We competently minister the gospel of the Kingdom when we live a new covenant, new creation life. This is as simple as Christ our life being our life. The ministry of a son is strikingly different to the ministry of a worker, labouring in effort rather than in the spirit of sonship. I groan within when sincere friends speak out a sermon that is devoid of spirit and life. I shudder when I see Believers minister clothed in an atmosphere of death of which they are entirely unaware. Unaware because they assume that the religion they were raised in is the gospel of the Kingdom when it is a dilution of the power of God or just a cunningly devised fable. Truth can be denied aggressively or through passivity or naivety.
I am often appalled that people deny climate change and attempt to attribute it to some cause other than the human race. Kind of like ‘The dog ate my homework ..’ Appalled too when Christian friends try to pass it off as a one world government conspiracy, a green fetish, a socialist fraud or a punishment God is doing to naughty humanity. Many of God’s ‘judgments’ are simply the result of living as if He is not real. Prosperity doctrine has its subtle form. It involves talk of heaven and living as if the world is the only reality.
It’s easy enough to talk church and live the world. If we believe, with the world that happiness and security is had in possessing things, then it should come as no surprise that humanity is sucking the life out of the earth. Could it be that it is all too easy to wave one’s hands about in praise and worship and consider ourselves ‘worshipers’ and then go home to immerse ourselves in the world system that God calls Babylon and live as though ‘consuming’ has no effect on the creation and our responsibility to sustain it. Sure, I know we all have to make a living. But the Kingdom starts as a speck and grows to fill the entire earth. Maybe we need to consider that what we have is churchiness and not at all Jesus the King and His Kingdom. We may need to remember that we are representatives of the new creation and stop divesting ourselves of responsibility and stewardship of the earth with our notions of rapture and second coming. When Christ is our life we become His new creation Kingdom in the world. When Jesus comes He will not be coming to commend those who have buried His kingdom in the ground.
‘Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed’ Matt 25.24 NIV.
Sometimes I wonder if people have any knowledge of history or understand what has happened to earth’s atmosphere as a result of the Industrial Revolution that spread around the world from 1785 onwards. Not everyone does history at school these days. Maybe they should. Believers need to know that climate science relies on evidence far more substantial than the assumptions of evolution. A friend once imposed on me the observation that those who warn about global warning were some kind of nutter. Really? Remember those who refused to listen to Noah? The word that comes to mind when I am confronted by that kind of talk is “stupid.”
‘They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation’ 2 Pater 3.4 NIV.
I honour wisdom. So does the Bible and so does God. Jesus warned us not to despise others and not to be among the foolish who are unable to perceive the signs of the age.
Solomon contrasts wisdom with foolishness and laments the disposition of folks who engage in self-important talk that verges on verbal bullying. Thoughtfulness grows from humility and the ability to listen leads to wisdom.
I had a mum who had no tertiary education. Yet she had above average intelligence and powers of perception. She did well for someone raised under the law and the religion of a lesser Christ. She did not talk incessantly but when she did she had something to say. What she said was usually correct. Mum was not one of those women who voiced their opinion on everything and talked because she could. She was not a bigot. She evaluated things carefully and had a flexible mind. Mum changed her mind on aspects of theology on which she had been misguided for years, quite late in life. She had an excellent sense of humour and laughed a lot. She did well for a woman formed in the womb of Victorian attitudes and fundamentalism.
Mum was not a bone-headed matriarch with rusted on ideas that expressed itself as a fear of change. As I said, mum was able to embrace new ideas and theological view points quite late in life. Particularly courageous are they who can abandon a life time of belief that has been demonstrated to be untrue. But parlous is the position of all who refuse to accept the new just because it contradicts what is part of them. Better to lose a false identity that lose your ability to manifest the life of Jesus with authority.
When our identity is in Christ we live in security. But an identity built on a perspective or a version of truth that defines who we are in ourselves and our community rather than who we are in Christ will hinder our development. It stunts us because we deny the truth of who we are in Christ in favour of a religious fantasy about ourselves. This is the folly of ‘other gospels.’
‘They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things [ themselves and their teachings] rather than the Creator–who is forever praised Amen’ Rom 1.25 NIV.
There is spirit and life that grows exponentially. Then there is a light that is really darkness. It is characterised by good beginnings and feeble endings. There comes a time when we need to confront the possibility that the elephant in the rooms is our own religion – a kind of religion that is out of alignment with new covenant life and what God has already done for us in Christ. The beauty of repentance is that it is a door to a fresh start, to fullness in Jesus and our inheritance of authority and fruitfulness as sons of God.
Those who live in denial of the truth spend a huge amount of energy maintaining their beliefs as though they are the truth. They become particularly inventive because they have to. Truth has a way of continually revealing itself so as to undermine their error. In the spiritual sphere they are assisted in this project by the father of lies. He has a door to their lives because they preferred there own gospel rather than the gospel of the Kingdom.
“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn–and I would heal them”John 12.40 NIV.
Conservatism has never appealed to me. I have seen it resist new life in the world and in the church. Someone on my radio recently equated conservatism with greed and a compulsive clinging to what one has. Personally I believe its cause is found in self interest, fear of losing what one has and losing a measure of control. And also in lazy thinking. It should not surprise us that compulsive hoarders can be obstinately conservative. We need to ask ourselves if we are hoarding religious detritus.
When Christ is our life we have no need to hoard religious junk. Nor do we need to live from dimensions of right or left. By living in God we live in life. However, only when Christ is our life are we alive in God. With our being transfused by the Spirit of Jesus we are sons of God in spirit and in truth. This is not so if we have a generalised god or have made a jesus out of our pet ideas or bad theology. To live as sons in spirit and in truth is to be joined to our Father and one with our Father to the extent that we can say, ‘I and my father are one.’ This is not some ‘try harder deal.’ It’s your inheritance already in Christ. This is how we release spirit and life into our situations.
The Kingdom is not about liberalism or conservatism. It is about life and it is life. This life is in His Son and this Son of God is in you.
Jesus cannot be made to fit into a right or left wing position. For Jesus positions were valid and true when they gave life. Invalid and sinful when they ministered death. Things grounded in God are life-giving. Things defined by the knowledge of good and evil are iniquitous. They come from a self cantered view point, from tradition or just plain ignorance. This is the Adamic life from which all have been delivered. Stop living in what is dead!
‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’ Eph 2.10 NIV.
Life and life-giving action can only be defined accurately when Christ is our life and we are participating in a Father-centric universe. When Christ is our life, we have the security, comfort, safety and love that is ours from our position in Fathers Heart. Here there is no need to create a pseudo fatherhood from the status quo and our position in society. Our security comes from another source who is alive, sympathetic and intent on letting us know that we belong – that we belong in the trinity which is the family of God.
‘Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them’ John 14.23 NIV.
When we are secure in Father; when we know that we are sons; when we are confident in who we are because we have a personal Jesus and a secure identity, we need not cling to what we have. We are liberated from a life-long need to hang on to our stuff. We do not have to impose our ideas. We need not ensure that our opinion is the only one that is heard in the room. We can enquire as to others views and position ourselves to learn in humility rather than be a representative of rusted on views and the power of iniquity. When Christ is alive in us we are alive. We have a history in God before the world began. We are part of the community of witnesses in the heavens. We have a daily adventure with the Ancient of Days who is new every morning. We have an infinite and eternal life courtesy of Jesus. We are daughters and sons of our Father. As such we are multipliers of His life.