I want to continue where I left off last time. I talked about how there’s a rest for the people of God in the midst of the craziness all around us. Today, I want to ask, what is our place in this world gone mad? One that’s long severed its tether from the Light of the World for their social counterfeits.
To answer this, we must first ask what Jesus would do in our situation. Consider this story in Luke 15. Notice how Jesus responds to the religious leader’s indignation to His relationship with the societal outcasts:
Many dishonest tax collectors and other notorious sinners often gathered around to listen as Jesus taught the people. 2 This raised concerns among the Jewish religious leaders and experts of the law. Indignant, they grumbled and complained, saying, “Look at how this man associates with all these notorious sinners and welcomes them all to come to him!” 3 In response, Jesus gave them this illustration: 4–5 “There once was a shepherd with a hundred lambs, but one of his lambs wandered away and was lost. So the shepherd left the ninety-nine lambs out in the open field and searched in the wilderness for that one lost lamb. He didn’t stop until he finally found it. With exuberant joy, he raised it up, placed it on his shoulders, and carried it back with cheerful delight! 6 Returning home, he called all his friends and neighbors together and said, ‘Let’s have a party! Come and celebrate with me the return of my lost lamb. It wandered away, but I found it and brought it home.’ ”
7 Jesus continued, “In the same way, there will be a glorious celebration in heaven over the rescue of one lost sinner who repents, comes back home, and returns to the fold—more so than for all the righteous people who never strayed away.” (Luke 15:1-7 TPT*)
We all know this story well. But do we understand what Jesus is saying to us? Who are our “dishonest tax collectors and notorious sinners”?
At a leadership conference a few months ago, Bill Vanderbush asked us what atmosphere are we carrying. Is it the atmosphere of heaven? Or, of our circumstances? He talked about how all of creation is waiting for us—the sons and daughters of God—to get it. For creation seems to know something we still don’t.
19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. (Rom.8:19-21 NIV*)
Bill said that the earth gets to be as free as we think we are. That statement was profound.
The answer: Spiritual Joyfare!
Beloved, we are called to engage in spiritual joyfare! It’s the kindness of God that leads people to repentance (Rom.2:4). And when the lost do return to Jesus, He throws a party! Isaiah prophesied this promise of God to us:
12 “For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (Isa.55:12 NKJV*)
Notice the earth’s response to our peace and joy? When we are filled with HIS joy in His presence (Psalm 16:11; John 15:9-11), this broken world responds. And all of creation responds.
The one thing that the powers of darkness cannot stand is joy! Our peace and joy are our greatest weapons against hell’s fury.
We are God’s legislative assembly
Jesus calls us His church—His legislative assembly. We are God’s authority on the earth. Our job is to bring heaven’s rule to earth.
18 I give you the name Peter, a stone. And this rock will be the bedrock foundation on which I will build my church—my legislative assembly, and the power of death will not be able to overpower it!19 I will give you the keys of heaven’s kingdom realm to forbid on earth that which is forbidden in heaven, and to release on earth that which is released in heaven.” (Matt.16:18-19 TPT*)
The enemy has gained much real estate in the hearts and minds of people because the Church has been asleep for decades. Or, we’ve tried to fight the darkness off with our vitriolic judgmentalism. The point is, we didn’t go out with His peace and joy.
Sean Feucht recently said, “A scared world needs a fearless church!” And it’s God’s perfecting love that cast out all our fear (1 John 4:18). As we walk in His love, we become courageous, full of His life and joy, breaking down the darkest strongholds wherever we find them.
Beloved, there was never a time more than now for us to shine! This world needs the Father’s love for them, and they will most likely experience that love through us.
Yes, we should expose the lies of Satan with his poisonous ideologies, but we engage people’s hearts with His love. This is where true transformation takes place.
I will put all these thoughts together with a clip from Sean Feucht’s recent worship event in downtown Portland, Oregon, which is ground-zero for all the cultural chaos we’ve witnessed in the past year. I want you to notice how the hardest and most radical respond to Jesus’ love. From what I understand, at least one member of Antifa was saved at this event. Yes, our heavenly Father’s love is relentless. He won’t stop until He finds the one.
I hope this inspires and encourages you. God is at work, even in the most difficult places! We should not succumb to fear or passivity but remember that we are Jesus’ Church, the redeemed from every tribe, nation, and tongue. And that all the power of hell cannot prevail against it. Amen.