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Abrahams Blessing and its consequences in the Church

Why is it that the New Testament makes such a big deal about forgiveness?

The New Testament requires that Christians forgive one another and bear with one another. Paul constantly condemns arguments with in the Church and what he calls backbiting. He says this will lead to our destruction. This teaching is so strong that Jesus says flatly and with no escape hatches that ‘if we do not forgive others He will not forgive us’. Why is this so important? Is this just because He wants us to be nice? The short answer is no, this is part of a larger plan.

Many people take these issues as simply one of a list of rules to follow. We certainly should obey the Word of God whether we understand the reasons on not, but I have found that many teachings are part of an overall plan. When we know the plan then obedience under difficult circumstances becomes easier. After all at the end Jesus called the disciples ‘friends’ because ‘servants’ don’t know the masters business, but friends get to know His heart.

I want to show you two dramatic reasons why it is essential to forgive one another and they are at the core of who we are as the body of Christ and individuals. First, there is John 17 which records Jesus’ last prayer before the cross. He prays for Unity in the body so that the world will know that He came from the Father. Unity is important because without it the world will not accept Jesus as divine! Backbiting and unforgiveness destroy unity and the devil is very effective in using these tools to convince the world that the Church is just another religion.

Is it any wonder that Paul and others spent so much effort addressing the issues that destroy unity. On those grounds alone we should be motivated to come together. A full discussion of John 17 can be found elsewhere, John 17: Where does the power come from

There is a second reason why it is important that we not speak against one another and forgive one another and that is the focus of this essay. When we disrespect one another and speak against one another we step into a promise God made to Abraham and that we have inherited because we are children of Abraham. “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” Gen 12:3. This is the focus of this essay. What are the implications of this promise?

This is a very sobering promise even on the face of it. But it is actually much worse. Most English translations of this passage miss an important subtly in the Hebrew. The NET Bible captures this difference. “I will bless those who bless you, but the one who treats you lightly I must curse, and all the families of the earth will bless one another by your name.”
Notice the difference. The sense is ‘I voluntarily choose to bless someone who blesses you’ but God
requires Himself to curse the one who even treats you lightly.

With only slight hyperbole we can say: If you fail to greet Abraham because you are preoccupied with your own business then the nature of the universe requires that you be cursed. Even if you did not intend to harm him!

If you don’t believe this interpretation consider Pharaoh (Gen 12:10-20) and Abimelech (Gen 20). They both took Sarah as a wife because Abraham lied. In spite of the fault being entirely Abraham’s their households were cursed! In Abimelech’s case the curse was only lifted when Abraham was compensated and prayed for him. That is Gen 12:3 in action.

That is the negative side of this promise. There is a positive side that reveals God’s heart for the nations. Even after the fall of man God continued to find ways to bless His creation. In Abraham’s day it was Abraham who was to be a blessing to the nations. Of course the main way in which Abraham became a blessing was as the ancestor of Jesus. But God is always looking for a way. we might even say excuse, to bless His creation. In this promise He creates an easy way to get a blessing even for those who do not follow Abraham’s God. Here is a people, bless them and get a blessing in return. Remember that as long as Israel was in captivity in Babylon God blessed that nation. Jeremiah 29. In Mark Jesus is recorded as saying For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.” Mar 9:41

Scripture says He makes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. It also says in 1 Peter 3 that “God is not willing that any should perish but all should come to eternal life: God’s nature is both justice and mercy. But the promise also requires that God curse all who come against the Church. Is it any doubt why God would so insist that we pray for those who disspitefully use us and forgive them! If Jesus had not forgiven those who crucified Him the world would have been destroyed.

The Gentile Church has stepped into Abraham’s promise

The New Testament makes clear that those in the Gentile Church are Abraham’s spiritual children. We are not his only children and Israel still carries the original promises. Romans 11:11-15 makes clear that at the right time Israel will be restored and step into the end time promises along with the Gentile Church. Those walking in Abraham’s promises can be a great blessing to the world or we can be very very dangerous. As we will see we can also be very dangerous to ourselves.

Examples from post Cross times

Lets look at some historical cases since 0 AD and examine a couple of scenarios explaining what happens in Churches and ministries.

