Wednesday, February 26, 2020

A Change of Address or a Change of Vocation?

An abdication of responsibility or a revolution of purpose!  

As evangelicals might we no longer determine our success - or worse yet, our worth - by how many souls are saved to go to heaven when they die or how many exhilarating services we have within the confines of the “church house” - but rather how many beings are called and commissioned to make a difference where they live right now with a vision toward the new heavens and a new earth.  This vision if fully embraced will lead to a drastic change in our mission for vision determines mission.  And to authentic discipleship. 


What does it really mean to be delivered from the domain of darkness and to be translated into the Kingdom of His Dear Son?  It has to mean more than just to have a change of address from hell to heaven. After all the Son in His instructions on prayer urged that our entreaty to the Father would be that His will be done on the earth as it is being done right now in the heavenly realm.

"The New Testament, with the story of Jesus’s crucifixion at its center, is about God’s kingdom coming on earth as in heaven. This is, after all, what Jesus taught his followers to pray. That is a rather obvious piece of evidence, though people regularly ignore it in practice."  Wright, N. T., The Day the Revolution Began (p. 40). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.


Possibly the most hidden jewel of the Reformation is Luther’s Doctrine of Vocation.  To say again: “The doctrine of vocation is one of the greatest—though strangely neglected and forgotten—teachings of the Reformation.”  It is most certainly no avocation. 

“Vocation, says Luther, is a “mask” of God: We see only the human face, performing ordinary tasks in everyday life, but behind that calling, through which we are blessed, God himself is hidden, giving his gifts.”  Gene Veith - The Gospel Coalition 

May we no longer ascribe to the erroneous concept of being bi-vocational.  It is all God!  I refer to myself as being omni-vocational.  “For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him.” Colossians 1:16  There are no exceptions!  


May we with one voice sound the death knell of “para-church” for church is not something we go to - it is where and who we are in Him. “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:22-23 The church is not a place - it is His Presence. 

In Him every day is sacred - a Sabbath.  In Him every place is consecrated  - holy unto the LORD, as a field devoted - an Ebenezer.  In Him every believer is sanctified - a Royal Priesthood.  The voice spoke to him a second time: "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." Acts 10:15 


“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.” 1 Corinthians 7:17  Each of us has an assignment in this current life to which the Lord has called us.  Paul had an assignment in his life that was more important than going to heaven until his course had been fully run.  Each one of us also has a foreordained call from our Faithful Father that we must not neglect.  “For we are His workmanship (masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 

We are not called to escapism - we are called to stewardship.  If we are looking forward to the return of Christ as we should, it must not be enshrouded in a false concept of rapturism - but at the joyous prospect of the regeneration of all things.


Where did He say He was going to take His disciples and us (John 14:2)?  The Fatherhood of God which is where He came from and to which He was returning.  This place of abiding was going to come to them as a present reality - not an ethereal existence in the bye and bye (John 14:23). In this present age we are His image-bearers that He might be the First of a great company.

“I am suggesting that in the Bible humans are created in order to live as worshipping stewards within God’s heaven-and-earth reality, rather than as beings who, by moral perfection, qualify to leave “earth” and go to “heaven” instead.”  Wright, N. T.. The Day the Revolution Began (pp. 77-78). HarperOne. Kindle Edition. 

And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration (renewal of all things) when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”  Matthew 19:28

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Who are the ones that are left behind? An eschatological conundrum - maybe not.

Why is this important? Because it determines our vision which in turn defines our mission.

The Promise

The ones that are left behind remain for they are the children of the Promise. “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29 This promise is emblazoned on their hearts longing for fulfillment. For they are the first fruits of the Father's eternal purpose - hidden in Christ from before the foundation of the earth.

They are the seed of the regeneration.  And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne,...: Matthew 19:28 That is as the First Born, when He puts all things to rights they will belong to the Company of the First Born. 

Days Of Noah

As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:37  This verse and those around it could be said to represent an eschatological pattern. 

In the days of Noah it was the wicked that were taken away while the elect were kept safe in the security of the Lord - an ark. Their purpose was to populate the newly cleansed earth.

Lot and his daughters were kept safe at the destruction of Sodom - but they were not caught away. They were the ones that were left behind after the conflagration of divine judgement.

At the Passover the first-born of the Hebrew nation were protected from the Death Angel by the innocent blood on the doorpost and lintel while the first-born of Egypt who were not protected were taken away in judgement.  There was a promise in the bosom of Israel of a land that they were yet to inhabit. 

