Friday, August 22nd, 2014
The Call To Overcome (Part 12)
If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
Mark 3:25 (NKJV)
And Jesus said to them, 'Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.'
Matthew 24:2 (NKJV)
Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My Name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Matthew 10:21-22 (NKJV)*
In the year 70 A.D., approximately 37 years after Jesus was crucified, Jerusalem was crushed. Its temple was razed. The nation of Israel was trampled by Rome. As many as one million Jews died.**
Rome began its tour of terror in Galilee. 'An estimated 100,000 Jews were killed or sold into slavery. Throughout the Roman conquest of this territory, the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem did almost nothing to help their beleaguered brothers' (Jewish Virtual Library).**
In the midst of war, the Jews fought each other. 'Leaders who headed the Jewish government at the revolt's beginning in 66 A.D. were dead by 68--and not one died at the hands of a Roman. All were killed by fellow Jews' (Jewish Virtual Library).**
When Jesus said Jerusalem's temple would be thrown down, it was. When He said brother would deliver up brother to death, they did. Spiritually speaking, is the same thing happening today? If 'Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer' (1 John 3:15), how do the opposing factions of Christians justify their mutual disdain?
Depending on whom you ask, God's church has split into more than 50,000 denominations. Many hate each other. Most consider themselves 'Holier than thou' (Isaiah 65:5). Even non-denominational churches join the grace race, boasting of congregation sizes: taking a census of their numbers.***
How we worship has divided and redivided the church. But didn't Jesus say, 'First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift' (Matthew 5:24)?
Actors, models and talent for Christ: you are called not only to overcome the enemy without, but also to overcome the enemy within a divided church: to fly above opposing walls and manmade rules that separate God's people, with arms open wide and hearts open wider. ****
Because... 'By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another' (John 13:35).
To Be Continued...
* 'Persecutors are worse than beasts, in that they prey upon those of their own kind. The strongest bonds of love and duty, have often been broken through from enmity against Christ. Sufferings from friends and relations are very grievous; nothing cuts more' (Matthew Henry's Commentary on Matthew 10:16-42). See http://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/10-21.htm
** 'Ancient Jewish History: The Great Revolt:' http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/revolt.html
*** 'Why was God so angry at David for taking a census?' (brief article): http://www.gotquestions.org/David-census.html
**** I believe every Word of God to be essential, taken in context, with nothing added and nothing deleted. In addition, I believe Jesus came to fulfill and complete certain Old Testament Rules, because the Bible said He did. If any confusion exists between the Old and New Testaments, I consider Jesus, 'The Author and Finisher of our faith' (Hebrews 12:2), to be the Last Word. His Greatest Commandments?
' 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great Commandment. And the Second is like It: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two Commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets' ' (Matthew 22:37-40).
On the urgent importance of every Word Jesus spoke, Christians can and must unite.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Call To Overcome series.