Tag Archive | salvation

The Lazarus Conspiracy

There was a buzz on the streets of Jerusalem as pilgrims flocked to the city for Passover. Rumors swirled that the Messiah could possibly be there. But those rumors were being fed by the fact that a man named Lazarus was there as well.

Yes… THAT Lazarus.

LazarusThe dead guy.

Word of the miraculous resurrection of this man from Bethany had already spread like wildfire. Just weeks before, Lazarus was lying dead in a tomb.

Stone. Cold. Dead.

When Jesus showed up, His presence did little to dissuade their sorrow. Even before He made it into the village proper, Lazarus’s sister Martha came out to meet Him.

“Lord, if You would have been here my brother would not have died”, Martha exclaimed, probably in mid-stride.

Mary, Lazarus’s other sister, waited until Jesus got to town before she fell at his feet, echoing the same exclamation of hopelessness. The display of genuine mourning moved Jesus, in spite of the fact that He knew what the outcome of the day would be. Although God, He was human as well, and subject to human emotions such as sorrow. Lazarus had been His friend, and although the irony of the moment was not lost on Him, He also was not immune to its emotion either.

“Remove the stone”, came the command from the Master upon arriving at the entrance to Lazarus’s tomb.

“But Lord… he’s been in there for four days! What about the stench???” inquired the always practical Martha.

Again with the doubting????

“Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” Jesus’ tone with His reply made them think better of asking any more questions. They rolled the stone away, and after lifting His eyes to the heavens in a brief prayer of thanksgiving to the Father, Jesus set His focus on the opening before Him.

“Lazarus! Come forth!” Jesus commanded into the darkness of the cave.

Moments later, a grave-linen-clad Lazarus appeared within sight of all who were gathered there.

Even in first-century Judea… news traveled fast.

Now Jesus is in Jerusalem, Lazarus is there, and the subsequent attention that both were attracting was not all positive. While the rumors of the Lazarus miracle had attracted the attention of certain Greek converts with a fired-up desire to see Jesus, the religious crowd had other plans.

Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus. ~ John 12:9-11

So… Lazarus has died, Jesus shows up four days later and raises him from the grave, the people are now flocking to Jesus in droves, and your big plan is to kill the guy Jesus just raised from the dead???

Really?!?!

Maybe if they had spent as much time studying the prophecies as they did in scheming and plotting, they would have realized what Jesus then revealed to these Greek converts — a traditionally scholarly bunch.

“The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. ~ John 12:23

In this statement was a huge paradigm-shift. Up until this point, Jesus had — on multiple occasions — declared the opposite; “My time has not fully come” was the reason given on more than one occasion and for more than one reason. But now He was declaring that His hour HAD come!

But what hour?

Jesus understood that the hour had come for the season to be realized.

While the priests were busy plotting against the diversion of the Lazarus conspiracy, every prophecy about Jesus was falling into place. All of the prophetic chess pieces were falling into place, and the Pharisees and chief priests were mere pawns.

The prophecy about His death was about to be fulfilled.

All of the typology of His passion was about to be understood.

The stranglehold that Satan had on the human race was about to be broken.

Jesus understood that His entire life had led up to this moment; the whip, the garden, the betrayal, the mocking, the crown of thorns, and the cross. His entire life on this earth had been a road to the cross. Before time began, God knew of humanity’s fall, and had His kingdom planned (Matt. 25:34), His people chosen (Eph. 1:4), His salvation finished (Heb. 4:3), and the cross and the redemptive blood of Christ planned (1 Pet. 18-20). As the saying goes… “it was over before it started.”

Jesus understood that the hour had come for the seed to be sown.

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. ~ John 12:24

Jesus saw the giving of His life in harmony with the ancient principles of seed-time and harvest. He was not forfeiting His life. He was giving His life. It was not martyrdom but rather an investment. As Lord of Creation, He understood the Laws of the Harvest

You must sow to reap.
In order to get a harvest, you must first plant seed (John 3:14-15)

You reap what you sow.
Jesus sowed righteousness to release a resurrection life.

