Hebrews 13: 10-14
We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is bought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp.
Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.
The question really could stop after the first four words: Will you follow Jesus?
There are comforts and pleasures in the camp that make the challenge of pulling up stakes difficult.
You are known by fellow campers. There are familiar faces and practiced procedures. Many pleasant memories come to mind when you consider the camp which you have so long enjoyed. You may have first met this wonderful King of glory in the camp. There is a sense of security and safety in the camp.
The camp may well have been staked out by well-known spiritual pioneers: Luther or Calvin or Wesley or Booth, but the sad fact is the cloud of God’s presence has moved on.
All that’s left is the outward shell of a vaguely remembered revival. Only now there is no fire, no Holy Spirit exuberance, no deep heart wrenching worship, no current reflection on the face of Christ. Just the traditions, the familiar forms, the repeated refrain of what once was.
It’s hard to admit – even to consider – that Christ has moved on.
It is natural for the heart of man to wish to build our tabernacles on our experiences of God. Or even on others experiences. Too often we do as Peter and wish to build a camp with a tabernacle for Jesus… and one for Moses… and one for Elijah… or one for Calvin or Wesley or Spurgeon etc; but now, as then, the heavenly Voice declares, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.”
A camp devoid of Christ is an unprotected row of tents in a vast and deadly wilderness. Have you never wondered how denominations birthed in the flames of revival can embrace every form of blasphemy and unbiblical deception? Jesus moved on but some chose to remain in an unprotected but comfortable camp rather than follow Christ into an unknown but heaven secured future.
A future unknown to us perhaps; but known to Him – and that’s all that really matters. That’s why this pilgrimage is called a walk of faith. We follow the Living Word… and the brightness of His Presence… trusting He knows the way. And He does.
So many have been taught today that to abandon the camp is to abandon the Commander. Not so. A camp that refuses to pull up stakes and follow its Captain is in rebellion, no matter how reverently they reminisce on His past interactions with them.
Let me give you fair warning. This is no pleasant jaunt in the forest. No leisurely stroll on lush riverbanks. The Captain of the Lord’s hosts is a warrior. He will lead you into battle. He will engage the enemy. Deadly spiritual forces of evil will be joined in battle… and defeated. But there is no safer place to be that standing next to your Commanding Officer.
And you will likely incur the wrath of the camp dwellers. They will condemn you as a rebel, a trouble maker, arrogant and unruly. They can’t comprehend the firmness of your resolve or the tenderness of your heart toward the One who rescued you from this present evil age.
For you are marching to the beat of a different drummer. And it’s a drumbeat that the spiritually deaf are unable to hear.
They will warn you of the cults who formerly left the camp. But these rebels did not follow the orders of the Captain; only their own carnal vision. They suffered terrible defeats because they did as they saw fit and not as the General of generals instructed. Their earthly enthusiasm deceived some but that’s not you. You are not operating from ignorant zeal but a heaven graced revelatory devotion.
If you are hearing the call today to follow Christ out of your long loved camp, it may stir up all kinds of anxieties. The familiar sight of your long tabernacle experience appears lush and green, while the call of Christ appears from an apparently dry and barren landscape. But things are not as they seem.
The greenness of the carnal camp is fake and deceptive. Verdant plastic pastures with no nourishment or life while the perceived barrenness of Christ’s call hides miraculous living streams and the supernatural provisions of a loving God.
So it’s time to decide… for some at least. The dread of loneliness may loom large but the fellowship of the Living God banishes the carnal desires for the esteem of men.
And while there may well be a season free from the chatter of men you will discover others who have heeded the call. Fellowship with the other desert wanderers will come…in time, and you will discover there is little to compare with the deep companionship of those who have left the camp to follow Christ and of course with their, and your LORD.
Lord we need you. Our nations are a mess for the church world is a mess….and yet you continue to build Your church, You continue to add daily such as are being saved and You continue to call Your people out of religion, ritual and tradition to follow You outside the camp. Thank You in the Name of Jesus the strong Son of God.