Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Church Awaken

We can’t remain asleep
For too long believers in God Almighty, both Jews and Gentiles have been sleeping. It is time to awake and stand up for what we believe! This temporary home we call the world is growing increasingly worse. Evil walks among us and many believers have become complacent and apathetic—particularly under opposition. In the Christian New Testament, the apostle Paul warned his disciple Timothy, “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Tim. 3:12-13 NIV).
In Joel Rosenberg’s Last Jihad novel, a Jewish believer noted that “the problem with Americans is that they cannot recognize evil.” Our schools, the media, and an increasingly degenerate culture has deceived us into thinking that everything is all right; that everything will work out for good in the end—a Pollyanna way of thinking. Psychologists describe this as magical thinking.
We talk among ourselves, our neighbors and our church family about the world going to hell in a hand basket and yet that’s all we do—talk. At some level we recognize there is danger among us, but of the natural three responses to danger—to fight, to flee, or to freeze—we have chosen the third—freeze (the deer in the headlights response).
Even the enemy of freedom in America, the community organizer, socialist and author of Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky In 1972 described the silent majority as “up for grabs” and promised to “show the middle class their real enemies: the corporate power elite that runs and ruins the country.”  In 1980, Rev. Jerry Falwell, a Baptist leader and founder of Liberty University, proclaimed that “God is calling millions of Americans in the so-often silent majority to join in the moral-majority crusade to turn America around.” For a time, the new moral majority concept prevailed and resulted in the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency of the United States.
Today, where once Christian morals undergirded our country’s value system, we have degenerated into ways of thinking and acting that are more in accord with pagan ideals than Christian ideals. On the whole we have forgotten who the Lord is. Today, we are better described by the apostle Paul’s words to Timothy; People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:1-5 NIV).
We have become the sheeple so loved by evil deceivers such as Saul Alinsky, George Soros, and Barack Obama.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12 NIV).
We are in a war against evil
The church is at war against supernatural forces, yet many (most) believers are ignorant of their ability to enter the fight using spiritual weapons—prayer, praise, and the Word of God. As I noted in a previous post, our weapons are not those commonly employed by armies. “We do not fight as the enemy does (2 Cor. 10:3). Our weapons are not worldly (2 Cor. 10:4); they are even more powerful.
The Lord has equipped us to fight the battle
The Lord has imparted to believers both defensive and offensive equipment to respond to the attacks of the evil ones. We must not let that equipment lie idle, but employ it in the battle.
Soldiers fighting in Afghanistan employ the Kevlar armor issued by the Army for defense. Christians muse likewise employ the armor issued by the Lord: Belt of truth, Breastplate of righteousness, Combat boots of the gospel of peace, Shield of faith, and the Helmet of salvation.
Modern soldiers employ a variety of weapons for offense. God has also issued believers offensive weapons: Sword of the Spirit—God’s Word and Prayer in the Spirit. Prayer in this case also includes praise as a weapon. King Jehoshaphat employed praise in his battle against three allied attacking armies with great success (2 Chron. 20).
Vigilance is paramount
Just as an army relies upon vigilance, so the church must be vigilant. Vigilance in a threat environment includes posting of watchmen. Jesus exhorted the church (all mature believers) to be on watch (see Matt. 24:42; 25:13; Mark 13:35-37; Luke 21:36). Armies would post watchmen. Jesus has posted watchmen as well.
Sheepdogs are used to protect defenseless sheep. New believers or those not yet ready for the battle must be protected by the sheepdogs of the church. Sheepdogs will keep the wolves at bay which would attack the sheep. By themselves, sheep tend to ignorantly walk into dangerous situations.
Sheep are naturally ignorant
The writer of the book of Hebrews wrote, “It is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:11-14). Complacency will cause believers to lose the alertness necessary for safety in a dangerous world.
Regular exercise of spiritual disciplines will keep us sharp. Just as physical inactivity will result in physical decline, so spiritual inactivity will result in spiritual decline and loss of the necessary sharpness of spiritual discernment.
Regular attendance at church gatherings for worship, prayer, praise and Bible study; regular reading and meditation on the Word of God (the Bible); and regularly serving others will act to keep one sharp.
Making the most of every opportunity
“Everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:13-16 NIV).