We live in perilous and difficult times, similar to those of the past, which has caused people of faith both to suffer and thrive. We need to come to peace with our place in history. We can shine the Light of Christ and rejoice regardless of the consequences. Our mission of leading people out of darkness by shining the Light of Christ has not changed.
The Captivity of God’s People
God’s People Were Defeated and Ruled By NOT God’s People. The history of God’s beloved people is not what you might expect. Daniel, Esther, and Nehemiah were Ordinary People. They lived in very difficult times yet were faithful to God. They were also a blessing to their country, a country that were their captors and oppressors.
Warning: Fake News. Many believe ideas like, “If God really loved you, you would never have any trouble.” Or, “If God were real, He would solve all of your problems. He would make it easy.” These ideas simply are not true. Being a Christ follower does not mean that life will be smooth sailing. It does mean that we will have the support and guidance of God while we navigate tough times.
Murphy’s Theology. We call it Murphy’s Law. “If anything can go wrong, it will.” My family had a corollary which went unsaid but was fervently believed, “Murphy was an optimist”. The Bible agrees with Murphy; the whole world is under a curse and it will not go easy for us here in this mortal life. Jesus came to Earth in order to save us from the curse, erase the curse and ultimately break the curse. When you believe in Him, you are NO LONGER under this terrible curse. BUT, EVERYTHING around you is.
Romans 8:20-21 (NLT) Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.
WE MUST ADJUST OUR THINKING. We are not here to live at ease. We are to work toward it, but it’s not promised. We are here to Follow Jesus, Honor God, and Help Others.
Life In Babylon
Don’t Get Pulled into Sin. Sin brings the weight of guilt and shame. The right response to those feelings is to run to God, confess and surrender it. . . every single time. The world’s response to these same feelings is one of darkness. “I will hide in these dark places and continue to do what I love to do. No one will know.” Darkness enjoys companionship. “Join me in these dark places.” Darkness shines a fake light. “What! You can’t call my favorite thing SIN! God made me this way. I am proud of myself!”
Ephesians 5:10-14 (NLT) Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
NO ONE on this planet is born as God intended. If so, there would be no curse, corruption, or shame. You could literally walk around naked, it wouldn’t matter. You would be pure and no corrupt thought or deed would occur.
Don’t Fall For It. (Sin, that is.) You can trust God’s Word and His Spirit. This culture (and all cultures) are corrupt and infected by every kind of sin, immorality, hate, prejudice, pride, and elitism are all par for the course in this cursed world.
Shine the Light. If we look at Daniel and Co. as well as Esther/Mordecai, much of their faith was normal everyday and ordinary stuff. It doesn’t seem like Daniel, Esther, or Mordecai preached in the courtyards or streets. Although, there are certainly times for doing so. It seems like they chose to live a vibrant faith regardless of anyone else’s opinion. It then seems as though they would get opportunities to stand for their faith, generally in the form of persecution and suffering. Rather than bow to the cultural pressure, they maintained their stand. They would then earn a hearing for their faith.
Ephesians 5:13-14a (NLT) But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible.
Life Awakened. We cannot live by the rules of society. We all struggle with sin (generally because we don’t believe we are free from it). Sin results in SHAME. Culture’s answer for SHAME is PRIDE. PRIDE is never the right answer to the problem of sin.
Ephesians 5:14b (NLT) This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.
It is our mission to lead people out of darkness by shining our light. Comprehension, sacrificial love, and prayer are all more powerful than debate. We must prepare for what is coming. This is now about saving as many refugees as possible. Adjust your expectations. Calm down; it’s going to be just fine. Jesus is coming again. One day soon, the eastern sky will crack and Jesus will return to rule the world. It is then that religious freedom will end. The world will declare Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords. EVERY KNEE will bow. Be the light that will lead others into the Kingdom.
Talk About It…
- Highlight or underline any words or phrases that you find interesting in Ephesians 5:10-14 and Romans 8:20-21 printed at the beginning of this guide. Discuss your selections with the group.
- Daniel, Esther, and Nehemiah all lived during a time when the Nation of Israel was captive to and oppressed by Babylon. Discuss what you know or are impressed by regarding these three.
- Discuss Murphy’s Law. Review Romans 8:20-21. Does this explain the reality of Murphy’s Law? How could we compare Murphy’s Law to the Curse? How could we adjust our expectations for our lives accordingly?
- How have you successfully dealt with Sin and the guilt and shame it brings in your own life? How have you dealt with it Unsuccessfully?
- How could an “ordinary” Christian make a big difference in their own family and community?
- Did you get anything today that you believe came from God? If you really believe this is from God, what should you do?
- What did you discover that you would be excited to share with a friend?
Click here for the study guide.
We live in perilous and difficult times similar to those of the past that have caused people of faith both to suffer and thrive. We need to come to peace with our place in history. We can shine the Light of Christ and rejoice regardless of the consequences.
Our mission of leading people out of darkness by shining the Light of Christ has not changed.
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