And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” – 2 Samuel 12:1-7 ESV
We who call ourselves the church, I wonder how often we will find that we the rich and prosperous have stolen from the poor man?
I wonder how many times we have received the blessing and kept it for ourselves?
I wonder how many times when we’ve had the power to love available to us to pour out in encouragement, forgiveness, mercy, accountability, meeting someone else’s needs, etc. but we’ve withheld something for ourselves?
I wonder how many times we’ve withheld our prayers, time, and that portion of our income from the church to use for ourselves instead, and in turn how many times the churches have withheld the same from those needy, destitute, aged, sick, and imprisoned so it can be used for the social club atmosphere of a self-serving religious business?
And some will read this message and get mad about it, because the conviction comes but they are unwilling to yield to the truth in their hearts that they need to repent. They will say proudly to themselves, I don’t have to repent, I’ve accepted Jesus! And I ask, has He accepted you, friend? Is there oil in your lamp? Or will He say, “Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” Is He abiding in your life today, or are you abiding in sin? Do you know the sweet, sweet aroma of the fruit of His Spirit, or just the stench of sin, death, disease, worldliness, doubt, guilt, shame and condemnation?
If you see the area of your life that does not fit, if the Word has shined light on something in your heart that is keeping you from abiding with Him, will you cry, “Cut it out and cast it far away, Lord, and replace it with your Holy Spirit! Renew me and prove yourself faithful to change me and mold me into that new creation in your hands! Please, Lord Jesus, come live in me today! Today is the day that grace is new and that salvation comes to me and my house fresh and new!” Or will we shrink back and let the seed be stolen away by the enemy because we enjoy the mental exercise of gaining knowledge through theology and philosophy, but we still believe that it is burdensome to serve the Lord? Will we also steal the praise and worship of our living sacrifice from the Lord, expecting to always asking, “Bless me, Lord.” But forgetting to cry out, “Bless the Lord, Oh my soul!”
We once were thieves, but Jesus…
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:28-32 ESV