The Wauchula Revival Center was originally part of an independent fellowship of churches that was based in Lakeland founded by the late Rev. Charles Myers and his wife Novella. In 1993, Novella Myers, who pastored the Lakeland Revival Center church that was the "mother church" of these congregations, decided to bring her entire group into the Foursquare denomination, and this particular congregation was one of those churches. At the time I preached here, I was still in college, and was more or less preaching as part of my supplemental income that summer. Although we attended Cornerstone Christian Center Foursquare Church in Auburndale, FL, at this point, I itinerated all over the area as a part of my own ministry.
- To warn against some excesses in our own Charismatic circles.
- To show that though there may be distinctives in opinion, we must be one in Christ.
The direct result of this is that we tend to "water the Word" a little so that it might be a little more palatable to digest in our wonderful American "quick-fix" mindset. To use the American colloquialism, what the Apostle Paul is trying to tell us is that we are after a "cop-out." The result is that with less Word, we get less blessing.
Let us consider a delicious bowl of South Indian curry. It is best, as most of you who have eaten it will agree, when it cooks down to a hot spicy stock. That is what gives it the character of its flavor. Of course, to the unaccustomed American palate, it can be a little pungent, and therefore we make it more bearable by watering it down. Yes, it may still have a reasonably good flavor, but it has lost its distinctiveness and is now little more than a watery soup. Yuck!
Like good curry, the Gospel in its original undiluted form is the best. However, to the untrained palate, it can sting in its purity, and therefore some tend to water it down to make it more "digestible." However, a diluted Gospel loses its original power and therefore is unable to do what it was intended to do. Look at our passage and you will see why.
The alternative to all this is simple: why don't we, instead of watering the Gospel down, break it into smaller chunks? This would be so much more effective, for the person is getting a pure Gospel this way but in digestible bites. Try it pastors - it does work!
B. According To Their Own Desires.
This part of the passage is telling us that some seek a "feel-good" message because they can't intellectually comprehend a "full Gospel" message. That's too much - so they seek something easier.
However, our desires are not always healthy for us. God wants us to desire what He desires for us: that is, to be whole in Him through the principles of the whole Word of God, and not just the parts that make us feel good. Sometimes, even the little digestible parts of God's Word are like cough syrup - very distasteful to our tongues, but therapeutic to our spirits.
The truth in God's Word is that it requires an action on our behalf, and possibly even some more sacrifice. Unless we willingly take that action or make that sacrifice, we cannot receive the full spiritual blessings of His Word. However, if we do them, we have liberty in Him.
C. They Have Itching Ears.
Some Charismatics don't just want a "feel-good" Gospel, but they also want it to sound good. The Word of God is both good and good for us, but it won't always appeal to our auditory faculties. This is a fact we must accept sooner or later.
Please understand that our God is not just a God of "quick fixes," but is a PERMANENT FIX in our lives! However, we must put some commitment behind this if we desire him to abide in us permanently. Unfortunately, our human nature doesn't want to hear about commitment, but rather we desire to have our ears tickled because they are itching to hear about where and how to obtain the quick fix. Many ministers need to realize that they have a three-fold task in this regard - to convict souls, edify the spirit, and ultimately to change lives.
D. Heap Up For Themselves Teachers.
Almost every Christian ministry has good teaching to some degree or another , but a lot of Christians seem to indulge in setting up "fan clubs" and personality cults around certain teachers and evangelists. The underlying problem here lies not with the minister in most cases but with the individual believer, and here is why.
Televangelism is a good thing, and many people's lives have been reached through it. However, I tend to be disturbed by some of the brethren who won't touch a Bible but will sit in front of a television set and soak up everything they hear on it. Some even think they can substitute the "electronic church" for the local church, and inevitably end up spiritually undernourished.
I will make it understod that I wholeheartedly support TVevangelism, for it has great potential as a ministry tool. However, it should never replace the local church as a source of spiritual nourishment. Also, it should never take the place of one's devotional life. This doesn't mean it is wrong to watch TBN or whatever, but it does mean that we must be spiritually balanced.
E. They Will Turn Their Ears Away From The Truth.
As we mentioned earlier, the truth of God's Word on occasion can be a hard pill to swallow. Therefore, we tend to seek something more accomodating to the flesh. As a result, we can turn away from the guidance of the Holy Scripture and the truth it teaches.
When one is exposed to subtropical climate like we have here in Florida, he would naturally desire cooler temperatures if he is a newcomer to the area. So it is when we are faced with a new Scriptural truth that tends to make us uncomfortable. Our human nature hates change, yet God's Word requires change for the better, which sometimes isn't easy. As a result, we sometimes turn away to avoid the new experience.
As God has commanded us to perservere, however, we need to do our best to hang on. The assurance that God won't put anything on us we are not able to handle should help us, and as a result, we can better face change. The bottom line is that we need to trust God to give us the abiltity to accept change, and if we turn away, we're not looking to him for our help. Then, we tend to end up in worried messes that we sometimes can't get out of. So, isn't it easier in the long run to accept change?
- Be Grounded in God's Word - We should be studying it daily anyway.
- Unite Yourself With a Local Body of Believers - This is so we might draw strength from one another.
- BE DISCERNING!! - It is important to check out everything you hear out with the Scriptures, and not with what some popular minister who writes a book or has a TV program says.