CHAPTER 5

PLUMBING THE DEPTHS OF SHALLOWNESS

When Samuel went to find the man whom God had chosen to replace Saul as king of Israel from among Jesse’s
sons, his criteria for selection were appearance and size. We know this because God had to correct him, as recorded
in I Samuel 16:7, ““But the Lord said to Samuel, “do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature because
I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at
the heart.”” Quite likely Samuel was looking for a large, good-looking man because the first king, Saul, was the most
handsome and the tallest of all the Israelites. Samuel probably thought that since the Lord gave His people a tall
good-looking man to be king the first time that He would do so again. But the Lord wanted Samuel to know that the
next king was not going to be a king for the people, to satisfy their desires. This king was going to be, to quote the
Lord in chapter 16:1, “....a king FOR MYSELF....” This king did not need to be tall and handsome. The Lord made it
clear that when He chose a leader for Himself, He was not concerned with size or beauty; He was ONLY interested in
the man’s heart. He chose David because David’s heart was after (desired) His own heart.

When the first king, Saul, was chosen, there was no mention of his heart or his desire for God. There was no mention
of this because Saul was a king for the people and the people did not really care if their king had a heart after God.
The people were not interested in the inside of a man - all they cared about was the outside. They were interested in
what they could see. They likely wanted to see a tall, imposing, good-looking king leading them into battle against the
enemy. And what might be even more important was that they possibly wanted the enemy to see and fear them
because of the imposing stature of their king. They were a shallow people, and because they did not care about the
depth of a man, they were given a shallow king. They never knew nor cared to understand the fear, the love, the
character, or the ways of God. They were quite satisfied to look upon God as the one who loved them enough to give
them what they wanted; they were quite satisfied that God gave them an impressive but shallow leader. Saul too had
no desire to know the fear, the love, the character or the ways of God. As we noted in the previous chapter, Saul was
not even concerned about pleasing God; he was basically concerned about pleasing the people. We never see Saul
grieving over the possibility of losing the anointing of God, and when he finally loses it, there was no remorse. Unlike
David, we never hear Saul truly repent. We hear his confession, but that is merely for the sake of receiving honor
from men. We NEVER see in Scripture real repentance from Saul. We never hear Saul cry out to God for holiness,
forgiveness or relationship with Him. He inquired of the Lord when the enemy threatened, but this was for protection
for himself and his people. In times of peace we never see him strive to communicate with God. He ministered with
the anointing of God, but even that was small. I Samuel 10:1 say, ““Then Samuel took the FLASK of oil, poured it on
his head, kissed him and said, “Has not the Lord anointed you a ruler over his inheritance?”” Another translation uses
the phrase “vial of oil.” Regarding David, I Samuel 16:13 says, “then Samuel took THE HORN of oil and anointed him
in the midst of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward”.... David’s horn
of oil was larger and contained more oil than Saul’s flask or vial of oil. We see then, that even Saul’s anointing was
shallow. It was probably shallow because that was all that was necessary to satisfy both his desire and the desire of
the people.