Jews and the Ottomans

Since I now live in the Eastern Mediterranean and the dream of Ottoman glory very much alive the history of that empire is very much alive for me. The Ottoman’s were an opponent of Christianity for almost 500 years and overran the ancient foundations of the Church. One thing that has always puzzled me is why the Lord allowed that empire to prosper for so long. Recently one historical fact got driven home. Over much of the middle ages Jews were persecuted by the Church. Not only the Catholics but also the Orthodox and the Protestants. In the 16th century Jews were expelled from most Catholic nations.

It was the Ottomans who welcomed them and made a place for them. During this time the Ottomans were blessed and given dominion over most of the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa. It was only when the time drew near for Israel to become a nation again that the Ottomans began to lose power. I do not have the final answer but it is interesting to ask: did God bless the Ottomans because they gave refuge to the Jews?

Two world leaders

Governments gain favor and dominion for many reasons that we only partially understand, but one factor is how they treat the Christian Church and the Gospel.

Although much about the Catholicism planted in the new World is problematic Spain and Portugal planted the Church wherever they went and God allowed them to dominate the world for a season.

During the time Britain ruled the waves it was the major nation sending out missionaries to the world. Of course they were not the only ones. Most of the major colonial nations had missionaries in the field. When the USA stepped into a position as a world power. It had already assumed the title of the nation sending the most missionaries.

Of course these nations and their colonial officials did not always or even often operate according to Christ’s heart. They don’t get credit for it but the missionaries were often the ones fighting to prevent abuses. The nations did however open the door.

As we are thinking about this one there is another interesting twist to history. There is some evidence that China could have dominated the world rather than Europe during the last six hundred years. By 1400 China had ships and military technology that far outstripped anything in the West. Their navigation techniques were years ahead and their ships routinely sailed the Indian Ocean and at least one historian claims there was evidence they circumnavigated the globe decades before Columbus got to the America’s. They were poised to dominate globally and they were curious and exploring. What stopped them? A lighting strike and fire that destroyed the first Forbidden City. The Confucian scholars were never happy with exploration and commerce. When the Forbidden City was destroyed they convinced the Emperor that God was unhappy and all exploration was shut down. Perhaps they were right.


What we are heading into now is serious enough I could not resist the diversion into history and speculation. If you fully grasped the weight of Abraham’s blessing you know how easy it is to be overwhelmed. Our hope is that we walk in the grace of the Cross and resurrection and we have the promise that we will be supplied the strength we need.

Open up a space for repentance and salvation

Jesus insists that we bless those who curse us and pray for those who dis-spitefully use us. When we understand the Abramic blessing when it is obvious that there are two reasons to do just this. First, we show them the love of God. But, secondly we block the curse that flows automatically when they come against us.

When you consider this think first about the cross! Jesus had said hours before that there were 12 legions of angels at His command. One angel in Israel killed 50 thousand people in a morning and this would have been around 9200. If Jesus had not forgiven them the earth would have been torn apart by 9200 very angry angels.

Because God is patient he does not want those who disspitefully use us to be destroyed by a curse. That must remain in God’s hands. God always wants us to join Him in His work He gives us the opportunity to forgive and reverse the curse to a blessing.

The upward and downward spirals

A blessing trap

God wants His people to be instrument of blessing in the World not just to each other but to everyone who will receive from Him. The rain in scripture is all about harvest and increase. We serve a God who causes the rain to fall on the righteous and the unrighteous (Mathew 5:45)

So God is looking for a way to bless even the ungodly but He must to this without violating His justice. So I think He looks for way to bless people if they give Him the slightest chance. He even sets up ways to do this, but how can He do this without violating justice!? The Abramic blessing!

If anyone blesses someone who carries the Abramic promise then God gets to bless that person! There are a set of scriptures in the Paul’s letters that encourage Christians to work as unto the Lord even when they have a difficult boss. Lets walk through a scenario of what can happen in such a business.

When Christians are faithful and industrious workers a wise boss has an opportunity to notice this and reward these employees. When they are Christians the Abramic blessing flows toward the employer and the business increases. With increased business everyone is better off even Christians who are struggling in the faith find it easier to follow the command to think about the business rather than themselves. This positive atmosphere makes it easier for the non-Christian employer to continue to reward. An upward spiral starts of mutual blessing.

