A Time for Family
With all that’s going on currently in the world, there have arisen so many theologians that opinions about these times could only be sold by the bundle if you could get a few that matched.
There is no unity, it would seem, across the face of the church world, and the current world situation only reflects the church known by the world.
Here are a few of the crises that face what we know as the church: the Episcopals have continued to split in factions across the country because of the appointment of women as bishops and the ordination of women who have questionable sexual preferences as priests. The Presbyterians have split wide open because of the acceptance of gays in ministry, and the same exists in both the Lutheran and Methodist camps. In most liberal groups, the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, and the validity of the Bible are all deeply questioned. In the realms of the traditional Pentecostal groups there have arisen factions who are delving into the familiar spirits that King Saul sought in the Old Testament.
It would seem no matter where you look there is a constant attempt to enlarge the straight line of the Word of God and to make a book of philosophy that coincides with today’s moral trends.
It seems that as soon as Moses went up into the mountain to get the law from God, Israel began to worship anything their hands could create from gold. They then began to indulge in any and every form of sin, and that prevented them from being in the presence of God.
It would seem in America and much of the world that it is an obsession to have a God that is liberal and will not intervene in the fulfillment of fleshly desires. There are many cults and faiths like this across the world; some worship stone gods that can’t be awakened with a piece of dynamite placed in their hands.
I stood with a crowd in Texas near the Mexican border speaking to them. They had recently adopted a cult as their faith, and part of it was obedience to a statue. In the middle of this a young girl was brought up to the area where I and another evangelist were ministering; the girl was unconscious and burning up with fever. I asked them to call on their god to see if he could heal her, and if so, we would leave. Just as the Bible incident with the prophet, they went through great effort to pray to this god; of course, nothing happened. In moments, as we and a few other believers prayed, the girl was released and healed.
What relationships are you associated with? When people see you on the street, how do they identify you? Can you say that those that see you truthfully relate you to being a member of the kingdom of God?
My family on my father’s side, after coming south from West Virginia, settled for the most part in a small Alabama community called Allen. There everyone was identified by their family ties. When I walked down the main street, which was a dirt road, I was identified as Mr. Woodrow’s boy. Woodrow was my father’s name. I felt a sense of pride in my family because of the level of integrity my father presented.
Can you, as a believer, be identified by your brotherhood with the Lord Jesus? He truly is Lord. But Paul, in the Book of Romans, also identified Him as our elder brother.
Let’s look at something a minute. There are literally thousands of believers, Arabs, and Muslims who dispute the Israeli birthright and claim them to be pretenders as the family of God, or the more popular _expression, the Israel of God. It’s unknown whether or not the Jewish people in the land of Israel are totally in the bloodline of the Israelis that went into the Promised Land. My position is, they are of Jewish blood, and they are in the family of the people that went into the Promised Land and of the promise of Abraham.
Many contend that the covenant with Abraham relates to the land and not the people. You will find numerous other positions in this. The thing that must be realized is the position that a person holds in this usually is a self-centered situation that identifies them by their proclamation of belief.
Those who dispute the identity of the Jews claim a distinction between the old covenant people called Israel and claim the people in the land of Israel are not the true children of God called Israel in the Old Testament. We want to be identified by the adoption through the blood and grace of Jesus. In the flesh, my heritage, my family, is Native American, German, and English. In the Spirit, my family, which is closer than blood, is the Israel of God through the blood of Jesus.
I went through all the above to establish this: We are coming to the place that not only will we be identified through the Lordship of Jesus, but also by being members of the family of God with a home in His kingdom.
We need to be careful, and I mean radically careful, about the family groups that identify us. The wrong identification can put you in the wrong place at the coming of the Lord. And we have to face something, that Israel is the lineage of Jesus Christ and His earthly family. To dispute that in any way is to dispute a large portion of the history contained in the Old Testament. It is a time for family. Which one do you really identify with?
To close this, there is a parable in the New Testament concerning members of the family of God about five foolish virgins and five wise virgins. The five foolish felt their ideas were the best and followed their own agenda and returned after inadequate preparation for the wedding feast to locked doors that would never open for them. The five wise went in with the bridegroom.
What table will you eat at?