We see evidences in the Saul Church of similar shallow-mindedness. In Charismatic churches, for example, when
people are instructed to seek God for the Baptism (or Infilling, or Fullness) of His Holy Spirit, they are usually
encouraged to speak in tongues and little else. To be sure, this IS an evidence that an individual has been filled by
the Holy Spirit of God. But what a tragedy that leaders would encourage people to merely manifest the evidence
without concern for them experiencing the essence of the Fullness of the Holy Spirit - to know the height, the depth,
the length, and the width of God’s love and to know the power of God for the purpose of destroying the works of the
devil. The people of God have many and varied experiences with God’s Holy Spirit. To settle for AN EVIDENCE
ONLY is indeed a shallow desire. There is, however, an even greater tragedy concerning the Baptism in the Holy
Spirit and speaking in tongues. There are people who teach others to imitate the sounds that they make and then
they call this imitation the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. This is worse than shallowness; it is deception. The poor seeker
goes away either deluded into thinking he has received something when he hasn’t or he goes away very confused.
The magnificent Baptism of the Holy Spirit is one of the most awesome experiences one can possibly have. To be
inundated and surrounded by God Himself, to have His love coursing through your heart, mind, soul and body; to
experience the peace that passes understanding or even to have a sense that God is powerfully infilling you with
supernatural abilities to defeat the enemy, is NEVER something to be minimized. The Scriptures are clear: if we seek
Him with all our heart we will find Him! And when we find Him we will be forever changed and what is more important,
we will know that we have encountered God. Some churches teach that we must take the baptism by faith and not be
concerned if we feel nothing or experience no change in our thoughts or lives regarding God. EVERYWHERE in
Scripture where people have encountered God in this way they have been greatly affected. This encounter has
caused them to be different people and often they have a different relationship with God after this experience. Some
have appeared to be drunk because of the STAGGERING effect of the power and love of God flowing in and over
mere human beings. The Old Testament manifestations were often visually profound: Enoch walked and talked with
God, Moses encountered God in the burning bush and Jacob physically wrestled with the Angel of the Lord. In the
New Testament on the day of Pentecost men and women were so overcome by Him that they had difficulty walking
properly and some were anointed at that time to preach, prophesy and do miracles. Paul’s entire life was turned
around when he was blinded by the appearance of Jesus Christ. In the midst of Peter’s preaching, even the Gentiles
spoke in tongues without any coaching and it was evident to all that they too had been filled with the Holy Spirit. If a
person takes by faith their Baptism in the Holy Spirit and has no personal, supernatural encounter with the Holy One
of Israel, it is a tragedy. It is important that men and women be taught to expect to encounter God and not give up
until they do.

I sought to be filled with the Holy Spirit for eighteen months and while praying in a little chapel I spoke in tongues, and
was filled with a supernatural love for God and people (even my enemies)! Because of this phenomenal infilling of
love, I was able to completely forgive an individual that I had harbored great bitterness toward. Even more important
for me, when I was filled or baptized in the Holy Spirit, I received an UNSHAKEABLE and ABSOLUTE ASSURANCE
that I was UNCONDITIONALLY SAVED BY GOD, and that I was His child for eternity and He would never let me go.
Previously to this I was often tempted by Satan as to whether or not I was truly His son and often was greatly
concerned about falling away from God.

One person’s encounter may not be as dramatic as another’s, but there is no doubt they will KNOW that they have
encountered God!

Some Evangelical churches have problems with shallow approaches to God’s Holy Spirit. They assure the seeker
that he has already experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit at salvation. Many non-charismatic evangelicals and
some Charismatics teach that there should not necessarily be an expectation of a deep emotional, mental or spiritual
experience. They recognize that we are to be filled with the Spirit, but they are highly suspicious of experiences that
result in speaking in tongues, prophetic utterance or even profound, personal supernatural experiences. Just as the
aforementioned shallow “speaking in tongues” teaching is not universally taught in the Charismatic movement, so
every Evangelical church does not discourage people from seeking the supernatural love and power of the
supernatural God. However, we have very few churches and ministries that encourage us to hunger and thirst after
Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit in a way that’s reflected in the Scriptures. The classic examples are in Psalms and
Ephesians. In Psalm 42:1-2 the psalmist says, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee O
God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” In the New Testament we hear Paul the Apostle praying, in
Ephesians 3:17-19, “....that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith: and that we, being rooted and grounded in
love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and TO
KNOW THE LOVE OF CHRIST which surpasses knowledge, that we MAY BE FILLED UP TO ALL THE FULLNESS
OF GOD.” This is what is available; this is what we must seek for, “to be filled up with all the fullness of God” and
experience and know and live all that Paul included in that sublime passage of Scripture and all that David
encouraged us to do in the Psalms.

