The Eternal Perspective
Viewing people like God views people
All bible quotes not otherwise marked are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016)
Folks, I am on vacation but I wanted to do a blog to make up for that time I missed. I hope you get something from reading it.
It is very easy, in fact so easy that I think it must be human nature, to get discouraged at the way things are going in the world. People just seem downright mean. I blame some of that on the media. Mean sells advertising. Yet there is at it’s root a basic misunderstanding about human nature. So let’s start with God’s perspective.
6 We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
I’ve mentioned this verse a few times so I won’t belabor the point. These polluted garments to a Jew would be the foulest of foul. God is basically saying that we have no righteousness. We are constantly even with the Holy Spirit dwelling within us struggling against the influence of our sinful nature and the work of the devil and his demons.
Despite all of this Jesus Christ died on a cross so that we could draw close to God and have fellowship with Him. He died that we would not taste of the eternal death. God didn’t do it because we deserved it. None of us deserved it. We were all condemned already.
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
You see those who don’t receive Christ were condemned already just as we were condemned before being saved.
So what is your point John? Well. The point is that we should not expect humanity to save itself. Human beings are by nature evil and their ends would be evil if not for God’s intervention. The new birth is God changing us and instilling within us His Holy Spirit. That is just to give us a fighting chance to be faithful servants. We are saved but will be complete our mission for Christ and thus we have this blog.
If you watch the news, and honestly I don’t advise it, you will become very convinced that the world is about to end. That things have gotten so bad that is massive and draconian measures are not taken the world will surely perish. First I will let you in on a little secret. Humanity is there at the end.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
God comes down to dwell with man. He makes His abode amongst us. We are here to receive him. Humanity will not destroy itself. We have nuclear missiles that can end a large percentage of the worlds population in about fifteen minutes. If that ever happens will it be the end? No. Mankind will be here when Christ returns.
God has a plan. It will unfold as He has determined. If humanity is left to it’s own devices it will not survive. Fortunately, God is not going to let us destroy each other.
22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.
When Jesus is talking about the end times in the Olivet Discourse, he says that if the days were not cut short no human being would be saved. But the days will be cut short because God will protect his people.
Again, back to our point. What is the lesson from all of this? Well the lesson is not to stop being a good citizen. It is not to stop caring about politics at all. It’s not to stop caring about various environmental or social concerns in our society. We should seek righteousness. What it does say is that when the days are dark and unbelievers are despairing we should have a different perspective. We should understand the nature of man and not be shocked or dismayed. We should also always remember that the devil is always at the door and anyone call fall. No one is infallible.
We are here to complete a mission. Each of us has a different role to play but each mission points to the ultimate strategic plan laid out in the great commission. We are to lead people to Jesus and baptize them. We are then to disciple them and help them to grow spiritually.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The grand strategy is all here. Go. Go and make disciples. You can’t disciple an unbeliever, so implicit in making disciples is leading them to Christ. Second. Never forget that Jesus is with us until the end of the age. What happens at the end of the age? Jesus returns. Until then He is with us. What are you worried about?
I see a lot of hate these days. Left hates Right. Right hates Left. Some hate both. Hate. Hate. Hate. People. That is who we are supposed to love. Are we supposed to hate the mean people? No. They are all mean to one degree or another. No one is perfect. So when God told us to love them, He meant in spite of their meanness.
13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
How many Christians today are hating each other over politics? A lot. Yet the bible says those people are abiding in death. If you really hate fellow Christians, then maybe you aren’t one. Maybe you are fooling yourself. Guess what? There are Christians of all political persuasions. Get over yourself and start loving them anyway. Before you issue a harsh word against a brother, perhaps ask if it will solve anything? Will it help matters at all? Will it just increase bitterness and division?
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves
We must operate from humility. We are flawed. We are not right all the time. We must love others. We should express the fruit of the Spirit when dealing with others. Want people to listen to you? Love them first.
Often in a harsh encounter, the Lord will prick my conscience and say “Now go present the gospel to them”. I have to hang my head in shame. I realize I have acted in such a way that there is no way they will listen to me talk about Jesus.
Folks. The world is going to Hell. It’s like a rocket flying straight for the sun. All we can do is try to pull some off that rocket. And we can’t do that. All we can do is try to get them in touch with the one who can. We are ambassadors. We should start acting like ambassadors.
2 Cor 5:18-21
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God
Humans are going to sin against us. They are going to be selfish. They are going to put their own needs ahead of ours and everyone else’s. That is the norm. Get used to that norm. The exception is when someone does differently. That is countercultural. Demanding your prerogatives is nothing special. All the sinners do that. As Christians the way to reach people is to show them something different.
We are ambassadors of Christ. We are to show them the love of Christ. None of them was worthy to be saved but neither were we. We want them anyway just as Christ wanted us.
Christians being hateful and pretty much just acting like the world is the greatest impediment to our mission. When we show hate instead of love we are not being good ambassadors. If people were looking for haters, they don’t need the church. Haters abound all over the place. They are looking for love and compassion. Give people that love.
Next we need to be intentional about discipleship. A Christian who just got saved is like a new born baby. He will go back into sin without help. A baby does not by instinct do right no matter how good his parents are. The baby has to be taught. Discipleship is about teaching people how to draw close to God. When He is close we will lean on Him when troubles appear. A great witness for Christ is a Christian who weathers a storm in life praising God along the way. That is different. That is not of this world.
I’m writing this blog to encourage you and to help myself. I need a constant reminder why I’m still here. If there are no more people to reach then I’m certain God will take me home. My staying here would be pointless. That day will come when He calls for his church. Until then, we have a mission. Let’s depend on God. Let’s love other people. Let’s teach the young Christians and help them grow up strong and faithful. Let’s never forget that all of us can fall. When someone does let’s restore them and not talk about them behind their back.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.
We can’t get proud. We must restore our brothers and sisters when they fall. We must be gentle about it. We should help them recover and bear their burdens.
When a young wife is shattered because her husband has left her, we should not sit around gossiping. We should bear her burdens. When someone is missing church to care for a sick mother, we should not gossip about them but instead we should cut their grass or buy them some groceries. We should bear their burdens.
It’s love folks. When lost people see how much we love one another they are going to want what we have. It’s a basic human need. I always tell myself what I would do if it were my daughter. If a young girl is pregnant out of wedlock, are you going to sit around denouncing her parents for their failures? Or are you going to help them. Watch the child when it is born. Help that child become a Christian. Restore that family with love.
There are countless examples. Are you looking for ways to love your fellow believers and the lost? I’ve heard many stories about how kindness and consideration proved far more effective at reaching a lost person or restoring a strained relationship with a brother or sister. When people know you care and value them deeply, they will listen. They won’t just hear, they will listen and they must listen to the words of God to be saved. Don’t get in the way of that by building walls.
Thank you for reading. There will be more God willing. I love you all. I pray God blesses your mission.