Light Walking, Planet Changing
"E=mc^2 ... The most powerful truths are often the simplest.” -anonymous location, anonymous leaders meeting, anonymous speaker
This morning a brother read this particular scripture that's probably worth reading again.
"Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see.For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you.Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance." (Isaiah 60:1-3)
"And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." (Revelation 22:1-2)
Some of the folks that have spoken from various points in the room, from up here and around the room, have pointed out that we've had a little trouble putting into practice, I think, some of the grand theories, the grand themes of the scriptures. Pretty much everyone has mentioned at some point in the things that they've said, that we're not that impressive-though we should be, though God will win this battle, though we absolutely know how this turns out. The truth is, if we're just painfully, brutally honest with ourselves, our self-assessments of ourselves tend to describe glory and prosperity spiritually as whether or not the sermon was good or whether or not the worship was good, whether or not the congregation grew by ten percent last year. Somehow that's the glory of God being poured over the earth. And we pat ourselves on the back because somebody loved our sermon. The same person that broke into tears over a chick-flick or over "Dancing with the Stars" broke into tears during the morning service, and so that's the glory of God descended!
Well, I just want to point out the obvious, and I'm not the first person to do this in the last two days. And that is, unless we've touched the nations, we haven't done our job. It's not that it's our job to figure out how to do, but surely there's got to be some explanation if the Creator of the galaxies lives inside each of us and all those that we know in the family of God-that God Himself, that spoke the universe into existence, the comets, the black holes, the planets, the suns scattered around the various parts of the universe, lives inside of us in His wholeness, in His fullness-and yet nobody notices and nobody cares. How can that possibly be? That's just not possible! Either the scriptures are lying, or there's something gone terribly wrong. So, I want to suggest that it's got to be the latter. It has to be the latter! We've talked about this, right? The scriptures are true. There's absolutely no question that there's something wrong in the perception, in the application of things we know the scriptures say and that we know absolutely are true.
I want to kind of dissect that a little bit, because I think we've been inspired these last couple of days, and rightfully so. "Did not our hearts burn within us as we walked along the way?" Maybe we've heard the same things twenty-five years ago, some of us forty years ago. So what? Did not our hearts burn within us as we walked along? We're not looking for being creative or doing something new. We want to listen to God, and any time you hear God's voice, it better send chills up your spine. It better drop you to your knees. "At the Name of Jesus, at the words of Jesus, every knee collapses," right? That's not a genuflection as a religious movement. That's a collapse. I can't stand in the presence of the living word of God.
But I do want to suggest that His intention is that His glory fill the earth, and that kings send each other gifts when we're struck down-just before we rise again. Kings celebrate our demise! Now, how's that possible if they've never heard of us? Maybe they're not the ones that showed up at our service last Sunday. Apparently not, the kings of the earth, right? That's not how you measure what God's trying to do, whether or not we had a great service last Sunday. This is the only industry-we'll call it an industry for the sake of brevity. This is the only industry on earth where we're judged by how we feel. There is nothing else out there. Take any company you want to name, any organization you want to name. It's not ever measured by how you feel about it. It's measured by what it accomplishes, what it does. Now, I'm not advocating works by any stretch. This has got to be the work of God, or it doesn't matter. But is it God letting us down? Or is there something wrong? Are we getting in the way of something God may want to do?
The very first book I ever read other than the Bible… I was twenty-one years in a religious organization with a lot of ritual and a lot of hypocrisy. I decided my junior year in college that I was either going to go all out for Jesus, or I was just going to bag the whole thing. Because it was just nonsense. Which one would it be? I'm an engineer, right? I've got to use the scientific method to figure this stuff out. So, I went to twenty-five or thirty different denominations and non-denominations, everything from United Church of Christ to Pentecostal to Apostolic to whatever-I don't think that charismatic existed just yet, that was still coming-but I couldn't find God anywhere. It all just seemed like a bunch of tin soldiers lined up to do what was in their own self-interest, just entertainment and words, entertainment and words.
