Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Spirit of Burning Love

Audio Message:

“You must love each other. You must love your soldiers. You must love poor sinners. You must love God. And that not after a fickle, cold, half-hearted fashion, but with a changeless, quenchless, burning love. The vast majority of this poor undone world are hopelessly sinking down into slavery, debauchery, idolatry, and all manner of iniquity. These things lead to every kind of wretchedness in this life and in the life to come. Luxury, law, wealth, science, learning, and no end of other human contrivances have failed to remedy this state of affairs, and have failed. Love is the remedy. Here is the divine panacea, this is the recipe for the millennium-love. Divine love. Oh, for a deluge of this blessed spirit. “ –the word of William Booth, the founder.

The quotation I just read was penned by William Booth and spoken to a congress long, long ago. It’s been recorded for us in a book called “The Seven Spirits” by William Booth. Over the next three weeks I’ll be sharing a series on three key mindsets of the holy born again Christian which are outlined in the Seven Spirits. Today, we consider the vitally important Spirit of Burning Love. If you recall at commissioning Dr. Bill and Diane Ury made mention of the Seven Spirits, and it’s a book that I love, so I thought it would wonderful to delve into this book. Let’s begin.

God is love. His heart burns with complete love for the world and the people in it. God’s love goes beyond anything we can imagine. We have only a poor understanding of God’s love as it truly exists. But we do have a picture of God’s love, when Jesus Christ bled and died on the cross, for the sins of the world, sins that he did not commit, He put on himself, all for the hope of bringing us to heaven pure and blameless.

But love is a word that gets tossed around in our culture a great deal. It’s a word that’s been abused and misused in our time. So it’s important that we consider what biblical Christian love really means. William Booth calls worldly love something of mere instinct at it’s best. It’s really just a give and take sort of affair. We love someone because they are nice to us. We “love” ice cream. We “love” our sports teams. But that is not what biblical Christian love is.

Biblical Christian love is an action.

This is how William Booth defines biblical love. He calls it a “Holy celestial flame which emanates from the heart of God, which unselfishly seeks the highest well being of it’s object, both for this world and the next.” It is a completely unselfish desire for the very best for someone else, here and in the world to come.

Today we try so hard not to offend anyone, not to say anything that might make someone feel hurt, or unhappy. But that is not biblical love. Biblical love cares so much for someone that is lost in sin, it warns them that they are on the wrong path and pleads with them in love to come to Jesus Christ for salvation.

Worldly love says don’t make a scene, just keep walking, be polite, don’t say anything. Don’t tell them they are wrong. Don’t try to convince them to come to Jesus. Just walk right on by. Then at least we didn’t cause a scene. Then at least we didn’t have to put ourselves out on a limb. But that’s not love. That’s disregard for our neighbors.

True biblical love is a selfless desire for the very best of that person we see. Even if it means we have to offend them. I’ll give you an example.

My friend Pam and Henry are stationed in Connor Creek. Great Godly people. But Pam told me this story once about how she came to know Jesus. She was out somewhere, in a very provocative outfit. And a woman came up to her, and gently placed her hand on Pam’s shoulder and said to her “My dear, you shouldn’t be dressed that way. God has better things for you than that. God loves you.” And Pamela turned around and glared at her and said, “Don’t you touch me. You don’t know me. Get away from me!” Now that person left having loved Pam with biblical love. Many of us might say, But who is this woman to tell Pam how to dress? That is the wrong reaction. This woman was sharing the truth in love with Pam. And I’ll tell you how it ended. Pam my dear friend, could not stop thinking about that phrase “God loves you.” It repeated in her mind for months, and months, and eventually she gave her life to Jesus. All because some lady was willing to be brave enough to talk to Pam, and get yelled at, and walk away feeling rejected. That woman who talked to Pam succeeded in her calling.

Many of us would never dream of doing something like that. It’s not polite. It’s not politically correct. But today Pam is a minister of the gospel. Imagine if that woman had been too afraid, and just decided to mind her own business.

It’s not quite what we might expect, this idea of Christian love. Christian love is to speak the truth in love.

Now we can feel love for people. I’ve felt love many times, for my family, for my session mates at training college, and for congregation members at the corps I’ve served in. That is a good thing. But we need more.

