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  • Pastor Joel Cooper

Whom or what do you seek?

Let me begin by saying that as far as one travels back through the pages of God’s revelation as recorded in the Bible, we soon discover Someone Who being introduced is revealed as the summation of man’s desire. He was known to Job as the Redeemer to come, to the Psalmist, the Stone rejected and the Cornerstone. He was Isaiah’s Branch, David’s Shepherd, and the Savior of mankind. John the Baptist introduced Him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. John 1:29 The book of Hebrews extols His majesty as the One to Whom all the angels worship, and John’s revelation of Christ presents Him as receiving blessings, glory and honor forever and ever! The Apostles, principally Paul and Peter along with the writer of the Hebrews, fill out the teachings of the new covenant by giving us precious instruction as to the particulars of our faith but always with a view toward seeking Christ.

That is to say, and I repeat, Christianity is about Jesus Christ and as such the Bible’s instruction to us compels us to be found seeking the person of Christ! I emphasize, “person” in order to make a contrast toward the rising phenomena of seeking a spiritual experience. The latter has over decades taken root and through its subtleties altered the trajectory and the nature of the faith for many. Tragically, it has confused the gospel’s message that speaks of deliverance from this present evil age through faith alone, grace alone, and in Christ alone leading toward obedience to Christ’s commands. Gone is the objectivity of the walk of faith which is being replaced by that which triggers and sustains some intense emotional experience! Be aware that the Apostle Paul in his last letter and words to Timothy warned that in the last days people would have “itching ears” and accumulate those who will satisfy their passions, or as we might say, their desire for intense emotional experiences. What Paul had prophesied has now become evident in passionate but misguided worship that has become the standard bearer of experiencing God for many today. It does not ask, to Whom am I seeking but looks and measures the “what” am I experiencing.

The point I’m driving at is as clear as can be imagined. The Bible does not confer a faith that is merely apprehended by our emotions or what we might call the subjective, but a faith that is apprehended in objective facts rooted in the Bible. In fact, I would go so far as to contend that no emotional experience can verify the presence of God. It is entirely possible for any to have the same euphoric experience as some believers when it comes to emotions and experience. This argument was strengthened by an experiment using polyphyletic mushrooms which yielded similar euphoric emotions that regeneration often does. So, my point in all this is to argue the subtle danger in seeking to discover a “God connection” through emotionally based Christianity. Whether through music designed to exploit the emotions or the pursuit of signs and wonders or a fixation on seeking some still small voice somewhere within can become the end of the means rather than a means to an end. When we look at God’s Word objectively, we are inevitably brought to the point of obedient activity which by faith draws us closer to the “Person” of Christ. Scripture teaches us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Heb 11:1 So what are the “things hoped for?” Are they not the promises of God and the revelation of His Word to us? The alternatives assume that the evidence of God is expressed in our experiences. Now I would suggest this, that the reality or authenticity of your faith is not evidenced in what moves you, but from the truth that has convinced you. When we are ultimately concerned with our personal pleasures and desires, we are in fact relying upon and seeking experiences. To do so deadens our sense of sin, the vitality of our faith, the reality of His presence and ultimately a life prepared for the kingdom of God.

In our age of seeking pleasure, thinking objectively takes a back seat, while great experiences seem to be everything and so it has afflicted the church. In an age where objectivity was foremost it was J.S. Bach that composed “Jesu, joy of man’s desiring”, referring to Jesus Christ, the Creator Himself. I say that as I had previously mentioned that from the very beginning, Someone was introduced as the summation of man’s desire. That Someone of course is He Who may be discovered not in some experience but in God’s Word to us.

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