September 25, 2017

Jesus is Lord: Lord of ALL and for ALL Time

Jesus is Lord: Lord of ALL and for ALL Time

Posted in The Faith of Us Fathers

(The following is an email conversation with a friend who sends his children to state schools. My friend’s words are in italics.)

We still need reminding from time to time… “The end of all things is near; therefore be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.” 1 Peter 4:7 “Watch and pray”.

Reminding, yes, but too many folks I’ve met seem to have allowed this to become a form of escapism from this present world, from dealing with the real issues all around us. The whole area of end times is not an open and shut case, but is fraught with all kinds of controversy. I personally think it comes down to two concepts: be constantly ready, confessed up to date, and at peace with all men, as far as it is possible with you personally; and also preparing yourself and your children as if the Lord were not coming back for another 100 years. It’s a “both/and” scenario rather than an “either/or” deal. If I was convinced the Lord was definitely going to return in my lifetime, I would never have gotten married, that’s for sure. I Corinthians 7 talks about that. But I believe He should be Lord of all no matter when He returns….that’s why we have always been keen on overseas missions as well as a thoroughly Christian education at home. You cannot send people overseas as on-fire Christians who have been trained six hours a day by the agents of paganism in our public schools; the idea is laughable.

A disadvantage, but God is mightily able to heal and change peoples hearts, minds and souls.

So why should we cause our children to be hurt so that God has to heal and change them? Why don’t we give them the advantage of a consistent Christian upbringing and training and allow God to make them into Christian witnesses the like of which the world has not seen since Whitfield, Wesley, Edwards and others who were thoroughly trained and nurtured in the faith since childhood.

OK, schools are dangerous, but so are the roads. By prayer and the grace of God they can be protected.

We don’t put our children on the roads and pray for God’s protection. We teach them to avoid the roads and cross them safely. We don’t teach them to play with fire or mess around with hot elements or walk right on the edges of cliffs so that we can pray for God to protect them. No. We ourselves take all the steps we can to protect them from the dangers we know exist and then pray that God will protect them from those unseen dangers and those dangers we cannot personally deal with…..this is our obvious duty and responsibility as parents. It is easy and within our power to remove them from the anti-Christian, thoroughly secular state school environment they sit in for hours every day and to replace the secular and political indoctrination they are fed while sitting in that environment with the Biblically oriented and Scripturally based truths they will need to know to take dominion of this world physically as He commanded us in Genesis 1:28 and spiritually as He commanded in Matthew 28:18-20 and II Corinthians 5:17-20. So why don’t we do it? Do the Scriptures tell us anywhere that our children will be better Christians, more healthy spiritually, by being trained up in the enemy’s camp?

 

I know that as Christians we should try to alter/influence things. We can’t do it by force, and the vote is too small (pity about the Christian Coalition)…, the only lasting way is by changing hearts.

Amen! Salvation is through Regeneration, not Revolution. (Conversions through the message and ministry of the Gospel, not by force or political activity…..as if conversions could happen like this anyway.) However, if politics is not an inherently immoral activity, in the way that running a brothel is an inherently immoral activity, then it is right and proper for Christians to be involved, according to their calling from the Lord, endeavouring to bring the principles of God’s word to bear upon the public policies of the nation. I mean, the alternative is just to abandon the whole thing to the devil. And why do that?

 

The devil is “the ruler of this world”, but his rule is limited to whatever God’s will allows and is also limited by the time he has been given. God is Lord of all. What He says goes. He allows the devil’s “rule” for His ultimate good purposes.

I’m not satisfied that the “ruler of this world” is the devil. The early Christians were tortured and executed because they would not compromise on the tiny declaration, “Jesus is Lord”. They only had to say, “Caesar is lord”, put some incense on the altar, and they were free to go. But they instead insisted that Caesar would one day bow the knee before the Lord Jesus Christ, that Ceasar would be answerable to how he executed his responsibilities while in the flesh, on the earth. That is to say, the Christians who were tossed to the lions believed very much that Jesus is ruler of this world, now, as well as ruler of the next. Can you find a Scripture to support your idea?

I’m happy to report that I can’t find a verse to support it after all. The closest is that he is the “ruler of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2). In fact even now, “Jesus Christ is the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Rev 1:5).