But I went to-you've heard of the Willow Creek Community Church, right, in Chicago? Back when they were building that thing, I drove down the dirt road of their building in Schaumberg or Hoffman Estates or wherever that thing is. Well, they were still building it, but they had the bookstore up, and they had these bookracks on the basketball court, and so I spun it around. I was just a brand-new baby Christian. I had just given my life to Jesus as I graduated from college, and my first job was in Chicago. I pulled out this book-this green and white and yellow book-and I said, "Watchman Nee? What kind of name is that? Watchman Nee? Is that a name? What is that?" But it was called Release of the Spirit. So, I took it home. I read that book and thought, "What is this? Who is this guy?" There wasn't a single scripture ever cited in it. I'd read the Bible at three in the morning my junior and senior year in college, backwards and forwards two or three times, during that period of time in my life as I was seeking Jesus. I found out the problem wasn't the denomination I was trying to find where God was. The problem was me. So, I just gave my life to Jesus and abandoned everything. I'm pursuing this now in Chicago with my new job, and I read this book. I have no idea what this book is or who this guy is or whatever. About two years later I probably wrote 150 or 250 scriptures I the margins of that. Because I finally figure out, even though he didn't cite any scriptures, the whole thing was just filled with Biblical truth that just blew my mind once I realized that.
Here was the thing: Release of the Spirit. If God has come to live inside of you-which by the way, only happens if you abandon your life to Him. I need to say that, because there was some discussion about what is an Ekklesia? Well, and Ekklesia is the DNA of Jesus, pure and simple. There can be no other answer. The Body of Christ either has Jesus' DNA, or it's not His church. It's a group of people that has a few Christians in it, but unless the DNA of this Body is Jesus, this is not a church. Stop using holy words in an unholy way! Sorry, that is a very, very holy word-Ekklesia, church, however you want to pronounce it. But the "called out" of God better be the called out of God! Right? I'm sorry, but it's got to be an abandoned faith, which is the definition of pisteuō and pistis-that's abandonment. That's not "I agree with your doctrine, and I like all you people, so I'll join your club." It's, "I give my life away. Though none go with me, still I will follow." That's the DNA of Jesus. And until you've abandoned, you don't get the down payment that guarantees the inheritance, which is the Spirit of God. If the Spirit of God lives in you, then the Creator of the galaxies now has made His home in you. The Father and Son have made their home in you, and now the whole universe can change. So, why isn't it changing? Does that mean there are no Christians, or does that mean we've done something, as Watchman Nee would say, to hinder the Spirit of God? The Release of the Spirit-that book is about letting God be God, from within. So, if we make the assumption that we've abandoned and given our life to Him, and the Spirit of God, the Creator of the Galaxies-"Christ in you, the hope of glory"-if we make the assumption that a person is truly a Christian, because they've abandoned, they've given it all up, He owns them, that's it, end of Story, no plan B…if we make that assumption, and the world isn't changing around him, then he's not really been released to be all that he can be.
What I'd like to suggest is, we've gotten in our own way for generation after generation. We've already decided together that the "Dark Ages" wasn't really dark, ok? We figured that out this morning. I want to suggest that that ramp up the other way isn't real, either. Because that ramp implies that we have got closer and closer to demonstrating God's glory on this planet. And while there were little doctrinal pinpoints on that ramp… I've been around a while now. Forty-one years I've been with Jesus, walked with Him passionately every day, every minute. Not one minute of turning my back on Him or questioning my faith. I've been a million miles away from being perfect. I've been raised from the dead a thousand times. But I will say this, that I've never closed my eyes to Who He is and what He wants, and I never will, God help me. In watching it all this time, I have never-I was around the world six times last year, according to American Airlines. I get around. And I know a lot of you guys travel constantly, too. I just don't see that the Creator of the galaxies living in millions and millions of people is having an impact on the gentiles and their kings the way He can and the way He desires.