If the employer is selfish and refuses to acknowledge blessing or takes the believers for granted then the upward spiral is threatened. This is where forgiveness on the part of the believers helps. This blocks the curse that would otherwise come on the business. It buys grace and time for the employer to recognize the blessing the used to flow and again bless his employees.

Of course all of this is also a powerful witness for Christ to the managers and non-Christian employees.

This same upward spiral can happen between trading partners or nations, when a nation corporately acknowledges Yahweh or Jesus. Favor towards God’s people leads to blessing which leads to more favor. Persecution leads to a curse unless it is blocked by forgiveness.

There is an upward spiral that can happen between a Christian boss and non-believing employees but the principles are slightly different. Those spirals are discussed in coming essays on business principles.

Downward spirals

Of course a downward spiral can also begin. When Christians are walking in the flesh rather than the spirit persistent persecution can lead to a refusal to forgive on the part of Christians which causes the curse to flow toward the business and also causes the Christians to lose forgiveness from God and can bring judgment on them. Such judgment can remove the Lord’s blessing on the work of their hands and make them less productive. The response can be additional persecution which intensifies the curse and begins to destroy the business.

This downward spiral can be especially devastating when both the employee and the employer are Christians. At that point the full curse begins to operate in both directions and the downward movement operates more quickly. This christian-christian downward spiral is even more devastating in another context.

The Devils delight: a slug fest in the Church

A huge potion of Paul’s letters deals with conflict within the Church body. We have touched on the purpose of unity in the Church and its role in evangelism. Now we must talk about how this operates in the context of the Abramic blessing. Paul calls it biting and devouring Gal 5:15.

Unfortunately throughout Church history and I would guess most people’s experience it is the negative effect that is most prominent.

All believers in the Church carry the Abramic promise. Ideally we would be especially careful around each other to bless and slow to disrespect, misuse or curse one another. Unfortunately this could not be further from the truth. We are much more likely to be careful to ‘love the sinner’ than each other.

Since we are all imperfect God has called us to forgive and bear with each others weaknesses. That way we overcome and walk in blessing.

Of course the enemy of our souls knows us well and is quick to turn the intended blessing into his best weapon. Lets walk this through.

When a brother or sister in the Church sins against us then no matter how good they are in other ways a curse flows toward them. It is God’s desire that we forgive quickly and block that curse. If we are both wise Christians then this opens the door for repentance and restoration. Even if the offending Christian refuses to repent we get a blessing from God because we have chosen to forgive and bless.

But if we refuse to forgive two things happen. One the curse continues and causes problems for that brother or sister. In the Church these ‘problems’ are not just personal and can lead to failure in things the Lord has called them to do and accomplish. Second, a curse flows toward us because we have refused to forgive (contrary to Jesus’ command) and in doing that have wounded our sister or brother. Now our walk is in danger. No one except the devil wins and he wins big.

This dynamic destroys families and congregations and even entire movements. I mentioned the Ottomans earlier. The early Islamic empires had armies staffed by slaves brought from the Christian Black Sea by Italian slave traders. Constantinople only fell after is was sacked by the forth Crusade. The Orthodox Christians of Cyprus initially welcomed the Ottoman invaders because of Catholic persecution. The mission movements to Islam in the 19th century were crippled by opposition from Christian minorities who could not forgive and came against missionaries reaching out to their traditional enemies.

Whether it is battles over the color of the carpet or political domination: long memories, refusal to repent and unforgiveness have brought a continuing curse on believers throughout the world. We must learn to walk in the grace and forgiveness that is our birthright. If we can not do it no one can.


A word about offense and taking offense is important here and the related idea of defensiveness. It is common in the world today to make the whole notion of ‘offense’ subjective. So the speaker bears all the responsibility for what the hearers imagination makes of a statement. So even truth spoken even in love becomes offense.

Likewise we are often quick to take offense at the slightest hint we may have done wrong especially when hint is mistaken or confrontational.

In normal human intercourse this is a very dangerous idea. Our imagination can lead us to very wrong conclusions unless we test where they lead. I know many people who live in perpetual turmoil because they imagine meanings that no one intends and that more secure people would never hear.

