Tuesday, 29 September 2009
“The end of all ends and means is the Glory of God”
How do you look at the world? Is it dark, bleak, fallen, beyond repair, hopless, ungodly. Or is it a playground for the children of God, full of light and opportunity. How you look at the world will shape how you live in the world. If you see a never ending darkness, billowing with smoke and decay will you be a candle a light shimmering in the darkness. Or if you see light do you burn brighter to keep away the darkness. I guess the question really is, Is the world destined for ruin or glory? Many Christians have stood their ground on both sides, although in our age the loudest voice has been that of Ruin. They cry from their lips, praise the lord its getting darker now you have to come back. They relish in the destitution and sin of the world for to them to do nothing is to gain. We are taught in our age to just sit back and watch the world burn, enjoy the show. Don’t try and put it out, you don’t want to spoil God’s plan. We need it to burn so we can be raptured and the billions of people that we don’t “I told ya so” will die terrible deaths at the hands of a God who said
Ezekiel 33:11As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in
the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?
Using common sense one would think that the more the body of Christ expanded the greater light there would be in the world. Not greater darkenss. This belief that it has to get worse in the world in order to force Gods hand, is one of the greatest distractions and crippling diseases in the church. We should not be hiding in our pews, or taking our crosses off of our churches. No we should be standing up defending the faith and the name of Jesus. Proclaiming the gospel and being true witnesses to the Gospel.
Our perspective has to change, we have to stop looking at the world crying about what Satan (or Lucy the Looser as I like to call it) is doing and fix our eyes on what God is doing. God and Him alone he is call the nations to Him and we are so blind that we cannot, nay, willfully ignore it. Here is an example. Right now Iran is at the brink of revolution, the people are rising up against the political and religious tyranny (……..). And the church could care less, because according to their dispensational theology Iran has to be wicked and serving the devil so it rises up against Israel and forms an alliance with Russia to blah blah blah blah. This is a blatant farce towards God selling to people the notion that a nation has to remain ungodly, without Christ in order to serve their own narrow minded weak interpretation of Revelation. Iran right now is at a cross roads, pray for them right now, because if this revolution topples the government as they know it now the gospel will be able to enter the country in a way it hasn’t seen since the day of Pentecost
Acts 27 They were beside themselves with wonder. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, 8 and yet we hear them speaking the languages of the lands where we were born! 9 Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya toward Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism),
For those who don’t know the Parthians, Medes and the Elamites are part of modern Iran. Their forefathers were at Pentecost and heard the gospel. And the enemy has done everything he could to keep the gospel out of those lands for hundreds of year, but now everything hangs in the balance. If the dispensationalists get their way Iran will get worse, the gospel will not enter their borders millions will die with out a savior and they s=wont shead a tear because they’re Iranians. Or will you open your hearts to them and pray for them that the Ayatollah, the Revolutionary Guards and the government will bow down to Christ. That change will come and Christians will be able to return and preach without fear of death and imprisonment.
Its up to you now, if you see the world getting darker then let them burn. Or if you see the church growing and taking ground, discipling the nations then pray for them for freedom and a new birth to come to them.
Here is a video to show you what God is doing in Iran right now
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQq0jSm22-A (thanks John P for the link)
pray don’t condem.
“A prophet is the villan of today and the hero of tomorrow”
Who are we? Really who are we? As the body of Christ, the visible expression of Him on the Earth, who are we? Are we who we’re supposed to be? Are we living to the fullest degree that Christ called us to? Or are we asleep?
“Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Eph 5:14
First off who are we now? We are the Body of Christ of course, that’s what we’re told on Sunday mornings every week, that’s what we’re told by televangelists, and that’s what we’re told right in the Bible see for yourself.
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”. 1 Corinthians 12:12
“Now all of you together are Christ's body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.: 1 Corinthians 12:27
” And the church is his body; it is filled by Christ, who fills everything everywhere with his presence.”. Ephesians 1:23
“Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which belongs to Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 1 Corinthians 6:15
That should be convincing enough for now. But what does that mean? Well the best place to answer that is the book of Acts. The chronicles of the first generation of Christians, So the lives they lived should give us and idea of what we should be doing today.