So, we can either whine about it, or I can suggest to you something I've seen in the last few years. What I'm trying to say to you is, I actually have begun to see in the last four to five years-after forty-one years of being a Christian-I've begun to see how we can reach the gentiles and their kings. Does anybody want to know? All right. Will you risk getting mad at me? Because you can't imagine in a million years that things are going to go on the same, and everything's going to change. This is not like the Sherwin Williams logo. You know that one, where the can of paint gets poured on top of the globe? One of these days we're going to wake up and God's glory is going to be poured on top of the globe, and everything's going to change-and it will just be God, and we'll go on having our Sunday services. We'll go on doing our talking and making each other cry and have our little club thing going on, and all the sudden we'll wake up and God's glory will fill the earth. That's not how it's going to be! As was said yesterday, He chose to partner with us. He chose a MAN, Jesus Christ, to be His representative, and to be the first of the tribe! Are we going to be part of that tribe and walk in His Spirit and open our hands to that Latter Rain, to the Feast of Tabernacles, to the Feast of Booths, to the Day of Atonement that's part of the Feast of Tabernacles? Will we open our hands to all of that? Because there's a cost that comes with it. This isn't just...I mean, I don't do sermons, right? I haven't done a sermon in thirty years, probably. And yet I'm with believers every day. Believers travel with me when I travel around the world. I'm in different cities watching these things happen. I'm watching the Gentiles and their kings start to care. As the river flows with the Tree of Life and the twelve kinds of fruit, it's for the healing of the nations. It's not for the healing just of our bodies, which is awesome. It's not even just for the healing of our marriages or of our children and our families, which is beautiful and wonderful. It's all part of that. It's not even just for our cities. But it's for the healing of the nations. And I want to see that day where the kings of the earth are celebrating our demise. Some of them are saying, "Take us to your Leader"!
My point is this. I'm not smarter than you guys. I don't talk near as good as any of you guys do. I've already witnessed that. I'm not trying to. I don't care. All I want to do is share with you just one really simple idea, if you're willing to take the chance to do this, and it will divide three against two and two against three, just like Jesus said it would. You're not going to be able to have a little happy party and just go on as if nothing happened. You're going to have to decide if you've got the courage to go this way or not. So, do you want me to go on? All right. I'm not playing with you. I'm not trying to tease you or anything. I'm just being honest. Because you may not like it!
OK, so here's the point. We love John 3:16, right? It's in the end zone in the football stadium. We love that verse, because it's so right. It's so true. But has anybody ever put John 3:19-21 at the end of the end zone? Which is, "God is light. There's no darkness in Him. This is the verdict." Different translations say it in different ways, but this is the verdict. Now when a judge pounds his gavel and says, "This is the verdict," I'm pretty sure everybody that cares in that courtroom is listening very carefully to the next words out of his mouth. "This is the verdict. Men that do evil deeds hate the light. Those who love the light and come into the light are welcomed as sons." That's a loose paraphrase, but the point is really, really important. Light and darkness are the issue in this spiritual universe. It's not sin or no sin; it's light and darkness. And I'm going to have to elaborate on that, because it's so important. It was discussed earlier that we can't be sin-conscious. I would probably tweak it a little and say that we can't be judgment-conscious. Because we are supposed to confess our sins one to another. How can you do that if you totally disavow any knowledge of such a thing. "Pray for one another. Confess your sins and pray for one another that you may be healed." How can you do that if you disavow any knowledge of the fact that there's a separation between me and God. So that's what Jesus was talking about. He wasn't talking about judgment. Judgment has already come on those that hate the light.
But the point is this, that if we build… We're supposed to be builders, right? Architekton, master builders? Not master talkers! Master builders. And I don't even mean building a congregation that has a new wing put on next year because our attendance grew. I mean building with living stones the House of God that moves into the nations, and the gentiles and their kings are healed, and they say, "Come." What I'm suggesting to you is that there's a path we can go that will heal the nations, and it isn't going to be about having Sunday morning services as the central theme of what Christianity is. It's not the central theme of the Bible! The word "Sunday" is only mentioned twice in sixty years in the Bible. It's not like they centered their whole lives around their Sunday morning meeting in the Bible. We have. The idea of the pastor giving a speech every Sunday, or (I'm sorry) and apostle giving a speech every Sunday-I'm sorry, it's not in the Bible. Does that mean it's automatically sinful? No, I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that the closer we get to modeling the Son of God-the way Jesus walked with the twelve, the twelve walked with the 120, the 120 walked with the 3000, the 3000 walked with the 20,000-the closer we get to His DNA and His reflexes, His perception, His infrastructure of understanding and life and love and sensitivity-the closer we get to that, the more we're going to see the Spirit of God unleashed on planet earth. Those aren't works! That is not a works-centered theology. That is allowing God to be God by us getting out of the way. That's what I'm suggesting. OK.