Furthermore, the truth often hurts in the short term and humans are not very good at softening the blow. However, the truth is almost always best in the long run.

I would love to say that in the context of the Abramic promise ‘offense’ does not include imaginary offense but I am not sure that is true. Certainly in Pharaoh’s case no harm was intended yet the curse operated. In that case the ‘harm’ was real if unintended. So unintentional harm still requires that we operate in repentance and forgiveness. But that also requires that those ‘harmed’ not silently nurse grudges and bring the problems to light.

The most difficult case is when the ‘harm’ is purely psychological and due to an imaginary meaning to an innocent action or statement. My initial hyperbole falls into this category. Will the curse really flow if we are caught up in the problems of the day and fail to greet Abraham. Here if Abraham is wise he doesn’t think that every action is directed at him and just laughs at absent minded Joseph. But what if he is not wise?

This is where it is vital that the Church walk in grace and give grace to each other. `Let’s look at two possible outcomes assuming the worst,  that imaginary offenses can trigger the curse.

The best outcome comes when forgiveness flows. If the person offended forgives immediately then grace flows to them and they can get to test their interpretation without confrontation and the other person gets to bless them without defensiveness or looking down on them for their mistake. Everyone gets to bless without reservation and in turn get a blessing from God.

If forgiveness does not flow or the ‘forgiveness’ is not genuine then we step into a downward spiral. If in fact there is a curse that flows from the imagined offense that flows unrestricted. However, because the ‘offended’ person is essentially making an unjust accusation they become the target of the curse as well. Now the other person has a choice if they hear of the false accusation. They can condemn the ‘offended’ person or they can give grace.

If they give grace and understanding at least the curse does not intensify and we can hope that a ‘blessing’ through not speaking badly will reverse the effect of the imagined offense. On the other hand if they condemn the other then we quickly enter a downward spiral of mutual offense and now the offenses are real.

As the Church we need to pass all these tests.

The birthright of all Believers

The Abramic blessing makes all believers a powerful source of blessing and or cursing in the world. Although we, the Body of Christ, have often failed in walking this out in the world we are not finished. King David failed miserably at times, but his role and witness in the world continued because He never made excuses and repented quickly.

It is our birthright as believers in Christ filled with the Holy Spirit to navigate these minefields with hope and grace. Even though Church history is full of our failures on this point that does not change the claim of scripture that with every test we have the power to escape.

With the birthright and the grace to recovery when we fail we can be the blessing to the world we were intended to be.

The Coming of Communities Dedicated to the Lord

The Coming of Communities Dedicated to the Lord


  • God is raising up communities and sovereign political units throughout the world which will be dedicated to the Lord Jesus.
  • Some of these are nations already, others are regions from which sovereign nations will emerge, still others are cities that will operate as city states of earlier times (secular example in current times: Singapore).
  • These communities will be ruled by Jesus’ people moving in His wisdom. James 3:13-17.
  • They will display God’s nature to the world and the blessings that come to those who come under His rule.
    • God’s people will have a special grace to display the full fruit of the Spirit in their lives.
    • They will move in healing and deliverance and all the power gifts.
    • They will demonstrate the power of restoration for those who fall, flowing from the injunction of Galatians 6:1.
    • They will walk in the blessings of God on community found in Deuteronomy 28.1-14
  • There will be opposition, but for a season they will be protected.
  • Although there may be grace for these dedicated communities to continue until Christ’s return, most likely there will come a time when protection is lifted. This will not be judgment for the communities but a final test for the world. John 15:24 and Mathew 11:20-24

The details

The Plan

What will God do with His body in the coming days? The following scripture has always applied to the Body of Christ on earth, but in the coming days it is going to be true in a dramatic way

through the church the multifaceted wisdom of God should now be disclosed to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly realms. (Eph 3:10)

In the coming days God is going to allow His Church to set up communities and even political areas that will be controlled by His Spirit. There will be communities dedicated to the Lord scattered throughout the world. As Christ’s people within these areas display His grace, the fruit of His Spirit, and the power that comes from the Spiritual gifts, God will display to the world the blessings that come from His rule. Financial, health, emotional, and even environmental blessing will flow into that region.

