26 March 2015

Seeking and Saving that Which Was Lost

In Matthew, the risen Lord gives His disciples the Great Commission:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" ~Matt 28:19 ESV
In Luke, He says:
 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. ~Luke 19:10 ESV
So much more was lost, in the Fall, than just innocence. The Fall affected everything, including the marketplace, education, and government. We lost the spontaneous production of the earth, which gave rise to scarcity in the marketplace. We lost the physical presence of God, as He no longer came to walk with and teach His children as He had formerly in the afternoons with Adam and Eve, changing education. And we lost the peaceful harmony in the garden, leading to the rise of governance other than God's, and corruption in rulers (among many other things).

What can we do about that?

Jesus had some really encouraging things to say about the abilities of those who accept Him:
And I tell you, you are Peter [Greek, Petros—a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra—a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it] ~Matthew 16:18 AMP
 He also declared mankind's power over the devil, in the Garden:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her Offspring; He will bruise and tread your head underfoot, and you will lie in wait and bruise His heel.
And lastly, one of my favorites:
 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father. ~John 14:12 AMP
The Lord wants us to know that we have the ability, the power, through Him, to overcome evil. If we did not, this life wouldn't be a test. It would be a trap. It's our choice, whether to take what He has given us and increase it, or to hide it, subjecting ourselves to the enemy of our souls and living the enslaved life the demonic forces desire for us. And this authority isn't just for the Twelve in Jesus' day, or those that carry the burden of leadership today. It is for anyone, as recorded in John 14:12. Our churches should not be fortified compounds for the comfort and fellowship of the faithful. They should be for the equipping of the saints to empower them to go out and LIVE their faith every day, in their spheres of influence, carrying the presence and love of God to such a degree that those around them can't help but receive blessing and peace and comfort.

We are to take the Kingdom of God to the places still held under the enemy's dominion, the gates in the fortified strongholds he has set up, and provide a vector for God to liberate the captive, speaking His words, doing His works. Jesus assures us that the gates of hell will not prevail, if we are built upon the bedrock of the personal revelation of Jesus Christ and walk in the guidance He will give those that seek Him.

How do we really know when we have succeeded?

When we see systemic poverty eliminated, one life at a time, both because individuals change the way they look at that with which God has blessed them:
And he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth." When Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." ~Luke 18:21-22 NASB
Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much." ~Luke 19:8 NASB
 and because of the change in the way we operate in business, stepping out of the roles that the Lord abhors:
Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against the false swearers, and against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and who turn aside the temporary resident from his right and fear not Me, says the Lord of hosts. ~Malachi 3:5 AMP

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!