CHAPTER 12

 A CALL TO GLORY

“Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen up on you.”

(Isa 60:1-2 NKJV)

We’re not on earth to play religious games. We’re not here to settle theological debates or endless doctrinal disputes. All are sideshows and completely off the point. God wants us in on His vision. He wants us to reveal His glory to a lost, confused, and hurting world. He wants us to show people that there is a living God, that He cares about them, that He loves them deeply, that He keeps His promises, that He answers prayers, and that they have hope and a future in this world.

Many people predict darkness and doom for this world and, considering the facts, they do have a point. It seems that, in spite of all our human knowledge, intellect, and good plans, things are not getting brighter. People are losing hope. Many are cynical and sceptical. Many are overwhelmed by fear. Many just don’t care anymore. Some people don’t know who or what to believe anymore. But thank God, He is still the great I AM! His Name is still the hope of this world!

“They will talk together about the glory of your kingdom; they will celebrate examples of your power. They will tell about your mighty deeds and about the majesty and glory of your reign.”

(Ps 145:11-12 NLT)

Jesus still is the answer to every need. He still gives justice to the oppressed. He still frees the prisoners. He still heals the sick. He still feeds the hungry. He still protects His people. He still gives light to those who are trapped in spiritual darkness. We should be living testimonies of the power and glory of God. Like Jesus we should not only talk about the glory, we should demonstrate the glory of God to people!

Well, some people look at believers and think, glory? Interesting idea. But what a feeble, confused lot you are. What difference did Jesus really make?

To be honest, we often do give that impression; so let’s judge ourselves before we point fingers at the world.

We don’t always know whether we’re coming or going. We’re often Christians by name, but not by heart. Sometimes we still don’t know who we are in Christ. Maybe we still don’t know, or really believe, that our redemption is complete. Do we know and believe that the glory of God has been poured out on this earth already? Are we really spending time with God, or in prayer, or studying His Word? Are we truly aware of the awesome blessing that’s upon us? Do we know what we’re supposed to do on this planet?

Yes, at times we do seem confused. We haven’t figured it all out yet. We’re not perfect. We do mess up. But God will sort out our imperfections. By His grace we are waking up to our true identity in Christ like never before. See, Jesus said that He will build His Church and all the forces of hell shall not prevail against it. All of hell cannot stop God’s plan on this earth. It never could and never will (Matt 16:18)!

 

A VERY STRANGE MISSION

“Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don’t stand back and let them die.”

(Prov 24:11 NLT)

To build the Kingdom of God, and to fill the earth with the knowledge of God’s glory, is a very strange mission. It’s a mission motivated by love and compassion. We’re following the directions of a heavenly King we cannot see. We’re enforcing the defeat of an enemy we cannot see. Our only weapon is the Word of God. The outcome of our battles is decided in prayer. And it’s a mission accomplished through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

 “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?

This is what the Scriptures mean when they say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”

(Rom 10:14-15 NLT)

Take a look around you. Look at all the pain and destruction. Look at the confusion and questions in people’s eyes.

Look at all the prisoners of darkness who’ve never been told that they are free. Look at the sick who’ve never been told that health and healing belongs to them. Look at the poor who’ve never been told that riches and wealth belongs to them. Look at the orphans who’ve never been told that they have a heavenly Father. Look at the condemned who’ve never been told that they’re forgiven. Look at those who drift aimlessly through life, never knowing that their life has a great purpose. Look at those who long for comfort but have never met the Comforter.

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, And who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’ And He said, ‘Go, and tell this people.’”

(Isa 6:8-9 NKJV)

All that matters to God is people!

When we wake up to this truth we’ll realise the insignificant value of all our earthly treasures or personal quests. God gifted us, anointed us, and called us to make a difference in our world. The greatest cause to stand for is the cause of our King. You are God’s ambassador. You are His personal representative (2 Cor 5:20). You have been chosen to reveal the glory of God. You are blessed to be a blessing to others. You are here to represent and to serve the Kingdom of God whether as a full-time mother, a nurse, an artist, the CEO of a company, or architect (Matt 20:28). Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:27).

Serve people with love and compassion. Serve people with kindness and mercy. Serve people with a Christ-like attitude. Serve people with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Serve people through your gifts and talents. Serve people through giving, whether through finances, your time, prayer, encouragement, or acts of hospitality. Be ready to act as a representative of God whenever the Holy Spirit prompts you.

