June 18, 2020 Ashley Steelman

FIGHT LIKE A PROPHET

FIGHT LIKE A PROPHET

 

I will pour out my Spirit on all kinds of people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy,  your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions. Joel 2:28

Martin Luther said “The world is like a drunken peasant. If you lift him into the saddle on one side, he will fall off again on the other side. One can’t help him no matter how he tries. He wants to be the devil’s.”


Everybody is yelling. Everybody is fighting. It is rare to see measured conversations. We have the virtue signalers, the antifa thugs, CHAZ, the Dems, the GOP, the woke-left, the far-right, and all manner of divided groups. Hop on social media and you can always find the guys and gals who have an opinion (that they just thought up five seconds ago) and they are really mad that nobody else sees just how right and how smart they really are. 


There is more than just a little bit of Cain reflected from behind our eyes right now. James says it is because we are not faithful to God. The reason we have fights with our brothers and sisters is because we are at war with the God who made us. How can we be at peace with each other if we aint at peace with God?


The Book of James paints this picture for us.


 Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that make war inside you. 2 You want things, but you don’t get them. So you kill and are jealous of others. But you still cannot get what you want. So you argue and fight. You don’t get what you want because you don’t ask God. 3 Or when you ask, you don’t receive anything, because the reason you ask is wrong. You only want to use it for your own pleasure. James 4:1-3


Our nation as we know it is crumbling- falling in big chunks all around us. Confusion, division,  and outrage are the order of the day.  I don’t know about you but my heart has been crusty y’all! I had lost my focus for a minute. I was sinking fast.. But I WOKE-UP Sunday morning with the word “blood bought” on repeat in my mind. It woke me up- literally. I remembered whose I was and who I am in Him.


 I am a Christian.  I am a praying, blood bought, Spirit filled, Tongue Talking, Bible Thumping, Devil Stomping, Overcoming, Jesus Praising, From The Dead Raising, Greater Works Than These, Redeemed by The Blood of the Lamb, Saved, Sanctified, Child Of The One True and LIVING God! 


There are churches on just about every corner in America and millions of professing Christians. It is past time to be salt and light. We are not powerless. We may be chased by our enemies and fearful of the giants in the land. But right now -in this moment-  we need lots of Christians to become WOKE Christians. 


We need lots of squeaky clean, God is good all the time, hand-shakin’, back-pattin’, Sunday mornin’ folks to meet Jesus in a dark alley and have Him rough ‘em up a little.  


In the first century, Christians faced enormous pressure from two opposing sides.  Most of the time they were on the losing end of the struggle for power and influence. Sound familiar? But that kind of power was not the weapon of our king. 


We have access to a different kind of power. We have the Gospel. 


God created us with a mouth. James points out that it is like a flamethrower, rocket launcher, a deadly weapon. But this is a feature and not a flaw when we allow Jesus to redeem these weapons and turn them loose on the dark forces trying to split this world in two. We were made to speak. We are spirit filled believers. We have the responsibility to speak life. 


WE HAVE THE GOSPEL. 


God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. Hebrews 4:12


When the book of Hebrews was written, the church faced a very strong possibility of persecution. The author was warning them about the temptation to deny their faith so that they could live more “comfortably.”


It’s a tough world out there today, just as it was then. But, the same Word that confronted the church during this time is the same, unchanging, infallible Word that confronts us today. It is living. It is active. It is convicting. 


IT IS THE POWER GOD USES TO SAVE EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES. 


It is possible to scorn unbelief, pray for judgment, and share the Gospel without being a crusty grubby mess, and cussing the media under your breath. It ain’t just possible- it is essential. 


James points us to the Prophets. 


James  5:10-11 Brothers and sisters, follow the example of the prophets who spoke for the Lord. They suffered many bad things, but they were patient. 11 And we say that those who accepted their troubles with patience now have God’s blessing. You have heard about Job’s patience.[a] You know that after all his troubles, the Lord helped him. This shows that the Lord is full of mercy and is kind.


