Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kingdom Directives

There has been a lot of spiritual malaise in Chrisitanity for the past several deccades.  Much of this started when the "Enlightenment" brought skepticism and doubt to the truth of Holy Scriptures.  Even today, in the Western World, many Christians live with a compromised belief in God's word.  Even though Jesus said in the Gospel of John, "Sanctify them by the truth.  Your word, is truth" (Jn 17:17), if there is a seeming inconsistency with scripture, it is regarded as not being literally true.  Sorry Jesus, you missed it on that one.  Or, it is said that it is "spiritual truth" just not really literal truth.  Do you see the inconsistencies with these beliefs.

And that is not the only problem with a compromised belief in God's Holy Word.  The rise of man's knowledge, that he could discover and understand and know things independently of God's word (that's why the considered themselves enlightened, apart from God's Truth), resulted largely in a rejection of the supernatural power that Christ has given to his followers. 

Through the past few years, being involved in ministry, the LORD has shown and taught us more about Himself and the truths contained in His word.  Truly, He has answered my prayer, when I prayed, "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law" (Ps. 119:18).  Specifically, he has taught my wife and I the truths about His healing power in the name of Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 9, Matthew tells us about how Jesus was traveling throughout the villages in Israel, preaching the Kingdom of God, and performing miracles and healings in fulfillment of Old Testament Messianic passages.  The chapter concludes:
 35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

In the next chapter, Matthew tells of Jesus sending out his disciples, training them for the work they would do after His ascencscion back into heaven.  In verses seven and eight, He instructs them saying: 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

Let's enumerate these instructions, to examine them a little more closely.
1.  Proclaim the kingdom of heaven has come near.  - Okay, evamgelicals know that that means proclamation or telling about the gospel, that Christ died for the sins of the world, and those who receive this gift by faith are born again to be children of God (Rom. 5:8; Jn. 1:12).

2.  Heal the sick.  - Christians do a fair job with providing assistance, hospitalization and medications to those in sickness and disease.  In fact, books have been written explaining how the world would not have the hospitals and assistance promgrams it now has if not for the Christian Faith.

Okay, this is starting to get to the part where the Enlightenment has seriously impeded the effectiveness of the gospel proclamation.

3.  Raise the dead.  -  We don't do that.  We hear of occasional instances of it overseas.  Haha, I laugh, because I know some of you think I'm crazy for even taking this one on.  The prevailing Western Christian view is, "Jesus did that, and the apostles, but that was because the gospel was first being proclaimed, and God did it to verify the truth of the gospel message."  I know this is the pat evangelical response in the U.S., because I'm guilty of holding it and defending/teaching it.

4.  Cast out Demons.  - Much confusion abounds because of this, and because of the state of our "enlightened" naturalistic society, we largly stopped believing in demons, or at least in the U.S., because we believe that only happens in places like dark Africa or other developing third world countries. 

The truth is, demons are part of reality, and if Satan really controls the world (1 Jn 5:19), this should be an expected part of life.  And it is in most segments of the world.  Even Islam recognizes jinn, evil spirits that torment mankind and have to be palcated through various sacrifices.  Here in America our stars call on their "alter egos" to give better prerformance on stage or in film. 

Demons are involved in the affairs of life, and the Bible clearly talks about it, and talks aobut the authority of believers over these rebellious angels.  So why isn't the church carrying out the last three directives Christ gave his church.  Many people are disillusioned with Christianity because they say it has no real power.  God has given it power to show and verify its truth, but most Chrisitans in the western world have been indoctrinated with a naturalistic worldview which undermines the power and auhtority of believers by writing off belief in such beings or phenonmenon as unscientific or outdated fables like leprechauns and fairies.

As Wicca and New Age and a melee of other various relgions are on the rise, Chrisitans in America need to stop believing the indoctrination of the world, and begin living in belief in God's holy, inerrant word.  We need to rise up and act in faith upon the authority that we have in Christ.  We need to follow the commands of our Lord!

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