New Zealand politicians have not had a happy time in the last year. All sorts of sins and failures have been exposed on all sides the political spectrum. Now the leader of the largest opposition party has had to resign.
Most politicians seem to lead fairly dysfunctional lives. If they cannot manage their own lives, how can the make laws that will determine the way that other people live.
Why do we let these clowns who cannot manage their own live tell us how to run our lives?
Thursday, November 30, 2006
New Zealand politicians have not had a happy time in the last year. All sorts of sins and failures have been exposed on all sides the political spectrum. Now the leader of the largest opposition party has had to resign.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Yesterday I asked four thelogical questions.
1. Did Jesus burp after eating?
2. Did Jesus ever have a headache?
3. Did Jesus fart?
4. Did Jesus ever catch a cold?
My answers are:
Burping and farting are a normal part of human life. If we Jesus was truely human, these things would be a normal part of his life.
On the other hand, sickness came into the world through the fall. There were no headaches or colds in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve's sin allowed the Devil to attack us with these sicknesses. Jesus was able to resist the attacks of the enemy, because he lived a sinless life.
I can imagine him being tired and exhausted. I can even imagine him burping after the last supper, but I just cannot imagine him with a cold or a headache.
More on this topic here.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
Poverty is one of the more persistent problems faced in the modern world. Governments have spent billions and billions of dollars on social welfare schemes with only limited succsess. They have donated billions of dollars as foreign aid, but the problem of poverty in the third world has hardly been dented. The problem is that man’s way always fails. God has provided clear wisdom and guidance for dealing with poverty. We will only eliminate poverty from the world, when we do it God’s way.
The full text of this complete series can be found here.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
An employer is also required to treat the bonded employee well. If the employer does physical harm to a bonded employee, he or she must be set free from their debt.
If a man hits a manservant or maidservant in the eye and destroys it, he must let the servant go free to compensate for the eye. And if he knocks out the tooth of a manservant or maidservant, he must let the servant go free to compensate for the tooth (Ex 21:26-27).When the bonded employee has repaid the amount of the bond, they are to be set free. The employer must be generous to the departing servant.
Supply him liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you. Do not consider it a hardship to set your servant free, because his service to you these six years has been worth twice as much as that of a hired hand. And the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do (Deut 15:13,18).The employer’s help allow the departing employee to get started in their new life. The employer can be generous, because they will receive God’s blessing for providing help in this way.
This complete series can be found here
Saturday, November 25, 2006
The bonded employment option is only used for really serious poverty. Sometimes a person will have a financial problem that is two serious to be dealt with by an interest free. This is most like to occur where a person has to make restitution for a crime and has no credit record to justify the loan and no family member willing to act as guarantor to a lender.
The poor person will bond themselves to an employer for up to seven years in return for a lump-sum advance in wages.
If a fellow Hebrew, a man or a woman, sells himself to you and serves you six years, in the seventh year you must let him go free (Deut 15:12).The length of the loan will depend on the amount advanced and the productive capacity of the person receiving the loan. During the time that the person is bonded, they will not be able change employers or move to a different place of residence. The employer would give them enough to pay for food and shelter, but the rest of what they earn would go towards paying back the loan.
The employer making the loan is running quite a risk, because they would not know how useful their employee will be. He may end up advancing more wages than he can recoup within seven years, especially if he is generous. There is also a risk that the bonded employee might abscond.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Gleaning is a third way that Christians can help the poor. This is a biblical principle.
When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. (Deut 24:19-21).Land owners were required to leave some of their crop for the poor to glean.
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God (Lev 19:910)
The interesting thing about this approach is that the poor person has to work quite hard to get the grain. Gleaning is harder work than harvesting, because the easiest part of the crop has been already been harvested. This hard work develops good work habits. It also contributes to the self respect of the gleaner.