The prophets married harlots. They walked around town naked. They proclaimed droughts. They called out politicians and religious leaders. They foretold judgement. They spoke the word of God with every breath and deed. 


Name a prophet that wasn’t constantly in conflict with the enemies of God? Think about Elijah- He was called the “troubler of Israel”.  But He turns the tables: Elijah answered, “I have not made trouble for Israel. You and your father’s family caused all the problems when you stopped obeying the Lord’s commands and began following the false gods.” 


 James points out Job specifically. I don’t reckon I had ever looked at Job as a prophet. But James sure does. And I think it’s because of his straight forward, patient, endurance. Job suffers but doesn’t slip.


The book of Job is the original Twitter war. Job speaks the truth and refuses to back down and then You have these three dudes who think they know better than Job -giving him their advice. Just apologize, admit you are wrong... and his wife! I can’t even deal with her right now. 


If we are to follow the example of the prophets, then we understand that when godly men and women get worked up, there's a way to do it in a godly way. It means we don’t lose perspective, we don’t lose sight of Jesus. We don’t lose sight of the goals set before us. 


We need to fight in the prophetic. We have to speak the word of God. We have to fight like the prophets by resisting evil rulers with patience and joy. 


WE HAVE THE GOSPEL.


So what do we do? Where do we turn? We turn to Jesus. We cry out to our Savior, our God, our King. We ask Him to pour out the Holy Spirit on us. We need to be filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit. We need to unsheathe the sword of the Spirit. We need to wield the sharp edges and pointy parts of Scripture.


Depending on who your talkin’ to we either live in the Bible Belt or on the Bourbon Trail. When they make whiskey it gets watered down when they bottle it. The alcohol content of the whiskey in its cask varies but is known as “barrel proof,” referring to the strength of the liquor coming straight out of the barrel. We need that- we need the undiluted intensity of the gospel to burn our throats and kick us in the guts. 


We need a barrel-proof gospel. 


We need to let the actual words, the actual story, the actual characters, confront us, shape us, scare us. If the Church is to rise up in this time- to rise up full of people who don’t give a rip about anything but the glory of Jesus and His Kingdom, we must eat, sleep and breathe the Gospel. 


 Jesus claimed all authority in heaven and on earth. He claimed all of it, and sent His apostles to announce that claim in the words of the gospel. Jesus comes with the life of God for the world, and the world is dead and dying and for all appearances demon infested.


WE HAVE THE GOSPEL.


We can’t be wrathful or divisive. We can’t sound like the world. We must fight like a prophet. We have to speak the Word of God. We should not find ourselves retreating on every cultural battlefield. We gotta understand in our guts and bones the difference between Christ-like troublemaking and our flesh. We can’t constantly keep second guessing ourselves, afraid of stirring up strife, apologizing for speaking the truth, caving to the pressures of popular opinion.  


A prophet is a special witness for Christ, testifying of His divinity and teaching His gospel. A prophet teaches truth. 


The theme of Acts is that every believer receives the power of the Holy Spirit to be a prophetic witness (Acts 1:8).


John says, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10). 

Paul says, “Love should be the goal of your life, but you should also want to have the gifts that come from the Spirit. And the gift you should want most is to be able to prophesy. 2 I will explain why. Those who have the gift of speaking in a different language are not speaking to people. They are speaking to God. No one understands them—they are speaking secret things through the Spirit. 3 But those who prophesy are speaking to people. They help people grow stronger in faith, and they give encouragement and comfort. 4 Those who speak in a different language are helping only themselves. But those who prophesy are helping the whole church.


WE HAVE THE GOSPEL. FIGHT LIKE A PROPHET.


16 I am proud of the Good News, because it is the power God uses to save everyone who believes—to save the Jews first, and now to save those who are not Jews. Romans 1:16