Thursday, January 13, 2011

Something is Missing


Luke 15:8-9
8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.

Laying a Foundation

I want to make it clear before we get started in this message that I recognize the message of Luke chapter 15.  It is a message about finding the Lost.  I agree 100% with this message.  I thrill over the message because at one time I was that lost sheep, that lost son, and that lost coin!  But Jesus found me!  But I want to deal not with “Someone being lost” but rather, “Something being lost”.

At One Time She Possessed All

At one time this woman possessed all.  She had a complete set of coins. All ten pieces made up the whole.  Then one was lost.  When she took count of what she possessed she made the awful discovery that one was missing.  She discovered the loss when she took an inventory.

Do you remember the time when we possessed it all in Pentecost?  There was a time when we were in full possession!  When we laid hands on the sick and they recovered!  When we cast out Devils!  I remember when the ladies shouted their hairpins out!  When the glory came down in our services!  At one time the Pentecostal church possessed a complete set but today things have changed. Something is missing!

Silver is always typical of “Redemption”.  Silver figured prominently in the building of the tabernacle and silver was used as an offering for the people of Israel.  Even Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.  All children born in Israel paid a redemption tax of silver.

At one time this woman possessed a full set of ten silver pieces.  There was also a time when the Pentecostal church possessed that full set.  Many churches mistakenly believe they possess a full set but something is missing.  No one knows it is missing because no one has taken an inventory.  Paul said these important words to the Corinthian church:

2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

In other words Paul was exhorting the church to take inventory. Businesses lose thousands of dollars worth of stock due to poor inventory practices. Often things are missing but no one is aware because no one has taken a count.  It is only when we examine what we have now and compare it to the original church that we realize something is missing. 

We must once again possess the full redemptive power of Christ!  It is the only way that we can do what needs to be done in these last days.

One Piece Is Lost

She possessed all at one time.  She possessed ten.  Now she possessed only nine.  Now she owns 9/10.  One small part of the whole was lost.  Some would say, “Well 9 out of 10 is not bad!” or “Why worry about one little part missing.” or “We can get by on 90%.” and “I still have 9/10th so what is the problem?”  Some are not at all bothered that they have less than they once had.  But not this little woman!  She wanted back what was hers!  This little woman would never be content until she had all of the original pieces.

The sad thing about the Pentecostal Church is that we have lost something!  What good is a Jigsaw Puzzle with a piece missing!  I have bought puzzles at garage sales and get it put together to discover that one piece was missing.  The whole thing was ruined because one piece was missing!  The Pentecostal Church will not be the same without that one missing piece. Something is missing!

Bothered by the Loss

This little woman agonized over the loss of the coin.  She was not content to just write off the loss – she wanted back what was hers!  Where are those today that agonize over the loss in our Pentecostal Churches?  She could not go on with life without that one silver coin.  Others would have probably said, “I guess I can live without it.”  Not this little woman!  She had to have it back!  Something was missing in her life and she wanted it back!  Life would not be the same without that one missing piece.

Something is Missing in Our Pentecostal Churches

I have been to Pentecostal Churches that possessed 9/10th.  I have been to others that were even worse.  Maybe they had eight out of 10, or 7 of 10, or even 5 of 10.  The sad thing about this is that in most churches no one seemed to be bothered that something was missing.  They went on with business as usual.  No one was searching for the missing piece!

They sang, preached, and prayed but no one was really searching.  No one was disturbed by the loss.  Look at our Pentecostal Churches today!  They are missing something that we at one time possessed!  Are we not concerned by the loss?  Is anyone bothered by the loss?  Are any tears being shed because of the loss? 

Where are the mourners that grieve the loss? Why are our altars silent? Is there anyone that is at all bothered that so few miracles are taking place in our churches? Is there anyone that will cry out for revival again? Why are there no new tear stains on our altars?  Something is missing!

What Is Missing?

