Michael Gantt

Planting the Seeds of Renewal


The Arm of Flesh Will Fail

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)

In 1979, Liberty University President, Jerry Falwell established the Moral Majority – declaring that America would “feel the full weight” of the Christian vote. Falwell, among others, believed that they could marshal the resources and influence of the Christian church in America to turn back the tide of immorality and injustice that was rising in the nation. He mistakenly believed that the sheer weight of the Christian vote could turn the moral tide in America and he convinced many Christians that he was right. The efforts of Christian leaders and groups to shape the moral and ethical climate of the nation through political force has doubled and redoubled over the 35 ensuing years since Falwell declared the “power of the Christian vote,” and to what end?

The moral tide of the nation has not turned. What was perversion in 1979 is now the norm. Gay and Lesbian marriage is a legal fact. Transgenderism has been legitimized by law and toilets and showers are mandated as gender neutral; allowing men into women’s bathrooms and boys into the girl’s locker rooms. The abortion industry has diversified from simply murdering babies to marketing their organs for profit under the full protection of and with the financial support of the federal government. The influence of the church in American life is non-existent. America has felt the power of the Christian vote and found that it was no power at all.

Sometimes I feel like a man yelling in a bucket, but I will keep sounding the warning: The arm of flesh will never, I repeat, never deliver us.  We need to get off of the phone to the White House and onto our knees in the church house.  Believers were profoundly distressed when progressives saw Barack Obama as our “savior.” Yet, do not many see Donald Trump in the same way?

Because the body of Christ has chosen to battle the forces of darkness with the arm of flesh the perverted are emboldened in their subversive agendas and the wicked feel that there is nothing to limit or oppose their “fundamental transformation” of America. The church has been deceived, Delilah has cut off our hair, our strength is gone, and the Philistines are upon us. It would appear too, that for many in the church, our eyes have been gouged out and we are blind before our enemies.

The fall of America is at hand and the futility of a blinded church is exposed as millions of Christians continue to put their hope in a political solution to our nation’s decline; touting the political preference of one flawed candidate over another. We do not have a broken nation because we have a broken political system. We have a broken political system because we are a nation that has rejected God, His Word and guiding Principles.

Over and over again we are presented with the proposition of voting for the candidate we least despise; deceived into believing that we must vote for one immoral person in order to defeat another, even more immoral person.  The news is constantly filled with one salacious revelation after another as wicked men continue to expose the wickedness in one another, succeeding only in revealing the deep, deep corruption that the love of power has produced.  As each party tries to bring the other down, they foolishly, and perhaps justly, are bringing the whole house down. John Calvin wrote, “When God wants to judge a nation, He gives them wicked rulers.”

We have legal and virtually unrestrained abortion because God is judging America.

We have boys in our daughter’s showers because God is judging America.

We have seen the redefinition of marriage and the destruction of the family because God is judging America.

God is judging America because we have rejected Him and He has “given us up to a reprobate mind.” (Romans 1:28)  Because for so long we have been willing to vote for the lesser of two evils we have a capital full of wickerd leaders.  God has given us exactly what we voted for; the lesser of two evils is still evil.

The church seems to have forgotten that we do not “wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities and cosmic powers over the present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

You cannot vote spiritual wickedness in high places out of office. These forces must be defeated on a spiritual, not a fleshly, plane.

There will be another election, there always is.  But another election will not turn away the wrath of God against a nation that has so grossly sinned against Him.  It is confession of sin and repentance that turns away the wrath of God (1 John 1:9). We live in a generation in which The message of the church needs to be confession and repentance from sin. We should be faithfully calling upon the nation to repent and turn from its wickedness that our people might be reconciled to God. Instead, we have linked arms with a political party in hopes that the party will be the answer. Though many yet proclaim their support, the “party” has not kept its promises. I suggest to you that the party will not, cannot, keep the grand promises it has made.  

The prophet Zechariah cried out, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord.” (Zech. 4:3)

The church has abandoned the message of confession and repentance, afraid of being offensive and preferring rather to be “cool.” Instead of calling sinners to repent we are remodeling our theology to accommodate sinners and placate rebels, leaving them comfortable in the church and satisfied in their sin all the while ignoring the hoofbeats of the approaching judgment of God.