You know, you can live your dream, but if your dream does not serve the vision and purpose of God, your life will become meaningless and abusive, no matter how many degrees, or how much money, or how much fame you have. Just keep everything in perspective. God absolutely wants you to live in His blessing. He wants you to be prosperous. He wants you to enjoy life. He wants you to live your dream. But those things should never become your primary pursuit in life.

 

TOGETHER WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST ON THIS EARTH

“Christ is the head of the church, which is his body.” (Col 1:18 NLT)

“Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.”

(1 Cor 12:27 NLT)

Jesus is the head of the Church, which is also called His body. As a born-again believer (in whatever congregation or denomination) you are part of the body of Christ. Together we are the fullness of the body of the Holy Spirit here on earth, just as Jesus was the body of the Holy Spirit when He lived on this planet (Eph 4:4).

When Jesus left this earth, He handed the responsibility of the work He had begun to us (John 20:21). As His body we are commissioned to reveal the glory of God to this world. God wants us to bring life, freedom, hope, and restoration to those who are still trapped in darkness. And every one of us has an important place, and part to play, in His body (1 Cor 12:27).

As part of the body of Christ you need to belong to a church, or a spiritual family. So find out where God wants you (Heb 10:25; Ps 92:13). You cannot exist on your own. If you disconnect yourself from the body of Christ you’ll dry up spiritually. That’s a fact. And no, you won’t ever find a perfect church. People in church buildings are not perfect, and you are one of them. So stop breaking your head about that. If you do want to look for something in a church, look for a place where the Life of the Spirit of God is present.

You see, church is not a club where you visit God whenever you feel like it. God’s idea with the word “church” is not a beautiful building made of bricks but a church consisting of living stones (1 Pet 2:5). It’s in us that He chose to live, not in buildings made by human hands. We, as living stones, only gather in a building to praise and worship our King, to get equipped to live a life of faith, and to cooperatively see to it that the will of our heavenly Father shall be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

 

ONE HEART – ONE VISION

“Let each generation tell its children about your mighty acts.”

(Ps 145:4 NLT)

We, as the body of Christ, are responsible for our generation. If this generation turns away from God, the next generation will grow up with no regard for God. If dead religion suffocates the life out of this generation, the next will never know that Christ came to give us life. If this generation has nothing to tell, or nothing to show about the greatness, power and love of God, how will the next generation know that our God is the only true God?

So what kind of future generation are we producing?

We can’t blame politicians for whatever is wrong with society today. The body of Christ is the real power on this earth. It is through us that Jesus will touch, influence, and transform nations and societies (2 Chron 7:14).

Now, if we consider ourselves, do we have God’s vision, or are these words a better description of our hearts: “But instead of showing love among yourselves you are always critical and catty, watch out! Beware of ruining each other.” (Gal 5:15 TLB)

Believers fight about so many insignificant things!

Listen, the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is sacred, but not the method. The method will constantly change. And thank God for that. If we really would like to hang on to ancient methods, we should all be sitting under a tree somewhere playing our harps. So, who cares about the music of today? Who cares what people wear to church? Who cares about most of the issues some churches fight about? Does Jesus? Does He care about our sideshows while people are lost, confused, in pain, in bondage, or going to hell? Do all the anger, slander, jealousy, division, hatred, and schism in His Body impress Him? No!

Don’t we realise that the number one strategy of the devil to stop us from being productive is to cause division? The devil knows that where there is unity, God commands His blessing (Ps 133:1-3).

Instead of breaking each other down, pushing our own agendas, or protecting our positions believers should unite in faith and in prayer to advance the Kingdom of God upon this earth.

Yes, we’ll always have our differences but we cannot allow them to distract us from our main purpose. The only Person we should live up is Jesus. If we lift Him up people will be drawn to His Light. If we lift ourselves up? Well, it will be just a matter of time before we repel people. Listen, the only cause we should stand for is the cause of Jesus Christ. Temporary issues should never cloud our view from issues of eternal value.

“But if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”

(Josh 24:15 NLT)

Jesus didn’t waste his time trying to convince people to follow Him, or to become involved. He didn’t smooth-talk people. He didn’t debate or bargain with them. He simply said, follow me.

You make the choice. Only you can decide whether you are going to serve God or not. Many are called but few are chosen. God called all of us, but how many truly respond to His call?