Well we see them feeding the poor, taking care of the widows, praying together, working miracles and most importantly preaching the Gospel the Good News of Jesus Christ. That he came, died and rose. Conquering sin and death, casting down the Prince of the world and becoming not only our Savior but the King of the World. But I’m getting ahead of myself now. The point was that they left the upper room and preached the gospel. When is the last time your church on a Sunday morning all got up and went outside and started preaching to who ever was around you? Or is that too scary a thought? What’s so frightening about the simple gospel of Jesus Christ
“ For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” ! Corinthians 15:3-4
What’s so scary about telling people about that? The Church, the
(which will be the main focus of this rant) has done a good job with the social aspects of the early church, we run soup kitchens, we run thrift stores, and give when it’s comfortable to give to the needy. Overall we do a good job following Isaiah 58:1, the social gospel, where people are convinced to convert because they were showed kindness, they see genuine love and are attracted to it (John 13:35, 1 John 4:7) “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Ya know. But the doing good works isn’t everything, if it was we would be saved by them. Our works show that we are Christians, just like faith without action is dead. Western Church
What about everything else the early church did? The scary stuff we don’t want to hear about or do in public outside our little closets! What about the part when they prayed? When they prayed together and alone, when they spent time together in houses, when they preached publicly. Back in the day before the church had walls. Not just physical walls mind you. What changed? Why are we afraid to leave our church walls? We tithe give away the clothes we don’t want anymore throw a can of beans in to the box and Thanksgiving. We smile and nod at church, we know the lyrics of the top 20 CCM chart songs and think “that’s enough, I’m saved Jesus came died and rose and that’s it”. Or they think “I’m gonna hold on till Jesus comes back.”
I’m asking these questions because most people don’t. What’s the divide between us and Paul, Peter and John. We go on and on about how the first martyr Stephen waited tables and took care of widows and use it to motivate others to do the same. But he was a martyr he died, he was stoned. For what, feeding widows? No he did something else, something that gets over looked when people talk about his works of service.
“8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of
Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” Acts 6:8-10
He Preached! He did miracles and was more wise than those around him. It wasn’t the widows that got him killed it was the gospel with signs following just like Paul said would happen
“18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, 19 through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ”. Romans 15:18-19.
Does that make you think? No one ever died for doing good works but thousand have died preaching the Gospel of Jesus. I can’t remember the last time someone was taken to court for giving to a soup kitchen. But how many Christians have stood before judgment just for confessing that Jesus the Son of God came in the flesh died upon the Cross, rose from the dead, ascending to Heaven becoming King of Kings and Lord of Lords Our savior and bridge to God. Are we afraid of the people? Are we unwilling to take the risk? Or are we compromised by the world?
Stephen, James the Lesser, Paul, Peter, All the Apostles except for John, Luke, Timothy all died because of what they believed. They believed it so much they couldn’t keep quiet they couldn’t hide in a cave and be silent. They knew it was true, many of them saw it all. They couldn’t be kept quiet about the gospel no matter how may times they where punished. They were lights in the darkness beacons drawing people to Jesus. But the world saw them not as lights, not as hero’s of the faith, they saw them as Enemies as the villains of the world and their way of live. They were seen as terrorists of the status quo, the religious and social way of life. The Apostles wouldn’t bend to the whips of the Pharisees and the Romans. They didn’t compromise themselves with the ways, pleasures, lusts, perks of the world. They held fast to the words of Jesus in Mark 4:19
“and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” Mark
They held fast to this till their deaths they set and example to the rest of the body of Christ, and were rewarded with eternal life. Unfortunately even in their own life times the new gentile and jewish believers didn’t have the same dedication. There was just something about that old way of life that was just tempting. Most of the Epistles of Paul, Peter, John, James and Jude was and attempt to correct this in the church. Jesus Himself chapters 2 and 3 of Revelations, was correcting and complimenting the 7 churches. He called for holiness and an uncompromising faith in Him. What was realized here 2000 years ago. It’s simple it’s a matter of perspective, like most issues in life. They knew who they where, they knew what they where called to do and what to do about it and how to react to the world around it. They knew their identity. Do you know yours? Who where they then? They where children of God, Ambassadors of Christ, they where the redeemed, saints and servants of Jesus Christ. They where the temples of Holy Spirit called to preached to all nations peoples and tongues to trample on serpants and scoripians and all the power of the enemy. To heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leapers. They where called to love serve and know God. (you should be jumping around now, because you’re the same thing!!!!) This is who they are in our eyes and in Gods’ eyes but in the world eyes they where and we are the Bad guys, the enemy, the Villain, the Evil ones all because we are the light that exposes their darkness and sin.