We as salvationists are in need of a burning passionate love, a continuous burden for the people of the world. Now this is not referring to a feeling. Biblical love is not chiefly a feeling. But this is an attitude of the mind, grounded in scripture, that entails emotion as it is practiced. Let me say that again: Burning love is an attitude of the mind, grounded in scripture, that entails emotions as it is practiced. Meaning we serve people in action, and the emotional response comes later.

Up to this point we have talked of this burning love as one we pour out to the people of the world, righteous and unrighteous, good and evil, but this burning love must first be found. Where does it come from? Not from us.

Burning love flows from God, to us, through Jesus. In effect God is the one who works in us, in the Holy Spirit, making us able to love with a love so far beyond what is possible in and of ourselves.

As Jesus said, you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And also love your neighbor as yourself.

This burning love that flows from the throne of God, comes to us through Jesus Christ, applied to us by the Holy Spirit, and flies from our own souls back to the throne of God in our adoration of God, and from our souls to the souls about us, as love for our neighbor.

Now, do not be overly concerned if you do not at this time sense a great burning love flowing from your heart. But do pray earnestly, and study the scriptures diligently to seek after this burning love. For as we seek to love God, and to love others, prayerfully, and in scripture, the Holy Spirit will gradually begin to reveal this love in our lives.

Soon, after months, and years, we will realize, I love these people. I really love them. I love sinner. I love God. I love trees. I love good food. I love my cats. I love my dog. I love that homeless man. I love Jesus. I love the beautiful sunset, the sunrise, the rippling water on the lake. And we will realize over time that this love has been spread forth by the Holy Spirit within us into a rippling burst of sunlight, rays shining in a great circle from our soul bursting forth to everything and everyone around us, and bursting forth upward to the throne of God, to our great, glorious God whose love he provides to us, and whose love he receives again from us. Hallelujah, God be praised. He crafts us into love sick burning ones who burn with compassionate biblical love for the world.

Yet we also must add this caveat. As William Booth rightly put it “Nevertheless, with all this sympathy for men and goodness, the officer possessed of this burning love will be a fierce hater of evil. His love of God and truth and righteousness will make him the uncompromising opponent of sin. The more he loves God the more he will hate the devil. The more he loves purity, the more he will hate filthiness. His love of goodness will so educate him into the understanding of the hellish character of badness, and so inflame his heart with hatred of it, that at the Last Day he will consent, nay, rejoice in the everlasting banishment from God of those who will persevere in wickedness.”

In the heart of Jesus Christ was the deepest hatred for evil, so much so that he drove the tax collectors and money changers from the temple in a great fury that blazed in his eyes. Yet the word also says, that when Jesus saw the multitudes, lost in sin, as sheep without a shepherd, He had compassion on them. His heart ached for them, and he had great compassion them.

So William Booth also wrote, “You and I may condemn wickedness. We must condemn it. We cannot help but condemn and hate the drunkenness, the pride, the selfishness, the lust, and a thousand other devilish things that are carried on around us. But if we are possessed of this Burning Love we shall compassionate the guilty doers of these hateful things.”

I couldn’t agree more. The maxim is true, hate the sin, love the sinner. I hate sin. I hate how sin ruins homes. I hate how sin causes ugly divorces. I hate how sin brings about injustice, human trafficking, and domestic violence. I hate sin in all it’s forms. Sin has ravaged our world. It ruins us. But I love the sinner so much. I must have great mercy, great compassion, and great love for the people lost in sin. I don’t find this terribly hard actually. Because as you know from my story I’ve been in so many sins, up to the neck in the slimy pits of sin. I know how seductive it can be. I know how powerful it’s hold is. I know how addictive sins of the flesh can be. And I know how often times we are impacted negatively by circumstances beyond our control.

I’ve ministered to many people, from drug addicts, to those struggling with pride. It doesn’t matter what the sin is. Sin is sin, it’s God word, it doesn’t change. Every sin listed in the Bible is permanently forbidden. That’s just the truth. As much as some in our world want to change the word of God to suit their own opinions, it doesn’t change. But neither does God’s love, and our mandate to radically love those caught up in sins.