You reap after you sow.
Jesus knew what was coming, and knew what He had to do (Heb. 12:2).

You reap more than you sow.
Just as a single seed births an apple tree that produces thousands of apples, Jesus sowed His life, and reaped a new human race.

Jesus understood that the judgment being executed was not His execution.

Jesus knew going into His crucifixion that the real judgment was not the one handed down by Pontius Pilate, but was the two-fold judgment being sealed by His death on the cross.

Christ1Everything the human race was and is in Adam was judged on the cross. (Rom. 5:18)
Jesus knew that all of the history of mankind until that moment was being judged at that moment, and that, in three days, everything would be different.

Satan’s judgment was assured. (Col. 2:14-15)
Satan was “the prince of this world”. He was the cherubim over all the planet earth until his fall. In Eden, he tried to regain what he had forfeited. At the cross, his infernal plans were thwarted once and for all, and he was stripped of his authority.

Jesus understood the attraction of the cross.

And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
This He said, signifying by what death He would die. ~ John 12:32-33

The cross was an ugly thing. It was one of the most diabolical methods of torture and death ever devised by men. All along, Jesus knew it was coming. Yet, because of Jesus death, that very cross — repulsive to the Jews and a cause of scandal to the Greeks — had a drawing and saving power no one can explain.

They still can’t.

 The cross is more than two ugly wooden timbers fastened together, or a piece of beautiful jewelry to be worn. The cross is the crossroads of human history — the focal point that every moment before pointed to, and every moment since is dependent upon.

You see, the Cross is:

 “of all times the turning point;
   of all history the crucial point;
   of all love the highest point;
   of all salvation the starting point;
   of all worship the central point.”

Snowblind!

White Mtns

It sounds dramatic and tragic… Snowblind! For those who live in areas that spend a vast majority of the winter covered in white, snowblindness can be a very real problem. I live in the south where winter almost started to show up this year, so unless you can get snowblindness from looking at pictures of Vermont or Switzerland, watching downhill skiing on television, or staring at a snowcone, I think I’m safe.

imageAccording to the website MedicineNet.com, snowblindness is a burning of the cornea by ultraviolet rays. Also known as photokeratitis, it is a temporary condition that “typically occurs at high altitudes on highly reflective snow fields or, less often, with a solar eclipse.” While it can be painful and unpleasant, resulting in temporary loss of vision, symptoms usually only last about 18 hours.

Here’s another interesting fact about snowblindness…

Did you know that God is snowblind?

That’s right! When it comes to the sins of those who have chosen to put their trust in Him, God is snowblind. In Isaiah, God said to His people…

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool…” ~ Isaiah 1:18

In Psalms 51:7, the psalmist says this…

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Though our sins makes us filthy and reprehensible in the eyes of God, and separate us from His presence, Jesus came to give us life and take the guilt and shame of our sin upon Himself. For those of us who choose to accept the forgiveness that Jesus offers through faith in Him, God no longer looks at us and sees all of our sins, shortcomings, and failures…

He becomes “snowblind”… Blind to everything that kept us from a life with Him.

He now sees us as pure and clean, washed white as snow by the red blood of Jesus.

Want to learn more?  Watch here…

The Tempest of Change

Change.

Caught in the Storm

It’s the buzzword of businesses looking to improve their bottom line.

It’s the mantra of politicians playing upon the discontent of their constituents.

It’s the excuse for the man who leaves his wife of decades to pursue the woman young enough to be his daughter.

It’s the word that society has fooled itself into thinking is the answer to all of our ills.

In a campaign speech in 2008, then Senator Barack Obama uttered these words

Change will not come if we wait for
some other person or some other time.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
We are the change that we seek.

Now, almost nine years later, we are a nation more divided than any other time in decades. With riots happening all over our nation, terrorist attacks being commonplace, and the specters of racial unrest and “social justice” crying out at a fevered pitch, I’m afraid the “winds of change” have blown across the embers of discontent in our streets, and those who fanned the flames have long since lost control of the blaze. And while the hurricane of change lays waste to all in its path, the Church continues to give up ground, condoning what God condemns in a feeble attempt to gain acceptance in a world we were never supposed to get comfortable in.

