2Corinthians 4:1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
Losing heart. It means to fail in heart, to become faint, in the original Greek. And it is a common affliction of those who have been sent by God to call the church back to Him. Back to Him? Yes. We have adopted man’s ways to try to attract people to Jesus, and we have advertised God as a Blesser without the required obedience. He does bless — His eyes move to and fro around the earth to strongly support . . . who? Those whose hearts are completely His, beloved. There’s where the rubber meets the road.
Why do the hearts of His messengers fail? Opposition! The calls of these men were not, “go and teach the power of positive thinking” or “preach only the attractive words Christ spoke” or “talk about the positive promises of God while forgetting to mention His warnings.” I tell you the truth — even today, human hearts that have not yet been purified and filled with God’s actual love will react to the words of God just as in Isaiah’s and Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s day.
These fearless men of God were to go and speak the truth to rebellious people whose hearts were not entirely God’s. At His servants’ preaching, a very small number heard and turned back to God. But the Lord warned His servants the prophets that the words He gave them to speak would make most hearts insensitive, fat. He said their ears would become dull, heavy. He warned them that His people’s eyes would become even more dim, besmeared. He commanded them to keep speaking, lest the people see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return to God and be healed. He told Isaiah to speak to His people the very words I’ve just written. Look it up in Isaiah 6.
It doesn’t sound like a very positive assignment from God. It doesn’t sound like what is being preached from most of our country’s largest and most successful churches. Church historians say that Isaiah was sawed in half for His obedience to the Lord’s command to speak. Thus the hearts of God’s people were revealed. They could not see or hear or sense in their hearts that Isaiah spoke the very words of God. So they killed him.
Even so, today the church reveals her heart when she actively opposes and/or coldly listens to the message of repentance toward God and single-minded seeking to be filled with His Spirit, in a moment of time, after salvation and water baptism. And so the church continues with internal conflicts between members, favoritism, churches splitting apart over the color of carpeting, and worse — sins of pornography and adultery and even pedophilia. As a pastor, I have seen these things, even among lay leaders and preachers, dear ones.
Woe! Alas! It is the cry of the ones the Lord sends to speak to His people. We aren’t glad to say what we must say. But we say it because God commands us, and we know there will be a few who are convicted by the Holy Spirit and turn back to the Lord. God’s heart is for them to turn — His purpose is to redeem His people, not judge and destroy them. But they will self-destruct if they do not turn. God shows us what will happen. We see it and weep.
Woe! Alas! It is an expression of grief, pity, concern. And in our grief, it is easy to lose heart. Our hearts become so broken for God’s people and so tired of rejection that we really want to give up and simply let them go their own way. But we cannot — we are compelled to speak, by the very love of God that has been poured out in our hearts. We want them to be reconciled to God, for He has given us His heart. We feel what He feels.
You may say I’m crazy, foolish, lacking common sense and human reason, as the Corinthians accused Paul:
2Corinthians 12:11 I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody.
They said Paul was crazy because he was compelled by the love of God to speak the truth — to call the church at Corinth to be reconciled to God (2Corinthians 5:20), to warn them not to receive the grace of God in vain (2Corinthians 6:1), so that they ultimately appear before Him empty-handed (that’s the original Greek meaning of “in vain”). Woe! Alas!
It is that way with Jeff and me — and we surely are nobodies by the world’s and the church’s measurements. I am not sure what forum the Lord will use, in continuing to have us speak. Jeff and I have suspended the video ministry because we believe this is a flesh-and-blood gospel. We need to be physically in contact with those to whom we speak, so that by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, some might catch a glimpse of Jesus Christ and recognize that we are sent by God to turn them back to Him. I will continue to pour out the words God gives me in my blog. And we will continue to pray for the church to return to God.