Developing modern gleaning is a challenge for Christian business owners. They should be looking for ways to give some of there surplus stock or spare capacity to poor people in ways that will help them get ahead. This will require creativity to be effective.
Rural gleaning is not practical for people living in urban cultures. Business people should be looking for opportunities to apply the gleaning principle by helping poor people through their business.
An ISP operator might provide free access to the Internet for job searches. Another business might provide training on how to use machines or equipment during the evening. Businesses could give surplus machinery or computing equipment to poor people starting a business.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Loans give an incentive for the person to get back onto their feet. Most people do not want to be in debt. They will usually work hard to pay back the loan.
The worst effect of government social welfare is the effect that it has on the incentive to work and succeed. People no longer have to work to supply their needs, because the government will provide for them. Those who do work are taxed heavily, to pay the cost of social welfare. They soon get the feeling that it does not pay to work hard and the whole economy is weakened. Poor loans strengthen the economy.
Poor loans are an excellent method for helping people in third world countries. The greatest problem is lack of capital. Local lenders often charge exorbitant interest rates that enslave people for life. Providing people with an interest free loan to start a business if often the best way to help them. They will often be able to repay the loan quite quickly. An effective business will provide financial support for the entire life time. Those who are successful will be able to help families. Interest free loans are often the best way to help the poor.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
The second main method for assisting the poor is an interest-free loan. When a person strikes temporary hardship, they will often need help to get started again. They may need to pay for training or need capital to start a business. The solution is a loan of some money. God’s people are commanded to be generous to those in need.
If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tight fisted toward your poor brother. Rather be open handed and freely lend him whatever he needs. Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land. (Deut 15:7,8,10). The context of this passage is interest on poor loans. There are several important principles that apply.
The problem with charity is that it makes the recipient feel dependent and worthless. Providing a loan says to the person that you are confident in their future. You are saying that you have faith in them. This helps build the person’s self esteem and self-respect.
Do not charge your brother interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest. 20 You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a brother Israelite, so that the LORD your God may bless you in everything you put your hand to in the land you are entering to possess. (Deut 23:19-20). The loaner gives up the interest that they could earn if they put the money in bank. They are effectively giving their interest away.
If the man is poor, do not go to sleep with his pledge in your possession. Return his cloak to him by sunset so that he may sleep in it. Then he will thank you, and it will be regarded as a righteous act in the sight of the LORD your God (Deut 24:10-13).
When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, do not go into his house to get what he is offering as a pledge. Stay outside and let the man to whom you are making the loan bring the pledge out to you (Deut 24:10-13).
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Christians four main methods for helping the poor. The first is the Daily Food Distribution. Poor people who are unwilling to work should not receive help (2 Thes 3:10). People with families should seek help from that source first. They should only go to the church if their family are unable to help (1 Tim 5:4). Poor people receiving help should be expected to help the church by devoting themselves to prayer (1 Tim 5:5). People who live for pleasure should not be helped (1 Tim 5:6). Young widows should remarry rather than remain dependent on the church for a long time (1 Tim 5:11-15). Efforts should focus on those in serious need. Care should normally be short term. People were encouraged to take steps that would enable them to support themselves. Most attention will be given to older widows who are unable to care for themselves. The church should always be the last resort for those seeking help. Care for the poor should function at the local level where the people are known.
During times of crisis and in poor countries, Deacons should organise a daily distribution of food to those who are poor. For example, the apostles organised a “daily distribution of food” in Jerusalem (Acts 6:2).
Regular distributions of food may not be necessary during more normal times. The focus will shift to caring for widows and others who have fallen into hardship. Some pragmatic principles for this work are outlined in Paul’s letter to Timothy. The aim was to focus on those with real needs.
Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need (1 Tim 5:3).Some of these widows might have been the wives of martyrs. Help is only provided to those with genuine needs.
Four principles will shape the efforts of the church to care of the poor.
Poor people who are unwilling to work should not receive help (2 Thes 3:10).