"If we walk in the light just as He is in the light We'll have fellowship with one another fellowship that's real If we walk in the light just as He is in the light then the Blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse all sin"
Another scripture about light… If we walk in the light-that's conditional, right? If we walk in the light as He is in the light, then we'll have fellowship with one another, right? We won't have a ten percent committed nucleus and then a periphery of people that attend, "howdy doody" one a month. You'll have "joined and knit together by every supporting ligament." Wow, that's pretty different than an attendance-based Sunday morning thing! "Daily in public and from house to house." No one "counting their possessions as their own." Why? Because their lives are so intertwined, it's like, do you really withhold from your seven-year old? Do you really starve your mother? I don't think so! When you're really family, and you live like that, and that's your priority system, and you see through spiritual eyes, "Who are my father, mother, brothers, sisters? Those that do the will of God." Wow, my whole genetic structure has changed when I was born that second time. We must be born a second time! So now I've got to view things through a whole different lens. And in doing so, I start caring about people.
So, what do you do when you, say, are the father in the house, and your seven-year old gives his mother a sassy look when she asks him to do something? Do you whip him off and beat the tar out of him? Not if you're a good father. Do you ignore it and let him sass his mother? Not if you're a good father. So, what do you do? He might get a little-as my three-year old would say-he might get a little pop Maybe. I don't know. But that's not the point. The point is really, do you pull him aside and say, "This is why you don't do that. Your relationship with your mother and father has to reflect our relationship with God, our Father. And I don't do that. I don't give God that look! So, I'm sorry, son, you're not going to give your mother that look. You're going to have to rethink this. I know your flesh is flesh. Someday you're going to give your life to Jesus, and the Creator of the galaxies will come live inside of you, and we'll start solving that problem from the inside, rather than the outside. But for now, go sit in the corner and think about it. Because your relationship with your parents has to reflect our relationship with God, and that didn't cut it." So, you're planting these seeds.
That's what you do with a seven-year old, a nine-year-old, a fifteen-year-old. Why wouldn't you do that with a thirty-two-year-old? If you found out somehow that they were lying in the workplace or cheating or lazy or using foul language or just impatient and aggravated… Ok, so this is where it's going to get hard for you. But I'm just telling you, if you want to affect the nations-if you really want the gentiles and their kings to see the glory of God, to see the radiance in the face of Jesus Christ-you're going to have to break that alabaster jar. You're going to have to let God come out and be God. And that will never happen as long as we walk around oblivious to the seven-year-old that scowls at his mom or to our friends and family-the DNA of Jesus in the Body of Christ. We just ignore the fact. We don't even know them. We don't care. We don't care how they dress. We don't care how their teens dress We don't care how they act or think or talk. They can be pompous. Well, where do you think Diotrophes came from or Jezebel or Jannes and Jambres? They all came from a lack of relationship with people who really cared about them. They lost their way. If they were saved, if Jesus was living inside of them, they lost their way, because iron wasn't sharpening iron. There was nobody helping them. Nobody took them by the hand.
And I don't mean policing! And I don't mean guilt-tripping. I don't mean any of that garbage We can let the Mumfords-who's crying over it now-steal the truth, right? We've already discussed that involving the spiritism and the other junk. We cannot let the devil steal truth! There is a truth to say this, that if I love somebody, I want them to just celebrate their life in Jesus to some immense extreme. And I know if something's in the way of that-like they're bitter towards someone, some lack of forgiveness-how does it really hurt me or them for me to say, "You know, I'm kind of sensing a little edge whenever you mention their name. Are you sure that's where you want to be? Are you absolutely certain that that's how Jesus would feel about the situation, so you're ok with that?" I guess a person that has Jesus living inside of them will appreciate that, because they love the light. They come into the light. They may never have thought of it themselves. And that's not being harsh! That's not being legalistic. That's helping them explore the depth of the riches of the Person of Jesus Christ, coming to be a full man (teleios), to completion. That's how the Body of Christ helps one another, iron sharpening iron.
Hebrews 3, right? "Admonish one another daily." Other translations say, "Encourage one another daily." The actual Greek word is the word for the Holy Spirit: "Be called alongside one another daily." What would we want to be called alongside one another daily? What's the purpose, like we're just going to have some Christian fat-farm, where we're just going to have a good time, hanging out together? That's not what that's about! That's so that "none are hardened and deceived by sin." So, how do you help someone not be hardened and deceived by sin? We're easily deceived, right? You get in the habit. You start digging this trench. I don't even know I'm being sharp with my wife after a while. I just think that's how it is, right? Somebody comes along and says, "Are you sure you're going to explore the depths of the riches and find the fullness of Jesus' face from glory to glory with that attitude? Are you sure?" I'm saying, "Wow! I did not see that coming. I know where it started. Because this happened, and that wasn't my fault. It was hers. ;) I know where it started, but you are absolutely right! I don't want to be that person."
