Saturday, April 22, 2006

Aggressive Christianity? God's Plan For You? ... You Betcha!

Aggressive Christianity? God’s Plan For You? ….. You Betcha!


1The 5:15 (ASV) See that none render unto any one
evil for evil; but always follow after that which is good,
one toward another, and toward all.


Rom 12:14-21 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. (15) Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (16) Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited.

(17) Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. (18) If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (19) Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." (20) To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." (21) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


Losing To Evil Not Acceptable:

It is clear, the command has been given and there is no excuse for losing the war against evil! We are commanded, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rom. 12:21 We must not have a defeatist mindset bit prepare to win since that is the command.

You are a member of the Church and remember that Christ taught that the Church would grow and fill the whole earth and win! This means you. Matt 16:18 (ASV) “And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Compare Jude, Revelation, etc.)


The Lord’s Instruction Was Not New It Was What The Lord Told Daniel In The Old Testament:


Daniel 7:1-28 (ASV) In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of heaven brake forth upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made to stand upon two feet as a man; and a man's heart was given to it. And, behold, another beast, a second, like to a bear; and it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and, lo, another, like a leopard, which had upon its back four wings of a bird; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.


After this I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, a fourth beast, terrible and powerful, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.


I beheld till thrones were placed, and one that was ancient of days did sit: his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, [and] the wheels thereof burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousands of thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld at that time because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake; I beheld even till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed, and it was given to be burned with fire. And as for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. As for me, Daniel, my spirit was grieved in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, that shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, which was diverse from all of them, exceeding terrible, whose teeth were of iron, and its nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet; and concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and the other [horn] which came up, and before which three fell, even that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake great things, whose look was more stout than its fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all the kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And as for the ten horns, out of this kingdom shall ten kings arise: and another shall arise after them; and he shall be diverse from the former, and he shall put down three kings. And he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High; and he shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time.


But the judgment shall be set, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High: his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts much troubled me, and my countenance was changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.



The Church Is Called To Disciple The Nations And In So Doing Advances The Kingdom Of Christ.


Matt 28:18-20 (ASV) And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.



Through evangelizing and disciplining the nations The Church, by the grace and call of God, is transforming its enemies into the soldiers of light as we go forth in Christ’s army conquering with the Word of love and of the gospel. We see this when reading the scriptures when the Light (Christ) came even the demons cried for mercy.


There is no truce in the fight against evil for you can be sure that if you seek a truce the evil subjects will break the “truce”. You also will be sinning and your Lord will be disappointed in you. Remember there is no room for compromise or truce etc since you have been commanded to overcome evil with good. YOU MUST WIN OVER EVIL WITH GOOD.


A Reality - Evil Will Come


Now evil will come. That is a reality. It can come from anyone including family, friends, co-workers, etc. . Mankind is totally depraved therefore we are to be aware of the presence of evil. God saw it and said in Gen. 6:5 (ASV) “ that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” And the sinfulness of men, and the evil they can produce, is described in greater detail in the epistle of Romans 3: 10-18:



As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God;
They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not, so much as one:
Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips:
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Destruction and misery are in their ways;
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.

B. How Do You Overcome Evil With Good?



Therefore since it will happen here is a question for you: “Do you know how to over come evil with good?”



Please list some of the dynamics below:

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Since you are commanded to do this you must learn what you re to do to ensure the victory over evil. Emotional responses have no place in the warfare of the Christian against evil. Emotion driven reactions are not planned responses. In fact they may hinder your ability to obey the command. I have found that anger not properly handled always hinder godly biblical responses. Other action emotional responses that hinder godly biblical responses are hatred, blow-ups, sleeplessness, etc.


Therefore since it is important that we know what to do to overcome evil with good I have below a list of what we must do to be an aggressive Christian and to overcome evil with good. We will briefly discuss each one so that we will better be able to fulfill the command to “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”.


1. Know How To Be A Biblically Aggressive Christian


Use God’s Strategy / Make War Not Peace
Love Others / Be Humble / Turn The Other Cheek
Become A Servant Of Those Doing Evil
Invade Enemy Territory
Use The Proper Tools Of Aggressive Christian Warfare
Overcome Evil By Retaliating With Good
Bless And Curse Not
Communicate Properly
Do Not Do Battle Alone / Do Not Be A Christian Vigilante
Do Not Take Vengance / Make Room For God



2. Understanding What It Means To Be A Biblically Aggressive Christian In Overcoming Evil With Good


a. Use God’s Strategy / Make War Not Peace


God’s strategy is one of violence! It is a strategy of righteousness ...”overcome evil with good”. These are the weapons that get results in overcoming evil - spreading righteousness and light. To return evil for evil and abuse with abuse is to spread evil and that is against God and against the command to defeat evil. God’s stategy is that of fighting evil with goodness and righteousness. Therefore our weapons are not of this world and flesh.


