Saturday, January 12, 2013

Re-Digging the Wells of Our Fathers

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Saturday, January 12, 2013: Genesis 26:17-27:46

So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.  Genesis 26:16 (NIV)

18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.  19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. Genesis 26:18-19 (NIV)

One of Satan's primary objectives is to stop up our wells.  God desires His fresh, pure, life-giving water to always flow in abundance.  This represents several things.  It is the present day ministry of the Holy Spirit flowing like a river in our midst.  It is the powerful, authoritative Word of God -- preached, taught, believed, and lived.  It is the artesian wells of spiritual life and vitality that should characterize God's people every time they gather in His Name.  It is the rich heritage we have received from those who have gone before us -- the wells of our fathers.

It is this last aspect that I would like to address today.  Isaac found that the water wells of his father Abraham had been stopped up -- filled with dirt by the Philistines.  This was obviously at attempt by the enemy to stop the life-flow that sustained the people of God.  Isaac, in this sense, was cut off from the nourishment and replenishment that his father had passed down to him.

The Church today is in a similar place.  There are incredibly valuable wells of spiritual life and nourishment that have been stopped up by the devil.  It is time for the Church to re-dig the wells of heritage.  Our present denominational dividedness has robbed us.  The great gains of the past are either unknown in our day, or they are in a different stream, therefore I can't drink from that well. 

Church history is far more than a confusing sequence of councils, creeds, and carnal conflict.  It is the story of God's activity to restore His Church.  Since the dark days of the Constantinian "conversion" of the Roman Empire, God has been working to restore the Church to New Testament vitality. 

The present day denominational structure of Christianity is really a picture of how God has at different times sought to restore truth and ministry to His Church.  Revivals have come like waves of the ocean, each one washing up a little further -- taking more land.

Unfortunately, these historica movements have crystallized.  Each settled into a new denomination. 

Martin Luther

It is time for us to re-dig the wells of our fathers.  I was not raised as a Lutheran, but I want to re-dig the great well that Martin Luther found that is called JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH.  I was not raised as a Methodist, but I know that John Wesley found great truth that God wants to use in my life.  It is called HOLINESS OF LIFE.  Whether it be the Presybterians or the Pentecostals, the Restorationists or the Roman Catholics, WE HAVE AN INCREDIBLE HERITAGE.  And we have it together.

John Wesley

Our dividedness and insecurity have taught us that our little group is the only one that has the real truth.  Our denomination is the only one that can be trusted.  It's simply not true.  God has His water wells spread out in a hundred different locations, in a thousand pockets of history or heritage.

This does not depreciate what God has done in your group.  This does not say that our individual heritage is now no longer valuable.  Much the opposite.  The Church is a gigantic, diverse family that God loves.  You have some crazy cousins and some wierd uncles, but they are still family.  Your part is vital to the whole.  Your truth is part of the mosaic of "the whole counsel of God."

It is time to re-dig the wells of our fathers.  We are in a new day.  Communications are open in ways that were not possible 50 years ago.  Followers of Jesus can actually sit in wonderful fellowship today with those they used to think were going to Hell.  We are finding our brothers and sisters. 

There are incredibly gifted leaders today who are locked away in a denominational system that won't let me drink from that well.  God is restoring His Church to New Testament vitality.  It is time to pull down the walls instead of building them.  In that sense, it is a great day for the Church of Jesus Christ.

Isaac found Rehoboth.  It was a well whose name means "the Lord has made room for us."  We need to stop fighting over the water and start sharing it.  There is plenty of water in the wells of the Lord!

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