So, now when you have the whole Body of Christ, the entire congregation-let's say you've got 250 people around you-you can't talk to all of them. You shouldn't have to. We're back to this caste system thing, right? The clergy-laity. The clergy gives a sermon, and everybody's supposed to go figure it out. Wrong! We were prophesied to be a priesthood of believers back in Exodus. Whatever happened to that? Well, the Levites came in and took over, and that was the end of it. And we never recovered from that! We're supposed to be a priesthood of believers, which means it's like a fabric. If I pull one thread, every thread that I touch is touching every other thread. So, if I have some people that I'm especially close to, and I'm helping them find Jesus, they're going to discern and grow. What does a mature man do, at the end of Hebrews 5? They've learned to discern. They've learned good and evil. They've learned how to function. It's not like they're better preachers than they used to be. It's like they've learned what's good and what's evil. They've discerned what's Jesus and what's not Jesus. And they help other people, if they're mature, to grow in Christ. So, everybody's helping everybody. It doesn't even matter what the gift is. (I don't think I've offended you as much as I intended to. ;) Sorry about that. Correct me if I'm wrong!)
It's a different model. It's a different model of comprehending the gifts than probably what we're used to. Ours is hierarchical, no mater what we've said. I've watched it for forty years. What do we have? We've got a table full of somebody at the top of the food chart, then we've got the others back there. Why do we do that? Well, there's two reasons. One is that we don't know each other very well, so we need a little safety net. And the other is, I think we've just kind of got ourselves caught in a little rut over time. So, I'm suggesting that this whole process of being the Body of Christ and being a priesthood of believers is a little bit different way of looking at it. Apostles are scattered in the circle, almost an invisible foundation. The prophets are scattered in the circle, the concentric circles of the Body of Christ, whether it's a meeting or it's just a description of life. They're scattered in the concentric circles of life. Helps, mercy, teaching-scattered in the concentric circles of meetings and of life. Nobody "has the pulpit." Nobody's in charge. Nobody's running the show. "Oh, that can't work." Well, guess what? I've only been doing it thirty-five years in multiple cities. Yeah, it works just fine!
I know you're afraid of it. I speak "you" as in a general you, because again, I've spoken all over the world to people who are definitely afraid of it. There's a loss of control. There's a loss of power. There could actually be a loss of money. I had a guy in Malawi say, "Wow, if I do that, I won't get chicken every Sunday." I said, "What?" I mean, he said this publicly, right? There were more people than this in the room. He said, "Well, I'm in charge. I'm the apostle. And every Sunday I get invited for their one meat meal of the week. They only have one, but I get one every week, because I always go to different houses every Sunday, because I'm invited out. So, that means I might not get chicken anymore as often, if I'm not the official person in charge of God and everything in between." And he said, "I'm ok with that. I just want to make God happy. If everybody can grow…" He said, "I've been doing this for ten years, and I haven't seen a whole ton of growth. I mean everybody's getting a little smarter, and sure, I love them to pieces, and so on. But are we really touching the nations? Are we really making a difference in our village in Lilongwe?" Or wherever I was that day. Mzuzu, I think. No! We're not showing forth the glory of God. Go back to John 17. Again, one of Don's favorite passages, for a very good reason. "That the world may know." That the world may. Well, what is that? "One. One, that the world may know." No! It's "glory one" that the world may know. Glory one, glory one! It's the light! It's the radiance of God showing forth and just shutting the mouths of the nay-sayers, of the Gentiles, and even of our sin nature, right? They say in Knoxville, "Well, shut my mouth!" I wish they'd say that in DC, but in Knoxville they say it liberally. "Well, shut my mouth!" Well, that's what happens when you see the glory of God. That's what happens if you show forth the glory of God, if you let the alabaster jar break open, if you're willing to walk in the light with brothers and sisters."You're not qualified. Get the log out of your own eye! The Holy Spirit will teach me anything I need to know." Come on. Read your Bibles, guys! "Admonish one another daily, so that none are hardened and deceived by sin."
