5) Christ and His Kingdom is characterised by persecution.Whereas mainstream Christianity is satisfied with the path of least resistance. If it is comfortable and easy, I will go there. Don't give me a life of persecution or problems or trouble, Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.
No, he wants you for a battleship! If you are on the cutting edge, then let me promise you, you will be persecuted. Jesus made a promise in Matthew 5:11-12 and John 15:20. It's a precious promise from Jesus that all those who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. If you live mainstream Christianity, you will not be persecuted because you will not offend. You will not tread on anybody's corns, you will not shake their little world, you will tickle their ears.
I'm not saying that we become an offence but the Gospel is an offence because it causes people to submit to the authority of somebody other than themselves and that is a challenge because it deals with the root of human pride. What is your problem, the same as my problem; pride. I want to do my thing and I want to do it my way and when I want to do it. I don't want to submit to anybody else's rules, to anybody else's way of doing things, I want to do my own thing. Let's face it church, we are essentially Frank Sinatra's. We want to do it our way don't we? But if we do it God's way, persecution will come. Persecution will come but what an honour to endure for the King.
6) Christ and His Kingdom is characterised by maturity.Whereas mainstream Christianity is characterised by people of perpetual babyhood.
Ephesians 4:11, "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ, then we will no longer be infants";We're not going to be babies, locked into this perpetual infancy tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by the cunning and craftiness of men. You see, Jesus is not coming back for an infantile Church. He is coming back for mature believers. He is coming back for men and women who are mature, who are fully grown, who have cast aside the easy way of staying in infanthood, who have decided that they are going to make a commitment to grow up regardless of the price and regardless of the cost. He is coming back for a Church who have said, 'We are linking our will with the will of God, in order that we might please the Father, and might bless his heart, in order that we might effect this world and this generation.
Reality is, that mainstream Christianity has not, is not and will never impact society. Those who have changed the world are those who have lived on the cutting edge. We idolise Wesley and Finney. My favourite is George Whitefield. For me he is the best. We look at those guys' lives and we idolise them and we talk about them, we read about them and we set them on a pedestal and we marvel at their lives, but anybody dare say, do as they did, we won't have a bar of it. Pay the price that they paid. No, we will set them on the bookshelf where it is safe and secure, but let me tell you, Whitefield, Finney, William Booth, Edwards, Wigglesworth; all of those guys have one thing in common right now, they are all dead.
We want to change this world, and it is going to take people of the calibre of Finney, and people of the calibre of Wesley, and people of the calibre of Whitefield and people of the calibre of Paul the apostle. One problem, is that they are all dead and all God's got to work with is you and me. We are the raw material and God wants us to put ourselves in a position by the decisions and choices we make with our lives to be molded and shaped as the adguage of God comes down on our lives and God begins to reveal to us the areas where we are not in line, those areas where we are out of plumb and be prepared to say, "God, re-align me, God re-position me, if necessary take me back to the drawing board and strip everything off and start again but God whatever it takes to make me a one that can be used of you to promote your Kingdom and to see your Kingdom come, Lord let it be done".
There is a sense of urgency about the times in which we are living. It has been prophesied about the nation of Australia that the last great revival to sweep the world will begin in this nation, and that came about a century ago, but men and women of spiritual calibre have been saying that and are saying that, but just because there is a prophetic word about that does not mean to say that it will come to pass. As with every prophetic word there are certain conditions attached. I believe God is saying, Australia, now is the time to begin to come into line, to begin to allow God to re-position us to that place where we provide an environment that is conducive for him to pour out his Spirit.
We cannot twist the arm of God, but what we can do is provide the kindling for the fire of God to fall upon. God in His great goodness, wants to privilege us with being part of that move. The challenge of God to your life and to my life is that we be those who will allow Him to make the adjustments, that we will be those who say "Yes Lord."
It is about time that serving God, submitting to the will of God became a joyous thing and not a dirgy thing. To be a Christian and to serve the King and to align our life with the pattern of the Kingdom was something to sing and celebrate and rejoice and not mourn over. Oh, that the Word of God would be re-established in our lives and the Kingdom of God would take precedence and priority over our own purposes and plans.
Copyright & copy; 1996 Steve Sutton. All rights reserved. May be freely used and reproduced except for profit and provided all copyright and contact information is intact.
Celebration City Church
PO Box 20, Charlestown, NSW 2290, Australia
Email: [email protected]
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Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures quoted in these articles are from the New International Version of the Bible, © New York International Bible Society, used by permission. Other versions referred to are: KJV (King James Version), NKJB (New King James Bible), TLB (The Living Bible), Amp (The Amplified Bible) and The Message. All versions used by permission.
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