The Wonder of the Church: Part 8 – Counter Attack
58. Finally, regain Perspective
1 Sam 17:45 I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty,
Perspective? In some ways this entire series has been about regaining perspective of who and what the Church is. In these recent studies I have been suggesting it is time for a counter-attack against those voices of atheism, of indifference, of complacency, over everything that resists the presence and work of God. Sometimes it is important to examine single verses or paragraphs in gaining understanding of who God is, who we are and what he has called us to, but sometimes it is wise to step back and try and grasp the big picture to gain an overview of where it has all come from and where it is going to.
Key Background Issues: Let’s try and make this simple and so just lay out some of the basics of what we know about the world in which we live:
- It is fallen because of Sin and so is broken, and often dysfunctional, not working right.
- Because of the presence of Sin, Satan has been given opportunity to reign over the lives of men and women who reject God (see 1 Jn 5:19)
- None of this is a surprise to God who foresaw this from before the Creation, because of the necessity for humans to have free will. Indeed He planned to send Jesus at the right time in history to reveal His love and His means of redemption through the Cross, to draw whoever would come back to Himself.
- Jesus, demonstrating His love, brought healing and deliverance and proclaimed the day of the Lord’s favour (Mt 11:5, Lk 4:18,19) and instructed his followers to do the same (see Mt 28:19,20, Jn 14:12).
- Our role today – negatively – is to resist the devil (Jas 4:7), overcoming his wiles and deceptions and temptations, and overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21).
- Our role today – positively – is to take the Gospel to whoever will receive it, using prayer, the fruit of the Spirit to melt hearts, and the power and gifts of the Spirit to overcome strongholds of the enemy, seeking to overcome lies and deceptions and wrong beliefs, bring healing to those wounded by the world and the enemy, and bring freedom to captives, those held by anything that hinders them coming to Christ and enjoying all the goodness he has for them.
- We are living in the realm of the kingdom of God which is only partially here, and that state will continue until Jesus returns and puts all his enemies beneath his feet (1 Cor 15:25).
- That ‘partial’ aspect of the kingdom has certain aspects that suggest we are in an ongoing battle (that this last Part has been about) and has consequences that we would do well to confront as we conclude this series.
Consequences of the Partial: The truth is that in this era, people can still resist God, people can still reject the Gospel when we bring it to them. Some people will turn and be saved. Brilliant, never lose sight of that. Sometimes we will pray and pray and not seem to see answers; that’s part of the battle (see how Daniel experienced that Dan 10:12-14) but sometimes we pray and get immediate answers. Brilliant, never lose sight of that. Sometimes we pray for healing and often don’t see it – but sometimes DO! Brilliant, hold on to those times and keep praying.
Resistance: All around us in this fallen world, we see people saying and doing wrong things. Some repent, some don’t; it’s the way of these times. In the book of Revelation we see God bringing judgments that are meant to bring mankind to its senses and back to God, and yet we read, “The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Rev 9:20,21) and later, “They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.” (Rev 16:9) In the Old Testament we saw this folly in the mind of Pharaoh as he resisted Moses. In the day in which we live and possibly the years to come, we see this same resistance.
Resistance is Futile: This chant from various sci-fi films applies well here. The world resists -and God graciously allows them to do so – but there will come a time when He says, “Enough!” and Jesus will return as a conquering king and that will be it! There will come a time when all will stand before the Last Judgment, and that will be it! The enemy would seek to distract us, make us forget these truths, get us caught up in materialism or the worries of this world, and so it is important that we hold firmly on to these truth of the big picture and never lose sight of them.
And Us? Our call as the people of God is to remain faithful: “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Lk 18:8) Our call is not to be successful (although the Lord does promise that) but to be obedient. That we have seen in detail in an earlier study, together with the other ‘unique ingredients’ that make the church what it is supposed to be. If we get knocked down, He is there to pick us up. If we fail Him, He is there to forgive us, cleanse us and set us on the path again, when we repent. When we lack wisdom, He is there to give it to us when we ask. When we lack energy or resources generally, He is there to provide as we wait on Him. Yes, it is all about Him; everything we are and have comes from Him. David knew it: “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty,” as he came against his enemy. That is to be our stance as well. May that be what is seen in us, the Church, and may He be glorified in and through us. Amen. Enough! Let’s be it!