 

YOUR ETERNAL REWARD

“I have glorified you on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given me to do.”

(John 17:4 NKJV)

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.”

(2 Tim 4:7 NLT)

Your God-given purpose has eternal value. There will come a day when we will appear before Jesus personally, not to be judged for sin, but to give an account of our lives on earth, and to receive eternal rewards (Luke 12:35-48).

Our rewards will be determined by how we’ve assisted our Father in expanding His Kingdom on earth. Did we use the life He gave us to expand His Kingdom, or solely for our own benefit (1 Cor 4:5)? That’s why Jesus urged us to first seek the Kingdom of God, to not become attached to the things of this world, and to choose once and for all whom we will serve.

Just before Jesus left for heaven, He prayed to His Father and said, “I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to do” (John 17:4 NLT). Can you imagine a greater honour when you kneel before your Father, the King, one day and tell Him the exact same words?

Yes, there will be rewards, but that should not be our main motive for serving God. Our desire should be to bring glory here on earth to our heavenly Father, the only eternal King!

 

BACK TO THE BEGINNING

This life is not where all life comes to an abrupt end. We know in our hearts that death is not the end and that this life is merely a stepping-stone to something far greater. An eternal destiny is drawing us and we cannot escape its calling (Eccl 3:11). Why?

Well, God’s original plan has never changed. Heaven is not our eternal home; Earth is still our base camp from where we’ll reign with our King for eternity to come (Gen 1:28; Matt 25:21). Our heavenly Father will soon clean up this universe from the horrible effects of sin. Death and decay will be something of the past. God will restore our world to a paradise that exceeds all its original splendour. Even Adam will stand amazed! Satan and his demons will be bound forever in the lake of fire and we’ll be eternally free from his evil works. We’ll see Jesus face to face and we’ll live forever in the glory and love of our God. And no, we’re not going to be eternal spirits. Our mortal bodies will put on immortality. We’re going to be whole again – spirit, soul, and body (1 Cor 15:40, 42, 51-54).

What a future we have! How can we ever sell out to anything else? But before that, many things will happen. Thank God that He gave us the book of Revelations. Thank God that He gave us the whole Story. He gave us the beginning to the end. Thank God that He’s still speaking to us. As His children we don’t ever have to be confused about world events, natural events, or spiritual events. We don’t have to guess, we can know. We can discern the seasons, and not live in fear. We don’t need to be left behind. And we don’t need to believe in alien invasions. All we need to do is to be ready, at all times. “You also must be ready all the time. For the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Matt 24:44 NLT).

Yes, there will be wars and rumours of wars. There will be famine, earthquakes and horrific natural disasters. Nations will rise against each other. There will be lawlessness and rebellion against all authority. There will be false prophets who will try to deceive people. But don’t let those things trouble you. The end will not come until the gospel of the Kingdom of God has been preached all around this world as a witness to the nations (Matt 24:1-13)!

So, don’t lose focus. You are still on this planet with a purpose. You have a job to do, dreams to pursue, challenges to conquer, a life to live fully, love to share, prisoners to set free, and a Kingdom to build. Have a great time!

 

EPILOGUE

“Remember the prisoners as if chained with them – those who are mistreated – since you yourselves are in the body also

(Heb 13:3 NKJV)

Around you are the wounded bodies of people, crying out for help. As you walk by you see the confusion and despair in their eyes. Blood is gushing from their hearts and they’re fighting just to take the next breath that will somehow keep them alive. It’s almost as if you can touch the darkness that wants to engulf them and drive them off to death. How much longer will they be able to bear this?

For years they’ve been locked up, bound by chains, and deprived from the Source of Life. You see their eyes. Dead. Even though some of them are smiling. What a strange contradiction? They’ve been imprisoned for so long that it became the only life they know. And astonishingly enough, they embraced it.

Suddenly you notice that with every step you take there comes a stirring in your heart, a refusal to accept what you see, a hatred for evil that is causing this. Haven’t you been through this hell before?

But Jesus set you free. As He did for all! Can’t they see the doors are open? Haven’t they heard the enemy has been destroyed? Were they not given a voice that will cry out, enough is enough? Enough of this shame, enough of this poverty, enough of these diseases, enough of this oppression, enough of this prison life!

Don’t they realise it’s only the lies of a defeated enemy that still keep them in those prisons?