Those looking for change were always on the right track;
they were just going about it the wrong way.

We DO need change. Our world is desperate for change. But in order to facilitate a positive change, we must first determine the direction we SHOULD be going. After all… if you are trying to reach a desired destination, simply changing direction still does not guarantee you are going the RIGHT direction. Change — simply for the sake of change, and without a clear direction or goal — can be as destructive as not changing at all.

In the Bible, James 1 :17 tells us…

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Paul tells us, in 2 Corinthians 3…

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

We can run around, spinning our wheels and jumping on every change “bandwagon”, and we will accomplish nothing. Real change can only come through the transformational power of God. To transform is to change from the inside, out. God warns us not to conform to the world (see Romans 12:2). He is unchanging, and desires to give us the liberty that comes through knowing Him. However, in order for that to happen, we must come to Him on HIS terms. We must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him (see Luke 9:23). We must allow His Holy Spirit to transform us into His image, not the other way around. When we attribute to God our flawed existence, we show how little of His holiness and righteousness we truly understand. We must come to Him in humility and repentance. Only then can we begin to see true change.

Do you want to have a positive impact on the racial climate in your city?

Point them to Jesus.

Do you want to see discontent turn to hope?

Point them to the cross of Christ.

Do you want to know what real change looks like in a nation?

Allow God to transform your life, and be the start of that change right where you are.

Pray this prayer today, as often as you think of it…

Lord, change me, and let me be the positive change you want to bring about in the world today.

 

Do you need positive change in your life? Click here.

The Judas Paradigm

 He had a kind boss, but for some inexplicable reason,
that wasn’t enough.

He had seen amazing things at the hands of his master, and thousands of people were touched by his goodness. Yet, as in many cases, the saying of him was definitely true… “No good deed goes unpunished”. And when betrayal comes with a pricetag…

Well, where do we sign up?

judasHe waited for the opportune time to spring his trap — a time when all was quiet, the adoring crowds were gone, and he was relatively alone, except for maybe a few of his closest friends. His accusers were seconds away in hiding, just waiting for a sign…

A kiss. Yes!!! Such a sign of affection would be unmistakable for the wolves hiding in the shadows.

By now, if you know anything about the life of Jesus, you have probably figured out that I am talking about His betrayal at the hands of Judas Iscariot. With his singular act of betrayal, Judas entered the ranks of the most despised individuals in Biblical history, joining names like Cain, Goliath, Jezebel, Absalom, and many others. Yet his betrayal of the Son of God moved him straight to the head of the class; Judas had betrayed God for 30 pieces of silver, and although remorse soon set in, and he tried to undo the damage he had done, some things cannot be undone.

In a matter of days, Jesus was tried, convicted, killed, and rose from the grave.

Judas, on the other hand…

(For the whole story, read Matthew 26 – 27:9)

So how does one go from a position of favor to embracing a curse? How does one go from a place of honor to dying by suicide, and being buried in an unmarked grave? While I’m sure the other eleven disciples were somewhat surprised by Judas’s betrayal, none of this caught Jesus by surprise. After all, this historic betrayal had been foretold hundreds of years before…

Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted,
Who ate my bread,
Has lifted up his heel against me. ~ Psalm 41:9

And was again alluded to in Zechariah…

 Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.”
So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.
And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—that princely price they set on me.
So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into
the house of the Lord for the potter. ~Zechariah 11:12-13

So what drove Judas to betray the Creator of the Universe to a self-serving and self-righteous bunch? What path did Judas take that led him to the hanging tree? What are the symptoms of The Judas Paradigm?