In conclusion, in our scripture today, Jesus said this: “5 The one who is victorious will be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name." -Revelation 3:5-12

The one who is victorious, as Jesus Christ mentions twice in our scripture today, is the one who live a pure life in Christ Jesus, practicing the two great commands, to Love God, and love our neighbors. True, biblical love is a consistent, action oriented burning love, that flows from the throne of God, through Jesus, into us, and back out to God and to our neighbor. Love is not merely a feeling. Love is not a nice suggestion from Jesus. Love is a command from almighty God. Therefore, let us live biblical burning love in everything we do. Love the sinner, hate the sin, and take action to disturb the moment by interrupting people as they walk toward destruction, by inviting them to the path of salvation found in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Last night we had a bonfire in my backyard. And I watched the fire crackling and burning. Slowly around us darkness set. But it was still light enough to see the beautiful trees swaying in the wind. Birds swooped by flapping their wings through the air. The smell of freshly cut grass filled our nostrils. A rabbit hopped about in the neighbors yard. Then all at once, fireflies began bursting forth their lights across the grasses, bursting forth in waves, all at once, then darkness, then another wave, over the bushes, the grasses, and all about. They danced back and forth over the beautiful trees and grasses, plants, flowers, and bushes. Nature has a song, for those willing to hear it. The beauty of this world, the way is all fits together just right, is astonishing. If this is not evidence for God, I don’t know what is. As the darkness grew, we could only see the fire, and the fireflies. Sometimes, in our lives, we think the darkness has set in. And we can’t handle what is coming next. But in darkness is when we shine brightest. Like the fireflies, we must burst forth the light of God. We aren’t seen, but God is. That is the ultimate love, the love that comes from the Holy Spirit through us, to another. It’s not of us, it’s of another world. It’s supernatural. And if we do it right, we’re like the firefly, declaring God’s glory, but ourselves, we are invisible, and the light that is seen is God’s love, not our own. Be a vessel of that burning love, so that you burst forth so brightly, that in someone elses darkness, you become a light of hope, and glory, pointing them to Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Four Key Questions of Worldview: Origins, Anthropology, God, and Empirical Practicality

Today we’re going to address four key questions, in regard to our conception of worldview. We’re looking at the planet Earth, the human race, God, and how to live. How do you view the world? What is the nature of the universe? What is the truth? And how can we live out the truth? That is our exploration today, as we all come to the table and think about life.

Origins: First question, Where did this planet come from?

Do you see it as something produced at random, or something made by an intelligent creator?

I’m not a tree hugger, but I do love trees and forests. And when I look at trees, grass, stars, animals, plants, even food and drink, I’m pretty amazed. It’s all very amazing, this world we live in. I can’t help but think there must be some intelligence behind all this order in nature.

The planet Earth is just the right distance from the sun to allow for life. If we were just a little closer, we’d be burned up, a little further away and we’d freeze. The moon orbits the Earth at just the right distance to stabilize our orbit. Without the moon our rotation would be so erratic, no life could exist.

Where did this planet come from? Some think it just appeared from nothing, billions of years ago. But that doesn’t make sense to me. Something can’t come from nothing. To me, the most logical explanation is that an intelligent infinite creator created the Earth. In short, God created the Earth.

As it says in the word, Genesis 1:1-3 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Anthropology: Second question, what is the human race? If we now know that God created the Earth, then we can understand also that God created humanity. He made us male, and female. And what he made was very good. God created humanity to live with Him in paradise. And in Genesis, we see that God created humans to love Him and love one another.

God planted a beautiful garden, a paradise, where humans lived in joyful blissful peace. Can you imagine it? Can you imagine the garden paradise in all it’s beauty? The bright shining sun? The warm lush meadows… the animals, the deer, squirrels, leopards, lions, cats, birds, all living in peace with humanity?

That is how it should be on Earth right now. It should have been a paradise. But unfortunately we all know from what we see in the world that something went terribly wrong. Because right now each of us lives in the fall of man. Because long, long ago, the first humans, Adam and Eve, decided to play god for themselves, and they betrayed god. And as a result all of creation has been cursed.

This is why we see things like murder, suicide, depression, drug addiction, alcoholism, child abuse, pornography, abortion, sex slavery, and human trafficking. This is why we often live a single 24 hour day feeling confused, feeling empty, feeling sad, because we just know deep down something is wrong with the world. We know deep within that it shouldn’t be this way.

