Sunday, December 28, 2014

That the World May Know

 1 Kings 8:59-60 And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the Lord, be near the Lord our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people, as each day may require, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.”

Starting in early January of 2015, we will be starting the excellent Focus on the Family video series “That the World May Know” with historian/teacher Ray Vander Laan on Wednesday night at our church. The introduction states that because God speaks to us through the Holy Scriptures, studying them is a rewarding experience. God’s use of human servants in revealing Himself resulted in writings that clearly bear the stamp of time and place. The message of the Scriptures is, of course, eternal and unchanging , but the circumstances and conditions of the people of the Bible are unique to their times. More than 3800 years ago, the nature of God’s covenant relationship with His people demanded a place where their faith could be exercised and displayed to all nations so that the world would know of Yahweh, the true and faithful God. God intended for the Israelites to exert influence on the nations around them through their righteous living.  

Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Western Christianity tends to spiritualize the concepts of the Promised Land as it is presented in the Bible. Instead of seeing it as a crossroads from which to influence the world, modern Christians tend to view it as a distant, heavenly city towards which we are traveling as we ignore the world around us. We focus more on the destination than the journey, and in a sense, view our earthly experience as simply preparation for an eternity in the “promised land”. We have separated our walk with God from our responsibility to the world in which He has placed us, which distorts our perception of the mission God has set for us. Many Christians today have forgotten that the mission of God’s people has always been to live so that the world would know that their God was the true God. It was true for the disciples of Jesus who followed Him as their Lord and obeyed His command to go out into the world and make disciples.  

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The introduction concludes that the life of faith is not a vague, otherworldly experience. Rather, it is being faithful to God right now, in the place and time in which he has put us. Our mission as Christians today is the same one God gave to the Israelites when they possessed the Promised Land, the same one Jesus gave to his disciples. We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our might, and to love our neighbors as ourselves so that through us the world may know that our God is the one true God.

It’s going to be a great series and learning experience. I'll be sure to post the lessons.
Flavor and influence the world for the kingdom of God. 
In Christ, Brian

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