Monday, November 28, 2011

OCCUPY The World... Til The RETURN of the KING

Matthew 20:6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

We are hearing more and more about the Occupy Wall Street Movement as these days progress. At first I thought pretty much like everyone else did about this movement: another bunch of disgruntled, unemployed people that are angry and frustrated about the way things are headed in this nation.

Sort of like the Tea Partyers but with a harder edge; most of these seemed to be university age youth with enormous schooling debts and little prospect of getting the higher paying jobs they've been aiming for.

Then somewhere in the middle of all this, I began to notice things and wondered if this was everything that it seemed to be, or perhaps something much more. I started doing a little research, and to my (not very big) surprise, there were some discoveries made.

Here are a couple of articles that I submit for your consideration on the matter:

Occupy Wall Street is a Socialist Scam

Occupy Wall Street Follows (Saul) Alinsky Playbook

These people tout signs declaring that "Capitalism Doesn't Work" and others like, "Obama isn't a brown skinned Socialist that gives away free health care . . . you're thinking of Jesus". To see this and other signs, click on any of the images found here.

We are certainly living in turbulent times and there is so much happening, its hard to keep it all straight, and not feel overwhelmed at the way things are spinning out of control. Alinsky would approve of the condition of this nation, because he knew that such soil is ready to receive the ultimate seeds of revolution and transform a society into a Marxist haven where such Socialists can feel at home.

For us Christian however, there really is no place on this planet that we can call 'home'. Many times, somewhat tongue-in-cheek I refer to going to my 'earthly dwelling abode' - or my house - because I can't really call it home.
Our home is heaven, wherein we have our citizenship.

Spiritually speaking, we've been born from above (that is, heaven - or a heavenly birthing), born again (John 3:3, 5), regenerated by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5); as a result of our nativity in the heavenlies, we have no lasting citizenship here. We are pilgrims, strangers, foreigners:

1 Peter 2:11-12
¶ Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation

See also Heb. 11: 13.

We are just passing through this 'foreign land' called Earth, on our way to heaven. Until then however we are to have a lifestyle that is "honest among the Gentiles" who may speak of us disparagingly but if they were honest, they would have to admit to the good works we engage in and are called to (Eph. 2:10) and glorify God . . . "in the day of visitation," that is, when the LORD Jesus Christ returns to take us home, just as He and angelic witnesses have testified (John 14: 3; Acts 1:11).

Unfortunately some Christians are so caught up in looking for the LORD's return, that they are not being diligent in their service for the King. It would seem that many of these are only looking to escape from uncomfortable, even desperate circumstances rather than having the hopeful expectation of the arrival of the KING - any who genuinely seek the LORD with expectation will be busy about their work, knowing that His coming draws near, and such has a purifying effect on one's personal walk (1 John 3:3). Those not looking for the LORD's return, or looking only for their own benefit (delivered from having to pay off a mortgage, a lousy job, a life that is bland or difficult, etc.) will say "my Lord delays His coming..." (Matt. 24: 48-49).

Even though we are to be watching and praying always (Mark 13:33; Luke 21:36), looking and expecting our LORD's return (Titus 2:13), we are not to adopt a 'pie in the sky in the great by and by' attitude and be idle; Paul the apostle gently reproved the church at Thessalonica for these things (1 Thess. 4:11-12; 2 Thess. 3:6, 10-12).

No, we are to occupy* in this world, being busy about the business of the King, until He returns:

* Occupy in the Greek means pretty much what one would suppose: to be busy about something, engaged fully in the business at hand. The idea here is the same as Luke 9: 62; diligence, perseverance and endurance are all implied here, also an undivided heart that will not look back (as with longing over something left behind. Consider Lot's wife (Luke 17: 32-33).

Luke 19:11 ¶ And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.

vs. 12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.

vs. 13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

vs. 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.

vs. 15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.

vs. 16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.

vs. 17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.

vs. 18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.

vs. 19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.

vs. 20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:

vs. 21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.

vs. 22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:

vs. 23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?

vs. 24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.

vs. 25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)

vs. 26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.

vs. 27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me

And from that point, the LORD Jesus Christ, the certain Divine nobleman, ascended up to Jerusalem where He made His grand entrance riding on a donkey, presenting Himself as the Messiah of Israel, but the "citizens" hated him - the religious leaders, and later the people in general with some notable exceptions - and would not have Him rule over them.

The Jews thought that the kingdom of God was near, but they were unaware of the LORD's plan of the ages, that because the nation of Israel would initially reject their Messiah, this would provide an opportunity for the Gentiles to find salvation in the mystery of the church, or the body of Christ, composed of both Jews and Gentiles (but predominantly at this time, the latter). While the kingdom of God was still far off at that point, the King Himself was in their midst!