Humanity ultimately, is God’s greatest creation. But we’ve turned away from God, and gone off to try to do life without him. Many of us to this day prefer to do life without God. But that’s why we struggle, because life was never meant to be lived without God. We’re designed to live with God. We’re his masterpiece. Humanity needs to live with God, but our sins and selfishness have driven us far from God.

Theos: This brings us to our third question: Who is God?

One might just as simply ask: What is infinity? There is no way for all of us to really understand who God is. He is so far beyond us. The bible says “His ways are not our ways.” He is infinite. He has no beginning and no end. But we do know a little about Him. He is all powerful. Meaning he can do anything. We know he is moral, holy, and righteous. That means He always does what is right. He is also a God of justice. He expects each of us to live holy and pure lives. He punishes those who do wicked, and he rewards those who live rightly. God is love. God loves you and me. He loves us so much. He made us. He’s our daddy in heaven. His love is so deep, it’s like an ocean of love he has for each of us. He loves us, even when we struggle to love ourselves. God is also a just judge. We will all have to appear before his throne to be judged based on what we did and how we lived. The Bible says it is appointed for each person to live, and die, and then to face judgment.

Empirical Practicality: And this brings us to our final question: What do I need to do to live rightly?

Most of us don’t think too much about how we live. We work jobs. We pay rent, taxes, and go to the grocery store for food. We go on vacation, spend time with family, and attend town events. But we ought to consider carefully how God wants us to live.

Remember that we talked about how humanity has sinned, and run far from God. Well that’s true for us today as well. We’ve all sinned. We’ve lied, stolen, cheated, hurt people, sinned sexually, and the Bible says that God will judge us based on the ten commandments when we die.

Now if we go before God and he judges us to be pure and holy, then he will send us to a place called the new Earth. And this is just like it sounds, a new Earth, and in it is the New Jerusalem, a beautiful city where God and humanity will leave in peace and harmony together for all eternity. Sound familiar? Yeah, it sounds a lot like Eden. If we’re pure and holy before God, then we’ll get to go to paradise, forever, and we’ll never die, and we’ll never suffer again. We’ll live in a city of millions of people with God at the center of the city. Sounds great doesn’t it?

But if when we go before God to be judged, and he finds us guilty of sinning by violating the ten commandments, then he will send us to a place called Gehenna, or as the Greek renders it, hell. Hell is a place that God prepared for the Satan and the beings that joined in Satan’s rebellion against God. Those who end up in hell, are left there for eternity, in fires, and sorrow. Yes, you will be conscious. You’ll be able to feel the pain. And you’ll know you can never escape hell. There is no way out. I’ve studied people who have testified God showing them hell, from books, and videos, and let me tell you, this is a place I really don’t want to go. You have no blood in hell. You can’t even breathe in hell. You can’t feel anything good, only pain, forever. You cry but you have no tears to shed, because there is no water in hell. I don’t tell you this to scare you, but to warn you that heaven is real and hell is real. It’s all real.

Now we’ve all tried to be good, but the truth is we all fall short. For some reason we always fail to be good, and we fall back into sin again. So we’re left here, guilty of sin, before a righteous God. What do we do?

There is only one who we can turn to, who can make us holy. That is the Lord Jesus Christ. Who is Jesus? Jesus is God come to Earth on a rescue mission to save us. Jesus lived perfect holiness on Earth. He never broke any of the ten commandments. And then he went willingly to the cross. Jesus was nailed to the cross for our sins. Jesus suffered the wrath of God on the cross that was meant for us. And then Jesus resurrected from the dead. Jesus is alive right now. And if we will turn to Him and cry out to Him for salvation, then our sins are washed away. And God sees us as pure and spotless in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ becomes our savior. He gives us the Holy Spirit. And he removes all of our sins from our life, and puts them on himself. And not only that, but he walks with us the rest of our days on this planet. How do we live rightly? We live for Jesus, and live his way. Then we’ll be judged pure in God’s sight and we’ll go to the new paradise when we die.

