Friday, July 10, 2015

This World Is Not Our Home

Why should we be discouraged?

What is our expectation as Christians living on this earth?

Do we expect smooth sailing? There is honestly no way we could get that idea from reading the Bible!

Do we want our government to always support our faith in their laws and judicial decisions?

Is our purpose to change our culture and its values or is our purpose to seek and save the lost, and build up the body of Christ with the gifts we have been given?

How are we to live?

Perhaps you are discouraged because our culture is becoming less and less like God wants it to be and you feel our country is less and less comfortable to live in. I understand this. But in light of our purpose here on earth, how are we to live?

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself."

Our hope is not here in this life, but we are going to be here for a while until this body, this church is complete. And we are scattered all over this earth in every nation and under all forms of political systems. And God gives us instruction through Paul in (1Timothy 2:1-3) on how we are to conduct ourselves here in this life now while living in anticipation of His coming back for us and our being with Him.

"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior…” 1Timothy 2:1-3

Remember at the time Paul wrote this that Nero, one of the harshest, most evil rulers that ever lived was ruling the Roman Empire and Paul would soon face him and would be eventually beheaded. We are to pray for our leaders that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

Paul goes on in (1Timothy 2:4) to say "who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1Timothy 2:4

God desires that all be saved and who knows which leader might just come to that saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ because of our prayers. Some won't come to that knowledge and will be cruel toward Christians and many members of the church will suffer. But God has purposes and plans for His world in spite of persecution and He will continue to build His church. And when it is complete our Savior will come for it. We are to remember what our purpose is in this life now and where our true citizenship is and where our true hope lies. And keep reminding ourselves any time our courage starts to wane.

Let's just remember from our view point when everything looks like it is coming apart, it could be just coming together. It doesn't matter where we are living in this world or under what circumstances, God is intimately connected with us in this and His love is ever present through what we are going through. This Church, His Body belongs to Him. And we who are made in His image have been given the very big task of taking on the things God cares about. Injustice, human trafficking, caring for orphaned children and desperate widows, to meet with those in prison, and to feed the hungry.

These big jobs are not ones we delegate back to God. We ask for God’s help, but we are the laborers in the fields. And one day, a day only the Father knows, the Lord will bring us together as one and raise us up to meet Him in the air. We mustn't allow this hope of heaven to get bogged down in the problems of this world system. We are living in the world but we are not OF the world. Our anticipation of one day getting to be with the Lord on the New Earth with Him should be at the forefront of our thinking continually. Encouraging us!

I don’t want you to be frightened or discouraged. God’s purpose has not changed. And we are not surprised if those who do not know God do what they want to do and don’t acknowledge God and His will. We would be doing the same were it not for God. Let's remember "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

So instead of focusing on painful changes in our culture, and being frightened by changes lets focus on finding those who are lost and need a Savior. And let’s encourage one another in our daily lives and pray for our leaders so we perhaps can still have some peace in our lives.

It is not outside the realm of possibility to expect far worse as we follow Christ. We know we must enter heaven through much tribulation. So far we have not resisted sin to the point where we are bleeding as Christ bled. Paul provides a more realistic expectation when he writes: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

Most of us have not had to endure hardship to this degree, yet, in our country. Let us persevere and not faint in well doing. Let’s find those who need a Savior and encourage one another today while today is still today.

Even so come Lord Jesus! But in the meantime, Lord, find us faithful doing your work. With a will and a certain hope that you are coming!

Mark Phelps

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