The best way to think of this is as a foretaste of the millennial rule of Christ. It is also going to be a side by side comparison with the world’s vision for peace and prosperity.

This is not the first time God has done this. The first time was Jesus’ ministry on earth. For three years He and His disciples demonstrated God’s nature with the most powerful ministry the world had ever seen. Then the test came and the world flunked the test. They ended up rejecting Jesus.

That demonstration of God’s nature with its powerful ministry by the early disciples has been followed by many revivals throughout history. Revivals like the first and second great awakenings. These brought many into the Kingdom of God. Those awakenings arguably transformed the USA from a crime ridden frontier community into a Godly disciplined society that achieved independence, without the chaos of the French revolution and most revolutions since.

The Welsh revival transformed a rough and ungodly mining community and for a time eliminated crime and saved whole families. Other similar transformations have occurred throughout the history of the Church.

All share a pattern: revival, transformation of the culture, then the test to see if people will accept God’s way. All of these were also very limited in time and space.

The coming demonstration will be much more powerful and dedicated communities will arise throughout the world. It is possible that this will lead to the ‘final exam’ before the anti christ’s deception.

The Test for the world

God is going to do this to set up a side by side comparison with the world’s vision for peace and prosperity. Like the verse of Eph. 3:10 states, He does this to make His nature obvious. He displays His glory so that those who observe it have no excuse for denying His goodness and power. Then, having seen the truth, they must choose His way or their way.

But, when His nature is made that evident, then there are consequences for the people who see His nature and power displayed in such an obvious way and still reject the Lord Jesus.

So when we see the dramatic deeds that only Jesus can do through His people, then there is a special judgment that comes on those who reject Him.

If I had not performed among them the miraculous deeds that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen the deeds and have hated both me and my Father. (John 15:24)

and again

Then Jesus began to criticize openly the cities in which he had done many of his miracles, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you! And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be thrown down to Hades! For if the miracles done among you had been done in Sodom, it would have continued to this day. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you!” (Mat 11:20-24)

Those who think Jesus will not judge the world have forgotten His crying out over Jerusalem.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would have none of it! Look, your house is left to you desolate! For I tell you, you will not see me from now until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’ “(Mat 23:37-39)

Even though Jerusalem was the apple of His eye, He would not stop judgment. He will not limit judgment for those who reject Him now. Those of us who are Christians must understand the judgment and do everything we can to give Jesus full credit for everything happening.

So God is saying that He will again display His glory and His nature through His Body, the universal Church. He will display His full glory by enabling His people to walk in the fruit of the Spirit. In true love and unity within the Body that only comes from the Holy Spirit inside His people. This is the unity that Jesus speaks of in John 17. The unity that convinces the world that Jesus is one with the Father.

Jesus will do this in a setting where His people are fully able to confess Him as the strength that enables unity and the source of the blessing. In doing this, there will be no confusion with secular humanism and doctrines of human unity outside of Christ.

The opposition from the World

We already see that the world is building its own version of unity, peace and prosperity. The ideology that human unity will usher in a golden age is thoroughly established in the international community on earth. Even many Christians are convinced that humans can live a good life based on Jesus’ teachings without the power that Jesus gives only to His people. These Christians are convinced that peace can be achieved if they just refrain from repeating Jesus’ claims to exclusive power and walk in the worlds version of love.

What everyone misses is that this vision is a near perfect statement of the serpent’s argument in the garden of Eden. If you eat of the tree you will be like God. It is also like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time who thought they could be good if they just worked hard enough. Both of these are very seductive visions and sadly mistaken. The existence and success of these communities dedicated to Jesus will plainly demonstrate this error for all who are willing to see.

We should not expect the world to be happy with this demonstration. They will oppose it. We can already see the basic outlines of their accusation. They will accuse us of racism, because we evaluate other cultures by Biblical standards. They will accuse us of not pursuing peace because we will not abandon truth to keep others happy. They will be jealous of the blessings and accuse us of hoarding resources. They will accuse us (correctly) of violating secular principles. They will remind us of the problems with Christian rule in the Crusades and during the wars around the reformation.

All of these will be just as Jesus has warned. The world will not willingly hear the truth.

