“Just Give Me Something… Something I Can Use”
Back in 1982, Don Henley co-wrote a song that was so popular that it went to the top of the Billboard Top Tracks chart in October 1982, peaked at Number 3 in the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1983, and was eventually certified as Platinum (sales of more than a million copies) by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1983.
It was “Dirty Laundry”, a not-at-all-uplifting song that spoke to the callousness of TV news reporting, and the tendency of that news reporting to go ever-more sensationalist in the mad rush for ratings.
In that song was the following lyric:
“Just give me somethin’, somethin’ I can use”
To me, it is sad that so very much of what we see in today’s society is so grasping, self-focused and ‘catch-penny’ as to be concerned with little to nothing else than getting the upper hand in any situation, the ‘edge’ that cuts out the other guys and makes us come out on top advantage-wise and profit-wise… it is like we tend to live for little if anything else. It doesn’t sound like much of a life, yet that is how millions of people live, and it is, plain and simple, pathetic.
However, I believe that the lyric I mentioned previously is something that the Holy Ghost of God is saying every day, many times a day, to many people.
No less a person than Jesus Christ proved that He was what He said He was… the Son of God… through His eye-witnessed resurrection from the dead. Just before He ascended to heaven to take His rightful place at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, He gave this directive to His Apostles:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
This is referred to as the Great Commission.
Since the time of Jesus Christ’s return to the Father, the Great Commission has been carried out, albeit with varying degrees of success. On the very day of Pentecost (the giving of the Holy Ghost in power to the Apostles at Jerusalem, as had been promised by Jesus Christ), 3,000 people were brought to faith in the Name of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Ghost, as recorded in Acts:
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ” ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him: ” ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘ Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. (Acts 2:14-41)
Please note the dismay of the hearers of Peter’s words in verse 37:
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
It is critical for you to understand that their ‘dismay’ was not worldly sorrow… it was Godly sorrow: and this comes only from the redemptive power of the Holy Ghost!
Please note Peter’s reply in verse 38:
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In verse 39, Peter went on to say the most beautiful words that people who were not Jews… up to and including this very day… could ever hope and pray to hear:
The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
‘all who are far off’ is a direct reference to the Gentiles (all non-Jews). What this means is that all those who believe in Jesus Christ for salvation through His blood sacrifice on their behalf as the full payment for their sins are justified before God: all their sins are forgiven, they are marked with the seal of the Holy Ghost as God’s precious possessions against the Day of Judgment, and they are granted eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Holy Scripture (in the Old Testament) initially attests to this miracle, and it is critically important to understand that from the earliest time in God’s plan of redemption for humanity, all people would be given the opportunity to be a part of God’s Kingdom (italic emphasis mine):
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
Holy Scripture (in the New Testament) continues to reflect God’s blessings on all people through Abraham. The entire 4th chapter of Romans concentrates on faith in God, and in His promises, that enables Him as our loving Father to extend His grace, mercy, love, compassion, forgiveness and acceptance to all people… not only to those people who are Abraham’s children by direct descent (that is to say, the Jews), but also to those people who are Abraham’s children by faith (that is to say, the Gentiles). Please read the following verses; they are somewhat more theological in nature, but it is so important to understand that God has left no one behind: NO ONE. Eternal life in His Kingdom is open to everyone who believes in the One that God has sent, His only Son Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through faith in Him. God loves you that much!! Italic emphases mine:
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about – but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed – the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness – for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:1-25)
In this present day and age, have we in our carelessness and selfish arrogance and pride forgotten our ‘first love’ for the One who gave everything on the cross for us? We are the precious children of the KING of kings and the LORD of lords; how can it be that we have smugly decided that we can live without Him in a world gone insane with greed, malice, insolence, hatred, prejudice, self-aggrandizement, bloated self-importance and strutting pride? Do we know more, and do we know better, than God Himself?
So… while Holy Scripture says this, calling God Lord of all:
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:12-13)
Holy Scripture also says this:
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)
In other words… we who are believers… we who know the glorious truth about God and His promises… we who know what God has prepared for those who love Him and believe in the One that He has sent…
WE MUST TELL THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW GOD OR JESUS CHRIST
I do admit that it is not the easiest task to tell someone about God and what Jesus Christ has done for all of us… but we must remember that, to God, no one He has created is a ‘cast off’, no one is a ‘lost cause’, and no one is not His child. If we who believe in God and in Jesus Christ don’t believe in them enough to tell people who do not believe in them, then there is no one who can tell them: and those people will be lost forever. Isn’t telling them the Good News worth the possible rejection we might receive? If we are rejected, the consequences we will suffer (at worst) will be bruises to our pride… if those who do not believe do not hear the Good News from we who do believe, the consequences they will suffer (assured) will be eternal death in the lake of fire.
This is something we can do!
Bear in mind that when you do witness to people for God and Jesus Christ, it is not your responsibility to convict them in their hearts that they are lost sinners in need of a Savior. That is the exclusive responsibility of the Holy Ghost. Your responsibility is to tell them the Good News of Jesus Christ, and the best possible ways in which you can do that are to: 1) tell them what Jesus Christ has done for you, and 2) bear witness to the truth of your belief by the life you lead.
Do your part by “planting the seed”, and then allow the Holy Ghost to take it from there.
The bottom line is this:
Give the Holy Ghost ‘something He can use‘.