Monday, September 17, 2018

A Church Of The Now

As I was out traveling for work recently, I saw a church sign that read, “God holds the future”. Now I understand that many people are in a place where that brings comfort and peace into their tough situation. After all, if God does in fact hold the future, then I can rest in the present, right? If God holds the future, I can accept my current circumstances. Well, maybe… and maybe not. You see, what this simple phrase triggered in me was a day of meditating on the issues of my present moments and of the present condition of the Body of Christ, as I see It. Not necessarily what did God do for me yesterday, last week or last year. Not what is God going to do in the future. But instead, what in the world do I do in my “right now”? And, in a broader context, what of the Body of Christ in this present moment in time upon the earth?

OK, so let’s look at these three viewpoints of time, in relation to God being involved in all that we are and do. Number one: Yes, God’s handiwork is easily evident in my past. Scripture is full of charges to remember the works of the Lord and recount His mighty acts. His wondrous works are without end and it is absolutely necessary to stay in a continual remembrance of all that He has done on my behalf and what He has done – period. When I’m faced with doubt or I’m being tempted to follow the way of the First Adam in disbelief, I can recall the factual reality that God is true, perfect and trustworthy. He alone is the unwavering One Who is always moving in and through me to accomplish His purpose of my being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ.

Also, most professing Believers in Christ would be quick to explain how awesome the early Church was “back in Bible times”. It was powerful. It was a demonstration of God’s glory on the earth. It was a Body of overcomers that were given the gift of Holy Spirit. Even the most average of Christians get excited when talking about the adventures of Paul and all that we read that God did through such great men of faith. “Oh to be like Paul!”, we’ve all heard. But the present-day Church at large looks back, admires it and then leaves it there. It is all somehow viewed as true, but outdated and unrelated to our here and now.

My question to those reading this that consider themselves a follower of Christ and is a regenerated God-man being conformed into the image of the Invisible One Who was the firstborn of many Brethren – Is there any room in your life to see what God is doing in the earth right here and right now?! What attention is being given to literally shut our mouths and hear what the Spirit is saying in this hour? We live in such a beautiful Age. Grace abounds. God’s mercy is extended without measure. We no longer sacrifice the blood of bulls or have ceremonial washings to rightly approach the Holy One. We don’t get struck dead by God’s awesome presence if we, in foolishness, touch a golden box that houses His radiant glory. Instead, we’re called to an internal righteousness. An inner washing and living sacrifice that, when done with clean hands and a pure heart, literally makes our natural body a living temple of the Eternal God of the Universe, not made with human hands! So what in the world are we waiting for?!

Well, please allow me to answer my own question with Viewpoint Number Two. The Church is WAITING. She’s waiting for Beulah Land. She’s waiting for the wrath and judgment of God to fall on the LGBT community. She’s waiting for His mighty sword to slay all of His enemies (which are our enemies of course, not necessarily His). She’s waiting for God to make all things just as She thinks He wants them to be. She’s waiting for all of the wrongs within the kingdoms of men (America) to be righted by God’s “justice”. She literally longs to see God judge the deserving (terrorists, atheists, gays, etc.) and exalt the “righteous” (Herself). She demands “blessing and favor” because She has become convinced that She is deserving. Thousands within Her spend week after week endlessly complaining about what the Church is not, what She should be and what the world is. She talks incessantly about what the “Left” is and what “The Right” is. She spins her cognitive wheels utterly neck-deep in the ways and patterns of this world. She speaks the Christian rhetoric but lines up with the world to be entertained and amused by those who She says She hates. She’s waiting for Jesus to hurry up and come back already because this world is so dark, so cold, so evil, so anti-God!

Well, let me ask you dear Church, why is it this way? Whose world is it? Whose nation is it? Is darkness stronger than the blood of Jesus that purchased You? Is persecution beyond You? Are the political banterings that echo middle school playground-level bickering too irresistible for the child of God to resist and refrain from? Are the former lusts of Your flesh so enticing that one must indulge and partake, in moderation of course?! Wake up from Your slumber Bride of the Living Christ! Arise and shine like the dawn upon this earth! Reclaim what is Yours to possess, for the glory of God, not for man, denomination or nation! We have been purchased UNTO something. We have been regenerated UNTO a cause! We have been recreated UNTO a great supernatural work that is beyond the limitations of the mere kingdoms of men! Are you offended? I pray so, for so am I. I’m too lazy. I’m too lulled to sleep by fleshly cravings. I’m too casual. I’m too prideful. Me! Not my neighbor! Not the institutional mega-church! Not past presidents or gays or lesbians or terrorist murderers! Me! I’m too wrapped up in my own will and ways and so are You! May it not be so for Us any longer dear Brothers and Sisters! We must be a people who take captive every single thought – literally! What is coming out of our mouths? We must scrutinize it for it reveals the condition of our heart. What are we doing while it is still day?

So, to be clear, the third viewpoint that I believe the Church MUST rouse Herself to see is TODAY. Today is the day of salvation. Today is our now moment where we can declare the glory of God to the heavenlies by being God-men who live this 24 hours with a surrendered will, free from the cares of the patterns of this world. The Scriptures tell us that we are a vapor. We are as grass. We are here and then we are gone from this earth. We exist on this side of salvation for a purpose. We were not “raptured” out of here but instead we remain, with hearts of flesh that can now feel and be moved by the Spirit. To demonstrate the power of a yielded will that is submitted to the preeminence of Jesus Christ! Jesus, the forerunner Emmanuel that paved the way for a race of men to reclaim dominion over the earth for the glory of God, has empowered us to be more than conquerors! 

So may we lay aside all that entangles, distracts and restrains us! May the Church be freed to again declare to the powers of the air and all principalities and powers of earth and sky that God is still enthroned upon every kingdom and authority that ever was and ever will be. NOW is the time to be watchmen on the walls of our homes and congregations. NOW is the moment to be deaf to the calls of the Woman of Folly and to have ears tuned to the voice of Wisdom. NOW is the time to be set apart, sanctified and holy as He is holy.

God be glorified and exalted in your People. Amen.

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