We live in a world that has drastically changed over the last 50 years. Most Christians believe the change has been for the worse. However, in the midst of the dark social decline we are seeing around us, there is a light that cannot be extinguished. While we live in the midst of darkness, we have the opportunity to touch lives with the truth and the power of God and to shine His light to a desperate world. This all has to do with our attitude toward everything that is going on around us.
So we are faced with a choice: We can look at our world and choose to withdraw from it, or we can allow the Holy Spirit to show us how to impact people and even be counter-cultural with the good news of Jesus Christ and life of His Kingdom. Today we will look at some examples in Scripture of what it means to live as if in Exile rather than in the Promised Land.
What if we Christians lived our lives as if in exile instead of in the Promised Land?
There is a difference between living in the Promised Land and living in exile.
1. In the Promised Land we have our own place. In exile we are in someone elses place.
2. In the Promised Land we have our rights. In exile our rights are taken away.
3. In the Promised Land we operate from a position of superiority. In exile we operate from a position of humility.
4. In the Promised Land we conquer. In exile we are the conquered ones.
5. In the Promised Land we make demands. In exile we entreat.
6. In the Promised Land we are in charge. In exile someone else is in charge (but remember, God is in charge of who is in charge).
2 Kings 5:1-3: The Hebrew Slave Girl
1. Observe her attitude: not a victim, but caring for others.
2. Note her declaration: even in slavery she had a confidence in the goodness and faithfulness of God.
Examples of those who impacted their world in exile: Esther, Naomi, Daniel, the 3 Hebrew children, Jesus and Hebrew slave girl of 2 Kings.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah
1. Taken from their home.
2. Names changed to honor pagan demon gods.
3. Possibly made eunuchs.
4. Taught the black arts of Babylon.
I wonder if our time on this earth is to be lived as if in exile, and then we go to be with Christ, that is our return to our true home, our true Promised Land.
How do you and I get to the place of blessing the city we live in? That is, how can we love the sometimes unlovable people around us in a way that brings blessing and is counter-cultural?
Step 1 is to repent. I have to repent from withdrawal. I have to repent from making my own choices about who I might associate with and allow God to bring divine appointments to me that allow me to love people like God does. If I confess my sin, He forgives my sin.
Step 2 is to be filled with Spirit.
Step 3 is for us to get on the journey and go as far as we have to in order to minister the life of Jesus.
Paul in Acts: His Second Missionary Journey
From Antioch to Troas was a 400-mile walk in which the Lord would not allow them to minister. Then they found Luke, and he became a part of the band.
For some of you, getting on the journey is rising up and taking the action the Holy Spirit has been speaking to you about. For some of you, it is enrolling in Operation Solid Lives as a first step of following the Lord and doing His will. For others it may be Stephen Ministry Training or Life Ministry Institute or getting involved in our Childrens Ministry.
Jeremiah 29:11-14: The Promise
Challenge: Every one of us has a God-given calling. The question for us is, how will we respond to Gods call to love the world? Christ came and loved all the wrong people. We can do no less.
1. What is God saying to me about how I live in this culture?
2. What changes do I need to make?
3. What actions am I going to take in order to be good news to people in my world?