Continuing the conversation from yesterday’s the ungodly alliance of world and flesh …
Note a few details from Jesus’ prayer found in John 17 …
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me INto the world, so I have sent them INto the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. John 17:14-19 (ESV)
Before looking at our mission, let’s consider the mission of Jesus …
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17 (ESV)
Jesus was sent not to condemn the people of the world but that the world might be saved through Him … whoever believes IN Him will not perish but have eternal life … and as individual believers we benefit from the outcome of His mission … and as ambassadors of reconciliation we are to continue proclaiming the very same gospel that Jesus proclaimed.
We reveal our god-complex when we seek to rid the world of evil (like ISIS aka ISIL and even during select eras of Christianity) … and ironically we tend to embrace evil in the midst of the process of thinking we are eliminating evil
Our objective as believers is not to eliminate the evil in the world around us but to join Christ Jesus in His defeat of the evil withIN each and every one of us.
The Bible tells us that the responsibility for conquering and destroying evil in this world falls upon … God.
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 1 Corinthians 15:22-26 (ESV)
So what then do we do with our flesh and blood enemies in and of the world?
Jesus answered that question in both words and actions …
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:44-45 (ESV)
Did you get that subtle prick to the heart in the end of that passage? So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven … just like Jesus.
We are not called to defeat our flesh and blood enemies in this world … we are called to love our enemies out of this world and INto Jesus and the kingdom of God.
Now before you have a Jonah moment (consider Jonah 3-4 … a brief 21 verses in total), you and I need to realize that we ALL were at one time enemies of God!
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Romans 5:6-10 (ESV)
OK, let’s make a quick assessment in the mirror …
- While we were still weak, Christ died for us
- While we were still ungodly, Christ died for us
- While we were still sinners, Christ died for us
- While we were enemiesof God, Christ died for us
Now shouldn’t that challenge each and every one of us to see those currently standing where we once stood with love … not with rejection and/or hate but through the loving eyes of Jesus …
Now for a few ERM 101 basics (ERM … Enemy Relationship Management) … no recaps from here on out just a few bolds and caps to capture your attention … may the Holy Spirit open our eyes to the mission.
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but KIND to everyone, able to teach, PATIENTLY ENDURING EVIL, correcting his opponents with GENTLENESS. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 (ESV)
Brothers, if ANYone is caught in ANY transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of GENTLENESS. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:1-3 (ESV)
Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16 (ESV)
OK, that last verse makes a little more sense to me now …