People with families should seek help from that source first. They should only go to the church if their family are unable to help (1 Tim 5:4).
Poor people receiving help should be expected to help the church by devoting themselves to prayer (1 Tim 5:5).
People who live for pleasure should not be helped (1 Tim 5:6).
Young widows should remarry rather than remain dependent on the church for a long time (1 Tim 5:11-15).
Efforts should focus on those in serious need.
Care should normally be short term. People were encouraged to take steps that would enable them to support themselves.
Most attention will be given to older widows who are unable to care for themselves. The church should always be the last resort for those seeking help.
Care for the poor should function at the local level where the people are known.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Women can fulfil the ministry of the deacon. Deaconesses are referred to twice in the New Testament. Phoebe a deaconess of the Church of Cenchrea is mentioned by Paul in Romans 16:1. The women referred to in 1 Timothy 3:11 are almost certainly deaconesses.
The ministry of the deacon can be performed well by a married couple. The husband would work with men and his wife would work with the women. The deacon’s wife would concentrate on helping the wives to manage their homes wisely.
Widows can also exercise this ministry. They would have responsibility for caring for the other widows in the Church. Where a Church is under persecution this would be a very important ministry, as there will be many widows or women with husbands in prison or in heaven.
Women tend to function better than men in situations where personal care is needed. Female behaviour is orientated towards helping and caring for personal needs. This means that women often do the work of a deacon better than men. They should be released into this ministry.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
The qualifications for the selection of deacons are listed in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. These are relevant to the nature of their work.
- A deacon must be a person who does not pursue dishonest gain. Because they are responsible for the money of the Church, deacons must be trustworthy. They must have proved that they can handle money wisely and responsibly.
- A deacon must be able to manage his household. If a man cannot manage his own household, then he will not be able to manage the finances of the Church. The elders should look at the way a person’s household is functioning for evidence that he has the ability to do the work of a deacon. However, there is another reason why household management is important. The deacon also has a teaching role. He does not just give money to the people who are poor. He also teaches them how to manage their households better, so that they can manage on their own in the future without help. A deacon could not do this unless he was skilled in managing his own household. This would mean that monetary help would always be given on a short-term basis.
- A deacon must also have a clear knowledge of the truths of the faith. This is because he also has an evangelistic ministry. The Christian gospel is always directed to the whole person. If a person is hungry, it is no use preaching the gospel to them, without feeding them. On the other hand, feeding a hungry person is no use without doing something about their spiritual needs. Deacons have a total ministry to the poor. As they distribute food and clothing, they will also preach the gospel. This is why they must have a good knowledge of the faith.
Some evangelists will start their ministry as deacons. Philip and Stephen both began their service as a deacon and then went on to a successful ministry as an evangelist.
- People skills are more important than knowledge of finance and administration. The early Church chose deacons who were skilled in working with people.
- Deacons should be full of the Spirit (Acts 6:2-4). They will need the discernment and wisdom that only the Holy Spirit can give. They would have personal contact with those that they are helping, so they could quickly weed out those who were bludging. The money would go to those with genuine needs.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
The ministry of the deacon is the important for the care of the poor. In the New Testament, deacons were the social “welfare arm” of the Church. The record of the appointment of the first deacons is in Acts 6. Men like Barnabas, when called to a Christian ministry, had sold their property and "brought the money and laid it at the apostles feet". The twelve used this money to provide for those in need.
When the number of disciples had increased, some of the Grecian Jews complained because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and of wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:2-4).This proposal pleased the whole group so they appointed seven men who were full of the Spirit. They presented these men to the apostles who laid hands on them. The result was that the word of God spread, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly.
The deacons were responsible for the offerings of the Church. They used them to provide for the needs of the poor and the sick. In doing this they were fulfilling the parable of the Good Samaritan. When he found a person in trouble, he took action to meet the immediate need. He then took further action to find a permanent solution, taking responsibility for the cost himself. This is a good pattern for the ministry of a deacon.
