Pg.10 Cpt.12

Pg.10 Cpt.12

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CHAPTER 12   Global Awakening 

Next: Cpts 13-15

I debated back and forth on whether or not to talk about the early Church and how much to say. I have come to the conclusion that because of the material society that exists today in abundance, there needs to be some ground work done (foundation not quite set?) to jar some peoples minds out of its luke – warm state, and perhaps make people aware of a way of life that could become reality with faith and experience which can influence many. But there be only one way in obtaining this over the dark powers of godlessness that permeates the world as it is today, and this is what Jesus calls men to do, follow in His footsteps to a humiliating and dishonorable death which is totally heroic. This death on the cross makes Jesus the sole leader and captain who shall complete the victory of this new and living way which reflects the coming time of God.
Jesus did and still does call all mankind to a practical way of loving thy brother. It alone breaks down the barriers erected by our covetous will to possess, and be our own god. This liberating power of Gods love, wherever this love rules supreme, is represented in the Sermon of the Mount. We are nearing the greatest turn in the history of the earth and in the order of creation. Jesus will appear a second time in glory and authority and His rule will be made secure over the whole earth, though you may see Him returning first in His saints who have endeavored to walk out the lifestyles, way and manner He has shown. This in turn causes fierce battle of spirits as you become a target for peoples hatred and mocking s so as to disguise their own shame, yet, to have the ability to love and overcome through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. What was this message that caused the early Church to have such faith to follow on as their Master showed? It was their cry of faith “Lord, come!” He who was executed and buried was not dead; the Messiah Jesus rose from the dead and that Gods Kingdom will break in at His second coming.
They rejected the association with idols as demonic, quit many of their jobs for new ones, barred sexual license, because it was an expression of victory over the rule of demons and struck to the core and exposed as the rule of impurity and idolatry. Not until the
cataclysm of judgment has past, can Gods new order, way and manner; Divine order of life, break in with all its splendor.
The promise of the future millennium is connected to the prophecy of judgment that attacks the prevailing order and conditions of mankind at its roots. This was the message the early Church and that which followed heard, preached and believed. The tension is between future and present, God and demons, selfish possessive will and the loving giving will of God, Truth and lies. Between the present order of the state which assumes absolute power with its economic pressures and Gods coming rule of love and justice. For the Messiah who is to come again has already overpowered this present world-age and its champion and leader and too late did the Prince of Death realize his powers were conclusively broken.
There is only one way of victory, and that is being nailed to the cross with Jesus, only dying His death with Him and sharing in His sufferings which leads to resurrection and to the Kingdom. The early Christians use to stretch out their hands to imitate the extended arms on the cross; this being a symbol of triumph and victory.
So you know the message and in the book of Acts, you see the actions of such a belief. They had ALL things in common, etc. By becoming one with the triumphant Christ, their life became a soldiers life and one sure of victory, with no murderous weapons or magic spells to win this war, or even the outward sign of the cross. They truly believed in Jesus and the power of His Spirit within.
Today (and in years past) you hear Christians defending their lifestyle (way and manner of living) by saying “Times have changed”, meaning society has changed. They have their bible studies on the customs of the early Church which does support their thinking. But we’re not speaking of their manner of dress or life and customs that are transit and differ from region to region. We, in saying ones lifestyle are speaking of how you live your life, your actions, attitudes and behavior in everyday living; close enough to His presence in your daily walk. These all have to do with ones person and their respect for God.
So how did the early Churchs lifestyle differ from ours today? First of all, their conduct before God was not from some cold legalism of dos and don’ts but issued from the holiness and purity of the presence in their life and heart, not wanting to go back to being separated from Him but wanted to be enveloped in all He did for us.
Their life style put an end to all powers, legal systems and
property laws to keep the unity of the all-powerful love in God. So their life was one of surrender, even to one another. It was a practical way of loving in keeping with the expectation of that which is coming. They were worshipers of God and of the Word; gripped by the Spirit in their inner-most beings they received their bearing from the future with God being their strength.
The early Christians were “brothers” and “sisters” because they were all in unity of purpose through the one same Spirit. Their belief in one God and their attitude to temporal goods was looked upon as poverty. Jesus Christ was and is the revelation of God in which we too are called to disclose His nature. This can be accomplished by faith as one sees the reality of meaning in Baptism. This baptismal bath was considered altogether pure and holy and upon stepping out from being baptized they too were considered this, forgiven of all guilt and evil and assured of victory. They knew to keep this seal pure and inviolate. For this charge came by living Spirit who descends on the water to make the rebirth sure and as a sign of transformation. They were instructed in the teaching of the twelve Apostles. For in the water, the believer had buried his entire former life with all its ties and involvements. They were plunged deeply into Christ the Crucified that the water could be likened to the blood of Christ. The individual accepted as his own the cutting-off by the cross, of all demon powers ruling this world-age and the victory of the cross over them and their life. They lived in the strength, truth and power and in the future of the risen Christ. They each made their break with the entire status quo committed to live and die for the cause they embraced.
This is why we see not the power of His witness in todays society and in most claiming Christians lives. They choose not to appropriate His true and living Word now.
The Old Testament testifies to this manner of finding and following God. Abram, before his name change to Abraham, lived in a town called Ur of the Chaldees. The Lord said to Abram (Genesis 12:1, Amp,; Hebrews 11:8-10 Amp.) Go for yourself [for your own advantage] away from your country, from your relatives and your fathers house, to a land that I will show you.
Extensive archaeological excavations by C. Leolard Woolley in 1922-1934, shows the high state of civilization at that time. The entire house of the average middle-class person had from ten to twenty rooms and measured 41 – 52 feet. The lower floor was for servants, the upper floor for the family, with five rooms for their use . Additionally, there was a great chamber and a lavatory reserved for visitors and a private chapel.
A school and clay tablets were found which showed the students learned reading, writing, and arithmetic, as today. They learned multiplication and division and even worked at square and cube roots. A bill of lading (about the era of Abram living there), showed that the commerce of that time was far-reaching. And Abram was told to leave it all for a promise, and by faith he did.
Back to the early Church, their true and total commitment to their faith caused Pagans to call them godless. They were looked upon as down right monstrous third race and accused of intolerable atheism. The Roman State at that time fought against the Christians as criminals, desperate and forsaken people, lawless men and public enemies, for their faith was also political with its system and ways and manner of life, with Jesus as Lord and King. His second, future appearance was a certainty and only by actually becoming one with the crucified could they withstand the lures of the world and the violent passion of this age. Their life witness meant certain martyrdom, yet each witness ready to die for his faith as a soldier of God. He was a martyr, that is a “confessor” (declares faith in), even though ready for anything, he did not have to physically die because of his witness.
It was in Antioch that their enemies, yes their enemies, coined the name “Christians” for the ‘people of the Christ’ It suited to distinguish those who belonged to the Messianic future of the Christ, for their lifestyle alone revealed this.

Does yours, fellow American Christian?

NEXT Cpts 13-15