Related Posts:
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  2. Does man need God in Western Civilization: Young People are Hungry for the Truth!
  3. Real Christianity: Clothing, Buildings, Money, & Extravagance
  4. The Information Age & the Christian Worldview: Is God Real? Or is he a Delusion? 
  5. Expert Testimony: The Existence of God, the Problem of Evil
  6. Christianity in the Public Square: The Apologetics & Philosophy Renaissance
  7. The Paradox of Victory through Surrender: Rise Above
  8. Expert Testimony: the Demise of Evolution, Complexity in DNA
  9. Expert Testimony: Intelligent Design, Archaeology
  10. Christian Activism: Can Christianity survive the new cultural attitudes?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Nehemiah the Prayer Warrior & Servant Leader

Nehemiah was a creative, humble, and strong leader during the time of the rebuilding of Jerusalem.  The nation of Israel had been annihilated by it's enemies, taken to Babylon, and for years, the city lay empty.  But at least they had returned home.  And Nehemiah took on leadership to help rebuild the walls of the city. 

The process that Nehemiah undertook was quite telling. He heard about Jerusalem and how the walls and gates of Jerusalem had been burned and destroyed. Nehemiah then entered a process that must’ve been ordained and guided by God. Nehemiah wept bitterly. He cried over these facts. And he mourned. Then we see that Nehemiah fasted and prayed, and fasted and prayed for several days. Nehemiah brought this affair before the Lord through his diligence in mourning, weeping, fasting, and praying. This was a declaration from Nehemiah that he cared and wanted to converse with God on the events transpiring.

Nehemiah prayed to God saying: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.”

The heartfelt and sorrowful prayer continued, but no response is given by God that is depicted in words. Nehemiah seems to have asked God to give him favor before the king, and by this then, Nehemiah would know if God had responded favorably.

Nehemiah went to the king and the king responded favorably. Nehemiah was granted permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the gates and the walls, and the city of Jerusalem. I think Nehemiah’s prayer is telling because he openly admits the sins of the nation and his own personal sins. He gets honest with God. And in city ministry we have to be open, and we have to be real with God. We have to call the people to repentance. God grants success through leaders. So it is also wise to consider the fact that God can work through leaders in the cities. So appealing to city leaders can be useful in the process of understanding theology of the city. It’s also telling to note that Nehemiah refers to the covenant between God and man. Indeed, when we minister in the city, we ought to help people understand how God relates to humanity, which is through Jesus Christ his son. God loves the people of the city and He wants to call them home to Himself. That much is certain.

Nehemiah’s praying, fasting, weeping and repenting lasted for four months according to the calendar. This informs our understanding of the spiritual battle that takes place. When we pray, fast, and seek God on behalf of major cities, we should do so not over hours or days, but over months and years, constantly praying and fasting for the city we seek to serve. Amen.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Spiritual Fullness in Jesus Christ

Audio Message:

I’m going to share my testimony, briefly of how I got saved and how I got called to ministry. I was raised as a catholic and as a green bay packer fan. I took to the second much more than the first. I was a very good kid until about 10th grade. My parents started having problems, and they began a divorce process when I was about 15 and concluded that when I was 16. I struggled a lot in school and was bullied a lot.

During this time of struggle I turned to prescription drugs and alcohol to make the pain go away. I quickly became addicted, and these drugs led to different drugs. I crashed a car, and ended up involuntarily confined at a mental hospital. I was expelled from high school as my drug use spiraled out of control. Later I got drunk driving charges and possession of marijuana. I was put in jail for 30 days. After getting my second DUI I went to treatment at the age of 22. I stayed sober about a year. But relapsed and things got worse. For three years I continued to use drugs, going in and out of rehab, and ended up in jail and on probation repeatedly. Around this time my mom and grandpa both got saved in a small Baptist church. They began attending a group where they started praying for me. My grandpa witnessed to me in 2011, and gave me my first Bible and I started reading it constantly. My cousin got me a copy of a movie called the Life of Jesus, which was the gospel of John in movie format. For another year I continued in drug use, until in 2012 I ended up in the emergency room twice for overdoses. I almost died in the ICU one night with my mom present. But finally at rock bottom, I cried out to Jesus Christ, and He transformed my heart and life. I got clean, I got sober, I was brought into the body of Christ, and later I graduated liberty university with a bachelors in religion. 18 months later I started attending the Salvation Army after getting a job at the local homeless shelter in my hometown of Wausau. Two local officers saw the call God had on my life and encouraged me to consider officership. After much prayer, and attending several SA conferences, I realized the Lord was calling me. I decided to test that call, and my DYS’s set me up for a 2 year internship, which I did in Escanaba Michigan. I loved my two years there, and was accepted as a cadet to CFOT in 2017. CFOT was challenging and rewarding in many ways. But I gained a lot of good experiences there. So recently I graduated, and here I am at my first appointment.