Friday, November 17, 2006
As Churches get serious about sharing their possessions, a simple lifestyle should start to emerge. People will still own property and possessions, but their attitudes should be very different. They will choose a simpler lifestyle, not because possessions are evil, but because they are irrelevant. Christians should be so focussed on what God is doing that they lose interest in the things that occupy the world.
If the Holy Spirit is really moving in power, Christians will find it hard to be absorbed in a newer house or a bigger yacht? If the Lord is “adding to their number daily”, “retail therapy” will seem quite boring. If there is great joy in their neighbourhood, because paralytics and cripples are being restored, who would be dreaming about upgrading their car? The members of a Church will be so involved in the work of the Holy Spirit, that they will lose the need to own more and more things.
Sharing will mean that Christians can live better than the rest of society, while owning fewer possessions. Consequently, they will be able to spend less time working for money and more time working for the Lord. If they are called to work, they will be able to give more freely to support people in need. Sharing will free up resources for the work of the Kingdom. If God’s people learn to live simply and to share what they have, deacons will be able to use the surplus to minister to people in need.
Labels: Poor Sharing
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Sharing is important because it makes the gospel visible. Jesus promised that if we love each other, people will be drawn to him.
A new commandment I give you: Love one another as I have loved you, so must you love one another. All men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:34,35).The people of the world are entitled to look at a Church to see if its members love each other. The problem is that love is not easy to see. Forgiveness and encouragement will often not be visible to those outside the Church.
I when I am lifted up from the earth,will draw all men to myself (John 12:32).
The best way for Christians to make their love visible is by sharing their possessions. In a world where riches and poverty are normal, a Church with “no needy people” will be a very visible witness to the love of Jesus.
A sharing Church would be a tremendous testimony to people living close by. Christianity is not just a personal relationship with Jesus. His death on the cross also broke down the barrier of sin that divides us from other people. His people must demonstrate their restored relationships. In a world that is hungry for love, the best witness may not be a believer saying “Jesus loves me”, but a group of Christians freely sharing their possessions.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Caring for the poor must always be voluntary. God does not force us to do good, so sharing must always be a free choice.
Christian love produced a radically different attitude to possessions. Instead of being something to enjoy, they were seen as a gift from God to be used to strengthen the Church.
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them (Acts 4:32-34).Christians like Barnabas responded to the gospel by selling their property and giving to those in need (Acts 4:36-37). There was not compulsion. All this giving was voluntary.
The story of Ananias and Saphira is well known, but we often miss the point of incident. It does show the dangers of lying to God, but more important, it shows that giving and sharing must always be voluntary. Peter’s words are important.
Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? (Acts 5:3,4).Peter’s key point is that Ananias’s land belonged to him before he sold it. The money belonged to him after he had sold it. He was under no compulsion to give anything. He could have kept the whole value of the property for himself without condemnation.
Christian sharing must always be a free response to the love of Jesus. The motivation must be compassion, not condemnation. Sharing must always be voluntary. It must motivated by love and not by peer pressure. Demanding that someone share is always unacceptable. Charity is a privilege, not a right.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Most people feel that large variations in income or wealth are wrong. This is confirmed in the Bible. God’s goal is equality.
Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality (2 Cor 8:13,14).This is the same goal as the socialists, but the method of achieving the goal is different. Socialists use compulsory taxation to transfer income and wealth from the rich to the poor. This makes the rich angry and leaves the poor still poor.
God also wants equality, but his way is by sharing. The theme of the entire chapter is not compulsory redistribution, but generosity and sharing.
For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. (2 Cor 8:3-5).Paul’s is a radical vision. He believed that if Christians grabbed hold of this sharing concept, the result would be equality. We are a long way from Paul’s vision, because we have not understood that sharing our wealth is the normal response to Jesus death on the cross. Generous sharing should be normal for Christians.