True Worship- I see a lot of worship today that is not true!  In some churches it is dry and dead, and in others it is charismatic and fleshly.  Jesus said that we must worship the Father “in Spirit and in Truth”.  They dance arm in arm but it is not the same!  They dance their little Jewish dance and wave their banners but it is not the same!  At one time our worship was spontaneous - today is preprogrammed and orchestrated. This man-controlled worship has nothing to do with the Spirit of God.  Something is missing!

Praying Through- Much of the praying taking place today in our churches is an act of Sacrifice rather than an act of Obedience.  The Bible tells us, “Obedience is better than Sacrifice.”  What I mean by this is that people come to Church and pray on Sunday but they have not prayed all week long.  They are only making a once a week sacrifice when they should be giving a daily obedience.  Bro. Adolph Johnson in Liberty, Texas says, “We do not Pray Through we just get Through Praying”.  Something is missing!

Holiness & Modesty- This is a touchy subject.  What happened to the Pentecostal Church?  Why are people not concerned about the way they dress and appear to others?  At one time we were the most modest people on earth.  Now, anything goes (one Pentecostal denomination's initials is A.G. and one preacher in that organization told me it really stood for “Anything Goes”).  No one wants to address this issue!  Preachers are afraid to preach clothesline messages for fear they will offend someone.  One preacher said, “I am not a clothesline preacher but I would like to take some of those clothes off of that line and put it on a few people!”   Folks, if the truth be told, there are not enough clothes left on that line to preach on any more!  Something is missing!

Fiery Preaching- What is wrong with Hellfire and Brimstone?  What happened to passionate preaching?  It is getting harder and harder to find this kind of preaching.  There is nothing more convincing than a preacher that preaches with passion and zeal.  At one time every Pentecostal preacher was passionate, anointed, and field with the fire of God. Now most so-called Pentecostal preaching is blasé and boring. Something is missing!

The Altar- They are disappearing from our Churches!  The most endangered piece of furniture in our Pentecostal churches is the altar.  It is getting more and more common to find Churches, yes spirit filled churches, that have no alters in them.  They have moved the altars out because they are more concerned about shouting than dying at an altar.  The Altars are missing from most churches!  What happened to the Altars?  Something is missing!

Repentance- You hear very little said about repentance any more.  What happened to telling people to repent?  Today the emphasis is on Forgiveness instead of Repentance.  Forgiveness is wonderful but it only addresses what we have done, whereas, repentance, addresses what we are and what we will be.  Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn thee (that is forgiveness), Go and sin no more (that is repentance)”.  The whole Gospel was preached in one statement!  Today they want forgiveness without repentance – they want the benefits without obedience. Something is missing!

The Word of God- Not the word of man but the Word of God.  Folks, it is getting harder and harder to find the Word in our Churches.  We can now find a lot of fun and games, a lot of politics, and even foolishness.  We have filled our pulpits with comedians telling jokes, celebrities, and musicians. Fine Arts have taken the place of the fiery pulpit.  Everything from tax seminars to Hollywood movie reviews has taken center stage in our churches.  What little preaching is being done is not centered on the Word of God but some psychological feel-good mumbo-jumbo.  Something is missing! 

Fear & Reverence- What happened to old-fashioned fear?  At one time people showed reverence for the Church, for the Word of God, for Worship, prayer, and the Word of God.  Now many people say and do things that are almost unbelievable in His House.  What happened to respecting the elders in our Churches?  How is it that people can sit on a pew and nonchalantly talk about the latest football scores while someone is in the altar praying for God to save their home?  Anyone that can do this has lost their fear of God.  Something is missing!

Healing & Miracles- Let’s face it!  We are not seeing the miracles and healings in our churches that we used to see.  Somehow this has been lost.  We must find it again!  We have lost the coin of Healing!  We see very few miracles in our churches anymore.  Big Shot TBN preachers get someone to push them around in their wheelchair and claim that is a miracle.  Something is missing!