Amen, brother! Amen!! Actually John makes three statements close together which indicate that maybe the devil was prince of the world to some degree, but that Jesus ended that: John 12:31, 14:30 and 16:11. The Lord also indicates that He was entering the strong man’s — that is, the devil’s — house and plundering it, first binding the strong man! (See Matthew 12:29, Mark 3:27 and Luke 11:21-22 and their contexts.) Yes, the devil does appear to hold sway over many (I John 5:19), but it is only through deceit and the fact that the unregenerate heart has a tendency to lean satan’s way. In Matthew 4 and especially Luke 4:5-6 the devil is quoted as saying he could give the kingdoms of the world to Jesus, for they had been given to him (the devil) to do as he would. Now I’m sorry, but I’m really sceptical at this point, for the Scripture tells me that the devil is a liar and the father of all lies and that there is no truth in him (John 8:44). I’m convinced he was telling Jesus a whopper in these passages.

No, the whole idea of the devil being ruler of this earth gives too much power and glory and honour to the devil, it seems to me. He deserves none. He will get none from me. He’s just a squatter here, one who knows his time is short. To Jesus alone is the power and glory and honour and dominion now and forevermore. Amen.

And anyway, He Who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (I John 4:4). I know the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8), but the Scripture tells me I need only resist the devil and he will flee from me (I Peter 5:9). What have I to fear from him? Nothing. What have I to fear from the even less powerful schemes of men? Even less than that. As the Scripture says, who is there to harm you if you are zealous for good works (I Peter 3:13)? And as earlier saints have said, as long as we are walking in the will of the Lord and until the Lord plans for us to go, we are effectively immortal!

I remember people at church used to be fond of saying, “If Jesus is not Lord of all He is not Lord at all”.

 

What verse is that? Anyway, I think this means Jesus being Lord of all areas of a person’s life. Nothing to do with the world.

Oooohhh….I reckon you may have just compromised the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There are plenty of verses that emphatically teach the Lordship of Christ over every atom in the universe. I mean, isn’t the earth the Lord’s and the fullness thereof (Psalm 24:1)? Were not all things created in Him, through Him and for Him, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities (Colossians 1:16)? Does He not uphold all things by His word of power (Hebrews 1:3)? How about the Great Commission: “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me. Go therefore…” (Matthew 28:18) Sounds pretty inclusive to me. So are you saying that as long as I keep my personal life free from worldliness, the world can go where it will, I don’t care, ‘cause Jesus and I have this wonderful relationship? So if the world includes the schools, is it ok to send our kids to institutions which by law must be anti-Christian (Section 77 of the Education Act 1964, still in force, says all instruction must be entirely of a secular character, and secular is taken to mean without any religious instruction or observance…interpreted to mean Christian instruction or observance, for as we both know, occultic instruction and instruction in immorality is fully accepted)? Are you saying that our little ones, for whom Christ died, can be immersed in a grossly secular environment everyday of the week and yet somehow it is not a challenge to Christ’s rightful dominion in every area of their lives, not to mention our Christian duty as parents that our children’s every thought be taken captive to obey Christ (II Corinthians 10:5)?

My parents had a hands-off approach to parenting, wanting us to decide things for ourselves. I think they read Dr Spock. It seems some Christians have a similar godless approach. When our Genevieve was 11, the Sunday school teacher was doing a lesson about choices. He told the whole class (it was all printed in the lessons) that they had choices to steal or not to steal, to obey their parents or not to obey their parents, to go to church or not to go to church, to sleep around or not to sleep around. These were 11 year old children, remember. Some of us parents were hopping mad at some of this stuff. But Genevieve went to the heart of the matter: she told the teacher that as Christians they should never even be given such options. Of course we Christians don’t have such choices, she said. It’s a lie to say that we do, for where God has spoken, the issue is settled. Christians don’t have choices because they are supposed to be slaves of their Master, Jesus Christ, and He is supposed to be their Lord. (I was impressed with her answer and clarity of thought: I couldn’t see or think past the reference about kids having the choice to sleep around or not.)

 

Ultimately they do choose for themselves. We can help them a very great deal with wise guidance and advice.

