Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
The Upside Down Church
by Erik Momsen
Many Christians know that we should make a difference because Christ has made a huge difference in our lives. He has walked into our lives and led us into the church He loves. Often however the church does not meet our expectations. This is so for various reasons.
The church of the new testament made such an impact on the society around it that it was claimed that "these men are turning the world up side down".
Two thousand years later we think of the early disciples as supermen, but they were very ordinary people. God picked them so purposefully. It is part of the "Up Side Down Kingdom" that God chooses the weak and foolish and does great things through them. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says: "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him".
Of the men God picked - emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper (Peter). Others were self serving and impatient with others (James and John, the sons of Thunder). Another one doubted almost everything (Thomas) and God picked a blacklisted businessman (Matthew). God even picked a thief and a back-stabber (Judas).
HOW DID THEY CHANGE THE WORLD ?
THEY WALKED IN THE SPIRIT AND NOT THE FLESH
Our human natures predispose us to doing things in our own strength. We use our own ideas, programs, skills and even force to achieve what we think is God's will. We must remember that God says; "My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are my ways your ways" (Isaiah 55:8).
The disciples had the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives but they were also told to expect the power of the Spirit. They were told they would be "filled with the Spirit". This word "filled" has various meanings and suggests "a sail being filled", "being permeated with ..." and suggests an ongoing process.
A filled sail is directed and empowered. Secondly, we are "permeated" with the Spirit's presence and power. The Spirit influences every thought, action, word and prayer. Power is needed to do this. This "being filled with the Spirit" is a continuous process. It is a daily relationship with the Spirit of God. Every Christian must realise that we can make no real difference without the Spirit's constant presence and power.
THEY WALKED IN GOD'S PURPOSES
Some of the disciples however did not start out this way. Peter actually became the instrument of Satan. He recovered, but Judas did not. Jesus told Peter the Upside Down plans of God. Peter contradicts Jesus and paints a rosy picture. We need to be aware that we may have the Lord say to us, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Matt hew16:23).
We could be a stumbling block and not a stepping-stone for God's purposes. By our human nature we have the things of men in mind and not the things of God. In the Bible God tells us to change the way we think.
Abraham: "What, sacrifice my son?"
Gideon: "Defeat thousands with three hundred soldiers?"
Mary: "Me give birth to the Son of God, and in a stable?"
Saul: "What Lord, me, your worst enemy preach to the world?"
THEY WALKED IN GOD'S METHODS
The first Christians were positive and not negative. They fought a positive battle. They spoke about the Resurrected Christ and showed the power through their prayers. They did not protest in the streets, try to over through Caesar or picket brothels. They knew the battle was for people's hearts and they took them one by one. They knew "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood" (Ephesians 6:12). They knew we "have divine weapons to demolish strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:4).
The first Christians were up against the power of the Roman Empire. They not only survived, they flourished. Emperor Diocletian declared on a commemorative coin, "The Christian religion is destroyed, and the worship of Roman gods is restored". He was wrong.
Christians, the Body of Christ the Church, will win because Jesus said, "I will build my church and the gates of hell will not stand against it".
Date Added: 2009-09-22
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