The Gifts of the Spirit- The Bible records nine gifts of the Spirit.  We have seen many of these gifts lost.  If we see any operation of the gifts in our Churches it is usually the Gifts of Tongues & Interpretation.  What happened to the other seven?  We must regain these gifts that have been lost.  Something is missing!

How Can We Get It Back?

There are three things that this woman did:
1. She lit a candle
2. She swept the house
3. She sought diligently

This is what it is going to take today for us to get back what we have lost!  We must first, “Turn the lights on!”  The first thing that this little woman did was to light a candle.  You are not going to find anything in the dark.  It takes light to illuminate all of the dark corners.  The reason that something has been lost in our Churches is because it got dark in our Churches!  Let’s turn the lights on!  Have you ever lost your keys, your glasses, or your wallet in the house?  What did you do first?  You turned lights on!  You knew that your chances of finding the lost item would go up with plenty of light.  It is our job, as preachers, to turn on the lights!  We must preach until our churches are full of light again.  Brother B. H. Clendennen said he preached against homosexuality in a Church in New Orleans and two choir members ran out of the Church angry.  Why?  They found a dark place called a church to hide in!  Let’s turn the light on again and we will find what we are missing!

The second thing she did is she began to clean house.  Folks, it is hard to find anything in dirt and clutter.  We are not going to find anything until we start to clean up the mess in our churches. 

There have been times we have lost things in our home.  We picked a Saturday and we thoroughly cleaned house.  Inevitably while we were cleaning house we found what we were looking for.  In 2005, three months before our vacation, my wife and I started looking for her pin collection.  We searched everywhere but could not find it.  Over and over again we looked but to no avail.  We had about decided that maybe it had gotten thrown away with some old junk.  One day we decided to clean out a room in our house that had become a junk room so I could put my office in there.  Lo and behold, we found her pin collection!  It was found while we cleaned house!  When the Church begins to clean up, and throw out all of the trash that has accumulated in our lives and Churches, we will find what we were looking for. 

This happened to King Josiah.  The House of God had become a run down wreck that was piled with trash and debris.  Josiah commissioned men to clean up the mess in the House of God.  While they were cleaning they found the Law of God, the first five books of the Bible that had been lost for years.  This great find ignited a national revival.

Lastly, she “sought diligently”.  This was not a half-hearted search, this was an all out “find it or else” search.  I believe she turned the couches upside down, overturned the chairs.  She probably moved the furniture away from the wall.  She searched every shelf, in every drawer, under every table and chair.  She ransacked the house in her search.  We are never going to find the things that have been lost in our Churches until we get desperate. I have watched people seek for the Holy Ghost so carelessly – they come to the altar pray a few minutes and then get up – they skip services – they remain in their pews when they ought to be in the altar – yet they claim they are seeking the Holy Ghost. They will never find what they are looking for with such a halfhearted search. Good things come to those that search.  We must put every effort into finding what we have lost!

The Reward Is in the Finding

Her search paid off!  She found it!  After all of the effort she was rewarded by finding the thing she had lost.  Now she had a complete set again.  She now had ten.  Things were back in order.

No effort expended for God is every wasted!  When you seek after the things of God you will be rewarded.  “I found it!”  She must have shouted.  Everyone knew that she had found what she had been looking for. 

When my wife found her pins in 2005 you could hear her all through the house!  She shouted, “Whoo Hoo!  I found it!”  Everyone knew that she had found what she had been searching for.  When this woman found her lost coin she began to call all of her neighbors and family.  She said, “Come and rejoice with me, for I have found that which I have lost”.  My wife went and got on the phone right after she found her pins and she began to call everyone and tell them, “I found it!  I found my pins!”  She was happy and we were all happy with her.

When the Church finds what is missing it will be a time of rejoicing!  Oh, we will shout!  We will sing the praises of God!  Our Churches will be filled with rejoicing over our discovery.

As a Church, we must once again search diligently until every lost piece has been recovered. We must not accept the loss of any of what God has promised us.  We must search until we find all.

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