Pastor Will finished a series this morning about learning to thrive not just survive, in a godless culture. The series was based on the life of Daniel and his three friends from the early pages of the book of Daniel in the Old Testament.
Today as I sat behind the video booth clicking next on the various slides, one word jumped off my notes at me, “sanctuary”. It was a handwritten note about a slide background I’d chosen for a song near the end of the service. The motion background was green in nature, with the light source coming from above. The fleeting thought went through my head “green is the colour of life, all who turn to Christ for sanctuary will find life”.
When I got home, one of my friends on Facebook shared Deuteronomy 33:26,27 which says:
There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.
Naturally, most people only ever quote the first half of verse 27, because I assume, it is the most comforting. However, God is not merely our comfort, but it is because He fights our battles for us that we are able to find comfort and sanctuary in His presence. Throwing out the enemy from before us and destroying them is what any good commander of an army does for those who seek shelter.
Canada, along with other western nations that have historically welcomed, encouraged, and built their socially-accepted judicial norms around Judeo-Christian morals and ethics, are now moving away from those morals and ethics, and developing a loathing of Christianity in general. A godless society is rising up flaunting it’s sin as beautiful, inclusive and tolerant while simultaneously rejecting the former godly influence and clamping down on its public voice. Of course this swing away from Judeo-Christian values is not going unnoticed and various groups are doing their level best to slow the speed of the pendulum, but when sin is given voice, it fights to maintain it and quash all others. We’ve seen this in other nations around the world at various points in history, now we are seeing it in our time in nations that never before had this happen.
Such is the timeliness of the sermon series over the past few weeks at Evangel.
God’s people in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, and other western nations need to remember and enact the following:
1) Know without a shadow of a doubt, just who they are in Christ. If in doubt, re-read the Gospels and the book of Romans, followed by Galatians/Ephesians/Philippians and Colossians. Going back through the book of Proverbs one chapter per day for several months will also instill the desired mindset and behaviours required of the Child of God.
2) Be discerning and sharp-eyed/eared to pay attention to what is changing in and out of the church as some denominations try to blend in under the guise of being relevent to those around them. If one’s church is choosing to accept and promote sin as no longer sin, then it’s time to consider a new church. Gather together with believers who will not bend their Biblical worldview based on societal change, but who will stand staunchly on God’s Word for their worldview and resulting acceptance or rejection of what is going on around them.
3) When the temptation comes to become fearful of what is going on, take refuge in Jesus Christ. He is our Strong Tower, He is our refuge from the storm. He can buoy us up on eagle’s wings so that we see the bigger picture, thus giving us broader and better perspective than the fearful scenes closing in around us. This act of taking refuge is found in one’s prayer closet away from the crowds. Spend time with God in his Word, staying immersed in His worldview, resting in His arms for a few minutes every day. This oasis will become more and more necessary as the days get darker before Christ’s return.
4) Pick your battles. Not everything is of eternal significance, but some things while seemingly small and insignificant to the world, will indeed affect their eternal destination. If in doubt, ask the Holy Spirit for advice and hit the Scriptures to see what God says about principles related to the issue in question. If an action, behaviour, etc goes against a principal found in Scripture, what can you do about it? We must always put God’s ways above man’s ways. Sometimes man’s ways don’t necessarily contradict a given principal, but will promote another false religion in apparent condoning of said principal. Living at peace for example, or giving to the poor, neither are wrong by themselves, but it is not wise to seek peace using pagan practices while it’s perfectly ok to ladle out soup beside one of another belief system. Learn the difference so you know when to ladle soup and when to hit your own oasis to seek God’s peace. Christ spoke out against the sins of the day, but welcomed anyone coming to Him in genuine honesty seeking help, healing, or salvation.
As times get darker, God will be our refuge and will fight for us. His arms will sustain us and buoy us up so that coming storms don’t knock us out of the Way. It is up to us to choose that refuge and seek His safety. The more we spend time in that place, the better witness and light we will be to those around us. The more we espouse God’s ways of doing things no matter what others say around us, the more we will attract those who wonder why we are so different. We are called to be different, to stand out, to go against the flow. This isn’t an easy life calling for sure, and Christians have lost their lives, been tortured, separated from family and friends, lost jobs, etc. because they followed God rather than man. But is the way of eternal reward. Christ told John:
Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Revelation 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
Revelation 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Revelation 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Let me wrap up with this verse:
Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
They were found in Christ. They were different by their very lives hid in Christ lived out before the world. They did not care if that testimony cost them their lives or not. What about you?