  • Judas had no faith. In John 6, Jesus puts before His disciples some pretty tough language about what it takes to follow Him. He recognized that there were many of His disciples who did not really believe, and their desertion bore out this fact (v.64-66). In the face of unpopular and controversial teaching, they bailed out. Even when given the choice to leave, and hearing Peter declare, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 68-69), Judas still masqueraded as a follower, and gave the illusion of devotion and trust. 
  • Judas had no respect for the sacred. When Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with a costly perfume (John 12), Judas objected. “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” (v. 5). The next verse reveals that Judas had no care or concern for the poor, but that he was a thief, and as the one tasked with the care of the money box, he regularly stole from the money that was given to Jesus and His disciples for their needs and the care of the poor.
  • Judas had no loyalty to the Truth. Because of the deceit of his heart, Judas was ripe to be used by the devil. John 13 bears out the fact that the rest of the disciples were clueless to his deceit (v.28-29). In verse 2, we learn that the devil had “put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot” to betray Jesus. At that point, he was considering his betrayal. But when consideration turned to commitment, Satan entered into him (v. 27). At that point, he was totally under the control of the demonic. In spite of the fact that Jesus had, in an act of abject humility, just washed Judas’s feet (as well as the other disciples), Judas maintained his destructive path that ultimately took him to the grave.

In our world today, we are seeing The Judas Paradigm alive and at work in our homes, our churches, and our government.

As statistics bear out, we are seeing a decline in the organized church in America today. Children are abandoning the faith of their parents for convenience, comfort, and a feel-good Gospel that requires no sacrifice, no commitment, and no tough choices. The goal is relevance and inclusion, at the expense of Truth and holiness. We have so blurred the lines between the sacred and the secular that the message of the blood of Jesus has been lost in pop-psychology and moral relativism. We have forgotten the words of Jesus, that fly in the face of this 21st century mindset…

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” ~ Matthew 16:24

When we lose our faith, it’s open season on what is sacred. We are seeing that at work in America today. Our founding documents (The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution) were written by men of faith that held the teachings of the Bible as guiding principles in their authorship of these documents. You cannot disregard one without catastrophic results to the others. When we removed the Bible from a place of prominence and respect in our society, it was a matter of time before our nation’s founding documents followed suit. The assault on our freedoms that we are seeing now, with utter disregard for The Constitution, is unprecedented. With the fate of the Supreme Court in the balance, America stands on the edge of a precipice. This year’s election will determine whether we move away from the edge, or plunge headlong into an abyss of lawlessness and Godlessness.

Where there is no vision, the people perish:
but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. ~ Proverbs 29:18

It’s easy to be loyal when people agree with you. But when society stands in opposition to the Word of God, we are forced to make a choice: We are forced to choose between the acceptance of the world or the approval of God. But make no mistake about it… if we choose the acceptance of the world, it puts us at odds with a Holy God. James 4:4 is pretty clear on the subject…

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity (hostility) against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. ~ James 4:4

Yet we are seeing an astounding number of “Christian” churches and pastors who are ignoring this dire warning, and condoning what God condemns. We are seeing politicians who — because of personalities — have abandoned their principles, promising to support a candidate who represents everything that is wrong with our political system, and who promises to continue us down a path of secularism, hedonism, and liberalism. The Judas Paradigm (spirit) allows loyalty to the Truth to take a back seat to our own comfort, feelings, and agenda. If we don’t like criticism, we cower to conformity. If we don’t like the messenger, we reject the message. If the road gets tough, we retire to the median and resign ourselves to being another casualty to a society bent on running over the righteous and off the cliff.

 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. ~ 2 Chronicles 16:9a

God is still looking…

He is looking for those who have faith, however small.

He is looking for those who recognize and respect the sacred.

He is looking for people of honor, who are loyal to Him.

He is looking for those who will stand when the crowd sits, be loud when the crowd is silent, and be faithful when the crowd is faithless.

He is looking for those who will gaze defiantly into the face of The Judas Paradigm, and refuse the 30 pieces of silver.

He is looking for YOU!

Pastor Ron

Your Finest Hour

Pendleton 1The recent movie The Finest Hours tells the story of the rescue of the crew of the S.S. Pendleton, a T2-type tanker that split in half off of the coast of Massachusetts on February 18, 1952. Caught in a nor’easter, the Pendleton was, ironically, one of two tankers that split in half on that day, within 20 miles of each other (the other ship being the S.S. Fort Mercer).

