Sorry – this one is long. See what you think…
We’ve got 3 more chapters to go and this has been a great study. Please finish strong. If you have missed a few of last sessions, please rejoin us. The small groups are key to this and we want our groups to finish together strongly united as we move into the summer. Bonds are forming and fellowships of men are being developed. For some of you, this will continue and you’ll build on it. It is so important that you surround yourself with a strong community of men to do battle with you.
“Battle”. Why do we even talk about battle? I mean, isn’t Jesus about love? He wasn’t a warrior. He didn’t come in with an army but rather came in as a babe and spent his life teaching love and forgiveness. War? Warrior? No, Jesus is always pictured with lambs and small children. And you know, if you think about society today and the raging arguments around gay marriage, taxation, legalization of drugs, you name it — aren’t you also being told, “Well, Jesus didn’t judge anyone. He was just all about love and acceptance.”
Rob Bell, the Christian pastor, dove into this line of thinking last week when he came out in support of gay marriage. He said, “I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs – I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”
OK, there it is. Precisely there. We should not judge (after all Jesus didn’t) and we should just affirm people wherever they are. Is it just me or isn’t this kind of thinking ALL over our society today. “Explore your sexuality”, “Celebrate self”, “Find yourself”. Self, self, self. “Pursue what makes you feel good, feel complete in self and celebrate that”.
Maybe I’m being too hard on Rob Bell. Or not…
He continues, “I think we are witnessing the death of a particular subculture that doesn’t work (he means the conservative Christian theology). I think there is a very narrow, politically intertwined, culturally ghettoized, Evangelical subculture that was told, ‘we’re gonna change this thing’ and they haven’t. They’ve actually turned away a lot of people. And I think when you’re in a part of a subculture that is dying, you make a lot more noise because it’s very painful. You sort of die or adapt.”
So Rob Bell nails it – our culture has turned its back on God and His teaching – and the Word no longer works with them. (Note to Rob Bell, God’s Word has never “worked” for people who turn their backs on it. Remember Pharaoh?). For heaven sakes, look at the movies today, TV, the newspaper summaries of society breaking down. They have pursued their own selfish desires and lust there is a divide. The culture is moving quickly away from God. The Church has found itself hanging onto a “particular subculture that doesn’t work” i.e. the Word of God. No kidding it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work among a mass of people diving head first into their own desires – “I want the gay lifestyle.” “I want to smoke pot all the time and don’t really care if my kids are doing it.” “I’m for open relationships and want my teenage daughter exploring her own sexual identity and freedom.” Just this week, a Judge in New York said the “morning after” birth control pill should be over-the-counter with no age restriction. So a teenager can’t get a Big Gulp Coke but she can waltz into a CVS and pick up a pill that will destroy any “evidence” of last night’s unprotected hookup.
Rob Bell is saying that the Word is too rigid for this culture and they are turned off by it. In fact, they are actually turned away by it. And because they don’t like it, because it doesn’t mesh with culture’s decisions, the church must change. Despite what Jesus said about marriage, in America 2013, we have decided marriage is whatever we decide it is and so Jesus is wrong. Rob Bell is right. Jesus was wrong.
Look at our politicians. In just the past few weeks, the nation’s tide turned decidedly in favor of gay marriage. The Supreme Court has taken it up and is debating it as we speak. And suddenly, 6-7 Senators have shifted their stance on gay marriage. Hillary Clinton has “evolved” her thinking on it. Last year, President Obama “evolved” his thinking on it largely based on his children questioning how he could judge people who loved each other. He couldn’t reconcile his children’s logic so he “evolved”.
This is where we are. This is warfare. Spiritual warfare. A delusion has been cast over America and we are devolving right in front of our eyes – not evolving.
So Jesus wasn’t a warrior? He doesn’t battle? He was just about “love”? No.
He is a warrior and please don’t kid yourself, there is a raging, raging spiritual battle taking place right now across our nation, this world, against your home, your kids, your wife and you.
The reason I pulled this national “debate” on gay marriage into this conversation is to illustrate what goes on in your life – every…single…day.
You can open the slides and see the breakdown on spiritual warfare. It’s there. Waking the Dead to Walk with God is opposed. As you start to walk with God, start to have conversational intimacy with Him, find the wounds, dig them up and heal in deep restoration, the enemy is going to show up. He wants NONE of this for you. He will vehemently oppose this with condemnation. So don’t kid yourself, there is a battle underway and Jesus very much is a warrior battling for YOU. Enough said. Dig in. Find this. It’s there. Jesus wants you fully alive, triumphant in Him.