A pastor of a church I once attended said: “Christians can be so spiritually minded that they are of no earthly good, or so earthly minded that they are of no spiritual good.”
He knew the problems that every Christian faces, when they live their convictions openly in the world. But have we become so afraid of appearing “spiritual” that we actively avoid understanding God’s Spirit altogether? Meanwhile, the world is chugging along doing what it has always done since the days of Adam and Eve operating under the power and authority of Lucifer, pleasing the desires of the flesh in man, and denying the sovereignty of God the Creator. Look at the bold part of the last sentence.
The World operates under the power and authority of Lucifer.
From the beginning, (since Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Eden), mankind operates under the direction of the serpent. Mankind has worked to please the desires of the flesh and deny the reality and sovereignty of God the Creator. If we look at history as the progression of people and events from ancient time to the present, we have three possible ways to consider and interpret history.
The first way to consider history is the prevailing way we learned in public schools. It shows how our culture and government developed, due to the influence of people and events over time. The problem with this approach is that it is very arduous and generally boring until the student is shown or recognizes connections. That is how one event, idea, or person impacted to influence another event, idea, or person. It is our understanding of culture according to to the classical Greek and Roman manner. God started everything, but left it all up to man from then on and there is no spiritual influence today. This is the progressive revelation of human history and is generally Western, secular, and linear. North and South America, Europe, Australia, and part of Africa has learned history in this manner. It is Atheistic, Classical, and Liberal Arts in application.
The second way to consider history is less prevalent in Western culture, but common in Middle Eastern and Far Eastern cultures. This method recognizes and incorporates the recognition of spiritual forces at work to mold and direct the lives of mankind. In this manner, history is presented as a series of repeated learning. Mankind is subservient to spiritual authority that serves to teach moral and ethical truths that is continually learned and forgotten as the culture prospers in the learning phase and declines in the forgetting phase. This form of historical consideration is cyclical in nature and prevalent in most of Asia, many Indian cultures, and part of Africa. (Antarctica is settled by scientists and military people.) This form of historical perspective is spiritual in nature as well, but not quite according to the spirit of the Judeo/Christian God of creation. To these people, God is a vengeful god of rules and obedience that gives and takes life at will, rewards obedience, and punishes disobedience. All understanding is according to pleasing, placating, and obeying all God’s laws and the process is very arduous. Although it appears to be the same as the Old Testament, these gods are not the true God.
The third way to consider history is the manner as the Scriptures present it. In this manner, history is the presentation of the spiritual battle between God and the Devil over the dominion of mankind’s culture, man’s desires, and spiritual sovereignty over the world. Church schools and churches have worked hard to present this form of historical perspective. It still involves the presentation of people and events, but incorporates how the battle of spiritual forces have shaped human history worldwide. This form of historical perspective shows that devilish doctrines are normally followed world wide. The introduction of Godly truth only came from the family of Abraham, Israelites, the Christ line, Jesus, Christianity, and finally America and modern Israel. The Jewish perspective is cyclical, while the Christian perspective is linear. But the God of both is predominantly a God of love who has revealed how to love and how He is loved. Even though rewards and punishment are also involved in the Judeo/Christian understanding of history, the focus is closer to a father/family relationship of instruction and chastisement under love, than of rewards and punishment without feeling and emotion.
God’s truth has very rarely been the standard of culture anywhere in the world. Even in the Word of God, it has rarely prevailed for any more that two generations. Because each time truth has been able to disclose and defeat evil, evil will step back for a season, then make a comeback. Unfortunately, each time evil returns, it generally comes back in a worse form than previously. Mankind is generally disposed to follow evil. If you believe the Word of God, (the Torah or Bible), you know that evil is man’s normal prerogative and nature. God’s truth and spiritual truth from God in culture is always in the position of “The Little Engine that Could.”
We think we can, we think we can, and sometimes, we succeed. It is during those times when truth prevails that we know we can.
But as long as we attack cultural change from the perspective of “We think we can,” there will always be an ever present doubt of success. The evil of the world has no doubt in its ability to succeed. So what are believers doing wrong that allows the world to prevail so easily and so often?
It is our doubt in our ability to succeed against the world.
The affirmation of success alone isn’t enough to sustain success. We’ve taken the attitude of seeing first, before we believe. In the case of cultural reform or restoration according to truth and love, we cannot approach the problem from this attitude. It will guarantee our failure to sustain any success. Just like “The Little Engine that Could,” we will be heading downhill just as soon as we achieve our success. The prevailing evil of the world will ascend as we coast our way downhill, drunk with our recent (and soon to be fleeting) success. This is NOT the promise of God, or the Word of Jesus. Let’s look at both of them.
Genesis 1: 28 “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
This verse is known as the “Dominion Mandate” and it was given to Adam and Eve on the evening of the sixth day of creation. At that time, Adam and Eve were both believers and followers of God. They walked and talked with Him daily and spiritually. This was their normal way of life and living. They were complete: body, soul, and spirit. So the dominion promise was given to complete physical and spiritual people who walk and talk with God daily. The kind of people who were the prophets of the Old Testament, Jesus and His disciples, and finally the apostles and believers of the New Testament. Which of these groups of people do you believe you are part of? Before you answer, we need to look at the promise Jesus made.
Matthew 28: 18 – 20 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
He tells us that “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” That means that there is nothing and no power in heaven and in earth that can defeat Him. Think about this. If no power can defeat Jesus Christ, and Christ lives within us, then as long as we keep ourselves in His fellowship and presence, no power in heaven or in earth can defeat us either. Jesus requires the same body, soul, and spirit relationship from His followers before they are able to go, teach, and baptize to the end of the world. And these verses are quoted from the KJV Bible. Now look at verse 19 from the NKJV.