I’m very passionate about theology, doctrine, and the truth of God’s word. I’m passionate about personal holiness. I’m also passionate about Christian apologetics, as a way to evangelize the lost. I’m passionate about evangelism and street ministry as well. And obviously I’m very passionate about ministry to drug addicts and alcoholics. I really believe God’s gospel is for anybody and everybody. I came from the bottom myself, God still wanted me. So, that’s a bit about me.

Today as we open the scriptures we consider the theme in Colossians chapter 2 of Spiritual Fullness in Christ. And I want to point you specifically to this theme within a theme, of continuance. Continuance. This idea is simple, we keep going. We keep marching forward in our journey. We don’t stop. We keep going, week by week, month by month and year by year. And that is our ultimate goal as Christians, we want to continue all the days of our lives, to follow Jesus, until we die. That is the plan, that is the mission.

It reminds me of a story of a man who went to alcoholics anonymous meetings regularly to stay sober. He’d been going to several a week, for years. One day he was at a family event, and his wife’s sister looked at him and said, “Why do you keep going to those aa meetings haven’t you learned how to stay sober yet?” And he sort of gave her an angry look, but didn’t know how to respond.

Naturally he spent a great deal of time thinking about the nasty remark, and he remembered that this woman was very religious. And he finally figured out what he should’ve said,” Why do you keep going to church haven’t you learned about Jesus yet?”

If that’s all it took to be a Christian, just show up a few times and learn who Jesus is, and then we just stopped going, would we be very good Christians? No. Not at all. Because we need a consistent input, week by week, every Sunday, to keep us plugged in to the message of Jesus Christ. That’s why we pray in the morning and at night, because we need to stay plugged into the message. That’s why we read our Bibles everyday. That’s why we attend a Bible study during the week, and why we hold each other accountable. It’s all for the greater purpose of staying firmly footed in Jesus Christ.

Because there is another message being communicated to us. It’s the message of the world. It’s the television commercials that tell us if we just buy this product, we’ll finally be fulfilled. It’s the billboard telling us to visit the gentlemen’s club and flash dollar bills at young girls. It’s the bar we pass on the way to work promising a “good time.” It’s television shows, internet websites, friends, even family members who communicate to us about the luxuries and pleasures of this life.

That message competes in our minds and hearts with the message of Jesus Christ. So I want to challenge all of us today, myself included, to change our inputs.

When we drive, let us listen to Christian music, or a Christian audiobook. Let us be steadfast to read a good morning devotional book, and pray in the morning to start the day right. Let us be steadfast in praying before we eat our meals. Let us turn off the television and turn on a good podcast from a Christian minister or Christian apologist. Let us switch over from the secular media websites, to Christian websites. And the whole idea being, that we begin to shift our input from the messages of the world, to the message of the Bible and of Jesus Christ. Rest assured that these cultural messages do impact us more than we might realize. Why do businesses spend millions on 30 second advertisements during the super bowl? Why do businesses pay monthly for bill board ads, radio ads, television ads, and internet ads? Because those advertisements stay in our minds, and affect the purchases we make. They impact our worldview. So we want to careful to make sure we are nurturing a Christian worldview, and not a secular worldview.

Colossians 2:6-8 say this: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

Let no one take you captive in this world. No corporation. No government. And no news media. Or political party. We must keep our minds steadfast in all the spiritual fullness found in Jesus Christ.

Verses 9 and 10 say this: “9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”

In Jesus, who is our risen savior, and who is literally alive right now in the eternal reality, beyond this physical reality, you have been brought to fullness.

Jesus Christ is God almighty, all the Deity, capital D, lives in bodily form in Jesus.

And then we find a bit of a paradox in that it says in verse 10 Christ is the head over every power and authority.

Now this is interesting because we often find ourselves seemingly subject to human authority. We find ourselves in job environments that require a great deal of us. We find ourselves sometimes persecuted by people and by their systems of control. We find ourselves seemingly completely subjected to the authorities of this world, paying taxes, carrying around cell phones, purchasing food at the grocery store, driving the speed limit, and so on and so forth.