Monday, November 13, 2006
In situations where families are unable to provide the help that is needed, the church must get involved. Caring for the poor is part of the responsibility of every Christian.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him (1 Jn 3:16-17).These verses are really challenging for Christians. We know that Jesus laid down his life for us. We should also be prepared to lay down our lives for others by sharing our possessions. This is best done by the body of Christ sharing together. Deacons are members of the church who care for the poor on behalf of the church.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Families caring for each other is different from the modern concept, where the state is expected to care for the elderly. The biblical principle is that children and grandchildren should care for the elderly.
The traditional family managed inter-generational wealth transfers very effectively. Parents cared for children when they were young, and children provided for their parents when they grew old. This worked well, because parents have their greatest earning power, when their children need expensive tertiary education. The children have their best earning power, when their parents are old and dependent on them.
The modern social welfare state has created problems by shifting wealth between generations without thought for the consequences. These changes have broken the bonds that held our wider families together. Parents no longer provide for their teenage children, so they have less influence on their lives, just when the need is greatest. Often extended families do no know each other well, so they are not in a position to support each other. Christian community will have to be restored so that families can provide economic support for each other in times of need.
God has given fathers the responsibility for providing for their families and where the father or his family fails to provide, the church is responsible to meet the need. When the state becomes the provider, it takes this responsibility away from the father and he loses his self respect. This weakens family life, making the whole welfare problem worse.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
The primarily responsibility for supporting those who become poor belongs within families.
If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especiallyFamilies should provide financial support for each other. The first port of call when someone gets in financial difficulty will be other family members. Family members are in the best position to provide help. They will know the person well, so they will understand their situation. Family members will quickly identify anyone who does not deserve help because they are just being lazy. The recipient may also have opportunities to provide assistance in the future, so help tends to be more reciprocal.
for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an
unbeliever (1 Tim 5:8).
The responsibility to provide care extends to children and grandchildren.
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God (1 Tim 5:4).
Thursday, November 09, 2006
This may seem obvious, but responsibility for providing our material needs is our own personal responsibility. Paul stated this quite bluntly when he said that those who will not work should not eat.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you…. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat (2 ThesEach person has a responsibility to provide for there own needs. This will generally mean working to earn enough money to pay for all that we need.
Personal provision includes saving enough to deal with the small emergencies that will arise from time to time (Prov 21:20). We do not know the future, but we can be certain that troubles will come; so a wise person will put a little aside to prepare for the unexpected.
Other methods of support only kick in when some unique circumstances prevent a person from providing for himself. For example, sickness or some other impairment may prevent a person from working. They will need support from others by one of the methods described in the Bible.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
The common preference is to help the poor by taxing the rich. The scriptures do not give responsibility for caring for the poor to rich people of society. Rich people are urged not to trust in their wealth. They are warned that their wealth may quickly disappear. They are warned that they may die before they have a chance to enjoy their wealth. However, the Bible is realistic and does not expect the rich to do good to the poor (if they are not Christians).
Furthermore, Jesus is not in the business of forcing rich people to be generous. The modern approach to poverty is to tax the rich and give their money to the poor. The implicit argument goes like this. Rich people are not as good as the rest of us, so they cannot be trusted to be generous of their own accord. They should be forced to be generous. We should tax the rich more, so the money can be used for the poor.
The problem with this approach is that Jesus never forced people be good. He would never force the rich to be generous. The Bible gives responsibility for the poor to Christians, not the rich. Christians who want to tax the rich to bless the poor are passing the buck.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Poverty is a central issue for Christians. To be credible, we must provide proposals for the cure of poverty.
Many Christians advocate a reduction in taxes and welfare benefits. These things will eventually happen, but we should not even think about these policies, until we have alternative solutions in place and working. Compassion demands nothing less.
In this series of posts, I will outline several biblical methods for dealing with poverty.
