Jesus People 1970’s
“Quench not the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19
Sanctification: 1. to set apart to a sacred purpose: Consecrate 2:to free from sin: Purify
This word popped into my mind as I made my way through the woods this morning, lifting my concerns before God. “Sanctified.” But then what God spoke next was disturbing. “They will not be sanctified.” Specifically, believers – I was praying for one in particular who I see as a bit adrift. I’ve tried to call her in, to reason with her and she hears me, but she does not “heed.” I don’t think she sees it as obstinacy or rebellion. She is surrounded by a cloud of other compromised Christians and a group-think of postmodern plurality and half-truths.
I’ve been making my way through the Bible over the last six months and I’m now in 2nd Kings. After several chapters, you pick up a pattern. Two kingdoms, Israel and Judah with two kings, their reigns overlapping throughout the course of each nation’s chaotic history. Some kings were flat-out evil, laughing at a God they assumed was blind. Then there were the good kings. They usually had to tear down what the bad kings built. They wanted to please God, but I noticed a disturbing trend with these kings. The Bible states, “but they did not remove the high places.”
The “high places” refers to altars that were built to worship strange pagan gods. Solomon’s compromise, as he tried to appease way too many women, led to building pagan altars, a split kingdom and two nations veering off track. An occasional king would tear these places down in order to restore his people back to God, but then the next king would build it again.
I thought of this as I circled the pond this morning. Sanctified means “set apart.” Not set on a fence, straddling two worlds. If I had to define what disturbs me most about many millennial Christians I meet is a disregard for what is holy. They won’t tear down the High Places. They want to dine at the King’s banquet wearing flip-flops and pajamas.
Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 20:17
I know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t Jesus love me just the way I am? Well, it depends. Any wretched sinner, no matter how filthy, who is repentant, is welcome to eat at His table. Come as you are! But when I should know better, when I should be eating meat and I’m still on the bottle, when I know the Truth but fail to speak or live it… I better get it right. “Quench not the spirit.” If I just ate a box of bavarian creme donuts (I did that once when I was slightly impaired) I will pass on an invitation to dinner. All set.
Dietrrich Bonhoeffer said, “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
When you get as old as I am, you begin to see cycles. As Solomon lamented, there truly is nothing new under the sun, including the “postmodern” philosophy. As a child of the 60’s, our mantra was “if it feels good do it.” Why not? We weren’t hurting anyone! But unlike today, we would’ve proudly admitted our rebellion and rejection of all things holy. We built the altars ourselves and partied into the looming darkness. The hangover was immense and the whole nation suffered. Strange that the Jesus People Movement was born out of the midst of this depravity, yet so just-like-Jesus.
“A false scale is an abomination to the Lord.” Proverbs 11:1. I read this today, and I know it is talking about a literal scale, but I sensed the Holy Spirit highlighting it before me. What is my false scale? How am I weighing in on sanctification, holiness and the standard that God expects of me? A false scale is a deceptive scale. Do we also think our God is blind?
Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more. Luke 12:48
I have been given much – much more than I ever deserved or could even ask for. I want to tear down any lurking High Places and come to His holy altar –repentant, hungry for more of Jesus, abandoning all. Oswald Chambers says, “Am I prepared to let God grip me by His power and do a work in me that is worthy of Himself?”
This is the cost of sanctification. It is not cheap. But I want to be set apart for my Master’s use, so that when He needs me, He can joyfully reach for me.
Perhaps the “Postmodern age” will signal a new revival, a resurgence of the Truth the Way and the Life. If God is looking for some Jesus People, will we be ready? Worshippers in Spirit and in truth or worshipping before strange gods? Let’s demolish the High Places and return to our first love. There is a fountain of grace at the altar of repentance.
” but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”1 Peter 1:15-17 (NKJV)
O Come to the Altar – beautiful song!