I have read and re-read recently the Acts of the Apostles which is the record of the infant church birthed in the fires of Pentecost.  Acts 2:42 gives a cursory description of their activities after the arrival of the Holy Spirit. They were engaged in essentially four things:

(1) faithfully receiving revelation of the New Covenant from the Apostles,

(2) daily fellowship among the brethren both in the Temple and in their homes

(3) regularly celebrating the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ through Communion and

(4) prayer (for boldness to speak the words of God)

They joyously went about their days reveling in their new life in Messiah, celebrating together the transformation He had brought to their lives, faithfully studying the Word of God, laughing and embracing one another in Christian brotherhood and communicating in unity and harmony of spirit with God through prayer. Because of this, a great number of  lives were being transformed and every day – EVERY DAY – God was adding to the church. They were not lobbying Caesar, they were lobbying Heaven. Heaven hears and Heaven keeps its promises.

They seemed to innately understand that we aren’t called to change governments – we are called to transform lives through the power of the gospel of Christ. There is not a single record of Christians protesting for more rights before Pilate’s court. No record is found of the church marching on Jerusalem, protesting at the Coliseum, or filing briefs before the Supreme Court of the Roman Empire and yet, these simple and faithful men and women literally turned the nation of Israel inside out and the empire on its ear. In all of the book of Acts, the only recorded messages preached were clear presentations of the Lordship of Christ and the appeal to men to repent of their sins and receive life from the Life Giver.

Am I suggesting that individual Christians should not be involved in government? Absolutely not.  What I am saying is that when we do step into the political arena we should do so as a representative of the Kingdom of Heaven; driven by heavenly ambition, guided by Godly principles, bringing to the political arena a distinctly Biblical worldview, and possessing an level of integrity that cannot be bought, will not compromise, and absolutely refuses to choose the lesser of two evil things.

The church can only promote one government and that is the government of God. As the church we must always be calling men to life in Christ. We feed the poor, clothe the naked, intercede for victims of injustice as the arm of Christ, bringing light to dark places; never seeking to be in power but always seeking to speak truth to power. Sometimes rather than to be in power, it is better to represent the voice of God to those in power.

We must stop being ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. (Romans 1:16) It is the “power of God unto salvation,” and the only thing that will fix our government is to the fix the heart of the electorate that votes our government into office. As much as it stings – those in political office reflect the heart and desires of those who voted them into office. (Before you scream foul, don’t forget that over 6 millions self-described evangelicals voted for Barack Obama – twice!  So we must be careful who we blame for gender neutral bathrooms and overwhelming immigration.)

Those vibrant early believers understood that it was less important to change the occupant of the throne and more important to change the heart of their neighbor through the light of the gospel. They spent their time declaring the glory of God, the depth of His love and grace, and the power of His Name to save, heal, deliver, and transform. They changed their neighborhoods, transformed whole cities, brought life to the nations –  none of them ever enjoying the freedoms we have enjoyed and now fear that we might lose. There is no freedom greater than that enjoyed by those who are free in Christ.

We must return to an attitude which fiercely hungers for and devours the Word of God. (Apostle’s doctrine)…….to study to show ourselves approved, workmen unto God who do not need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of God. (2 Timothy 2:15)

We must stop substituting programs for genuine, daily fellowship among the brethren, which displays for all who watch, the unbridled love and emotional liberty that can flow between brothers and sisters who have been redeemed and delivered by the shed blood of Christ.

Communion (Breaking of Bread) must be set free from an occasional ceremony tiredly and routinely observed by a congregation who partake of its elements while looking at the back of their neighbors head, and restored to the hilarious celebration of the liberation that comes through a genuine and ongoing relationship to a living Lord.

We must regain a zeal for prayer that sees God’s people join together daily to raise up a united voice of appeal to Heaven for God’s blessing, guidance, and power in the church. Prayer must become the first recourse of the church, not the last resort.

And pretty much get rid of everything else.

 

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