Well, "Don't forsake the gathering of yourselves together." It didn't say anything about Sunday, number one. But all right, gathering together. But what's the verse right before that, verse 24? Do you know? Yeah. "Consider how you may provoke one another to love and good works." Consider it! Give it some thought before you go to your meeting. Figure out how you're going to be a priesthood of believers. That wasn't written to the apostles. That was written to the Body of Christ. So, they were all supposed to give it some serious thought, about how they were going to interact with the Body of Christ when everybody was together. Are thy going to bring a song? A revelation? Are they going to open up their heart about some problems they're having raising their children, and then the teaching gift jumps out? The prophetic gift jumps out? They didn't have a "sermon" to give per se. But they're responding to the Body of Christ, and they take it home when them too. They go out to dinner with them. They're over there that evening. They bring ice cream.
It's that quality of life, "daily in public and from house to house." That's not a doctrine. That's how Jesus was with the twelve. That's the DNA of people who are in love with Jesus, and God is trying to get out and express Himself and heal the nations. "If we walk in the light, just as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, fellowship that's real. If we walk in the light as He is in the light, then the Blood of Christ continually cleanses us from all sin." Those sound like good things to pursue!
Just a practical suggestion, and I just want to make sure that everything everybody else said these past couple of days kind of comes together right here. Because we all agree what we want. I just want to give you this one little hint. There're a few other things I could add to this, of course. But one little hint of how we could actually see the nations drop to their knees before Jesus. It's not Sherwin Williams! It's actually God being God from within. And that only happens if we'll walk together in the light, and we'll help each other walk together in the light. "From the least to the greatest they all know Him," says the Lord. That's His intent. That's His plan: a kingdom of priests. And if we have a gift to build, that gift is to help everybody express their own gift, and then to disappear quietly into the background.
OK, now kill me! ;)
Any practicals come to mind that you, "Well, what about this?" Love to talk about it.
Question: What was it you said? I thought it was profound. I was trying to write it down. Don't say religious words without…I can't remember exactly. Comment: Oh yeah, I got it. "Stop using holy words in an unholy way." That's what you said.
Response: I did say that!
Comment: That registered very quickly!
Response: I mean, when we're really loose about it… Let's take "Christian" as an example. "Oh, he's a Christian." Are you so sure of that? Are you sure he's abandoned, and he's forsaken his very life? Jesus said, "Don't call yourself a Christian unless you forsake your very life. Disown yourself!" Just disown yourself. You don't exist. You only serve His purposes. All right. That person is now ripe for the Holy Spirit to visit them and to convert them, to bring them, to translate them from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of the Beloved Son. That's what faith is. That's what the Greek word means: abandonment. You've heard the story about the wheelbarrow, right? The guy's going back and forth with the wheelbarrow on the tightrope over Niagara Falls, and somebody says, "Oh, man, you're the greatest. Do it again! Do it again!" "Do you really believe I can do it again?"
"Oh, sure. You can do it again. Do it again! Please, do it again."
So, here's what a Christian is. It's the guy who got in! So, let's not be loose with the word, "Christian," because that's part of what's tarnished Jesus' reputation around the world. I'm not trying to be mean. I'm trying to say, there's an opportunity in front of them. I'm not condemning them. I'm saying, they don't even have the slightest idea what's about to happen to them if they really give their life to Jesus. This is Good News. I'm not trying to be mean. I'm trying to say, "You have really underestimated what it means to have the glory of God fil your heart and soul. You thought you were saved because you prayed a prayer with your Sunday School teacher with the little flannel-gram, or whatever it is. You were misled. I'm sorry. That's not what Christianity says. That's not what the Bible says about becoming a Christian. Jesus said that you've got to forsake your very life. Would you be willing to do that? It's so worth it! It's totally worth it!" Ok, so now you're starting to make some progress. I'm not being mean. I'm just saying, the DNA of the Body of Christ has to be the DNA of Jesus. And that only happens when people have forsaken their lives.
