Monday, August 1, 2011

Light and Darkness, Part 1

Hello all. No, I haven’t “disappeared”—I have just been putting hours upon hours in to wrapping up the history-cookbook fundraiser we are doing for our youth group, and most of the rest of things have slipped to the side. But, it is close . . . and I am feeling things start returning to “normal” (whatever that is—someone said the other day that “normal” is a setting on a dryer and all the rest is life . . . )
    With that said, as a “sub” series in the running study I am teaching on the Kingdom of God (which is focusing on the present-day, “breaking in” aspect of His Kingdom—as opposed to the place Heaven, or the future Kingdom reality) I have been doing a shorter series on the stark contrast that exists (and should be evident) between the two kingdoms—God’s reign and rule versus Satan’s. The Kingdom of God, in the present day sense, is the reign or rule of God in a situation or person. Jesus said if He cast a demon out of someone the Kingdom of God had come upon them. He would heal a sick person and use it to talk about the Kingdom of God, and Colossians 1:13 says that when we are saved we are taken out of the rule/authority of Satan and into the Kingdom of Jesus.
    When God comes in to a person or situation the contrast should come to be stark because His rule has just replaced Satan’s, and their two hearts are very different. Jesus came in love that we might have life (eternal life begins at salvation), and have it abundantly, and He left us access to His joy and peace and indwelt by His Spirit which produces such things as love and kindness, etc. Satan, on the other hand, is by Jesus’ words a thief who comes naught except to steal, kill, and destroy. When God’s power comes against Satan’s, God’s is always superior—just ask Pharoah’s magicians, the demonized man in the tombs, or Simon or the woman with the spirit of divination in Acts.
    Unfortunately, in Western Christianity, the world seems to rarely see such a stark contrast between itself and God’s Kingdom, and I think that one of the reasons is that we try (and our culture permits us) to live at the same time with the security of Heaven, and the pleasures, values, and priorities of earth—and we often have little more respect for the authority and truth of His Word than the scientists do who mock it (hence our faith is weakened). Thus we are powerless, His voice is quieted, His Spirit is quenched, and all the world says is different about us is that they have Sunday morning off and we don’t. For the most part, Western Christianity is a far cry from those in Acts who “turned the world upside down.”
    I want to begin in the next few posts to talk about one of the stark contrasts between God’s Kingdom (reign and rule) versus Satan’s—the stark contrast between Light and darkness (and what God means by those two words). I think that it will really help us to better understand why a “good” person can go to Hell, and how we miss God as the mark of all that is good. I encourage you to follow this along, I think it will bless you. Until then, may God pour His favor upon you.

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