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it. (Mat 10:34-39)

The world will try to shut these communities dedicated to the Lord Jesus down. These are the same people who told the apostles that they were welcome to do miracles, but just not mention the Name of Jesus (Acts 4). Within ministry in Islamic countries, governments have always tried to eliminate Christian witness when aid is distributed.

Recently this has become true in the West as many governments have outlawed corporate statements of faith and even the private witness of teachers and public officials. Giving public glory to God for our wisdom and abilities seems dangerous to the world. Our answer must be the same as the apostles gave: We must obey God rather than men. Remember the warnings above. When we do the works but give in to efforts to shut down bold witness to Jesus, we are in fact setting the hearers up for severe judgment for their not accepting Jesus as LORD. And, according to God’s word to Ezekiel, even while judgment will fall on them for rejecting Him, their blood will be on our hands for not publicly telling them who He is!

The Final Test

Unfortunately, I do not think these ‘dedicated communities’ will last until the second coming. Perhaps they will: some established prophets believe there will be sheep nations that successfully resist the anti Christ. I would be happy to be mistaken. The clear pattern has been that after the demonstration, the test continues until innocent blood is shed.

This is the ultimate final test. Jesus speaks of this and the reason He allows it.

For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ so that this generation may be held accountable for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against this generation. (Luk 11:49-51)

If we are in end times, then we are talking about the prophecy of Daniel 11:30 in which the ships of Kittim oppose anti-christ successfully for a time, only to have the anti-christ’s forces regroup and renew the attack and succeed. This means that the ‘dedicated communities’ will last until some time after the anti-christ appears. Either way the ‘dedicated communities’ will face a test.

The preparation

If we walk this out in our human strength, it will not succeed. Fortunately these dedicated communities will form only by supernatural intervention into human politics. If we try in our human strength and zeal, then we will be like the Crusaders and cause more harm than good.

If we pray and prepare our hearts to move in the Spirit, then when God raises up these dedicated communities, we will step into the flow of God’s grace and be carried along into this demonstration.

What should our response be to this vision? Get ready to rule by His Spirit.

  • Put our focus on Jesus and His glory rather than on our favorite doctrines or traditions. John 17 and Ephesians declare that everything depends on this.
  • Allow God to bring out a new grace for unity in the Body. This will be an organic unity, the unity of a Body rather than uniformity. A Body of Christ where every part is recognized and properly fitted.
  • Reject vengeance. Across the world Christian communities are under attack. Many are under brutal physical attack while others are under more subtle attacks and ridicule. Many Christians have histories of hundreds of years of oppression. Vengeance seems right and, humanly speaking, is inevitable. But we cannot act like humans if we are to be a part of these communities dedicated to the Lord.
  • Become un-offendable. We must know the true meaning of ‘blessing those who curse us’ both to those within the Body as well as to those from the outside. This means truly forgiving.
  • As we get authority, rule as those serving the God who causes the rain to come and the sun to shine on everyone and the God who does not rejoice in the death of the wicked

These steps will prepare us as individuals, and congregations, and movements to live and rule in the coming dedicated communities.

Of course these steps are not the only ones. God will bring about many transformations in us as we step into the fruit of the Spirit. These are the truly hard changes which our humanity will fight against the hardest.

The rest of us

The communities described here will not be large. Many, perhaps most Christians will not be living in these communities dedicated to the Lord.

Someone asked me the other day if Christians in a particular country would flee to one of the nearby nations that has been declared as dedicated to the Lord. I had no answer from the Lord. With my natural mind, I suspect that those of us not called to be a part of these dedicated communities will have to tough it out as witnesses in the midst of the world. God will give us grace and will make us a light where we are.

One thing I can observe. It will be natural for the world to more severely persecute believers living in their midst because of the existence of Christian communities outside their control. This has happened in history. Once Rome became officially Christian, believers in Persia experienced more severe persecution. This was because their loyalty was suspect.

If this guess is correct, then we will be tested as individuals also. Our loyalty will be suspected. It will even become easy for us to be angry at the Christian communities because they are bringing persecution on us. Jews in the diaspora often have this attitude toward the modern state of Israel.