Yet we know that ultimately we only have one true king and leader, King Jesus Christ. Ultimately Jesus has final authority over every power and authority. Which goes to our current situation. We’re kind of like resistance fighters in France during World War II. If you recall they called themselves the maquis. The maquis were scattered throughout France during the Nazi occupation of France. Now the true French government was a government in exile, in Great Britain. The Maquis would receive orders from the government in exile, and then conduct hit and run attacks on Nazi units, waging guirella warfare.

That’s much like me and you. We’re resistance fighters against the kingdoms of evil and darkness that rule this present world. Our king Jesus is our leader, who is seated in power and majesty in heaven. We know that Jesus is coming again, returning to rule and reign on this Earth. That is our coming D-day invasion, when Jesus returns. But for now we’re under enemy occupation. And our job is to be subversive in winning others to Christ in this world. OF course the weapons of our resistance are not physical, but they are spiritual. We fight our battles by praying, by loving people, by asking the person in the check out counter how they are doing, and blessing them. We wage our battles by sharing the gospel with our friends, coworkers and loved ones. Each of you are under cover, we’re princes and princesses of a coming kingdom, currently in the rags of this world, quietly sharing the gospel, praying for the lost, and winning people to Jesus Christ.

But if we don’t live out our Christian worldview, and we don’t remain steadfast in Christ, there is always the danger of sort of slipping back into the ways of the world. We can very easily just skip praying, skip the bible reading, just worry about ourselves and our own families. Just you know, take vacations, go buy all the stuff we want, and watch movies, and just live for ourselves. I’m sure many French people did that during the occupation, they thought well it’s too dangerous to try to fight the Nazis, we just have to accept this reality, and they probably just went about their regular business. And there are Christians who are like that, Christians who are lazy, and don’t really live for Christ. And Jesus will deal with them directly on the day of judgment. Don’t be one of those Christians. Be a real Christian, who really, truly lives it out.

Remember, that your old lives, before you became Christians are gone. Your old self is dead.

Our scripture today puts it this way: “11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”

I used to live a life ruled by the flesh. That’s just a fact. I did what Justin wanted. If Justin wanted drugs, fine. If Justin wanted sex, fine. If Justin wanted to go to college here, great. Whatever Justin wanted, the flesh ruled, all my wants, I lived to fill. But now that old guy is dead. Dead and gone. Buried with Christ in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I died that day I cried out to Jesus Christ. And then the Holy Spirit raised me up in my faith that Jesus Christ really saved me. Really is real. See, just as Jesus was raised from the dead by the father across the cross, and is alive right now, that’s just how we share in Christ Jesus, we’re born again, of the Holy Spirit, and alive because Jesus conquered the grave.

The scripture for today concludes in this way, and this will also be our altar call for today: v.13-15 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

Now that is the gospel right there, if you’ve never heard it before, there it is. Today, if there is someone in this room who doesn’t have Jesus Christ as their savior, I want to tell you today, you can receive Him right now. Right at this very moment.

Are you dead in your sins? Do you need forgiveness for your sins? Because Jesus Christ is here right now, in glory, with His angels, and in power, and His holy spirit is here waiting to come upon you. Come to the altars right now. Declare your need publicly for Jesus. And if you want to recommit your life today to Christ, please come forward as well.

Jesus Christ was slaughtered brutally on the cross, God on the cross, for the purpose of cancelling the charges against us. We were legally in debt, with a long list of our sins over our lives condemning us before God as sinners, as traitors to God, and as those destined for the fires of hell.

But Jesus Christ, our God, decided it would not end that way. He decided to take the punishment for our sins for us, on the cross. So if you believe in Jesus Christ, and repent of our sinful ways, and put your full faith in Christ, and give your life completely to Him, He will make you born again.

Count the cost wisely friends. Because we must completely give our lives to God, to do with as He desires. We yield our lives to Christ, and we begin to live for God’s will and not our own will. That is not easy. But it is so worth it.

For those who need Jesus and want to claim Him as savior today please pray with me. And if you simply want to reaffirm your commitment to Jesus and give it all over to Him once more, please pray with me, as we close today.