Monday, June 08, 2009

Begin At My Sanctuary

"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" 1 Peter 4:17

When God showed Ezekiel how he was going to bring judgment on the children of Israel, particularly Judah and Jerusalem since the ten northern tribes were already in captivity, he gave him a chilling vision. The best way to relate it is to let you read it yourself from Ezekiel 9:1-6. Here it is.

He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.

As you just read, God first marked those in the city who sighed and cried for all the abominations that were in the city. He knew whose hearts were tender toward him and who was not hardened in sin. God knows our works as he states many times in Revelations. He knows our motives. Are we burdened for the sins of our nation and the millions who are heading head-long into a devil's hell? Are we saddened when we see sin running unchecked in our institutions and our streets as well as over the air waves? Are we sickened to see the sin that is so rampant in the church without even a small admonition for restraint? Remember what Romans 1:32 says, "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." It's not just those who commit the sin that are punished, but those who give it a green light even though they wouldn't think of doing it themselves.

Oh how we must learn to feel God's presence! How we must learn to dwell in the Spirit of God! How we need the heart of God within us then we will weep when we think of the sinful path our nation and the world is on which will only lead to judgment and destruction.

But the chilling thing about the vision in Ezekiel quoted above is that, when God told the others to smite those who didn't have the mark given to them by the six angels. That is chilling enough but perhaps expected. However, the most chilling is that he told them to "begin at my sanctuary." God will begin his judgment in the church. Those who are lukewarm will suffer the most. This will be the vomiting out that Jesus is talking about. Many will be tried and many will be found to embrace the Gospel. Now is the time to take spiritual inventory. Ask these questions that are vital!

  1. Am I REALLY saved? Many think they're saved and yet are far from God. There must be a spiritual change inside as well as a confession outside and only the spirit of God can do that. That's why Romans 10:9-10 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." There is a confession and then the belief in the heart and that union must be with God. If you were saved, you will remember the experience and joy, but if it was only for a fleeing minute, then friend, you better consider.
  2. If you really think you're saved, then are you striving to be a vessel for his use and are you zealous for an experience with Him? If not, then you need to re-kindle the fire on the alter. Leviticus 6:13 says, "The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out." If God meant that for offering sacrifices that could only look toward the cross, how much more after the cross!
  3. Are you filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking with other tongues? That is the Biblical evidence of being filled with the Holy Ghost! If you have never spoken in tongues and are going around saying that you are filled with the Holy Ghost yet there is no manifestation, then you are not filled, my friend. In most all the cases in Acts, the evidence was that they spoke in tongues when filled.

In the interest of keeping these fairly short, I didn't take the time to go into the scriptural references and the depth that each of the above deserves. But I do hope that you will take inventory of your spiritual attributes which are the most important because you want to be prepared when God brings judgment to the "house of God," and you'll not be found wanting. Remember, we must admonish each other daily while it is called today lest we be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13