We live in an age of instant gratification. We live on "fast food". We drive "fast cars". We grow impatient when the computer takes thirty seconds to boot up rather than twenty. As soon as we buy the latest gadget on the market it is obsolete because the newest gadget will be ready tomorrow. We are happy with the prospect of "quick temporary relief" when we buy the latest headache remedy. Is it any wonder that the spiritual appetites of many are satisfied quite well with a small serving of "gospel lite"; one that is quickly taken in and doesn"t take up much space in the hearts of those who drink it.
We live in a time when there is more communication between people than ever before in history. There is no lack of "preaching" and teaching around us. One only has to turn on the TV or radio to easily find a number of stations solely dedicated to that very endeavor. Yet I believe we live in an age when it is difficult to find more than a handful of broadcasts that are solely dedicated to glorifying CHRIST alone. In pointing this out I have no desire to be critical or to pass judgment on other’s motives, but am simply making a troubled observation. The age in which we live is one where "the gospel" is watered down and mixed with man’s endeavor to become a concoction that cannot bring healing to GOD’s people, or it is somehow linked to the natural realm in which we live replete with promises of health and wealth. This has gone on long enough now that many have a hard time discerning between error and truth. We have a whole generation whose hurt has been healed slightly, they have peace and confidence without any substance, they have houses without foundations and riches without value.
When a man has a real illness he needs medicine that will actually remedy what ails him. If on the other hand, all that he wants is sympathy then all he needs to do is find a doctor that will tell him what he wants to hear and prescribe a cure which satisfies his desire. By and large, the preaching that we hear today is just like that. It does not get to the root of man’s problem and therefore cannot prescribe the proper medicine or determine the dose needed. If an illness is misdiagnosed, then even the most skillful and knowledgeable physician can be of no value. (see Job 13:4)
The sickness of sin which has invaded man is a sickness unto death. It does not simply hinder men from entering into eternal life; it totally prevents them from even seeking out the only known remedy for its destructive power. There is only one known antidote for the awful effects which this terrible disease has caused. The preaching of the "true gospel"(see Gal.1:6,7;II Cor. 11:4, Phil.3:18; Rom.10:14-17) is the only successful cure for this malady which eats away the heart and soul of those afflicted by it. "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of JESUS! What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of JESUS! O precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know. Nothing but the blood of JESUS". This blessed salve, when applied by the HOLY SPIRIT, can and will heal completely, all who taste its life-giving power. Some would-be doctors preach "peace, peace when there is no peace", promising salvation for praying a prayer or signing a card. Because we have a radical disease we must have a radical remedy that is applied by the TRUE PHYSICIAN. We cannot be helped by those who offer us topical ointments and anesthetics. Believing the gospel has been reduced to two minutes of recital with or without a few tears. Being "born again" is now defined as a process which man begins and participates in. If one’s purpose in "preaching the gospel" is to gain "converts" and count heads then this is indeed a way of keeping up with one’s "successes". But our primary purpose in "preaching the gospel" is to glorify CHRIST in the earth and rejoice when HE is pleased to awaken dead sinners and call them to himself by faith and repentance. The LORD JESUS said, "No man can come to me, except the FATHER which hath sent me draw him:"( John 6:44)" And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."(John 12:32)). The need of lost sinners is such that only the LORD can meet it. A quick three step formula will neither bring glory to the LORD nor minister life to those who follow it. Conversion takes place only when the LORD does a work of grace in a sinner’s heart. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Phil 2:13)How has the LORD healed HIS people?
HE has brought us near to HIM. When Adam sinned in the garden, he brought about a separation between us and the FATHER which has only been amplified by our willing participation in that sin. "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." (Isaiah 59:1-2) But GOD who is rich in mercy has removed that barrier that has kept us from HIM. "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."(Eph 2:13)
HE has removed our blindness and caused us to hear. In our natural state we could not see nor hear the gospel. Yet the LORD JESUS CHRIST came into the world to heal us. HE said, "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness."(John 12:46). Therefore "the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace ". (Luke 1:78-79) "And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them." (Isaiah 42:16)
HE has taken away our stony hearts and given us a heart of flesh enabling us to love HIM, HIS way, and HIS people. Our very natures had to be changed in order for this to occur. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Cor. 5:17) By nature we do not value the things of GOD. Yet when CHRIST healed us he changed our whole perspective and made those things we once despised the very things we prize most highly. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God." (Ezek 36:26-28)
HE has set us free from the law (i.e., principle) of sin and death. We no longer are compelled to serve HIM out of a slavish fear for HE has made us sons and heirs. "GOD sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, GOD hath sent forth the SPIRIT of his SON into your hearts, crying, Abba, FATHER. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of GOD through CHRIST."(Gal 4:4-7)