John 5:39-44 NASB
“You examine the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is those very Scriptures that testify about Me; and yet you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you accept glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?”
Jesus spoke these words to the Jews in Jerusalem, but He could easily be speaking them to many who wear the name of “Christian” today. We read God’s Word yet we filter out that which does not tie in with our concerns and the things that we are focused on. The Jews were looking for a Messiah that would free them from the Roman occupation but Jesus was not sent to just overturn a political power. God’s plan was much bigger than that. Jesus said His kingdom was not of this world, but we seem to have forgotten that.
We voice and demand our rights to exercise our freedoms, even when those very rights and freedoms sometimes violate the same rights and freedoms of others. Our own concerns far too often take precedence and we place our needs above the needs of others. The stranger in our midst is of little consequence and those who disagree with our faith are not worthy of consideration. Our focus is not to serve but rather to be served. Our focus is not to bring healing but to be recognized. Equality and justice for all is not our goal, maintaining our perception of our rights and status is. Our focus is not on the Kingdom of God but rather on the continuance of what we have here, getting greater and better, bigger and more. And far, far too many, worship at the alter of nationalism. We place our faith and hope in fallible unholy men and ignore our righteous King. We showcase our righteousness by endeavouring to correct a hill we have chosen, and yet continually overlook the mountains of injustice all around us, that our Holy God says demands equal attention. Unless the heart of man is changed, nothing is changed, and that includes our own and others. And once again, we seem to have forgotten that. Jesus gave us the Great Commission for a reason. Legislation doesn’t change hearts, God does. If we lose the heart of a nation, we’ve lost the nation, and that is where, as Christians, we are.
When Jesus tells us not to fear what must happen (Matthew 24:6), we ignore His direction and spread fear where ever we can, causing more division rather than diminishing it. Our priorities replace His and we think we are spreading the “truth”. Jesus is the ultimate TRUTH, always has been and always will be.
We slander and spread mistruths without a second thought, when God’s Word clearly tells us not to do that. We are not different, rather than changing the world around us we have allowed the world around us to change us. Our power is what is right and being Holy like God is Holy has fallen to the wayside. We do not seek God’s glory, we seek our own. Lying is justified because no one is perfect and our worldly objective is more important than honouring our Holy God. We are not a Christian nation because we have abandoned the Great Commission and replaced it with our own thinking and desires.
And we wonder why things are as they are.
Consider the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 26:51-54 NASB
“And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” Emphasis is mine.
A legion equaled 6,000 troops. That’s 72,000 angels! Yet Jesus did NOT call them. What did Jesus see and understand that we still do not see and understand and if we are really studying God’s Word, why do we not see or understand it?
Again, consider Jesus’s words pertaining to earthly authority as recorded in John 19:11
“Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” Emphasis is mine.
And does that correlate with God’s Word as noted in Romans 13:1-7 NASB by the Apostle Paul?
“Every person is to be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a servant of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Pay to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; respect to whom respect; honor to whom honor.” Emphasis is mine.
The world may have the option to disregard this admonition but I don’t see anywhere in God’s Holy Word where we as Christians have been given this option. When Jesus subjected Himself to the worldly authority that sent Him to the cross, He did not resist it because He served a greater purpose, the will of the Father. Where does God’s Word tell us that we can do otherwise?
And what did Peter tell us, as recorded in God’s Holy Word? 1 Peter 2:11-16 NASB
“Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God on the day of visitation. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God, that by doing right you silence the ignorance of foolish people. Act as free people, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond-servants of God.” Emphasis is mine.
Yes, this is Peter, the same Apostle who said in Acts 4:18-20 NASB “And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, make your own judgment; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Speaking about what they have seen and heard is the Great Commission we have all been given. What did Peter understand that we somehow do not?
And in closing this post, let’s go back to the Apostle Paul and his guidance to Titus, as recorded in Titus 3:1-11 NASB:
“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to slander no one, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing every consideration for all people. For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we did in righteousness, but in accordance with His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He richly poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This statement is trustworthy; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and beneficial for people. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are useless and worthless. Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, knowing that such a person has deviated from what is right and is sinning, being self-condemned.” Emphasis is mine.
Did you catch that “slander no one“? How about “showing every consideration for all people“? Does that sound to you like this is optional or excludes those who we may disagree with?
The “collective”, highly visible, body of Christ here in North America is so far off the mark of adhering to God the Father’s will and God’s Holy Word that it borders on being ludicrous. We, as Christians, are supposed to be a light on a hill, a beacon of difference, not part of the noise that the world and its ways, floods everywhere.
Food for thought? I surely hope so.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!