For decades, the Catholic Church and many old-line denominations have been accused of teaching dead ritual with
their use of beads, The Book of Common Prayer, chants, and even hymn singing. Very likely at one time the words in
The Book of Common Prayer had great meaning to the people who read them. Even the chants, when uttered from
the heart of an individual who lived his faith and his love for Jesus Christ, had great meaning. Likewise, the beautiful
hymns of Charles Wesley and Robert Newton, when understood and sung in the midst of a faith-filled and obedient
life, were true expressions of praise and thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father. But today, in the aforementioned old-
line churches, they are for the most part shallow, contrived reminders of an anointing that once was, but has now
departed. Because of this shallowness we have rightly called these churches dead churches. But we must
understand that the so-called live churches of today are in danger of and in some cases already are seeing the
departure of the anointing of God. The reason is the same. We are missing the heart of the issue, and have become
satisfied to be proficient in the outward manifestation. In some Charismatic churches today “dancing in the spirit” is
actually being choreographed by worship leaders. Spontaneity either cannot be trusted to happen or is feared.
Usually the former is the case. To most of us this manipulation of the congregation to “dance in the spirit” is shallow.
However, we have been involved in more subtle forms of manipulation. Even as the dance leaders have shown us
from Scripture that David danced before the Lord, so the worship leaders give us many examples from Scripture
about the raising of hands, the waving of hands, and the clapping of hands. All of these activities, like dancing before
the Lord, are valid ways of expressing joy, love, and thanksgiving. The problem is, once again, spontaneity is slipping
away. We are not merely encouraged, we are commanded to lift our hands, clap our hands, wave our hands, and in
some cases even shout. Just whom we are doing this for is at best questionable. Oftentimes these exercises are for
the purpose of developing an “exuberance of worship” that outsiders will notice and church members can be proud
of. An evidence of this is the visiting speaker who, if he is familiar with Charismatic etiquette, will compliment the
congregation on their ability to “really praise God” or he will say how much he enjoys praising God with this great
crowd. He virtually never makes mention of how wonderful God is and how thankful he is to be saved by the blood of
Jesus Christ, or how worthy our Lord is. Even though worship is supposed to be a manifestation of love for God,
when a congregation is “good at praising the Lord”, the remarks about that praise usually always are remarks NOT
about God, but how wonderful the people are at praising God. When a congregation truly praises God from their
heart, GOD will be glorified, not the people. And with the attention of everyone on God, no one will notice, or care
about, the worship style of those nearby.

Another shallow manipulative use of worship is to praise God so we can get something from Him - so we can get a
healing, a victory, money, deliverance, or EVEN so we can get the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. This shallow display of
“praise” is no more than FLATTERY and will not impress God. Flattery is praising someone so you can get
something from him, and the aforementioned type of praise certainly falls into that category. It is like an eight-year-old
son telling his father how great he is or how much he loves him so he can get a larger allowance or some new toys.
We see, in the Saul Church, an emphasis on shallow worship rather than deep evidence of heartfelt worship.
Worship, as was said before, should be a manifestation of our love for God. Our love for God, according to John 14:
21, is evidenced by our obedience from the heart to our Lord Jesus Christ, “He who has My commandments and
keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father and I will love him and will
disclose Myself to him.” Real love from the heart need NEVER be orchestrated. While there are many exhortations to
praise God in the Old Testament, it is understood that any religious activity or offering to God, whether it be your
tithe, your praise or any sacrifice, if not done on the platform of loving trust or obedience, is not accepted by God.
Some forms of worship are in fact hateful to Him. Isaiah 1:11-17 says, “What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me says
the Lord... Who requires of you this trampling of My courts? Bring your worthless offering no longer; their incense is
an abomination to Me...I cannot endure iniquity in the solemn assemblies...so when you spread out your hands in
prayer, I will hide My eyes from you, yes even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of
bloodshed. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil.
Learn to do good.”

Today our thanksgiving offering is not a sacrificed animal but is thanksgiving from our lips and heart. The Lord, in this
passage of Scripture, is clearly telling us that when offering thanksgiving to Him it must emanate from hearts that love
Him enough to trust Him and obey Him. God will not fully accept a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving from hearts
that are casually, willfully, or presumptuously disobedient. To praise God properly we MUST be exhorted to come to
Him with a clean heart. We MUST be encouraged to obey Him with a loving, obedient heart and a heart that is quick
to recognize and repent of sin. We MUST be warned of the foolishness of coming to Him in a shallow, presumptuous,
disobedient manner. During a so-called revival meeting back in the 1980’s, the worship leader had just cranked the
crowd up into another dimension of volume, when I found I was no longer able to continue. In the midst of the
deafening din, I cried out to God, “What is happening Lord, am I so cold that I can’t enter into this or is this not of
You? PLEASE SHOW ME LORD!” Immediately the Lord showed me a giant playpen with dozens of toddlers in
diapers lifting their arms and shouting and jumping and falling and rolling with each other, and getting up and jumping
and shouting again. I said to the Lord, “Oh, this is just young, immature worship. Is that it Lord?” And He said to me,
“Look closer!” Immediately I was given a close-up of the childish revelers and I saw there was potty (human feces)
smeared all over their bodies and oozing from their diapers and the more they “worshipped” the dirtier they got. Then
the Lord spoke, “They are like this because they won’t let Me CHANGE them.” Unrepentant, unchangeable
worshippers who will not let God clean them up will not please the Lord with their loud, continuous noise. Proper
worship is light years away from mere instruction in technique. The quoting of many Scriptures concerning our
obligation to praise God and then accomplish this by raising the emotional tone to the highest level possible is almost
always not true praise. Even praising God and thanking Him for what He has done, if done from a hypocritical heart is
shallow and probably meaningless worship. It is impossible to live with an unthankful and complaining attitude for the
days preceding the worship service, lift your hands and expect God to ignite your offering of worship with His
approval if you don’t repent of a thankless bitter heart first.

