After last week's call to be strong and vigilant for Christ in these crazy times, I knew even then, God would have me to follow such a lesson with what we will discuss today. I can tell many of you truly feel the urgency of our times; genuinely accepting the call God has placed on our generation. You are ready to change, ready to step up, ready to act. The next thing for us to consider together is simply—how? What does God practically want us to do next? What is our mission in these times? How do we respond to the chaos or the Karios around us? Literally and specifically?
I had all kinds of ideas and theological answers at the beginning of my study, but I prayed openly and honestly for His answer and His answer shook me awake to the blindness and numbness many of us have today. Everyone who has ever been used of God powerfully did so by first truly understand the times in which they were living, and seeing the greatest need of those times in the eyes of God, and then, unreservedly, with total purpose, committing themselves to that need as their life mission. We understandably and rightly see the turmoil and unrest around us today, and we plan and prepare for disaster by prepping in so many ways. Do you realize that if that is as far as we go, even this shows our self-focus and hardness of heart? Not that preparing is inappropriate, but, when that is our sole focus and priority—to protect self and let the world fend for itself—we have completely missed the will of God in our times. Do you think it is God's desire that we focus on saving only our own skins, retreating from the world and saying, "Only the strong survive", while ignoring the lost, misled and abused, lied to, scared people in our times—God’s beloved people all around us in the fire? Many, not only lost here and now, but eternally lost to a much worse fate. Some Christians, honestly, after much hate and abuse from the world, want to say: “Why should we be so worried; why should we give so much; for a bunch of jerks who have chosen to be rebellious, selfish and evil anyway?” Because: Romans 5:6-8. What if our current "save yourself" mentality was the mentality of every Soldier and Marine in war? To simply protect themselves and survive the battle? Rather than focus on the objective, and risk all for those around them—those they fight for? Yes, it is a time for prepping and protecting. And if we are to follow God's Will in our times, that means primarily to prep and protect those whom Jesus Christ has died to save. That is understanding the times in which we live, according to the heart and purpose of God.
To illustrate our lesson; a modern-day parable if you will: The Ship. Let's illustrate our current situation and mentality with this picture. We are on a large ship, part of an armada of ships, far at sea. And the mother of all storms has swept in. The wind and waves all around are threatening to take us under. Other ships that were sailing along in our armada have already gone down, and there are people all around us in small boats, life-preservers, or just treading the waters, thrashing around desperately. Everyone is trying to get to our ship in the fight for their lives. Even many of our own crew have even fallen overboard in the chaos, and are fighting to stay afloat with them. And drawing very near ahead of us, in the middle of the relentless storm, is a fleet of warships. They are relentlessly pounding us all with artillery shells. Ship after ship is struck, as debris flies and they begin to burn. The response: Many of the crew have cowered in the belly of the ship to stay safe; abandoning their position on the boat and letting it drift wild; abandoning those drowning around them, who need to be lifted to safety, simply saving their own skins. Many are so caught up in securing supplies and equipment from the storm, they simply ignore the pleas from doomed people in the sea around them. Some who were simply passengers of the vessels, stand in ignorant, panicked shock; unable to help man the ship or save people because they have no knowledge, training or skills for the situation, and they are frozen in fear. Others are literally beating people off the side of the ship, saying, "You aren't from our ship, you'll make us sink." Many of our ship's crew who have fallen overboard in the storm are even being refused help from their own crew: "It's their own fault they fell. We just have to focus on getting ourselves home now." But a very few of the crew are tirelessly lowering ropes and pulling the nearest people up to safety; throwing in life-preservers, or anything else that will keep them afloat until they can be rescued; offering medical help all around the deck and below. Some are even jumping in the water, going after those too exhausted to even swim any longer until they hopefully can both be rescued together. And it's a good thing at least these few are doing something to save those around them, because on the side of our ship here is painted a huge red cross. We were supposed to be the hospital ship of the entire fleet all along. This is a perfect picture of where we are, and what we are supposed to be doing right now. Our society has been battered and torn apart by the storms that have been raging ever stronger, until it is almost underwater. Drug epidemics, broken families, fatherless homes, immoral indoctrination, hatred of anything to do with God, selfish living, depression, open sex and perversion, suicide, homicide, anarchy, hate, racism and narcissism—and as we fight these troubled waters, along comes the new threat of warships on the horizon. As Pandemic fears change our complete way of life, close our schools and businesses; break our life-line to brothers and sisters in church, and threaten economic hardships like we've never seen; and surging uncertainty and hostility between political factions threaten to push us into civil unrest as the election draws near, there are confused, drowning, scared people all around us—everywhere. And we are asking God, "What is Your will? What would you have us to do?" Well, as disciples of Jesus Christ, let's see how hard that is to discern: Luke 19:10; Luke 4:18-19.
The reason we as Christians are in panic, disarray and confusion is because we have completely forgotten and abandoned what are sole mission as Christ's disciples truly is. Just as Emergency Rescue And Response Teams are usually the only ones not panicking in a tragedy because they are focused and intent on their mission; just as True believers should be when this world is facing tragedy—but, rather than be focused on our mission, we are floundering and struggling with the rest of the fleet; like those with no hope, no boat. Too many Christians today mistakenly think they are aboard a battleship, instead of a hospital ship. They are so tunnel-visioned and hell-bent on destroying the enemy, that they do not remember their primary mission is to save and heal those caught in the battle. Our goal is not to destroy their ships, but to win so much of the crew to Christ that their ships can no longer sail. When I prayed, studied and asked God what we were supposed to do in all of the mess we find ourselves in today, His answer was so simple, so obvious; and yet so far from where we are or what we are doing. We can’t calm the seas that have begun to rage. We can’t stop the barrage of Satan's attacks. His Scriptural answer—His answer shown in His own deeds as He walked the earth, is simply this: "Save the one nearest to you, drowning in the sea.”