The point Genevieve was making was, “Why focus a child’s attention on the things he shouldn’t do and then tell him he has a choice to do that? Why not major on all the right things to do, which so few people seem to be doing anyway, and keep reinforcing the message that Jesus — including everything He commands us to do — is the only way?” Why do we keep compromising our message, giving young, impressionable minds (who are actually looking to us adults for clear, unambiguous guidance) mixed messages that, well, we would like them to follow Jesus, but we know they will be drawn to this and to that and will want to experiment around a bit, but one day we’re sure they’ll want to come back, so why don’t they just decide to stay here with us, please? Heck, I don’t have to tell my children about the sin in the world: they see it all the time, in every TV show, newspaper, magazine, radio show, movie….and they experience sin in their hearts all the time. I don’t have to reinforce that message; I need to reinforce the Lord’s message and obedience to His word. The Lord told us to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Ain’t much left over for messing around in other areas, I reckon. So why do we say, “You get to choose”, when the Lord commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30) and to love and serve and obey Him with everything we’ve got? If I am sounding an indistinct note on the bugle of warning, who is the Lord going to hold responsible? Yeah, me! And this is double so with my children, for they would not be on this earth if it had not been for a deliberate act on my part. As fathers we men perform a conscientious, willful, both-eyes-open act, one that we desired and strove to do…and obviously accomplished….which put our children on this earth. I don’t believe we can now hold them at arm’s length or remove ourselves even the slightest and say, “Well they ultimately have to choose for themselves”. For crying out loud, I will be doing all I can to totally bias my children a certain way, to completely bend their hearts and minds and wills to move only in one direction — toward submission to Christ — knowing only too well how much their own natural sinfulness, inherited from me, will be easy to work in the hands of the devil. So I will not do anything to make the devil’s job any easier than it already is. No, sir!!

Christians have both the old and a new nature. Sometimes we “give in” to the old nature. Do you not call that a choice? Only robots have no choice.

We adults, or perhaps I’d better say “I”, give in because I am so used to sinning. But generally we have been sinning since the day we were born. If we were raised in nominally Christian homes, we were never taught to submit our sinful natures to Christ, to allow Him to crucify the old nature on the cross, to think His thoughts after Him. No, in nominally Christian homes we were taught to be our own bosses, to do our own thing, be master of our own fate, exactly the same as non-Christians, but with this difference: we had to act within a certain prescribed code of acceptability. Our minds and hearts were still in rebellion against God, but we simply did not manifest it by participating in (all of) the gross sins of others round about us. But we were headed in the same direction….straight to hell.

So then we got converted to Christ. Our children are being reared in Christ-honouring homes, a far cry from our own experience. We should not expect the same kind of thing from them as what the world got from us. No, their lives should be miles different from our own at their age. In fact, if they were to be completely and consistently trained according to Biblical standards (something my past disqualifies me from doing, for I have all this garbage left over from my non-Christian days), but if my children were so raised, I believe they would be like nothing we have ever seen on this earth in our lifetimes. Now, Lord willing, my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren should really be something, for they will be starting on a much taller and far more solid foundation than what I had. My children will stand on my shoulders, my grandchildren on their shoulders and so on. It would be too easy for me to allow my children to grow up into the Christian mediocrity that was the only option given me as a child. No way! My wife and I have always intended that they be launched into an orbit much higher than that.

Why settle for anything less? Why make it easy for them to choose second best? No, hang on, choosing sin is not second best…..it is death. Why make it easy for my children to choose death by making them used to sinful and compromised standards all around them all the time, by allowing them not to be shocked by it, by not hating it myself with such a passion that they are likewise horrified by any association with it? Why not make them love righteousness (as far as we are able, by God’s grace) and be so uncomfortable and ill-at-ease in the tents of the wicked that they flee from it….just as the Scripture tells them to do (I Timothy 6:11, II Timothy 2:22)? And yet all this time we must also be preparing them for an adult life lived in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation to whom they are to be offering the words of eternal life.

As Christian home educators it seems to me our task is not just to train up our children so that they can cope with this sin-cursed and fallen world, remaining faithful until the Lord’s return. No. The Gospel would seem to demand that our children make disciples of all nations, going as ambassadors of Christ, preaching a message of reconciliation and personally ministering reconciliation in all that they do. That is to say, they will be turning the world upside down! Now that’s the kind of task, long-term and with objects in view such as seeing the king of Saudi Arabia so soundly converted he influences much of the Muslim world to do the same…..that is the kind of thing we men can really sink our teeth into. Right dads? Let’s get to and do it!

From Keystone Magazine
July 2001 , Vol. VII No. 4
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig
@hef.org.nz

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