Actually, we may already be set up for this error. Since the Enlightenment and the Reformation there has been an ideology that says that religion must be private. It accuses the Church of being unfit and even dangerous to rule over society. In recent days the relatively benign beginning for this agreement has blossomed to the point that scripture is actually forbidden from being an influence in our laws.

If our secular agreements and training blind us, then we will certainly fail to correctly discern what God is doing.

If we fall into a critical spirit, then we will be ones who rob the world of the chance to repent. Make no mistake: their blood will be on our hands! Those who live outside of these communities need to prepare as thoroughly as those inside.

God wants us to testify as to the source of the dedicated communities’ blessings and to encourage people to follow the Lord Jesus. When we are persecuted, He wants us to rejoice in our test.


I almost ended with a judgment, but that would be a mistake! This word is not about judgment and failure. It is about God’s Grace to allow His Body to step into this time of power and demonstration.

Whether we are in the dedicated communities to the Lord or are out in the world as Christian individuals, we get to be the agents of God’s love pouring out healing and deliverance to a hurting world.

There is grace flowing to pass every test. When carrying this message to a church in Cambodia, God showed me Angels ready to pour out grace that will carry us into the completeness of this word. All we have to do is to be willing to give Jesus control.

The Road Ahead Part 2: Who is the Body?

We know the importance of unity in the Body of Christ after all Christ prayed that we would be one just like He was one with the Father. That is a high standard! It raises the question of who we should be at one with. The answer for this question is clear, but it may surprise all of us. It is both much broader than we think and at the same time much narrower.

The Boundary:Who is Jesus?


The first and primary hurdle is Mathew 16:15-17. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

This is Peters declaration in answer to Jesus’ question “Who do you think I am?”

1 John 2:22-23 says that we must know that Jesus is the Christ who came from the Father. It also affirms that if we do not know this about Jesus then we do not know the Father.

1 John 4:2-3 says we must also know that Jesus came ‘in the flesh’. If we think He was just a spirit, then we are against Christ.

Paul adds in 1 Corinthian 15:13 that the resurrection of Jesus is the basis for our hope.

This is the firm boundary of the circle:

Jesus is the Jewish messiah

who came from the Father in Heaven

, he has come in the flesh

and rose from the dead.

If one does not know this to be true then you are not a Christian. You may have a philosophy that is loosely based on Jesus’ teaching but there are things you cannot do that a Christian can do. John goes further and declares you instead represent the anti-Christ., the spirit in the world that opposes Christ and His work.

Are you inside the boundary?

This is the boundary, but how do we know that we are inside that boundary? Romans 10:9-10

because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord

and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead

, you will be saved

If this is your belief and your personal declaration you have decisively crossed the boundary.

But a word of caution. It is significant that Romans says we believe with our ‘hearth’ It is knowing the resurrection beyond intellectual convincing that gives the power to be saved. What the intellect gives, it can take away. A knowing beyond logic lasts.

Also, the Greek word for Lord is Kurios, used both for Yaweh and as the master of a servant. Confessing means we sign a contract with God giving Jesus full authority to do with us what He, Jesus, wants. This means we become a bond-servant. We enter into Galations 2:20

“I have been crucified with Jesus and I no longer live but Christ lives in me, So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me

It is vital that we have a revelation of Jesus’ divinity like Peter did, a knowing that He came in the flesh like John did and He rose from the dead like Paul did. Unless we know these things in our heart because we received them from God not by intellectual argument, we will not have the power to resist when the test comes. Unless we have made a conscious voluntary decision to make Jesus our master as Paul stated in Galatians 2:20 then we will run when the test comes which requires that we give up things that seem to be our very being.

Are you headed toward the circle?

There is a lot of talk in the world about unity across religions based on the belief that we all worship the same God. This is the fuzzy outer area outside the boundary. In that area we need to know if someone is truly worshiping the same Father. It is easy to get lost and compromised if we don’t know the scriptures.

Fortunately, Jesus repeatedly tackled this issue and, unlike some Christian leaders today, He did not mince words. Talking to the Jewish leaders and those most determined to follow the God of Moses He said flatly. If you know the Father then you will accept Me. If you don’t accept me, then you are mistaken. You are following your father the devil. John 8:42-44

It is certainly appropriate for Christians to live in civil peace with people of all kinds and it is vitally important to recognize and affirm the search for Righteousness; after all, Paul calls the law the schoolmaster that leads us to Christ. But

unless we want to call Jesus a liar,

we cannot tell them they are headed in the right direction

until the light dawns and they recognize Jesus as Lord.