Let's look at how we need to practically pursue this seemingly "too simply" mission from God with the heart and passion He desires. The Scriptural, practical place to start is with your own brothers and sisters, right here in this church. Church is not just a place you come to get your sermon fix; or a break from the kids for a while; or a social club for entertainment and fun. Church is not a consumer driven business where we pick up and drop our church family at our leisure, when things don't go our way; Church is where we unite with other believers in our struggle for Christ. To strengthen, protect, heal, correct and endure together—a world bent on hating and rejecting us; where we lift our hearts towards Him, together, for His glory. It must become the place where we turn more and more for our fellowship, help and assured commitment to one another, when we have no one else. Because one day soon, we may not have anyone else. Most church-goers today look for the pastor or staff to do all that God has called them to do for the Body, while they enjoy a separated, comfortable, uninvolved ride; uncommitted to anything or anyone, like they are the directors of church. [No, you are the church]. God never intended for it to be the function of the pastor or staff to meet all of these needs of the church because it is impractical and impossible. And, to leave all of this to a staff, rather than become personally involved, would be to teach the Body of Christ to be a bunch of selfish, spoiled, privileged babies, rather than humble servants and loving brothers and sisters, who are growing in love and becoming individual parts of a Body—bigger and more important than themselves. To "Save the ones nearest you who are drowning" is to start with saving the crew of the Hospital Ship first.
And that, involves a bunch of "one another's" in Scripture. Listen to only this very small, and partial list of Commands. All spoken only about our commitment to other believers in this Body:
It should be your priority in life to see the brothers and sisters of this family in all their needs of life, and run to them. Those who are in sin, sick, absent, suffering, struggling, in need, fearful, depressed, misguided—we are Commanded to care of each other like family (actually, more deeply than some family). We need to endure the faults of one another and help one another, rather than gossip, condemn or leave because we are offended. We need to become burdened by the pain and hardship of others; save the one's closest to you, first. If we aren't genuinely reaching out to other Christians, how on earth will the world ever see Christ's Love in us? John 17:21; John 13:35. Not apologetics; not programs; not glamorous buildings, but real, genuine, sacrificial, unending love. This, my friends, is one of the main starting places for what our mission on earth is as Christians; for what our goal is through these hard times. And I dare say, this is not even a small part of many of your lives. Our busy lives and tainted focus has caused us to miss God's Calling. Do you think God takes this lightly with so many verses reiterating the desire of His heart? Church has become something far, far from it's original design. This was never meant to be a place to come and be ministered to while remaining as uninvolved with others as possible, once a week; or to compare, compete, show off, or gossip about others. This is the place to come and be who you truly are, without fear of judgment or rejection. To talk openly about your struggles, sins and problems; to celebrate one another; to ask for help when in need; to give sacrificially to those in need; to overlook faults and offenses; because you are committed to your brothers and sisters in all their weaknesses; to be lovingly corrected when you are wrong, and accept that correction as love from a family member; to expect to be loved and missed when you are gone; to participate in the care, teaching and service of others; to encourage and support those broken or hurting; to consider these people above yourself and drop the ego—joining in prayer at the altar, visiting, calling, texting or writing the sick and absent; cooking, cleaning, working, serving one another when needed. Not just with “another” official ministry by the staff, but as loving family who desire to help. Stop worrying what others will think, and set the standard by following God's Commands to Love as He loves. We are one of the most caring and real churches I've been a part of, but we are not what Christ has called us to be yet. They are our family; God has entrusted them to us. They are our responsibility, our privilege to care for. After all of the Scriptures we have seen today about how God wants us to be one as a Church Body—as He and the Father are one.
All of the Scriptures about how we are to care for one another first, above all else. If you seriously want to know and do the will of God in the times in which we live; break the mold of tradition and comfort which has pushed aside God's idea of Church. It is with these people around you now, where you check your heart first. This is where you roll up your sleeves and start—by helping the first person out of the water. Using all the passion and love you would use serving your Jesus. We are more than fellow church members; we are family; we are a Tribe; we are brothers and sisters in arms; and we will need one another more and more as this world closes in around us. How will we ever man the Hospital Ship to help all of the others in the water, if we don't first love, care for, and save the crew? We are not called to win the "Righteous Competition." Not called to be smarter or better; not called to man the guns of a battleship and beat the enemy down in combat. We are called to be more humble, considering everyone here above ourselves; called to take them by the hand, and pull them out of the water in which they are drowning; jumping in and risking all if necessary—at our own expense, just like He did for us.
The Greek Word for “church” is Ekklesia. We are God’s called out assembly for such a time as this. We are aboard the hospital ship, U.S.S. EKKLESIA. But, before we can save the world, we have to save our own crew and man the ship.
What will you do with God’s Word? Galatians 6:9-10.
Looking for something specific? Use our search bar below