I love reading about the beginning of the Church. It was an exciting time—and also, a challenging, difficult time. One of the key features we read about is that the church began with repentance. Do you remember when Peter preached his first message?
Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Do you see that? “Repent of your sins and turn to God . . .” That is the starting point of your relationship with Yehoveh and your Messiah, Yeshua—Jesus. Without your willingness to repent and turn from your sin, you cannot face them.
When Peter preached the cross at and the need for repentance, thousands came to Christ. This new church was made up of one body, consisting of all races, filled with love for one another. Its corporate life was marked by evangelism, a spirit of sacrifice, even martyrdom.
This wonderful beginning reflects God’s word to Jeremiah: “I had planted you, O house of Israel, a choice vine, wholly of pure seed” (Jeremiah 2:21). As I said at the beginning, it was an exciting time (as well as a challenging and difficult time).
However, the Lord’s next words describes what often happens to such works: “How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?” (Jeremiah 2:21). What the Lord was saying is, “I planted you right. You were mine, bearing my name and nature. But now you have turned degenerate.”
So what caused this degeneration in the church? It always has been, and will continue to be, idolatry. Our Father is talking about idolatry when he says to Jeremiah, “my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols” (Jeremiah 2:11).
Most Christian teaching today identifies an idol as anything that comes between Yehoveh’s people and himself. But that is only part of what idolatry is.
Idolatry has to do with a heart issue that is much deeper than that. The number-one idol in The Church isn’t adultery, pornography or alcohol. It is a much more sinister and powerful lust. It is our driving ambition for success—and it even has a doctrine to justify it.
The idolatry of being successful describes many in God’s house today. I can tell you from personal experience how divisive and subtle this idol is. Oh, we might be upright, morally clean, full of good works. But we set up an idol of ambition in our hearts, and we cannot easily shake it off.
Our Father loves to bless us. He wants us to succeed in everything undertake honestly. But there is now a raging spirit in the land that is overtaking multitudes—this is the spirit of love for recognition and acquiring of things.
I know you have heard the saying, “He who dies with the most toys—wins.” Tragically, Christians, born-again, Spirit Filled, tongue speaking Evangelicals, can just as easily get caught up in this pursuit. We have strayed so from the gospel of living through dying to self, ego, and worldly ambition. We need to pursue a Holy Consecrated life, devoted to the Lord alone. We our hearts are set on that pursuit, He very well bring us that success. But will it does comes it will be so meaningless that we will be shocked that we thirsted for it so strongly.
(I send out messages like each morning. If you are interested, let me know. However, you can also find these messages at: Thought For The Day)