Historically the body of Christ in Utah has tried to outwit and out maneuver a people who don’t believe what we believe. So, our starting points are everything. If you don’t believe in my starting point, then why would you believe in my ending? This is why the bible declares that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but rather, divinely formed and fashioned for the tearing down of strongholds.
So . . what are our weapons? It’s not a theological hammer used to declare that my truth is superior to yours. It’s not the holding up of the canonicity of our scriptures as absolute truth that will win the day. Remember, it’s our starting points that define what people believe. I have a book, they have a book. If they don’t believe in my starting point then they will not embrace my book.
What are the weapons of our warfare that will change our culture in Utah? What is it that will be the convincing proof that there is something different about us? I believe that two things should define who we are as Christians in this valley.
THE FIRST DIVINELY FORMED WEAPON IS LOVE: The message of Jesus to his disciples was simple, “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:34-35 msg).
LOVE WINS AND LOVE ENDURES. Can we take a lesson from the writings of the apostle Paul when he declares in 1 Corinthians 13 that:
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything, Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best, Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
SECONDLY WE MUST CARRY THE AUTHORITY AND DEMONSTRATION FOR SIGNS, WONDERS, AND MIRACLES.
Yes miraculous power and authority is a divinely formed weapon that is a convincing proof of God’s goodness!
In short. . .We owe the world around us an encounter with Jesus Christ. He was the one who declared that, “the person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it” (John14:12-ff).
When he sent the disciples out He gave them this mandate, ”as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:7-8) Yes, people need to see God’s love demonstrated! The writer of the book of Acts opens up the letter by declaring, “in the first volume of this book I wrote on everything that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he said good-bye to the apostles” (Acts 1:1). Jesus came to earth both teaching and doing. He wasn’t a savior who only came with a message. He came with what the Apostle Paul describes as, “not just wise or persuasive words, but with a clear demonstration of the Spirits power” (1 Cor. 2:4). Jesus Christ didn’t just tell us about the love of the Father, He demonstrated it by healing all who were sick and afflicted.
My greatest heartbeat for Utah is that we see the spirit of religion bow to the authority of love of Jesus Christ. I’m not angry or upset with any particular people group. Many so called evangelicals come into this valley eager to make a name for themselves in the beehive state for the Kingdom and only succeed in “kicking the beehive”. There message is one of condemnation and accusation, not of love and hope. The truth that must be not only declared but demonstrated is that, “it is the kindness and love of God that draws us to repentance” (Romans 2:4).
One day Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees as to what He was going to do with the women who was caught in the very act of adultery. His response was not what they were expecting or what they were looking for. They had her all sized up. She deserved to be stoned to death for her abhorrent behavior. But Jesus! I love Him! He simply digs a bit deeper by asking questions. Questions like: “Is there anyone here who is without sin? Let him cast the first stone.” Then questions like this to the women, Where have all of your accusers gone? Her response. ” Lord there is no one here left to accuse me.” And Jesus being rich in love and mercy simply says. “Neither do I accuse you. . . Go and sin no more.” Jesus could have exacted what the pharisees were after. He could have judged her and condemned her. But he chose love! Why? Because mercy triumphs over judgement, and where sin abounds, grace is much bigger! His heart was not to punish, but to restore! We need to love the world like He does. When He looked over the sinful condition of cities He didn’t have a desire in His heart to judge them. He literally wept over cities because in His words, “they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Can we as the body of Christ in Utah begin to look over our cites and do the same. I can promise you this, you will never change a people that you don’t love.
Remember what I said earlier, our starting points will determine how we finish. Jesus put it this way: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).