“The days of the Church’s greatest spiritual power and impact were days when ecclesiastical forms, architecture and ritual were nil, and the Lord Himself was everything…. To get away from the lesser things we need a mighty visitation of the Spirit of God; this, and this only, will do it.”
Quotation from T. Austin Sparks – The Release of the Lord – Chapter 7
I heard a message the other day where a salt shaker was used as the illustration that, if we are the salt of the earth, we cannot stay in the “salt shaker” – the container of organized religion or “church”. We must get out and do some good. But do we have the will in ourself to do that?
It occurred to me that 2 things may have to happen to get the salt out where it is useful. The shaker has to be 1) turned upside down and then 2) it has to be shaken. Perhaps that’s what the “mighty vision of the Spirit of God” will have to look like. It worked that way with the earliest disciples. First there was the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost), followed by much persecution by the established religion of the time, to disperse the new believers out into the rest of the world. Something comes to shake things up.
Seldom has it happened otherwise because the path of least resistance is the natural tendency and way of the flesh to rest on its laurels of flesh investment in real estate, ecclesiastical forms, and the pride of tradition.
“… At that time His voice shook the earth, but now He has promised, Once more I will shake not only the earth, but heaven as well. The words, Once more, signify the removal of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that the unshakable may remain.” Hebrews 12:26,27.
It doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to see the direction things are taking in this world where “religion” is concerned. Perhaps, as the shameful revelations come out of what goes on behind closed doors and in the basement of organized religion, “the faithful” will begin to question, “Where’s Jesus in all this? Certainly the Living One will not be found among the dead.” They hopefully will wonder what exactly they have been faithful to. Anyone with their ear to the ground knows that the great church of the west is not the only place where gross abomination and corruption have set in. It will show itself everywhere in religion as time to let go of the salt shaker.
This is going to be a time of testing, and maybe being shaken out of the salt shaker. The very hand of God may have to accomplish this, since the will to do so seems to be largely absent. It’s so easy to make idols out of forms, real estate, and tradition- and rest comfortably in them, missing the greater blessing of knowing Jesus without the interfaces.
That message came across pretty clearly in 70 A.D., when religion had so fully supplanted a relationship with God that religion’s leaders refused to recognize the Messiah when He arrived.
So maybe not only the believers will be shaken out, but also all the shakeable “things” in which many are so heavily invested, so that the unshakeable will remain.
Will it happen again, this time on a massive global scale?