The rescue of the crew from the stern section of the Pendleton is still considered to be among the greatest of rescues by the United States Coast Guard, as thirty-two crew members of the tanker were saved by a four-man crew on a small Coast Guard lifeboat that was only rated to carry 12 people, including the crew. Unfortunately, nine of the Pendleton crew were lost; eight when the bow of the ship sank almost immediately after the initial break, and one man when, after helping his shipmates to safety, was struck in the head when a wave crashed into the lifeboat.

Pendleton 2So while this story is just one more example of the bravery of our men and women in service, and is a testament to the courage and determination of the human spirit, there is another lesson that lies “below the surface”… and nine months before.

It was in July 1951 that the Pendleton ran aground on the Hudson River. The point at which the tanker ran aground was the same area where the ship broke in half. Could it be coincidence, or could it be that, when the ship ran aground, that area of the hull was structurally compromised, just waiting for a catastrophic event, such as happened on February 18, 1952?

And while the S.S. Pendleton has passed into history,
the reality of this lesson has not.

Every day, we pass by people who have been damaged by events, actions, and even words. While they put on a smile, the damage can run deep “below the surface”, just waiting for that one catastrophic event to occur that pushes them off the perilous safety of the shoals, lost to the deep of hopelessness, despair, and even death. Sometimes the damage is hard to recognize, because we have become a society comfortable with masks, and rarely look beyond the superficial. We don’t see the weight of the burdens that are dragging our family, friends, and neighbors to the depths.

Jesus said…

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. ~ John 10:10

Jesus wants us to abide in the safety of His love. He wants us let go of the weight of sin, pain, and anger that are dragging us to the depths. He wants us to have the faith to trust in Him through the storms of life, assured that He will see us through to safety.

So what are YOUR Finest Hours? Will it be letting go of “the sin that so easily besets” you (Heb. 12:1) and trusting Jesus? Will it be keeping watch along the coastline of humanity, and throwing a lifeline to someone who is drowning in misery and hopelessness?

Semper ParatusThe motto of the U.S. Coast Guard is “semper paratus“, Latin for “always ready“.

Are you ready to be that one when the Commander calls? Are you ready for your Finest Hours?

When The Evidence is Overwhelming…

st-peter-and-st-john-at-beautiful-gate.jpg!LargeA man was healed… A testimony was given… God was glorified…

And for their effort, Peter and John were sent to jail.

After healing a lame beggar in Acts 3, Peter and John have the opportunity to share the message of Jesus with the astonished crowd that gathered. Peter reminds the crowd of their deplorable treatment of Jesus, but then declares in verse 16…

 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Because of their declarations of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the religious leadership opted to lock Peter and John up for the night. But not before, as chapter 4, verse 4 goes on to state, many more believed, and the numbers of believers increased.

To make a long story short, the next day, Peter and John were taken before the Sanhedrin, where they proceeded to continue to proclaim the name of Jesus, going as far as to declare that Jesus is…

“‘… The ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”   ~ Acts 4:11-12 (NKJV)

Upon their release, Peter and John reported to their people (believers) about what had transpired. What happened next was an impromptu prayer meeting, in which the people prayed…

“… And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy word, by stretching forth Thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Thy holy child Jesus.”

 ~ Acts 4:29-30 (KJV)

 These verses are an oft overlooked, yet very good lesson for all of us. In the contentious social climate in which we live, this is a model prayer of boldness in the face of threats and terror, a boldness that refuses to be bullied by the arrogance of men, popular opinion, and political correctness. The Greek word for boldness that we see here is parresia, which means “freedom to speak”. Just as Peter and John testified in the face of ugly threats by religious leaders, we are to stand up in the face of a godless and deceptive culture and respond to their accusations and threats with signs and wonders (v.30).

Another interesting point is the word behold (v.29). This word does not mean to simply “look at”, but “God, You look at them and fix YOUR gaze upon them.” How many times have you seen a child back down from some form of folly simply because of the disapproving gaze of a parent? This is basically saying, “God… stare ’em down!”