So how should we be acting now knowing this. Like I said in the eyes of the world we are the enemy. Maybe we should start acting like it. This is an unusual statement I know but it’s one worth considering. Lets look at what Jesus said in John 15:19
”If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you”
We are not part of the world anymore we are the lights in the darkness. Isn’t that the words of our King. Now back to what I was getting at. We the church should be the aggressors, not the world. We should be on the offensive attacking the gates of the enemy. Not hiding behind our own gates. We should be the ones taking ground and pillaging the harvest. Not the ones hiding in caves eating moss. We are the children of the Most High God, Sons and joint heirs with the King of the Universe. It’s time we stand up and take what is ours. In movies the plot goes the bad guys come to invade the good kingdom and the whole movie is the good guys resisting to the invaders to restore the peace they had before. I think for far too long the
has taken the mentality of defending the castle from the invaders of the world and other false gods. We believe that by “turtleing” the world will come to us with open arms begging for salvation. We have become obsessed with the status quo that we are afraid of loosing all we have in order to get the lost or even to have our own hearts cleansed by the power of Holy Spirit. We are locked in a permanent quasi-comatose damage control obsession. Where what we have is good enough. We don’t have revival because we are content to live without it. The sick stay sick because we are content with them suffering, as long as they don’t cough on us. We are content with the world going to hell, because we don’t want the responsibility. We laugh at the world on fire and we refuse to put out the fire. We gloat at the fires of sin destroying the world and scoffingly say, “God you do something about it, because I wont. I could get some soot or ash on me and I don’t want to stain the carpets.” Our refusal to look outside our individual churches has crippled our ability to touch the world. We pray a minute here and there for revival, but refuse to take any real action and then we get frustrated when God doesn’t answer in 30 minutes or less. We have more faith and patience for Pizza Hut than Jesus. church of Jesus Christ
What was the last thing Jesus said to use before he ascended? Was it, hide in the mountains until I come? Or was it, build churches until all men know me? No Jesus our Savior says it very clearly, so clearly that some people try and take it out of the Bible here in Mark 16:15-20
“15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
Just look at the first word He says, “GO” not plan, not plot, not try, not sympathize, He said ‘GO, into ALL the world” not just the inner city, not just the Whites, not just your tribe, not just your nation. He said ALL the World. He commanded us to PREACH the GOSPEL, not our opinions of dispensational tribulationism and the reflecting results of flying pigs. No, preach the gospel the saving simple gospel of Jesus Christ, and it doesn’t get any simpler than Romans 10:8-11
“8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”
That’s it, what is so frightening about these 3 verses? What is it in us and our lives that shutters and shakes at the possibility of speaking these verses to an unbeliever. Personally, it was these very words in the book of Romans, that pushed me over the edge into the Kingdom God. Where are the preachers? Where are the proclaimers of the Gospel? Where are the evangelists? Are we so obsessed with modern Apostles that we forget all the ministries that come before them, the teachers, the shepherds, the proclaimers, the watchmen. Where are they, where are we? Jesus himself made it so simple that even a child could grasp it. Why then do we keep silent, why do we hide in church buildings. Why do we chase after the newest author at the book store and ignore the Author of our lives?
We have all the tools, power and authority why are we hiding waiting for something to happen? I believe it’s time to stand up for our God and our faith on our selves. But what does that look like? We all have our own micro-cosmes of what it could look like or what it should look like based on our limited interpretation of something we can’t really grasp or even acknowledge. We preach the
, yet remain clueless to what it actually is. Ask most people what the Kingdom of God is and they will speak in a foreign dialect I call Christianeze. They will say, “the Kingdom of God is inside us.”, or “it is peace love an joy in the Holy Ghost”. We answer as such because deep down we really don’t know. We don’t know how to truly verbalize the kingdom of God , so we tie together a couple of sentence fragments we heard at church. Oblivious to any real physical demonstration of the Kingdom, we intertwine the kingdom with the church. Which is a presumptuous and wrong statement, the church is the means to spread the Kingdom, God’s ways, His power to set the captives free to heal the sick and raise the physically and spiritually dead. His authority over the devil or Lucy the Looser as I prefer to call him. His authority over our greatest enemy, sin and the death that follows it where ever it goes. His salvation to all mankind, even to every creature as it was commanded to us in Mark. The Kingdom is the domain of the King here on earth now today. Have we forgotten the Lords Prayer where Jesus says “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is Heaven. This is what the Kingdom of God is, it is the physical manifestation of His power, sovereignty, will, and authority. And it is here now! Not tomorrow no 7 years from now the kingdom is here now, it is here now. Not in the sweet bye and bye it is here NOW! Jesus said 2000 years ago in Matthew 10:7 kingdom of God
”And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And again in Matthew “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the
is come unto you.” IT IS HERE! kingdom of God
And we are to follow the commandments of Jesus. I dare you to read Matthew 10:7 “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And then look upon Luke 9:2 “And he sent them to preach the
, and to heal the sick.” The same power and authority rests upon us, once we are washed from our sins and filled with the power and presence of the Trinity. I challenge you to read the book of Acts and ask “why not me? Why not now?” Let us all be write our lives in Acts chapter 29. The nations and our nations are in our grasps. Will we go out of our homes, will we venture out of our churches and cell groups. Will we pray? Will we be the kindling for Revival, nay a Revolution. Will we stand, will we pray, and will we march? kingdom of God
Who are we waiting for then? What are we afraid of, do we not remember 1 John 5:4
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Will we stand up and become the plague of holiness that the world has been dreading for 2000 years. The victory is ours, the battle was won at the cross. By the blood of Jesus Christ we have victory over the world and the enemy and their systems. Is it not time to take our spoils of the victory? Or are we content with hiding within our own gates and stained glass walls? As the enemy rapes our land with our full permission and our blessings. How can you dare make such a statement you may ask? It’s because we don’t pray! We don’t Forgive! We don’t stand in unity! And we blame God for all of it. If we the entire church for a single day take all the energy wasted with fighting ourselves and God and focused it for a single day at the enemy. The world would shake as the upper room did at Pentecost. That is why the enemy runs rampant in our lives, we open doors that we refuse to shut. The only prayers we know today are prayers of greed and vengeance. God bless me, bless me no matter the cost bless me, even if it destroys my life bless me. Or we pray for vengeance against those who commit wrongs against us. We have offenses against our brother yet we race to be the first at the altar to give our offerings. Because you know the first one to the altar will get the most anointing!
