16 Apr God’s Invading Army – The Church
“The Lord gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great; For strong is the One who executes His word” (Joel 2:11).
“For the weapons or our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments (imaginations) and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NKJV)
The history of the Christian Church in contemporary times has been filled with stories of people who catch only a glimpse of who they are, or what they have become in Christ, or people who have no clue as to what exactly they have become, spiritually because of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross of Calvary. Those who catch a glimpse of who they have become tend to run off with their little ‘vision” or picture and run roughshod over others and eventually make a wreck of their faith, wondering what happened. Those who have no clue tend to believe whatever comes their way or they fall on some past religious beliefs they had before coming to Christ. This present generation, on the other hand, has the advantage of seeing, learning and having a fuller picture than previous generations as to who they are in Christ and what is theirs in Him.
In the divine exchange dimension of Christ’s sacrifice, He became who we were so that we can become who He is. He took our sins on Himself so that we can become the ‘righteousness of God in Christ”. He became poor so that we through His poverty can be made rich. Believing in Jesus, coming into the kingdom of God and functioning like we should implies becoming new creatures in Christ, having authority in His name over the works of darkness and living by faith, honouring God and serving His purposes. In these the proper foundation for our relationship with God is laid. Without these, we have a mishmash of different beliefs and we call it the Christian faith. What is not understood is that when we have a faulty belief system, our beliefs can empower the kingdom of darkness to exercise authority over us. Whatever we measure some degree of significance to has that measure of significance in our lives. God’s Word becomes significant in our lives to the measure we measure significance to it.
“Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you and more besides will be given to you who hear.” (Mark 4:24 Amplified Bible).
An idol is that which we measure significance to in place of God in our lives. Any idol in our lives will have authority over us in some measure or the other. Mammon, for instance, is the idol we serve if greed and covetousness define our attitude and disposition toward money. The love of money, for instance, is the root of all evil. Mammon is the idol behind many, if not all, the evil perpetuated on earth today between human beings. Its foundation is built on human insecurity and looking for that security in the possessions that money can buy. The human tendency to have ‘lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and pride of life” feeds directly into the insecurity that needs things to feed the emptiness or void in our lives. What we lost in the fall of man, combined with what our upbringing has done to us, causes a tendency in us to be ‘wanting, wanting, wanting”, as the Message Bible calls it. Somebody once said we have a void in us that only God can fill. No matter what we try to use to fill it, we will not be satisfied. We need to recognise these things and allow God to fill us with His love and nature; with character and power; with a new identity and authority so we can grow and mature into wholesome people, able to give the love of God to others. What a life!
“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all evil speaking, as new born babies, desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby,” (1 Peter 2:1-2 NKJV).
God’s way of building us up, amongst other things, is through painting ‘Word pictures” that enable us, through our fellowship with Him, to see ourselves the way He sees us so that we can begin to function in these things. This can be seen in how a parent can believe in their child and the child lives up to the expectation of his loving parents. Of course, the converse is also true, that children can live ‘down” to the negative expectation of parents too! Such pictures are seen in the Bible. These pictures represent metaphoric images that depict processes and expectations from God that we need to cooperate with for His purposes to be fulfilled in and through us. There are 7 pictures of the Church in the New Testament. These are the Church as an Assembly; the Church as His (Christ’s) Body; the Church as His Workmanship; the Church as God’s Family; the Church as The Temple of God; the Church as The Bride of Christ; and the Church as the Lord’s Army. There is a lot more we need to see here but space will only allow us to see a few things that will position us to fully experience the many sided grace of God.