If they actively deny Jesus as Lord, then they are headed away from that circle. The Sadducees and Pharisees may have been hypocrites, but that was not what condemned them. They rejected Jesus.

Are we properly representing Jesus to those outside the circle?

This is an important question and is key to Christian outreach to the world.

Many quote 1Jn 4:7-8

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves has been born of God, and knows God. (8) The one who does not love has not known God. For God is love.

Or John 13:35

By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another.

In isolation, both these are verses quoted by those wanting to make love the primary target and then to substitute human love for God’s love. So they reach out with humanitarian aide even while they refuse to disturb those they are helping by acknowledging the One who sent us, the Lord Jesus.

However, in this interpretation, they are ignoring the fact that both scripture passages are talking about love within the body not outside.

The complete thought of love outside, as well as inside, is in given in 1John 4:

1Jn 4:9-10 In this the love of God was revealed in us, because God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. (10) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation concerning our sins.

This love outside without sharing the gospel of Jesus on the cross as our propitiation from sin and entering the kingdom is far, far worse than we think. Jesus spoke to the cities where He himself had reached outside with love through the miracles He had done in them, recorded in Matthew 11:20-24:

Then He began to upbraid the cities in which most of His mighty works were done, because they did not repent. (21) Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the powerful acts which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes! (22) But I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. (23) And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to the heaven, shall be brought down to hell. For if the mighty works which have been done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. (24) But I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.

When we reach outside without explicitly calling people to the One who sent us,

we put them in the cross-hairs of this pronouncement by Jesus.

As for us personally, we step into the position of Ezekiel; those outside still get the judgment but their blood is on our hands.

Where do we go?

So we know the boundary and we know when we ourselves have crossed inside and when people are headed in the right direction. In the world today, this is the shock that makes things tougher than many think. It is not enough to do good and be nice to others. It is not enough to build unity with the world even when that unity is around things Jesus taught not even love.

All of that is to convince people that Jesus is God.

What about inside the border? The circle we just defined leaves huge debates in the Church inside the boundary! Can that be true? This is the issue in the next installment.InsidetheKingdom


The Road Ahead: Part 1 The time of Joshua 5

Now is the time of Joshua 5:13-15. With the nations and ethnic groups in uproar and problems on every side. Each of us wants to ask God in a pointed way Joshua’s question. “Are you on my side?” (or on ‘our’ side!) But the answer is the same now as then. He answers, “Neither! Do you stand with me?!” Continue reading “The Road Ahead: Part 1 The time of Joshua 5”

The Consequences of human unity outside of Christ

We are witnessing a time when the world appears to be falling apart. At the same time the dream of human unity is very much alive. Unity is a big topic and across the globe there are groups working to build unity across human religions and cultures. Many believers are caught up in the effort to bridge religious divides through human effort. There is no question ending sectarian violence is a good thing. Human unity is seductive. Who can argue with such a goal? But human unity it is a false hope and a trap! It is up to God’s people to lead those who are willing out of the trap.

We live at a pivotal period in human history. In the last two centuries science has removed one barrier after another to human control of nature and even our own biology. During that time we have seen both the best and worst in humanity. Triumphs in science and human rights have time after time been followed by the terrors of death camps. There is a theme that has developed as we humans have struggled to understand who we are and our purpose in the universe. It is that we can achieve everything and live at peace with each other if only we can achieve mutual understanding and unity across the globe.

Our energy is focused on removing barriers to ‘mutual understanding’ because we assume that wars and evil in the earth happen because we misunderstand one another, and we are beginning to succeed. We are at a place in history where for the first time since Babel, humans are beginning to understand one another across the globe. Language and culture barriers are falling fast. There are efforts to reconcile religions. Technology is removing the barriers of time and space. Now is the time to look back at when those barriers were put into place and why. The story of the Tower of Babel is the starting point because scripture records that God Himself destroyed human unity at that time. Why? Continue reading “The Consequences of human unity outside of Christ”