ExecutionLook folks… the message of the Gospel is a tough message. While yes, it is a message of love and hope in Christ, it is also a message of self-sacrifice, self-denial, and isolation (though none go with me, still I will follow). These days, there is no shortage of those who would try to intimidate us into silence and isolation. For Christians to speak the truth, we face the backlash of public scorn and ridicule, threats from governmental entities (such as the IRS), or threats of physical violence from groups, organizations, and religions who would terrorize us. Yet, we are not to cower in the face of opposition. We are not to remain silent during such threatenings. Recently, I wrote a book called The Unraveling of America. I didn’t write it because I was trying to make friends… I wrote it because the truth had to be told, regardless of how hard a truth that was.

So why should any of us take such risks? Why should we declare the truth? Because we are called to be salt and light. We are called to a life of faith, for it is only by faith that we can please God (Heb. 11:6). But we can also rest assured that, when we speak the truth, and live according to God’s direction, He shows up. Look at verse 31 of Acts 4…

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

God is not going to leave you hanging.

In Him is truth.

In Him is power.

In Him there is no lack.

That is Good News for me and you!

Pastor Ron

Law and Order

Chalk outline - personBack a few years ago, a very popular television show saw the end of a successful 20-year run. Law & Order was a drama, often based on actual police and judicial cases, in which a crime was committed, followed by courtroom drama in the prosecution of the accused. The show was so popular, it produced an offshoot series — Law & Order: SVU.

So… if Law & Order was so popular on TV, why is the rule of law and order not popular in today’s culture?

We live in a society based on laws. When people enter into public office, in most cases, they put their hand on a Bible and swear to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. As Americans, our allegiance is not to a person… it is to a document that embodies the laws of the land. Article 2, Section 1, Clause 8 of the Constitution reads…

“Before he [President] enters the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—’I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.'”

First_amendment_engraving,_Washington_DCIn a nation built on the rule of law, it is unacceptable for those in authority to allow those laws to go unheeded, ignored, and disobeyed. Yet, in recent years, we have seen our laws be ignored time and again, both by criminals on the street, and powerful individuals in the halls of government. Whether it is private citizens breaking the law, or a President of the United States ignoring the law, both will lead to anarchy if left unchecked.

In the midst of so much societal unrest in our nation right now, we hear much talk about the First Amendment. Again, referring back to the Constitution, the First Amendment states…

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

As a Christian, I believe in freedom of religion. As an American, I believe in freedom of speech. I do believe The First Amendment  guarantees the right to protest peacefully.

However…

When protests turn into the lawless chaos that we have seen over the past few years, resulting in looting, damage and loss of property, personal injury, and even death, this is not the definition of peaceful assembly. And when those in authority set the wrong example and precedent by blatantly ignoring laws, it creates an atmosphere of “anything goes” and a vacuum of absolution from personal responsibility. How can one hope to maintain a semblance of law and order when the laws you are tasked with upholding are berated and ignored… by the one tasked with upholding them.

Paul addressed the subject of authority in Romans 13 when he wrote…

 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.

Paul understood that submission to authority is not a burden, but a blessing, because by honoring authority, we honor the One who put that authority into place. There is blessing in obedience (1 Samuel 15:22).

Peter wrote that by honoring and submitting to authority, we silence “the ignorance of foolish men.”

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. ~ 1 Peter 2:13-17

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” Sounds like solid advice for a country that suffers from a crisis of leadership.

Keep calmIf we, the Church, can be a model of humility, integrity, and consistency, we can point people, not just to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, but be a shining example of the peace and blessing that come through submissive obedience. Often in the past, the church has abdicated its God-given responsibilities, taking us further down the road to governmental dependence. It is time for the body of Christ to once again be salt and light, and make a difference in a society that is flying blind. It is time for us to be an example of what a return to Godliness, law, and order looks like on a national scale.

I’m in.

How about you?

 

Pastor Ron