Monday, November 06, 2006
The sixth commandment states that theft is a crime punishable by the civil courts. If there is no concept or convention of private property, there is no need for money, because someone who wants something can just take it, regardless of who has produced it. If there were an abundance of everything this might work. However, as scarcity is a fact of life in a fallen world, this is not practical. The outcome would be determined by force. The strong would have plenty and the weak would get nothing. This would result in a different concept of property; one where everything is controlled by the strongest, regardless of who produced it.
A concept of property is really inescapable. The important issue is whose property the law will protect. Biblical property laws protect those who have produced goods and services.
If a system of private property is to function efficiently, there must be a process for the exchange for goods and services. It is not practical for each person to produce everything that they need. Most people will produce more than they need of what they are best at and exchange it for other things that they need. This division of labour allows people to be more productive and the economy to be more efficient.
For the division of labour to work, there must be a way for people to freely and confidently exchange the goods and services which they produce and own. Money allows the people of a society to exchange goods and services easily.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Many Christians believe their true home is in heaven and they cannot wait to get there. However, this is not completely true. Our current home is on the earth. Paul had dual citizenship. He was a Jewish citizen and a Roman citizen. He had rights in both places.
We are dual citizens as well. We are citizens of both earth and heaven, having rights in both places. We should not become so focused on heaven that we forget our role on earth. Earth belongs to God and we are his stewards. He needs us to complete his work here.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
The kingdom of man is currently building up to collapse. It has been building up its power to enormous heights, but has been unable to deliver what it has promised and is cracking at the seams. When it collapses there will be an enormous power vacuum. The group that is ready with an alternative vision will receive a great welcome. The Christian community should be getting ready for this challenge.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Bill Bonner has a great take on Richard Dawkin's latest book called the God Delusion.
Heaven doesn't exist, says Richard Dawkins; it is a 'delusion," quoth he in the Times and in his current best seller. Dawkins, of course, knows no more about whether God exists than we do. But he lacks our modesty; perhaps he was short gold from '80 to '99. Maybe he went long stocks in 2002. Or maybe he is just naturally an arrogant jackass. But the man seems to think that if God were to exist he would have to reveal himself to modern, skeptical scientists. This is the sum of Dawkins' argument - that God must exist in a way that Richard Dawkins can understand.
"God is dead," said Friedrich Nietzsche. "God never existed," says Dawkins. "God can do whatever he wants," says Bill Bonner.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
This doctrine that Jesus will return to establish the Kingdom, is Satan’s greatest lie. He has used this lie to successfully cripple the church, but it is not true
The common view that Jesus will personally come back and establish the Kingdom of God is not true. The Bible teaches that Jesus will return to receive the kingdom from the church, so that he can hand it back to the Father (1 Cor 15:24,25).
Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God incessantly. His gospel was a gospel of the kingdom. It was not a gospel of Kingdom at the end of age. It was a gospel of the Kingdom of God at hand, now. He commissioned the church to establish the kingdom, now.
This seems strange to us. Jesus' view of the Kingdom is different from the view of most Christians. The reason is that many Christians have unwittingly accepted a lie from Satan. He has fooled us into believing that Jesus will establish the Kingdom when he returns. He has fooled us into believing that we don’t have to do it, because Jesus will do it for us. The problem with this is that he has robbed us of our inheritance.
When we read the Scriptures, we tend to shift the passages that promise victory to after the Second Coming. The Scriptures that promise hard times are assigned to the current age. This is part of the lie that Satan has sold us. The reality is that most of the passages about victory are meant for this age. We have been robbed of these promises of hope.
A corporate mental stronghold is a false idea that takes hold in a culture so that it is wisely accepted. The belief that Jesus will build the Kingdom of God when he returns is a corporate mental stronghold that has crippled the Church
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
From Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Sermon on 2 Corinthians 12:9:
Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear rather than too much. Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now. Christians should take a stronger stand in favor of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong."