Thursday, March 31, 2011

Seeker Friendly (in Context)

"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness"
from Matthew 6;33 Jesus speaking to his disciples

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened."
from Matthew 7;7, 8 Jesus speaking to his disciples

"And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."
from Luke 11;9 Jesus speaking to his disciples.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
Luke 19;10 Jesus talking to Zacchaeus

Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, "I have been found by those who did not seek me;I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me."
from Romans 10;20 Paul writing to the Christians in Rome

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God." from Colossians 3;1 Paul writing to the Christians at Colossea

Modern American Christianity says let's be a Seeker Friendly church. You know, for those people who are out there seeking God. Romans says, "there is no one righteous, no one who seeks God?" What do those who are creating and supporting "Seeker Friendly Churches" do with that verse and the few verses I quoted above. The fact is the ones I quoted above along with several others are taken out of context and applied to those that Christians who misunderstand the Scriptures and apply them to the "seekers." Saying the Bible says, "seek and you will find" all the while neglecting who Jesus is talking to "His Disciples" so this is written to us as well as we who are His disciples today. Our friends may object, "then why should unbelievers read the Bible if this isn't written for and to them?" The bottom line is The Bible is living and active. It is the very Words of God. God can, has and will use His Living Word to birth children into His family. If an unbeliever is willing to read the Bible, then we are to pray that God would use it in their life to bring about new life in them. It is a mystery. God does the saving of souls and yet, he includes us in the process by telling us to share the Gospel with others, pray and give testimony and be free to share His Word.

So, I have taken each of the verses above to see who is this being written or spoken to; some verses I have read within the context of the chapter or the entire letter. Since I was a babe in Christ, I have said, Context, context, context. The "who is this being written to" was a blind spot of mind until about 5 years ago when our oldest was taking a deeper look into the Scriptures and took us with her. It has been eye opening. In fact, the last 5 plus years have been some of the riches and hardest years of my pilgrimage through this life being led by the LORD. How grateful am I to have such a God who would continually work in my life and lead me to continue to be fed by His Word especially the truth of the Gospel: Jesus came to seek and save the lost. There has been no mistake that those who the Father has given to Jesus will not be taken from His hand. (in John 10 it is stated twice in a row in case you didn't hear it the first time) Where it is in the imperative for us "to seek" is written to the Believers not those one might call "seekers."

There is one who is The Seeker: His name is the LORD. Jesus proclaims this to Zacchaeus when he said, "the Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost." and this is what the prophet Ezekiel has to say in the 34th chapter of the book by the same name.

11"For thus says the Lord GOD:Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice."

How incredibly humbling to have been sought out and found by the LORD God who laid down His life for me. That the Creator of the Universe would come after to me and give me New Life. I was dead and brought to life! My only response seems SO small and insignificant: Thank you LORD! My heart is overflowing with gratitude! When our kids were small we sang this simple song, "Thank you Lord for saving my soul. Thank you Lord for making me whole. Thank you Lord for giving to me Thy great Salvation so rich and free."

Our churches ought to be Seeker friendly, that the LORD, The one and only Seeker would be welcomed and that His Presence, Great Love and Holy Word would be known among His people and that we would be humble before Him with grateful hearts.

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