My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

06 June 2006

Eternal Perspective

It's humorous more than anything, right? The number of the beast has finally shown up on our calendars (6/6/6 - "Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday!! Get your beast on!"). Among other headlines:

  • Party in Hell. Hell, Michigan, is doing its best to capitalize on American evangelical superstition. (Justin, are you going? If so, pick me up one of the official titles to "1 square inch of Hell.")
  • Tim Lahaye's newest end-times histrionics is arriving.
  • The remake of Omen, the movie, is opening today.

And, oh yeah, the Lord's compassions are new this morning.

Pastor Long preached a powerful sermon on death Sunday morning. Part of the spirit of the Lazarus story is that, despite the real pain of what may come, Christ is over all for the church. It's a matter of heavenly, eternal perspective that ought to keep us in the right state of mind. Then Sunday night I preached on Proverbs 28, the first verse of which states unequivocally, "The righteous are as bold as a lion." Boldness, confidence, certainty. These are Biblical adjectives of Christ's church in relationship to the world.

While God's Word gives us no wiggle room in realizing that hard times may and will come, what is the foundational attitude the church is to have regarding this life, this world? Confidence! In ourselves? No. In our nation? Nope. In the progress of humanity? Nada. In the promises of Christ to build His church and include us in that great work? Absolutely!

To be clear, there are things to fear: we have an enemy far more powerful than us (though not more powerful than our King). But as long as our fear of evil drives us to Christ, as long as we believe Jesus when He speaks about His kingdom, the basis of our mission to this world is confidence. Whatever reasons lay behind American evangelicalism's culture of fear, it needs to be put in the grave. The slight broo-ha-ha of 6/6/06 is a reminder that the church's zeitgeist is to be blown and tossed by the wind by every wind of doctrine or hint of scandal.

When we live in confidence in the gospel, things will change. We will make decisions about our kids' schooling based on Christ's kingdom, not based on fear of what the public schools can do to our kids. We will be more evangelistic, believing that we lay hold to the very power of God for salvation for all who believe! We will view worship as a wonderful foretaste of heaven, not a life-preserving icebox of the soon-to-be raptured. And we will love our city. We will care for the environment. ...and so on.

Let's put away fear that denies the gospel promises of Christ. Let us, by the Spirit of power and love, put on confidence and boldness like a lion.

4 comments:

Secret Rapture said...

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Jared said...

Hello, crazy blog-visiting man. Stop by anytime.

quaintlittlehead said...

"We will make decisions about our kids' schooling based on Christ's kingdom, not based on fear of what the public schools can do to our kids."

Amen! Could you speak some more to this idea? It can be frustrating to me as a life-long public schooler when some people make it out as if you're abandoning your kids' religious education by sending them there. I may not have grown up in a reformed home, but I met lots of Christians in school, had opportunities for ministry to non-Christians, and had a number of wonderful teachers who boldly made their faith evident in the classroom. If my parents had homeschooled me, I'd probably be monolingual and struggling with an identity crisis of not knowing what my true gifts are. Different educational placements are better for different children, and God is sovereign over that; praise Him!

Linda Stockwell said...

Jared:
I find your comments inspiring & true. God's power is most keenly felt in the midst of "near death" & other such horrifying experiences...of which those experiencing the "good life", where everything keeps coming up roses, can only dream about.
Thank you, thank you for your honesty about publis schools. They are not the dungeons that many opponents make them out to be. I find it amusing that many wonderful Christians go overseas as missionaries to avowed non-Chrisian lands & we as a Church support that effort - which we should do. Yet, another Chrisian family will utilize the American public school system & be criticised and unsupported in that choice - which I find sinful. God is in the public schools, just as He is in the midst of what ever is good & evil on this earth. I also know many Chrisian teachers & students w/i the public school system and they must not be abandoned by God's people. Many truly care for those they are in contact with. Public schools have the broadest range of available learning opportunities for our children & offer more scholarship opportunities. Many of these kids come out of that environment stronger & more mature as Christins; they have confidence. If we can joyfully send missionaries to foreing lands to proclaim Christ when we feel the call to do so, we can also joyfully send ourselves & our kids into the public school system when God also calls us to that form of service. The parents & teachers are the missionaries, not the kids
(though they may also witness). Parents need to become active as volunteers or even school board members. We can be America's future & impact our country and world for Christ right in our own hometowns....get involved & remember you are a missionary, so be kind to others as you would have them be kind to you! : )