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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

One,or the other!

Isaac Rankin, an American clergyman of an earlier age, wrote these words:

"Just a few feet from my window stretches a wire that carries a heavy current of electricity for light and power. It is carefully insulated at every pole, and is well out of reach of the public. But if I could lean far enough out to grasp it, death would be as swift as a lightning stroke - yet the doves light on it and suffer no harm. Their safety lies in the fact that when they come in contact with the electrical wire they touch nothing else. My danger would be that while I held the cable, the walls of my house would serve as a ground, and the current would instantly pass through my body with a deadly effect. God wants us to seek our safety in complete surrender to His power and love. It is when we reach out one hand to Him while holding on to some forbidden thing with the other, that we are in grave spiritual danger."

Paul, the apostle, writing to the disciples of Jesus in Corinth, made this bold statement: "You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons." (I Cor.10:21). What he was (and is!) emphasising is that fellowship at the Lord's Table requires complete requires complete separation from evil. He instructs these early believers to be singular in their devotion to the Lord Jesus, and not to cater to the idolatry of pagans. As he continues, in the letter, to challenge them about their further attitude to the Lord's Table, he further points out that such compromising would bring divine judgment upon them in the form of weakness, or sickness, and might even result in their death:

"Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died." (11:27-30). 

Does this mean that only perfect people may approach the Table? Praise God, that is not the case. " Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup." It is as I examine myself, that I realise that I am not worthy - on my own merit - to come to the Table. However, I come - because I am invited, and because "... the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin." (I John 1:7). Not that I can take that cleansing lightly! It did, indeed, cost the only-begotten Son of the Father His life's blood. That is why I must take seriously those words of Isaac Rankin. Almighty God, and the devil, are calling for my allegiance - and for yours!. We cannot serve both!

The challenge of Joshua still applies to day: "...  if you be unwilling to serve YHWH, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve YHWH." (Josh.24:15).  Jesus said: "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." (Matt.6:24)

So, who will you serve? It must be one or the other. 

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