Wise as Serpents, Gentle as Doves
We have been spending nearly a year in these posts looking at God’s Covenant Order…His salvation and Lordship in our lives; our discipleship response; building every relationship on His Love & Lordship; honoring marriage as the highest of human relationships; family as the foundation of society and building block of Christ’s Church; loving and relationally servant-leading our families and then Christ’s Church…Now that we’re serious about following His Word and making disciples who make disciples in His Covenant Order, He equips us to do what He’s called us to do…
Taking His Gospel message to a lost and dying world and it won’t be easy. Let’s quit fooling ourselves and trying to do it our way. It hasn’t worked. We are making weak church converts rather than strong disciples with a very family-like resemblance to Christ! This is a statement based on both working with individuals, couples and families and the general state of our culture…both the world and our churches.
In our microwave, convenience store, fast food, Internet-driven world, discipline and patience are almost afterthoughts. We “train” our new church converts in a four to eight-week class, call it discipleship, and send them out to show others how much God loves them, how much we love them, and to win their souls for Christ!
We are sending out “empty infants” in Christ!
On the other hand, Jesus, knowing His time for ministry was short, was not willing to send out His disciples until He knew they were ready. Ultimately He spent two of the three years of His public ministry training His disciples before sending them out. He then gave them the encouragement and warning found in Matthew 10:16 (KJ21), “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
How are we doing when it comes to sending out wise and shrewd messengers and disciples? What are we exporting?
We have not, cannot, and will not be able to do this with programs and systems alone…we must prioritize the difficult, but eternally rewarding work of making disciples in loving relationships!
There are many issues that we as a country, and even through our churches, have exported around the globe with horrific consequences. As we have removed or compromised the Biblical Truths and perspectives the results have been lacking at best and devastating at worst. The culture, through our education, media and government, has co-opted the Gospel message for some time, couching it in familiar terms but exporting death and destruction. Abortion couched in human rights language, sexual sin in terms of health, well-being, sexual rights, and pornography labeled as free speech. The Church has done little in many cases to counter the messages and efforts, and in others cases has helped to spread the demoralizing and devastating outcomes. (2 Timothy 4:2-4; Romans 1:18-32)…Folks we are there!
Much of what has been shared from the western culture progressivism has elevated unhealthy relationships and sexual immorality disguising them as education and legislation. Not content to let others decide for themselves we have forced other cultures and countries to comply through financial incentives or held them hostage with financial restrictions, such as withholding government funding for HIV-AIDS or other program funding if they will not agree to teach and promote the destructive and devastating condom and contraception-based sex education.
When we comply, by consent or silence, we are allowing the enemy to attack the very foundations of God’s creation and order from the beginning.
The reason I’m focusing on porneia and sexual sin as we discuss taking His message to a lost and hurting world is because this is the core issue and the greatest ammunition the enemy has in destroying the foundations that God laid down at creation. In His design, male and female were created for marriage in a lifetime monogamous covenant commitment and sex is reserved for this union only. When porn is disguised as “education” and deceitfully marketed as “safe,” it goes directly against all that is God and His Truth and Love. (Philippians 2:12-16a)
As stated previously, porn/porneia is the greatest destroyer of love and relationship and the only thing that will overcome it is the power of the Gospel lived out through His families and Church. Loving relationships is the currency of Christ’s Kingdom!
If we are going to re-establish the foundations of God’s Word in marriage, family, and His Church then we must expose and stand firm against this evil. We must be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves. And we must not be afraid to proclaim His whole Truth regarding relationships, marriage, family and sexuality.
Look at the root of the sin, porneia, which the enemy uses to destroy lives, relationships, and communities through relational brokenness, sexual perversion and immorality, divorce and broken families. The result is that we hinder our ability to serve the Church, and ultimately cripple its ministry. Most of it is exported from a pornified culture rooted in Churchianity!
How can our churches survive if we continue to placate the culture? What was and is being exported is what is far too prevalent in our churches today. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 18-20; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Colossians 3:4-6)
C.S. Lewis says it this way in The Weight of Glory, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Only in Christ and by the blood and body of His sacrifice can and have we overcome. May we walk in His overcoming!
In our modern day culture, it is obvious that there are several issues that we need to address in order to come against what the world and enemy of our souls is pandering and boldly, yet graciously, step up and proclaim God’s Truth over all things. As Abraham Kuyper stated, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”
Why have we, as Christ’s Church, allowed the world to dictate when and where His
Truth can be spoken and applied? It is the only thing that will set people free, but we claim graciousness in withholding His Word in politics, schools, media, and more while Satan continues to enslave and destroy. (John 15:18-19; 1 Peter 3:15) We must do so in spite of the world’s spite for Him and for His Truth in and through us!
Here are current issues and outcomes that give evidence to our fear and timidity, and Paul said: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NASB)
CURRENT OUTCOMES/POTENTIAL STRUGGLES
- Emotionally-driven salvation
- Very lacking in obedience-based discipleship
- Spiritually immature, fleshly driven service
- Focus on people above God
- Churches/Christians that look and act like the culture – Conformed to the world
The Father seeks those who worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23-24). This is not those who just attend church, give and serve and their idea of worship is a 15 minute song service during the weekend. These are those who give all of their lives as a living sacrifice in realizing the incredible grace and mercy that we’ve been given in Christ (Romans 12:1-2).
All of the issues of conforming to the world listed in yesterday’s devotional have been addressed throughout this series as a response to Jesus’ own prophecy of Judgment Day in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”
The only thing that we have any control over in this prophecy is whether we are contributing to the “many” whom Jesus refers to or working to diminish the “many” that don’t really know Him and add to the souls that do! Are we conforming to the world thinking we’re doing a great job…or are we living as Christ’s true disciples and helping others know Him?
“When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)
Will He find us faithful and fruitful for His Kingdom as we build loving relationships and make disciples? Or are we content to make church members and converts? (Ephesians 5:1-4)
There are many problems facing our churches today but the greatest and most blatant, and yet most hidden, is the issue of porneia or sexual immorality. This permeates our culture and directly attacks the foundations for marriage, family and loving relationships upon which God created the world and that symbolically point to Christ and His Church.
We have been looking at the current state of marriage, family and the churches. The lies and deception permeate our systems, destroying God’s design for gender, relationships, sexuality, marriage, and family, and cripple His Church. All the while we keep up the facade through numbers, giving and serving that help to hide this destroyer of Kingdom currency – loving relationships!
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – May we repent and confess and/all of these issues and bring them into the light. As we do and with forgiveness received we can then move forward in Christ’s Authority and the power of The Holy Spirit to impact our world for His Glory!
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) –
- Read the Scriptures in this article and ask The Holy Spirit to teach you.
- Check school curriculum in your community, media and legislation to determine where you can stand up and expose and potentially shut down the information and teachings that go against God’s Word.
- Step up and make your voice heard where you can.
- School committees and boards;
- Legislators – Contact The Family Foundation; American Family Association; Kentucky Right to Life and others.