So, guess what? When you have three hundred people that have truly forsaken their lives, and they all love the light, and they're all a priesthood of believers, and their gifts are functioning every day, and they're not meeting-centered, but they're life centered, then you end up with three generations of amazing people. Do you know what Barna and everybody…? Billy Graham said it before he died. He said that twenty-five percent of children in the religious world at large-charismatic, Baptist, you name it-only twenty-five percent are saved. Barna says that it's ten percent. And then how he defines that ten percent is a little bit lame, to be honest. So maybe it's not even ten percent, I don't know. Well, what if-just stay with me for a second-what if you could have generation after generation of youth, hundreds of youth, and something like ninety-five percent of them are saved? I don't mean just that they attend something, because there's nothing to attend. They are passionate about Jesus. They talk about it in grad school. They talk about it with their bosses and co-workers, in the highways and byways, in the grocery stores. They're serious. They know more than you do. They're more passionate than you are. Let's say there are a hundred children. What if ninety-five of them are passionate about Jesus instead of Billy Graham's ten? What's the difference between ten and ninety-five? Eighty-five. And that eighty-five is genocide. You did that. If you're responsible for leadership, and you could have saved ninety-five out of a hundred instead of ten out of a hundred, then you're responsible for genocide. Take that. Think about that for a minute. You could have done something different. You're a builder-architekton, master builder. If you're a builder, and you could have saved nine times as many of your own children-by Billy Graham and George Barna's estimate, anyway-and you don't? You're responsible. That's genocide. You're a bad builder. Shame on you. I guess if you took your child to a bar every night or set them up in front of porn on their laptop, I guess if something went wrong, that might be your fault, too? What if you just let them loose into the world, and you don't really lead them in a way where you're walking in the light as He is in the light, you're not going to have fellowship with them. That's a conditional statement. If you walk in the light, as He is in the light, His light.
And I don't mean policing. I mean watching, discerning like a mature man (Hebrews 5). Discerning what's good. Watching and weighing things, and you see a little attitude, and you say, "You know, I'm probably totally wrong. It might be just me. But it kind of looked like you were watching that girl walk by. That might be an illusion. You might have been staring off into space. But if you were, you don't even have to answer me. Please reconsider that way of life. Please, I beg you." Does that sound like policing to you? Or does it sound like Hebrews 5, discerning good and evil, and being a kingdom of priests. Because they don't even have to answer. Of course, they probably will if they love Jesus. They'll probably say, "You know, you're right." Because they love light. Jesus said they willingly come into the light if they're His. They willingly do! They're not trying to avoid it. They're not mad. They're not defensive. "Well, the Holy Spirit's going to tell me. You just mind your own business." You've got to question whether Jesus lives in that person that refuses to walk in the light. Because we've actually been commanded. You know, you've been commanded, "Do not kill." You've also been commanded, "Admonish one another daily, so that none are hardened and deceived by sin." Which command do you love more? "If you love Me, you'll obey My commands." Does God somehow weigh those commands differently, "Do not kill' and "Walk alongside one another daily to help each other not be hardened and deceived"? Or is a command from God a command from God? It's the source of the command that matters, not our judgment of that command. It's the source! Right? The source is God in both cases. So, I'm not going to kill, and I'm not going to ignore Hebrews 3. I want to consider how to spur one another on. I want to try to walk in the light as He is in the light. And I see that there's benefit and blessing in that, and it will change my life.
And I can prove it! See, that's the thing. I can absolutely prove it. I can introduce you to the gentiles and their kings. And you'll probably be more persuasive than I am. 'Cause I'm not a good talker. But it's not about that. It's about God's glory. His glory that shines in the face of Jesus Christ, from glory to glory. If we unleash Him, He will do His own work. The glory will pour out and heal the nations if we'll let Him out of us. And that's been our mistake. That's why those "ramps" are all wrong. I don't know about the Dark Ages. That was very insightful stuff. I hadn't thought about any of that. But I know for sure that other ramp's not there, because I've been here. I've lived it. I've watched it. That's not a ramp. That's a flatline. Those are pulse beats. Those are facts. And it's progress from a doctrinal standpoint. I love it. But we're not living in it yet! What in the world good is an apostolic gift if we're not building anything? Let's build! Let's heal the nations!
And it's so simple. That's the thing. I just wanted you to walk away with something that you could say, "Well, that guy was a lunatic. But I'm going to at least think about it, that maybe light-walking in our congregations, where we're vulnerable enough to receive and vulnerable enough to violate the American eighteen-inch rule and actually talk to each other and help each other out of compassion, out of mercy, out of love, out of patience. If we're willing to do that, what's going to happen a year from now? What's going to happen three years from now? What's going to happen a generation from now? And I guarantee you, it will be unlike anything you've ever seen in your life, if you're not already walking that way. It will stagger your imagination, because it unleashes God to pour His glory out for the gentiles and their kings and heal the nations. So simple, isn't it? A little vulnerability. A little humility. And yet, it's so powerful.