The New Covenant

In 70AD - the complete destruction of Jerusalem and its form of Temple (place) worship - again it was the wicked that were taken in a great purging while the elect were kept safe in the surrounding hills. This fire was a cleansing fire to remove the last vestiges of the Old Covenant that as it passed away the New might fully supercede it. "Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." Matthew 24:2 This was the end of an age. As one age ends it makes way for a new one - until the final consummation.  It is only the chrysalis which must be discarded that the winged beauty may take flight.  

“The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and⌉righteous, who will be living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless⌉are to be removed.” Enoch 1:1 The elect remain while the godless are taken away. This book although apocryphal was relied on extensively by the early church fathers. It was also quoted by Jude in his canonical epistle.

A Great Company

We stand on the shoulders of a great company of martyrs who would consider it spurious to tell them they would not have to go through tribulation. I was in a meeting once with Richard Wurmbrand - Tortured For Christ - when he was asked if believers would have to go through tribulation. To him this was nonsensical - for the scars on his back were the mute answer to this question.  

And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of ⌈His⌉ holy ones
To execute judgement upon all,
And to destroy ⌈all⌉ the ungodly:
Enoch 1:9

Refiner’s Fire 

The fire of God is not a fire of annihilation but a fire of transformation. It is a refiner’s fire. The dross (impurities) arises to the top that it might be scooped away leaving only the unalloyed precious metal. Those who remain will populate the new heavens and the new earth wherein righteousness dwells. If all things were created by Him and for Him can we expect a created being - man - to frustrate His ultimate promise?  “-- all things have been created through Him and for Him.” Colossians 1:16 

“For God to disregard or annihilate the present creation would testify to the failure of his purpose in bringing it into being, and this in turn would contradict the doctrine of the being of God, whose purpose, by definition, is incapable of meeting with failure.” Philip E. Hughes  

“You’re the Word of God the Father
From before the world began.
Ev’ry star and ev’ry planet
Has been fashioned by Your hand.

All creation holds together
By the power of Your voice.
Let the skies declare Your glory;
Let the land and seas rejoice!

“It may be that, as the water of the Deluge was the baptism of the ancient world into a new life, so the fire of the great day will be the means of purifying and refining the universe, transforming it into new heavens and a new earth, making all things new.” Pulpit Commentary 

“But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.”  2 Peter 3:13 A cleansing or purging must first come.


With such a hopeful expectation we are encouraged to live the life of the stewardship of His eternal purpose.  “It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake.” Mark 13:34  

Escapism is not an acceptable alternative.  A catching away that abdicates responsibility has no place in the grand panoramic schema of God.

This is my Father's world:
O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let earth be glad! 

Soli Deo Gloria! 

Friday, February 14, 2020

A Republican Form of Government

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of government … ” Article IV Section 4, of the Constitution

Many are bemoaning the loss of democracy or are alarmed at the attacks on it.  This is nothing more than Don Quixote tilting at windmills. Even Fox News is calling their election coverage Democracy 2020.

Founding Fathers

Our Founding Fathers never intended for our national government to be a democracy.  That word is not used in the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution.  

“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”  John Adams 

Our Founding Fathers were men who had a far-reaching vision.  The Republic that resulted was designed to remain for it was strategic in nature.  It had long-ranging goals and its effectiveness is a testimony to the divine wisdom granted to those men.

No Quick-Fix

Democracies by their very nature are short-sighted.  They offer immediate results with no hope of sustain-ability.  They proffer the illusion of a quick-fix with no idea of how they will produce fruit that will remain.

A sugar tit - nothing more than a pacifier - is what is being tantalizingly offered by many of our current slate of candidates for the presidency. They believe that by throwing money at  problems they can assuage their own guilt.

Electoral College 

By their attacks on the Electoral College - a central tenant of the Republic - they are revealing their true nature. They are nothing  more than demagogues.  “Demagogues have appeared in democracies since ancient Athens. They exploit a fundamental weakness in democracy: because ultimate power is held by the people. Demagogues usually advocate immediate, forceful action to address a crisis while accusing moderate and thoughtful opponents of weakness or disloyalty.”  

A tragic example of this is when an idolatrous union results in the conception of a human life the quick-fix - with no heedance to its long-range viability - is to destroy it while it is yet in the security of the womb.


The basic tenants of a republic and a democracy are fundamentally incompatible. 

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall observed, “Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.”

A Testing

To borrow from some famous words of a great champion of the Republic, we are currently involved in a “testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”  Our adjuration must be that this nation was so conceived and dedicated as a Republic - and it shall long endure.  

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on...   
The Battle Hymn of the Republic