Monday, January 13, 2014
Prayerful unity to change a community
Jesus said: But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property uness he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.
The first couple of posts this week will be a brief recap of the teaching given at Speen Church on Sunday, January 12. We don’t usually do it this way, but it might be helpful. I don’t know about you, but it takes me two or three ‘goes’ to get hold of a teaching properly – and we want to get hold of this and put it into practice. (If you are reading this in Dagenham or Dakota or Dhakar, you’ll find the audio with a lot more in it on http://www.speenchurch.org).
The first seven chapters of Mark are about Jesus ministering in Galilee, some 10 or 20 miles away from his home town of Nazareth. He gained a considerable (and often noisy) following. There was opposition, too, from Pharisees who conspired to detsroy him, and Scribes who tried to argue that he was demon-possessed and sonehow empowered to cast out other demons. Jesus made three statements around verse 27:
- A house divided collapses
- All sins can be forgiven (although those who blaspheme against the Holy Spirit are unlikely to seek, or find, forgiveness)
- First bind the strong man, then plunder his possessions.
Can we do this? Yes we can. When we became Christians we were ‘translated’ from one influence or authority, to a far better one!
Col. 1:13–14 For He [God the Father] rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, and forgiveness of sins.
We can speak and act with the authority of the kingdom of God behind us! That is how we secure – and maintain – our freedom on a personal level. It doesn’t just happen, we need to actively take hold of it and keep hold of it.
Moving on from the personal level, there is an oppression which affects a whole area. It will be different in different places. The oppression and spiritual resistance to the gospel which we see in our area probably stems from a similar situation to the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Where people have been brought up in broadly Christian education, and heard at least something of the truth of who God is and what Jesus has done for them – and then decided to dismiss this as of no importance or relevance – that is a problem. It is mocking that immense, costly, painful, humiliating act of sacrifice and redemption and love that Jesus worked for all of us on the Cross. It is counting it as nothing, irrelevant and this is a serious matter. It gives the enemy a raft of legal rights to keep people spiritually blind. The strong man has a grip on the neighbourhood.
Our job is to change that. But this is not something we do as individuals, we do it as church. More on this tomorrow.