Christ is our great example in fighting the war against evil. The cross is the most extreme example of the weapons of goodness used properly in returning good for evil. Hew did not retaliate with evil and abuse but used the cross showing love, compassion and mercy defeating evil, Satan himself, in order to turn countless millions and millions to Himself. As one writer said, “ Evil gathered all its resources and flung them at Jesus. Though seemingly defeated the Son defeated sin and Satan (evil) triumphing gloriously over evil.”



2Cor 10:3 (ASV) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh (for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds), 5 casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; 6 and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience shall be made full.


Rom. 16:20 (ASV) And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.


Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. (Eph 4:26-27)


b. Be Aggressive And Attack

We must aggressively attack and defeat the enemy having the mind of Christ in order to disarm the evil doers and overcome evil with good.


Phil 2:5 (ASV) Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men;
8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient [even] unto death, yea, the death of the cross.


John 3:16 (ASV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.


Col 2:13-15 (ASV) And you, being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you, [I say], did he make alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses; 14 having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross; 15 having despoiled the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.



c. Love Others



In order to love others, even those doing evil our love must be structured within the construct of God’s commandments. This is stated beautifully by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians chapter thirteen. This love will “attack hatred like light attacks darkness”. Remember that love:

· It never fails
· Never can be caused to cease
· It endures all things
· It believes all things
· Etc.

Not being a feeling this love takes the action necessary to see that the war against evil is won according to God’s strategy. Therefore, love is doing what good God says you must do to others in order to please Him. It begins and ends with an obedience to God. Can this hurt? Yes! Christ our example loved infinitely and it hurt. Just think of the pain and suffering he endured prior to and then while on the cross.




d. / Be Humble / Turn The Other Cheek


Turning the other cheek is so aggressive that in doing it it is as as though we are putting coals of file upon the very head of the one that is doing evil. That is aggressive and violent. In this you are aggressively not being a defeatist, pacificist, but being an aggressionist against evil. To do this even though it is aggressive is taking a loving violent and aggressive act against evil. In this you confront the evil doer so that there may be a possibility of them coming to the light while you return good for evil.



e. Make Room For God


It is not our place to take vengeance upon others. In this some of us (me) sin more than others. Somethimes the first thing I want to do is to pounce on someone doing me evil. But guess what? God has removed from us the responsibility of taking wrath and vengenance from others. Our responsibility is to love!

Levi 19:18 (ASV) Thou shalt not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people; but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am Jehovah.

Therefore weaqre not to get even, take out our wrath on others, curse / damn others.
But we are to overcome evil with good leaving room for God’s wrath. In other words DO NOT GET IN GOD’S WAY! God knows the heart, the facts, and the mind.

Hebr 4:12 (ASV) For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

God knows what we suffer and we need to be patient and wait till God carries forth his purposes.

Reve 6:9 (ASV) And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of them that had been slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 and they cried with a great voice, saying, How long, O Master, the holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And there was given them to each one a white robe; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little time, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, who should be killed even as they were, should have fulfilled [their course].


The day is coming when he will turn the tables on those that afflict evil upon us His children!


2The 1:5 (ASV) [which is] a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God; to the end that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 if so be that it is righteous thing with God to recompense affliction to them that afflict you, 7 and to you that are afflicted rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of his power in flaming fire, 8 rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus: 9 who shall suffer punishment, [even] eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be marvelled at in all them that believed (because our testimony unto you was believed) in that day. 11 To which end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfil every desire of goodness and [every] work of faith, with power; 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.



f. Bless And Curse Not / Turning The Other Cheek


Blessing is another aggressive response to evil. It is simply to give a good and positive response in returning good for evil done to you. It certainly is a caring for the person who is doing, or has done you evil. In blessing them you give them the opportunity to do the right thing asking them to be better than the evil he, she or they have given you. In blessing them you do not accept their sin you aggressively refuse to accept the sinful behavior turning the other cheek for a kiss. It is the giving of a soft answer in order to, and in the hope of turning away wrath.



Blessing others is to: a) It is to ask God to do good to the person; b) It is to ask God to save him and work changes in his life; c) It is to pray for them that despitefully use you



Examples of blessing replacing the curse are known in such instances as:

a) Jesus Luke 23:34 (ASV) And Jesus said, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And parting his garments among them, they cast lots.

b) Stephen Acts 7:60 (ASV) And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

c) Peter at Pentecost

d) Paul before his captors


In the epistles we are called upon to handle persecution as Christ did – 1 Pet 2:21 (ASV) For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously:


So, if you are being persecuted have you done these things:


1. If you cursed in return did you ask God and the person to forgive you?

2. If your focus has been on yourself rather than on your persecutor ask God for forgiveness and begin to think about the persecutors needs.

