1 Peter 2:9-12

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Blending In

I have shared the following insightful words from Sir William Wilberforce before, but in these pride-filled times we are currently living through they certainly do bear repeating. As you may know Wilberforce was a Christian Reformer and anti-slavery crusader in England around the turn of the 19th century; O how right he was when he said:

Christianity has always thrived under persecution. At such times the Church has no lukewarm members, there are no people of whom it is hard to tell if they are Christians or not. The Christian, during times of persecution is reminded at every turn that his Master’s Kingdom is not of this world. When all on earth wear a black and threatening aspect, he looks up to Heaven for consolation; the Christian learns during such times that he really is a pilgrim and a stranger in this life.

However, when Christianity is in a state of outward quiet and prosperity, the reverse effect naturally takes place. The soldiers of the cross in what should be a militant Church forget that they are in a state of warfare. Their passion slackens, and their zeal fades. Then like a colony that has now been long settled in a strange country, Christians are gradually blended in to the features and lifestyles and language of the native inhabitants until, as the time of peace continues, almost everything that should make Christians a “peculiar” and chosen people, foreigners in this world, gradually dies away.

Men and women, I must share what is on my heart concerning the state of our Lord’s Church here in postmodern America, and I wish I felt Christ was pleased with it, but truly I don’t. I really do think the case is rather easy to make that the passion for purity within the Evangelical church in the United States is tragically missing. Most Christians I have personally been dealing with here lately at Apprising Ministries do seem aware that we are in a “state of warfare,” however, it looks to me that instead of engaging Satan in battle, an alarming number of them seem to feel it’s safer that we turn our guns on each other. If you only knew the amount of critical response I see from professing Christians who only wish to create a stir over clearly disputable matters (Romans 14:1) it would sadden you. Like it or not, no true Christians should be dividing over acceptable Bible translations or minor eschatological views, and yet the enemy is right now using these very things in his successful attempt to split up even the remnant our Lord is attempting to draw out. As this apostasy accelerates, this I offer, is a pathetic example of the love we ought to have love one to another (John 13:35, KJV), and no doubt this must grieve our Lord in this season of “good cheer.”

No friend, it really isn’t very hard to detect signs of Christians being “blended” into this sin-sick secular society, having found a way of feeling more at one with this world system than becoming conscious that we are merely visitors here who are supposed to be strangers in a strange land. Have we also forgotten that our Lord Jesus Himself lived this life of an alien on this planet as an Example, that you should follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21)? Have you stopped to realize that the Master came to live on His earth as a Man filled with the Holy Spirit just as we are to live for Him today? He even said as much in John 20:21 – Then said Jesus to them – [to us!] – again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And again, look for yourself at Philippians 2:6-8. “Oh yes,” the super-spiritual braggart will say, “I know the ‘kenosis’ passage very well.” Do you; then why haven’t you read it carefully enough to catch the “humbled” part–and it’s even in the KJV. As right now there is a growing lack of respect shown to so many of us who are pastor-teachers faithful to the Word of God that it would shock you. It makes one wonder if Hebrews 13:17 is even in most Bibles anymore.

This War Is Real

And not only are true Christians aliens in a strange land–you should see what I see everyday in the high school where I work–but we are also supposed to be soldiers of the Cross in the Army of our King of Kings, Christ Jesus the Lord of lords. However, the time is now when we must finally come to understand that our King is at war! Church, I plead with you on the Lord’s behalf, be reconciled to your brothers and sisters, lay down your petty differences with each other and rather, join forces with those of us who have decided to enter the fray; no matter what–to the end. Let us forgive one another, pray for one another, and let us not continue forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:25, KJV). Already Satan has sent multitudes of his false prophets who have run with their evil prophesies of “peace” and “blessing” and “wealth” allegedly coming from God to His people here in this “One Nation Under Greed,” and all we need to do is to just put our “doctrinal differences” aside.

But this is what God the Holy Spirit actually says to those who prophesy out of their own imagination… “Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!” (Ezekiel 13:2-3) Beloved, don’t you realize that your Lord’s enemy the Devil is very real? Don’t you yet understand that this spiritual war is not a game, and that the stakes in it really are eternal? People can scoff at warnings like this if they want to, but these counterfeit Christian movements like the E-Z Christianity Lite of the Purpose Driven Life, the smug “we’re just a little bit better than you” Emergent Church and the opulent life of ease promised by the false prophets of the Word Faith movement are but judgments sent by Christ against His Church (see–1 Peter 4:17). Or have you not read – “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7, KJV); and again, this is all – according to the plan of Him Who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will (Ephesians 1:11).

As we wrap this up, in his classic textbook The Kingdom Of The Cults Dr. Walter Martin shares some valuable discernment about our mortal foe who has been allowed by the LORD God Almighty to spread these devious deceptions previously mentioned:

We are told in the Scriptures that Satan or Lucifer, the ’god of this world,’ was once a mighty and perfect angelic [creation] of God whose dazzling and wondrous countenance earned for him the title ’son of the morning’ and ’cherub that covereth’ (Isaiah 14:12; Ezekiel 28:14). The Scriptures also tell us this powerful angel secretly cherished the desire to usurp the throne of his maker (Isaiah 14:13-14), and upon gathering numerous supporters he rebelled against the sovereignty of [God]. The outcome of this wicked rebellion was the driving from Heaven of Satan and the fallen angels that followed him, and he was subsequently allowed dominion over the celestial universe for reasons best known to God…hence his title ’prince of the power of the air’ (Eph. 2:2) (pp.177,178).

But take heart dear Christian, it isn’t too late for the true followers of Jesus to repent and to get back into the mindset that brother Wilberforce was talking about as we began. As a matter of fact, if you listen to the Voice within mine here you will hear the Good Shepherd is calling for you to take up your arms, but I beseech you in Christ’s Name, we simply must not continue to fight anymore amongst ourselves! For while there will be no revival for America, for it is written: sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34, KJV)–and as revival is actually for the Church–be of good courage because there is an awakening coming to the real Body of Christ; into the true family of God. And even now you will “know” what the Spirit has spoken:

To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance (vv. 1,2)…contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord (3,4)…these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals (10) shepherds who feed only themselves (12)…The men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 1-4,10,16-25)