Have you heard the rumors? The end is coming. The signs of the age are here. There are wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, etc. Surely America has become so vile in our thoughts and laws that the Lord will return any day!
I don’t know about all of that. My intention is in no way to get political in this post, but I do want to point out the fact that the United States is not the new Israel. We are not God’s chosen people as a nation. The new Israel is any and all who are found in Christ – who have repented of their sins and have made Him the Lord of their lives. We are not politically or geographically defined, rather Spiritually united!
And not only that, but we often get so concerned and scared that the Church does not have enough sway to impact the culture and world. Yes, I am deeply grieved at the continuing decline of church attendance and moral decay in our culture. But if glorifying God was not the foundational factor in our morality in generations past, then there is no loss truly to be mourned. Because morality without God is still damnable.
The Church in the first century was at a highly more vulnerable state than we are today. There were maybe 500 believers in the world, who were quickly scattered, persecute and killed because of their faith and claims. The Roman Emperor Nero, by the year 64 AD began persecuting and killing Christians publicly and worldwide persecutions were dominant for nearly three hundred years. The first multiple generations of Christians only knew existence as hated and persecuted people. Then the tides changed and because of how quickly and broadly Christianity spread, it was made the official religion of the Roman Empire in the 300’s. Thus an entirely new threat came upon the Church: sordid interests. Non believers bought offices, forced conversions and Christianity became a status symbol and lost integrity. But it still continued to grow.
Often times when we return to Scripture to remember that our battle is in the Spiritual realm, we turn to Ephesians 6.10-12:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
And also to 1 John 4.4:
“Greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world.”
The Holy Spirit indwells believers and gives us power to fight internal sin and to stand strong and proclaim the truth in the midst of Spiritual enemies, making disciples of all nations! But today I am so moved by and encouraged by the story of Elisha and his servant as they stood before a battle against the King of Aram:
“[The King of Aram] sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. Now when the attendant of the man of God (Elisha) had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to [Elisha], ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
– 2 Kings 6.14-17
God has a purpose for His Church. He will bring people from every tribe, tongue and nation to repentance and salvation (Rev 5.9). And He – the Almighty God – indwells all who have repented of their sins and turned to Him for salvation (Ez 36.26-27). He gives us power from within to fight sin and to represent Him well. But, we are also standing with an army of angels. Sometimes it feels as though we are alone. Elijah felt that and complained to God about Israel:
“‘Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have torn down your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.’ But what was the divine response to him? ‘I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal’.”
– Rom 11.3-4
And while God always promises to keep for Himself a remnant of faithful people, He also promises to charge a spiritual army around us.
“For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.”
– Ps 91.11
Llet us always remember that “those who are with us are more than those who with them.” God is greater in power. We have more soldiers. And the battle has been won! The end is written! Therefore, let us stand firm. Let us hold the line. Let us press on. Let us honor God.