Is This The Time To Make Mirth?
Many of Godís people are distressed beyond measure by the spirit of irreverence and jesting that prevails in our day in certain meetings that are held in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the expense of being considered behind the times, supercritical, and uninformed as to what attracts young people, or crowds of young and old Ė we must cry out against an attitude and a condition that we believe, with all sincerity, do not honor the Lord but dishonor Him.
Of course, the born again believer in Christ is filled with joy. One short book of the New Testament, the Epistle to the Philippians, employs the word "joy" and "rejoicing" eighteen times. Joy fills the heart of the Christian and he goes on his way rejoicing, as did the Ethiopian eunuch of Acts 8, after he was converted.
But there is a vast difference between joy and buffoonery. And when the Word of God and the solemn message of the Cross are handled lightly, and holy things treated with irreverence, it must be grieving to God indeed. In spite of outward manifestation that seems to bespeak a ministry of power, under such circumstances there is grave question whether the Holy Spirit can do a deep and abiding work.
We live in a pleasure mad age. The craze for entertainment and amusement is at its apex. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that men and women generally are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. But when members of the true church, the body of Christ, fall into the way of the world, it is a tragic thing. And when ministers of the Gospel engage in worldly antics and irreverent jesting to draw the crowds and to be popular, it is a strange fire that they offer to the Lord.
There was a time, in days gone by, when a people who professed to be the Lordís, made merry when they should have been solemn because of coming judgment. To them, captive Israelites at Chebar, God spoke through Ezekiel, saying: "Thus saith the Lord...A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished: it is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth?" (Ezek. 21:9-10). A day of judgment was coming and it was no time for merriment.
Gone, today, is the mournerís bench that our fathers knew, and, in a sense, perhaps, it is well, since the bench came to mean something meritorious, as if men were saved according to the quality or quantity of weeping they did rather than through faith in the Son of God and His atoning and complete work at Calvary. Yet it would be a spiritually helpful thing, we suggest, if less laughter and more weeping were seen in certain Gospel meetings today.
With conversion there must come, in some measure, a spirit of true humiliation and confession of sin. The convert will rise from his knees rejoicing but, before he rises he will certainly feel some contrition. There must be a Bochim, a place of weeping, for the penitent sinner who becomes aware of his own utter sinfulness, Godís consummate holiness, and Christís matchless grace in dying for sin and the sinner.
Yes, let us
go on our way rejoicing as the Lordís purchased people. But God help us to be
aware of His holiness and the seriousness of the hour. "He that goeth forth
and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
bringing his sheaves with him" (Psa. 126:6).
From Life Indeed.