3. Ask God to save him and help him. Pray specifically for him and his welfare.

4. Think of kind and goodly things and helpful words that you can speak to him now and on any later occasions.




g. Communicate Properly To Overcome Evil With Good



Communicate properly in order to overcome evil with good. Biblical communication pleasing to God has four rules.


a.) Be Honest - Eph 4:25;


b.) Keep Current - Eph. 4: 26-27 ;


c.) Attack The Problem Not The Person – Eph. 4:29;


d.) Act, Don’t React – Eph 4:31-32



h. Do Not Be A Christian Vigilante / Do Not Do Battle Alone


Roma 12:15 (ASV) Rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep.


This is to understand tht we need each other. We are not alone. There is no such thing as a vigilante Christian. We need the gifts of others in the body of Christ. We must identify with others in the Church for:

1. We need each other

2. We need each other therefore we need to get close to each other

3. We need to be sensitive to each other

4. We cannot fight battles alone

We need to be so connected that we rejoice and weep with each other. This is that we “develop empathy that grows from allowing others concerns to overlap and when necessary supercede our own.”


Do you know why we are not to not can we really go it alone? It is simply that God created us as social creatures. (Gen 2:18) God has called us to love the brethern (1 Jn 4:20). Also we are in the Church and in that we are to enter into each others lives (Rom 12:15) where appropriate. Remember the level of care and concern in the lives of others in the parables of the lost coin and sheep! It is interesting that there are examples of where this is not done as well – Remember the parable of the prodigal son?


Knowing our brothers and sisters in Christ that this does not come automatically! It is to be developed:

1. Establish fellowship with others expanding your circle of people you really know

2. Take time out to develop and cultivate close ties by spending time together. (Be creative in time sharing)

· Take to dinner
· Invite over for icecream
· Let your kids and theirs play while you develop close ties with others
· Phone church members
· ETC.

Also let us not forget that God has also given the civil magistrates for our good and the expansion of the kingdom of God. If an evil crime is being done or has been don’t to you don’t forget that we are to “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” (Rom 13:1-4)



i. Become A Servant Of Those Doing Evil In Order To Overcome Evil With Good

Boy oh boy my grandmother was good on doing this. My great grandfather was murdered and my grandmother took his slayer food in jail in order to over come evil with good. We are required to discover and meet our enemies needs. Therefore plan that if hungry they are fed and if thirsty they have drink. In essence plan to do good and serve them and do good to them!


j. As Much As Is Within You


AS stated our goal is the pursuit of peace. We are to look past the defeat of evil to the peaceful relations that we are commanded to establish once the enemy has surrendered.

Hebr 12:14 (ASV) Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the

Now it may be that some won’\;t accept peace held put to them. In that case you can have inner peace and “as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men”. Peace is your goal.



2. Plan Today To Win Over Evil That Is In Your Life, Will Come Today, Or Will Come Tomorrow

Just a few thoughts on making plans to overcome evil with good:


a. Study the biblical concepts in this blog.


b. Identify who is doing the evil.

1. Who has wronged you?
2. What are they like?
3. Are they likely to do evil again?
4. How did the evil happen?
5. What does God want you to do instead of what you possibly did?


c. Has a crime been committed?


d. Do the civil magistrates need to be involved?


e. Are you following the steps of discipline if they are in the Church?


f. Are you blessing them?


g. What good are you doing them?



Also I think it is important to think about several situations you may find yourself in. That will help you perepare in the future if evil is poured out upon you. It will help ensure that you handle and over come the evil without or at least with minimal sin.
So list:


What are the situations you are likely to be in:

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.



What will the responses be? Are they biblically bases weapons to overcome the evil with good?

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.



Remember:

a. There is no quick and easy pathways to holiness.

b. Emotional responses toward evil are not acceptable.

c. God has given us a list of weapons to use (see above)

d. You will need to take the time and effort to plan to do all that you are commanded to do in the Roman 12 section of Scripture.


e. The only way to change is to:

· Study
· Believe
· Follow and
· Persist

IN BIBLICAL TRUTH



Therefore plan ahead! Make the effort to discover what to do to overcome evil in order to keep you from reacting emotionally and in order for you to establish the principles and specific guidelines of Scriptures into concrete plans that fit each circumstance.


Without living as a victim you can learn from the past in thinking through the following from the past:

1. Who has wronged you?
2. What are they like?
3. Are they likely to do evil again?
4. How did the evil happen?
5. What does God want you to do instead of what you possibly did?



In conclusion and summary:

I. The command to us is to overcome evil with good.

II. We are in a war against the evil one

III. The Church (you and I) are to take aggressive action to overcome evil by the means of doing good.

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