The LORD Jesus gave them a parable that showed that He would return to His place, that is, heaven (vs. 12; see also Hosea 5:15) once He made His presentation to Israel and propitiation for the sins of the whole world.

As He left this domain and returned to His own, He left instructions and work for those who were genuinely His people (those believing Jews, such as the Apostles, those converted by them, and the early church in the first portion in the book of the Acts of the Apostles and later, the Gentile believers).

In this parable, every servant receives an equal amount - which I believe speaks of the Spirit of God via salvation, and by this same Spirit we are able to live and breathe and work in the kingdom of God (John 3:5).

By the Spirit are we able to affect those around us as we present to them the Gospel, and thereby reproduce fruit after its own kind, that being, salvation. Note that the first two servants are able to increase that which was given to them; the same thing is seen in Matthew 13: 8 in the parable of the Sower of the seed.

For whatever ministry and calling the LORD has placed into our lives (and that is everyone that are born of and citizens to the kingdom of God; every saved soul, every saint has a ministry: what's yours? If you don't yet know, ask the LORD for wisdom to perceive what He has given you, and He will. What sort of gifts do you have? This is a strong indication of where He would have you work in the body of Christ, and out in the world at large) there will come a time when we will be called into account, and receive reward (or not) for faithful service to our King (See 1 Cor. 3: 6 - 15).
Remember, eternal life in heaven is a gift by the grace of God (Rom. 6:23b; Eph. 2:8-9); whatever service we do for our LORD will receive - not gifts, but rewards: the difference being that gifts are free and rewards are earned for good conduct and work.

Yet even for our good works, we cannot boast, for if they are genuinely good (Eph. 2:10), then they are born of God's Spirit and to Him goes the glory and credit; we are just blessed to be included in the work, receive rewards and with which we shall be able to magnify God all the more (Rev. 4:10-11)once we arrive through heaven's portals and into His Presence!

And notice in the parable of Luke 19, that for reproducing that which was granted by the LORD, these first two servants receive an incredible privilege and authority: rulership over (ten or five) cities! How lavish is our LORD in bestowing such incredible reward - for work that was actually accomplished by He Himself: in the hearts of servants that were simply yielded and obedient to the call to service! Amazing!

And then we have the third servant . . . who didn't occupy til the LORD came . . . and this servant could hardly be called that. He was slothful, lazy, accusatory of His LORD; he calls Him "austere" or in a general sense, a very strict person, whose virtues are to the extreme.

Not only did this wicked servant not employ himself in the service of the King, he didn't even so much as deposit it in the bank, where though that wouldn't involve any labor on his part, at least it would draw interest - such is the apathy of this man, who didn't care at all for that which the King offered.
As a result, the ten pounds was taken from this wicked servant and given to the one who was faithful to the highest degree (the first servant). You might ask, "But didn't you say that the ten pounds represent salvation? If that's the case, then this third servant lost his salvation! You don't believe one can lose one's salvation, do you?"

No, I don't believe that a genuinely born again, Spirit indwelt believer can lose their salvation. A very good book on this subject by William MacDonald is called Once In Christ - In Christ Forever. I've read this book and recommend it highly. This very well may be used as subject matter for an upcoming FMF article and book review! This servant that the LORD calls wicked doesn't even keep the ten pounds, does not possess them, but goes and buries them in the dirt!
In my mind, this is hardly a person in possession of salvation! Also that which was intended for the salvation of this third servant, was then turned around and used as further blessing and reward for the first!

Finally, for those who would refuse the LORD in His rightful role as such, these are taken before the LORD in judgment where they are sentenced and executed (vs. 27); for those who reject Jesus Christ as LORD and SAVIOR, they will one day meet Him as their Judge!

2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day

And for those of us who are diligent in serving our LORD out of a heart of love and devotion and thankfulness (1 Cor. 13:2-3) for all that He has done for us:

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of [his] goodness, and the work of faith with power:

That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ

Remember, we are not called to be 'busy' for it's own sake, but to serve the LORD out of a motive of love and devotion - we are not to be 'Marthas' nor really only 'Marys' (though this is the more important and "good part"), but both in their right proportion - See Luke 10: 40-42; also Col. 1: 3-10; 2 Peter 3: 13-14, 17-18.

Therefore may we indeed occupy Earth, this foreign land, this sphere of missionary service, this domain wherein we make true disciples and herald the Gospel of Jesus Christ the God man before a lost and ruinous world - until the LORD arrives and takes us home! I have a very strong feeling that as for the church, we won't be occupying for much longer! Maranatha!

To purchase the book with study guide by William MacDonald, True Discipleship, click here.

Lastly, I would like you to consider this video: The Disturbing Vision of William Booth

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