|Rev. Juliet Schimpf|
By Rev. Juliet Schimpf
Rev. Juliet Schimpf is the Minister of
First Baptist Church in Perth, Ontario:
- The Bible tells us that we can ask God any question that we might have.
- In Matthew 7, Jesus says, 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
- William Holman Hunt painted an image of Jesus knocking on the “door” of our hearts. His classic painting entitled, “Light of the World” shows that we often have vines and weeds growing around the “doorways” to our hearts. It also shows that the doorknob is located on our side of the door (not the side of the door facing Jesus); that is, the door must be opened to Christ by us.
- Perhaps you’re saying to yourself, “I’m not dissatisfied”. But the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5 to test or examine ourselves. It states, 5 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”
- Today, we’ll look at two types of people who might be disasstisfied:
- First, the person who has a religion.
- Second, the person who has a relationship with Jesus Christ that has grown dry.
- If you go to church or serve on a committee at church, you can still be dissatisfied. The reason is that you might only have “religion” in your life.
- Here are the symptoms of dissatisfaction for those of you who go to church but attempt to “fill up” on religion alone: critical attitude towards church leaders, frustration with the worship service, bitterness, sarcasm.
- If you’re trying to find satisfaction from religion, you’re trying to enter heaven through the “wide gate”.
- Matthew 7: 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”
- Religion alone won’t save our souls. Look at Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”
- Jesus warns that religion is not enough. Look what He says in Matthew 7: 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
- It is imperative to come directly to Jesus to find satisfaction in our Christian faith. Matthew 11: “28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
- The Message Translation of Matthew 11: 28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
- We must come directly to Jesus. So often we bypass Him by busying ourselves with committee work, rituals or traditions, family obligations, volunteer responsibilities.
- St. Augustine: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
- Jesus states clearly in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, the life. No one come to Father except through me.”
- According to John Piper, “It’s not so important that we ‘be’ somebody but, instead, that we ‘know’ Somebody.”
- In order to be fully satisfied, one must know Jesus Christ personally.
- In the words of Matthew 7, it is imperative that all persons “enter through the narrow gate”.
- Recall that, in John 9, Jesus states: “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”
- When we go to Jesus alone, the result—in the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer—is a “religionless Christianity”.
- But sometimes even Christ-followers who have been “born again” and know Christ personally grow dissatisfied? Their symptoms might be the following: tired, worn out, frustrated, weary in well-doing, etc.
- John Piper: “If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”
- The key for the Christ-follower is to “abide in the Vine”. In this way, the Christ-follower will avoid “burnout”.
- John 15:5 states, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
- In the words of Joyce Meyer, “We need to exchange our trying for trusting.”
- In other words, we need to “be” and not simply “do”.
- When we rest or abide in the Vine, we will renew our strength. In the words of Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
- Sometimes Christ-followers get so busy with “serving” Jesus Christ. But remember that Jesus calls us to be His “friend” and not His “servant”. Look at this verse: John 15:5 “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
- In order to “refuel”, the Christ-follower must “peel away” from the busyness of life and seek to pray, worship, and meditate upon the Word of God.
- Then, the Christ-follower will experience the life-giving properties of a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. That is, the Christ-follower will experience “abundant life” (John 10:10).
- Then, the Christ-follower will walk intimately with the Great Shepherd and know His Voice alone. John 10:14 declares, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”
- It is so important to be fully satisfied with Jesus Christ. Our witness (i.e. testimony) is at stake. In the words of John Piper, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”
- Return to Jesus today and He will “restore to you the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12) and “anoint you with the oil of gladness.” (Psalm 45:7)