Salvation is the deepest and most beautiful state a human being can possibly experience. Being born again into the
Kingdom of God is at once a joyful and serious miracle. The Saul Church has found a way to demean even this. The
Bible, through the lips of John the Baptist, Jesus, and Peter exhorts us to repent and believe. Jesus, Peter and Paul
tell us what it is to follow Jesus Christ. As was mentioned before, among other things we are told to count the cost. In
regards to this, many of our “altar calls” are now so simple that they are misleading. We tell people to accept Jesus,
to come to Jesus, and to receive Him as their personal Savior. We neglect, perhaps ignorantly, perhaps purposefully,
the rest of the Gospel (see Chapter 2 - Fishers of Men). Preaching conviction of sin is not only unpopular but is
completely neglected in many churches. Most churches are content to leave the work of conviction to the Holy Spirit.
This may sound spiritual but that would be like saying maybe we should let the Holy Spirit tell them “you must be born
again”, or “the just are saved by faith.” Often we “trust” the Holy Spirit to deliver the “negative” parts of Scripture.
This is both unscriptural and displeasing to God. We are exhorted to preach the Word, the whole Word and nothing
but the Word.
Many churches today substitute the concept that “Jesus wants to heal your hurts” for the concept of “you need to
repent of your sins.” The seeker in many churches today is portrayed not as a sinner but as a victim who has been
wounded, either in childhood or bad marriages. Today we have a therapeutic Gospel where Jesus will heal your
hurts, but He does not necessarily need to forgive your sins. Often moral failures are classified as mistakes rather
than sins. Rarely are the seekers encouraged to repent of their sins. The spiritual Gospel includes a need to repent.
Jesus can never forgive a hurt; He only forgives SIN. This shallow people-pleasing approach keeps people away
from true salvation. If people are never brought to an understanding of their great need for Jesus Christ to forgive
their sin, they do not and cannot know Him as the forgiver of their sin. The therapeutic approach can build huge
churches but it will never enlarge the kingdom of God. People who raise their hand and accept Jesus as their
personal Savior and the great Physician who heals their hurts, may become members of their local church, but may
never become a member in particular of the Body of Christ.

Much of what we discussed: worship, altar calls, a desire to get people to speak in tongues, and even our
orchestrated acts of love and our verbal and visual ways of expressing allegiance to our Lord can be done from a
sincere motive with a heart that loves Jesus completely and absolutely. The point of this chapter is not to put down
sincere people who practice any or all of the things mentioned. The purpose is to expose an attitude that prevails in
our current Church age. We are seeing shallowness in the Church in America like never before. We must avoid with
all our heart the temptation to be mechanical, and to do things without real understanding. We must resist all
manipulation. We must resist anything that would have us perform either for each other, for visitors, for the
satisfaction of the preacher, or even to perform for God. We live in an age where Image is the issue. I have even
heard, at pastors’ conferences, the phrase “You don’t sell the steak, you sell the sizzle.” Leaders in the Church of
Jesus Christ are being taught to be image conscious and indirectly, as we learn to create the right appearance, we
are losing our hold on what is essential. Image and sizzle work with the shallow people who are the victims of
uncaring advertising men; but we are not looking for dumb sheep to respond to an image and ultimately be led to a
slaughter. As men and women of God we must be ABSOLUTELY SURE there is a commensurate, honest substance
behind what people see or hear. There must be a perfectly prepared prime steak from the Master Himself behind
every sizzle they hear and smell.
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