It seems that in our effort to become relevant to the “world” to become relevant to “
” we have become the world. In our efforts to become seeker friendly we have betrayed those already among us. We edit our sermons to please all men, lest we offend or accuse one of sin. We ignore entire chapters in the word of God, many of our favorite scriptures are taken out of context or the verses before and after are forgotten. Are we compromised? Yes, yes we are we adopt the worlds systems for church finance, government, education, even advertising. Apparently God didn’t know what he was doing when HE birthed the church and raised it up out of nothing to a power house that swept the planet. We have stage lights, PPV sermons, power point we don’t need the spirit it could disrupt my 3 point sermon with 2 examples backed up by 5 scriptures with a somber sounding conclusion with the band playing softly in a minor key. We just know better than God now in our modern age. We are like the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s poem. Somehow we believe the Christ has gotten in the way of our Christianity. No longer is the Western Church of Jesus Christ known for it’s love but rather for its luxury and bigotry. It hurts me to say these things, for I know many, many people who are shinning examples of true Christians, true followers of Christ. It just seems to me that they are out numbered, and kept out of places of influence. People who are true, true, honest, loving, and astute in the Word of God. People who will and have walked out the great commission, preaching to every creature with signs and fruits following. People who have put aside the fear of men, people who follow John 15:18 “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” That is the attitude of an enemy of the world. This is the attitude of Revelation 12:11 Egypt
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
The blood of the Lamb, Jesus’ precious blood. The word of their testimony, the proclamation of the Gospel and the entire Word of God. And the sobering thought that they did not love their lives even in the face of death. Have we forgotten Philippians 1:21
”For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” It isn’t very often in the west that we are asked to die for Christ. In
Africa, Asia, South America it is a different story where the seed of the church is not a tax free love offering. No rather the seed of the church in these lands is the blood of the martyrs, our brothers and sisters. Their blood does cry out and every place where righteous blood has been shed the Gospel has penetrated and taken hold. Even in the most unlikely places muslim clerics experience dreams of Christ himself sharing His gospel with them. Or we can look at with more Christians than any other country, drenched in the blood of the saints. And from the blood and army has risen. China
What about us in the west? What are we afraid of? There is no dictator or extremist trying daily to kill us. No there is just a love for the world, however we are still called to be dead to the world and it’s lusts. As it says in Mark “And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” And again in Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world”. Or the most blunt verse of them all “James 4:4 “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” Do we not see that we are called to be a light in the darkness, not the grey in the darkness. God in his mercy to protect us creates these boundary lines between us and the world and its drug called sin. And we all know that sin leads to death, be it physical, emotional, spiritual or in our relationships. Sin kills all it touches it is the curse of Deuteronomy 28, And Genesis 3. Yet we are fascinated and we refuse to die for it. While brothers and sisters physically die, for the mere right to call on His name, we bow to the world and the sin it petals. In a smug superficial mask we declare that Christ has set me free from the curse of the law so I’ll be forgiven for all my sins irregardless of how often I transgress. Sin is till sin and it will do all it can to separate you from God, then you from the Body and finally separate you from yourself. Is this why we have become shell shocked?
Has sin and its nature become a normal part of our lives. Is the good fight no longer good? Has death become life? Has our televisions become our moral compass? Has secular music become our code of ethics? Has pop-culture become our Idol, and its facilitators our priests? We must return to Jesus first love. We must cry out to our first teacher Holy Spirit. Our guiding light the Word of God. We must take our tents out of Romans chapter 7 and return to Romans chapter 8
please read the entire 8th chapter of Romans now