A trusted prophetic friend of mine shared last fall that the Lord said there would be several things on many fronts happening from the fall through spring. That has certainly been the case, ranging from the Paris attack to world market gyrations to North Korea setting off a nuclear bomb and more.
He observed in January that Saudi Arabia had broken off diplomatic ties with Iran, which partially fulfills Ezekiel 38:13. When Russia/Iran invade Israel it says: “Sheba, and Dedan (this is modern day Saudi Arabia), and the merchants of Tarshish and the young lions thereof will say to you, ‘Have you come to take a spoil?’”
Sheba and Dedan will at least diplomatically and perhaps militarily, object to Russia and Iran’s invasion of Israel. So the setting of Saudi Arabia against Iran is another piece of the Ezekiel 38 puzzle falling into place. If this is so, we are drawing ever close to the coming of Jesus.
World economies will continue to stumble and crumble, political unrest and social upheaval will continue, and even nature will cause people to sense the teetering and tottering of earth’s natural systems. But what about the body of Christ? What is the Lord asking of us in the coming days?
The word is focus.
Up until the ministry of the apostle Paul the body of Christ was rather unfocused and undefined. They were born again and Spirit-filled, but had not grown much beyond that in terms of the revelation of the new creation realities and growth in Christ. There was no more than 2 years between Pentecost in Acts 2:4 and Acts 8:1 where it says the persecution was so bad every disciple left Jerusalem for Judea and Samaria except for the apostles.
As they resettled in Judea and Samaria, Acts 8 tells of Philip coming to Samaria to the newly resettled disciples, preaching Jesus to those who hadn’t heard, and confirming what these replanted disciples had been sharing about Jesus. And God poured out His Spirit so that many were born again, healed, and delivered, and ‘there was great joy in the city’.
The big picture of going into all the world and preaching the gospel was being seen, but they still lived in basically the new birth and baptism in the Holy Spirit experience and didn’t grow much beyond that. They had the apostles doctrine (Acts 2:42), but not the Pauline revelation yet. The practical application of walking out their faith had not been taught to them. People were being born again, filled with the Spirit, healed, delivered, but they were entirely unfocused beyond that.
Who would lead them into maturity? Who would instruct them in growth as human beings and as disciples after being born again and baptized with the Holy Spirit?
Paul’s ministry largely resulted in causing the body of Christ to focus on the priorities of faith and the Christian life, to cut to the core issues of life in Christ, to take people beyond religion as merely being born again believers into maturity as disciples.
Look at each of his letters and the issues of the heart and practical life he wrote of. Issues of personal lifestyle and holiness; issues of walking in love, of sorting through personal decisions on what to believe about everything from eating meat sacrificed to idols – to if any day was considered holier than another – to thieves giving up stealing in order to get, so they would have money to give to those in need, and so much more.
This is a time when the Lord is saying some of these same things to many professing Christians – to focus us more on teaching practical truths and the application of our faith that we might go on to maturity. In large because we are at a time in world history and in the body of Christ, where many are wallowing in self-absorbed faith, of making God our servant instead of our Master, of rushing from this fad to that fad and to the newest ‘thing’.
The Lord is saying to His body to focus. Leave that vague, undefined ‘Yes, I’m a Christian’ and move on to exactly what you believe, why you believe it, and how you are seeking and knowing Him each and every day. It is time to stop following the pack, the latest fad or formula, the most trendy teachings of the most popular elevated teachers in Christianity today, and get your life and house in order. Focus.
Perhaps you’ve sensed this call to return to the bare and basic essentials of your Christian life, the practical application of your own faith, but haven’t been able to exactly identify what it is. It is the Spirit saying to the church – focus.
Many will have the opportunity over the next couple of years to either stay in the ‘babyhood’ and ‘carnal’ stage of their Christianity, and deal with things just as the world does, or go on to maturity and a deeper life in the Lord.
The Lord is calling His people to establish priorities which come from first experiencing a grace in their heart, that is rooted in personal revival. When we are renewed in the Lord the basics of our faith come alive. It’s almost like being born again, again.
‘Set your house in order’ is the word for the body of Christ. The ‘trickle down’ effect of that word is valid for each of us – organizing, tying up loose ends, getting cleared of our debts, strengthening the home and family – maturity.
Maturity is our destination, and many more this year will fall to one side or the other as things become exposed that were once hidden. Interesting months are ahead.