don’t even believe Moses. You are practicing concepts of Moses, but you don’t believe Moses because Moses talked about Me and said I was coming. If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; but you don’t believe Moses. You chose and pick things that you like to hang onto and you build your little sandcastles in the air, but you don’t believe Moses.
Did you ever wonder why they killed Him? He did not have a nice day with them. He did not win friends and influence people with the Hebrews. Ever had an idea why it was so wonderful for Him to find that sweet place of rest at a place called Bethany? Why He loved Lazarus and Martha and Mary? It was like a Radisson to Him. He could just go there and kick His shoes off and not have to fight with a bunch of Jews. He’d stay there and just be refreshed, and then just enjoy the fellowship and camaraderie with that family, and enjoy the love feast they had. He would take a deep breath and go, Well it’s another twelve hours with those Jews again; and before you know it, He would go out there and clash! And He has come to save these idiots!
You know it’s very hard for a lifeguard to save somebody who fights Him. Some lifeguard stories I’ve read say that they’re taught if they keep fighting, you let them go. You say, But they’ll die. Better them than us. Watch what Jesus did. He fought with them until He could fight no longer, and He said, Your house is left desolate.
Verse 47 “But if you believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” God is not the author of confusion. He is merely the revealer of our confusion. But, if we experience confusion from the fresh presence of God, it is a good step in the right direction; for true worship must always flow out of true revelation. God is looking for true worshipers. Sometimes He has to destroy before He builds up. Sometimes He has to wreck the place before He can erect a place. Sometimes He has to come to the people He loves the most and have had wonderful experiences with Him and turn around and say, Okay, it’s time to expand it bigger.
The above article, “The Best Is Yet To Come” was written by J.W. Arnold. The article was excerpted from chapter twelve in Arnold’s book, The Why & Wonder of Worship.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.