Archive for November, 2009

Winning is Not Passively Waiting

November 30th, 2009 No comments

Christ’s ascension gives us another clue as to what it means for the Church to win. The Scriptures reveal something very special about Christ’s ascension and what He expects us to be doing until He returns:

“Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” (Hebrews 10:11-14)

Notice what Jesus did: He sat the down. His cry on the cross, “It is finished,” now reaches its ultimate fulfillment as Jesus, our priest, takes His seat. The atonement has been made and our redemption is secured. Jesus now sits in the position of ultimate authority. Paul writes, “[God raised Christ] from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet (Ephesians 1:20-23)

So now what? What is our response to this amazing truth? This passage tells us, “Since that time (the time of His exaltation) he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. How will this happen? How will Christ’s enemies become His footstool?

Here is where our identity as the Church begins to emerge. Our job is to bring the Kingdom to earth by preaching the good news about our Great King and by extending His Lordship over all creation! We are not passively waiting for Christ to do this by Himself. While we recognize the complete subjection of every enemy will not be fully realized until He comes, we, nonetheless, have been given the authority and power to encounter our enemy, satan, wherever and whenever we find him. This is our call and our privilege as sons and daughters of the King.

Theologian Elton Trueblood observed, “Perhaps the greatest single weakness of the contemporary Christian Church is that millions of supposed members are not really involved at all and, what is worse, do not think it strange that they are not. As soon as we recognize Christ’s intention to make his Church a militant company we understand at once that the conventional arrangement cannot suffice. There is no real chance of victory in a campaign if ninety percent of the soldiers are untrained and uninvolved, but that is exactly where we stand now.”

Winning is not merely watching or waiting. Winning means enlisting in the army and enforcing the victory of our exalted King!

Winning is Not Stargazing

November 25th, 2009 No comments

I just finished teaching a class in our Living Stones College called, The Doctrine of Christ. We covered a lot of ground over the course of the month, beginning with the incarnation and ending with His ascension. In the class I argue that the ascension is one of the most under-rated and overlooked doctrines in the Word. We are getting ready for another big Christmas season where we celebrate Christ’s birth. Spring brings us to Easter where we rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus. And yet, forty days later, after teaching His disciples truths concerning the Kingdom of God, He ascended right before their eyes and took His rightful place at the Father’s right hand.

We read about this in Mark 16:19: ”So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.”

His ascension gives us insights into what it means for the Church to “define our win.” In Acts 1:9-11, we read, “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

If we fail to properly understand the exaltation and reign of Christ, we’ll miss our divinely appointed time in God’s unfolding redemptive history. For many Christians, the time line looks something like this: Jesus comes, he dies, he resurrects, he goes to heaven and now we wait around for him to come back and save us from this messed up world! So in the meantime, go to church, try not to sin too much and “hold the fort til Jesus comes.” Much of the Church is absorbed with getting raptured before things get too bad. Like the disciples mentioned above, we stand gazing at the heavens wondering when Christ will return instead of being busy doing what He commanded before He left. I still periodically receive ridiculous e-mails highlighting the most recent candidate for “Anti-Christ of the month” or questioning whether bar codes at the supermarket are going to be used as the mark of the beast! Jesus help us!

We should not allow ourselves to be endlessly preoccupied with end time speculations about Christ’s return. We have a sure promise – He will return in the same manner as He left. This confidence frees us to courageously be about our Father’s business until our Lord returns.

Insanity Gone to Seed: Going Green Without God

November 20th, 2009 No comments

I received an interesting article from one of my dear friends and colleagues here at Living Stones entitled, “Let’s Give Out Free Condoms to Stop Climate Change.” Obviously, I was captured by the strange title. “What does all this mean?”, I querried. I thought maybe it was a humorous jab, seeing that I am partially responsible for bringing eight beautiful children into the world’s global family. Maybe he was just trying to be helpful, I thought.

But then I began to focus on the second half of the title: climate change. Hmmm. How do condoms relate to climate change. I hadn’t experienced thoughts this deep and profound since I took my SAT exam to get into college. As I read on, I discovered the connection. People are the problem with Mother Earth’s low grade fever, which environmental wackos call “global warming.” They recently dropped the term to embrace another sure-fire, can’t-go-wrong phrase called “climate change.” This way they can explain the fact that the sun rises each day, and so does the temperature, before setting each night, thus causing a predictable drop in the temperature. Thus, climate change. Can’t go wrong with this one.

Anyway, condoms prevent people, and people are the problem. If Mother Earth could simply be rid of the people, whom some godless enviromentalist consider to be a form of terrestial cancer, she would live happily ever after. So if we mass distribute condoms, we get rid of people, the causes of carbon footprints, and we save the world! WOW! Why didn’t I think of that!

The only problem these idiots haven’t addressed is, “Save the world for whom?” This philosophy is so idiotic it destroys the philosophers themselves! It’s a clear picture of the sin’s insanity. This is how we thing when we try to go green without God. Eventually you lose not only the Creator, but the very people God intended to both enjoy and steward the planet for His glory. 

So keep you condoms, but I am interested in climate change of another sort. My prayer is that all of my eight kids will each have at least eight kids of their own, and that this will continue for many generations. When that happens, the Johnson’s will have taken over the planet for the glory of God! Now that’s real climate change.