Christian, Hear This

Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie), from the movie War Room, prayed powerfully at the Revive Us live event last night. Christians from around the country were called together in theaters to learn what we can do to save America from the moral vapidity and downward decent of decades of sitting back from engaging in politics.

The Family Meeting was full of godly wisdom for us here and now, among uncertain and difficult circumstances.  As the Family of God, we need to remember whom we fight, with what weapons, all the while keeping our eyes on the eternal.  For too long, people of faith have been told by the culture to “sit down and shut up.”  Now is the time to stand up and shout out.

Throughout history, the strongest time for the Church was during persecution.  The book of Acts shows us that even as the authorities tried to quench this new Jewish sect, it grew by the thousands.  While Rome oppressed Jesus’ followers,  it was the Roman roads that enabled the faithful to spread into all areas of the world.  God grows the Church in the midst of persecution.  Her light shines even brighter during hard times.

The key is to transform this nation from the inside out, and the bottom all the way up to the top (Kirk Cameron at Revive Us).  We need to heed the chronicler and begin by humbling ourselves.

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.
2 Chronicles 7:13‭-‬15 NIV (emphasis mine)

It begins with our faith and hearts.  When the Spirit enters us at the moment of salvation, He begins the process of transformation of our hearts of stone into those of flesh.  God changes our very being from human to new creations, and adopts us as His children, so that we are never merely human again.*

Do we live like these awesome new creations?  Do our neighbors think of us as the most loving people they know?  Are we the most compassionate people in the eyes of a gay coworker?  How about in our social media presence?  I’m preaching to myself, too.  So let us begin to humble ourselves before God and man.

Just like William Wilberforce changed the mind of English culture away from slavery by showing their faith through works, we can begin to transform America when we become transformed ourselves by the power of God and show our love for Christ through acts of faith.  We are to be the hands and feet of  Jesus.

What had been an effectively pagan worldview, where slavery and the abuse of human beings was accepted as inevitable and normative, became an effectively biblical worldview, in which human beings were seen as created in the image of God. The idea that one should love one’s neighbor was brought into the cultural mainstream…, and the world has never been the same.  http://ericmetaxas.com/writing/essays/cultural-elites-next-unreached-people-group1/

Wilberforce  and his comrades effectively made evangelism and social  outreach, which are the heart of the Gospel, “fashionable.”

“The Clapham Circle [Wilberforce’s friends] did all they could to maintain their places of power and influence, so long as it advanced the Gospel, because their ultimate allegiances were not to the ‘world’ in which they moved, but to the ‘not-of-the world’ Kingdom, whose King they served.”

Os Guinness spoke about the Founders’ unique idea of “ordered liberty” and he described it in terms of what he called the “Golden Triangle of Freedom:” Freedom requires virtue; virtue requires faith; faith requires freedom.  Each side of the triad is interdependent upon the others.  In a secular age, the idea that freedom requires virtue and that virtue requires faith is most unpopular.  But in misunderstanding freedom, the liberal equates liberty with moral license.  Thus, Eric Metaxas argues, the liberal  doesn’t reckon with moral reality, and the conservative doesn’t realize the extent of the need for self-government.  These then disintegrate the virtuous anchor of the Golden Triangle. A lack of virtue leads to a greater need for masters, creating the need for more and more laws. Metaxas fills the pages of his book with quotes from America’s founders making this point, a point lost on the majority of Americans today.

One must have faith, or true religion, in order to be virtuous.  Metaxas writes, “[Today], everyone seems to know that helping the poor is important … or that slavery is wrong, or that being good stewards of the environment is important, but what we have completely forgotten is that these ideals all stemmed from the Judeo-Christian tradition in the West. We seem to think that whatever virtues we do possess arose by themselves. History shows this to be false.”  Virtue and faith result in a self-governed people, a civil government constrained in its power because the people are governed by higher ideals and authority.

Central to American freedom is religious liberty—greatly imperiled today—the genius of the American founding.  Religious liberty doesn’t determine dogma, but rather facilitates freedom of faith and practice.  So there is no “wall of separation” forbidding the two of interaction, but rather, a synchronous relationship that allows for the unbridled practice of one’s faith, while not elevating one above another (see T. Jefferson’s letters to the Danger Baptist for this original intent).  Whereas faith and personal virtue govern one’s heart and beliefs, civil government judges behavior.  This is how Christian faith can bring about civil freedoms.

Eric Metaxas believes Americans must understand who we are as a nation:

…and that once they do that they will understand that it is their duty to spread the message and to live it out. It is their solemn duty to those who have gone before them, who have sacrificed bitterly to give them what they now have and have mostly taken for granted, to our great shame. It is a duty, but it is also an unspeakable privilege to be able to do that, to be part of history, to be able to bless future generations and people around the globe. If we fail to see that and to appreciate that, we are to be deeply pitied.

All this to share the point that we Christians have a marvelous responsibility to get in the game.  By practicing our faith by love and works, each of  us can shine the Light in a very dark world, which, by God’s grace, will be transformative!   How, you ask?  But what about…

BUT GOD…   Our God has overcome the god of this world.  Satan was thrown down and Jesus was lifted high, and He has defeated death and given us the right to become children of God, heirs with Him now and into eternity.  So the circumstances of our lives can be seen with the eyes of faith,  and it can be weL with our souls.  For we know that God is in control!

As it has been said, to keep our republic, we need the spiritual revival of Whitefield, the leadership of Lincoln, and the mass virtue of a bygone era.  Yet these thongs can all develop by the grace of God in our lives!

All we must do is love God and love others—completely.

These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.

Deut. 6:1‭-‬2 NIV

Here’s the best part, it’s called the Shema (listen & obey),  שמא:
Shema Yisrael Adonoi Eloheinu Adonoi Echad.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deut. 6:4‭-‬9 NIV

The “gates” are the city gates,  the seat of power where laws are made.  So, let the principles of God be in your mind, the strength of your hands, about your home and life, and extended to the government. Let God be in every part of life.

In other words, we are to completely love Him at all times.  When our eyes are on Jesus, the impossible becomes a fait accompli, mountains are moved, and love becomes unstoppable!

Amen.

WM

 

More Information

http://www.reviveus2016.com/

There is a rebroadcast of REVIVE US on Tuesday, October 25th.  Christian, you NEED TO BE THERE.

*Lindaism (deep wisdom from Linda Lowe)

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