Matthew 28: 19 ““Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Bold added, verses 18 and 20 didn’t change.)
The Authorized King James Bible says to “teach all nations” but the New King James Bible is more specific by saying “make disciples of all the nations.” Jesus is telling his followers to disciple entire nations (verse 19) but specifically to observe the things that Jesus commanded His followers to do (verse 20). But check this out, He summed up everything in just a very few commandments.
Matthew 22: 37 – 40 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
We all know these two commandments, they are quoted directly from Deuteronomy 6: 5, and Leviticus 19: 18. Jesus summed up the entire Old Testament Law on these two commandments. But Jesus did more than simply obey the Old Testament Law and Prophets. What did Jesus do differently that He also commanded His followers to do? Here it is, a new commandment, and He stated it three times in the book of John.
John 13: 34 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (Bold added)
John 15: 12 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (Bold added)
John 15: 17 “These things I command you, that ye love one another.“
Are you seeing the pattern yet? Think about the history that you know. Have you noticed a disconnect between the way the average Christian church and believers treat one another versus the way they treat the world? Wait, let’s put it another way. How close are you to everyone in your church? Do you notice a class structure in your church that leaves some people out of the teaching and training loop or do you notice that everyone is able to teach, serve, learn, and contribute to the health and growth of the church and the culture around it? Is everyone expected to know, love, and care for everyone else? Do you know everyone in your church and their lives, families, and concerns? If the person sitting next to you on Sunday is hurting, do you notice, and do you try to do something about it? When you hurt, does somebody in the church try to do something to help you out? If you can say “yes” to these questions, then you are experiencing the love that Jesus commanded. This is the new commandment that applies to the believers of the New Testament church and makes overcoming the world possible. We know we can overcome the world because our Lord already did it.
If the world is more loving and helpful than your church, then there is a real problem that needs to be addressed. However, if your church is a refuge that attracts the world by its love and genuine ability to deliver because of the power and operation of the Holy Spirit in the lives of its believers, then your church is no longer a “Little Engine that thinks it can,” but an undeniable army that knows it can overcome the world. This is the attitude we all need to develop individually in our lives that the Christian church struggles to teach. We all know we will be over-comers, but not because of our relationship with the church, it should be because of our relationship with Jesus.
This is the relationship the church wants to teach its followers, but struggles with the answer. It struggles because teaching people to follow Jesus, all too often results in the loss of its own followers of men. But this results in a loss to both the church and the committed follower of Jesus. We all need one another even if we are all imperfect. God knew we need one another from the beginning and Jesus knew as well. That is why He gave us His new commandment. We need each other in the church, even if we disagree with one another. We need to love everyone in the church, especially those who think we are wrong because we’ve chosen to obey the Lord Jesus Christ first in our life..
When more and more followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are confident in their power filled relationship with Him by the Holy Spirit, then the entire Christian church and our culture benefits. It won’t matter whether you are Pentecostal and I am anything else. It won’t matter that you are Catholic or Protestant, Evangelical or Conservative, Amish or Calvinist. The Holy Spirit is the one unifying factor that connects all of us to God and one another making every Christian believer a part of God’s household. Jesus didn’t talk about loving one another, He demonstrated His love. He didn’t pray for a person to be delivered, He delivered them from their afflictions. He didn’t tell a spirit to leave if it was God’s will, He commanded the spirit to leave knowing it was God’s will. His love was demonstrated by His forgiveness and compassion. These are our examples to know how to love one another as He loved.
Are you ready to learn how to love like Jesus? Do you want to fulfill all three commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ in your life? It doesn’t get any easier than to ask God, “What do I need to do?” Listen for His reply by the Holy Spirit. Then simply go and do what Jesus would do, because He is the commanding voice that the Holy Spirit obeys. When you obey the Holy Spirit, only the Word of God and your personal experience determines whether you are hearing the true Holy Spirit or a deceiver. But when we fail to notice the difference, God will correct His child in love and guard His child from disaster. He knows we aren’t perfect so He watches over us like a loving Father and teacher would.
I didn’t learn these things from church. Church taught these things, but only experience can really teach these lessons. God demonstrates how much He loves His child and I had to experience His love over time and practice. Church religion simply didn’t have a process for helping me build a relationship with my Father. Religion couldn’t lead me to God, it only taught me to obey men and rules. Religious obedience to God is only possible by obedience to the Man of God at the pulpit and the doctrines of the church. Obedience to God was “indirect obedience” not “direct obedience.”
That is why I wrote “Rules for Radical Christians: A Practical Primer for Defeating Radical Liberals at Their Own Game.” As I worked to understand how God loved me, I learned how to lead anyone else to obey God directly as well. If you call yourself a Christian, then you have the Holy Spirit. If you have the Holy Spirit, then you are called to love as Christ loved. If you want to love as Christ loved, then you have to build your relationship with God. Everything Jesus did was by obedience to God directly. That was how Jesus loved. If you’re struggling with understanding how to build that relationship with God so you can love just as Jesus loved, then my book will reveal the process to you. Now you can become “The Little Engine that Can.”
Click the picture below to get the book. If you like what you find, click the following picture to cast your vote for the book at the Author Academy Awards. I’m in the running for the Best Religious Nonfiction category and I would really appreciate your vote.