“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16
True believers and followers of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, have been given the power through God’s Spirit to deal with any situation that presents itself in our earthly life as we await His second coming. Of this we can be assured by His word. Even so, Jesus left the caution found in the verse above. Throughout world history, God’s people have found themselves surrounded by others that were caught up in one conflict or another. Wisdom was needed in reacting to these conflicts, some political in nature, others the result of cultural differences. Recorded history also tells us that many of the world’s conflicts were rooted in religious differences between the parties. Some of the most tragic stories involve brothers or close friends who found themselves on opposing sides of civil, revolutionary, or religious wars. Could the caution Jesus offered help the people of God avoid some of the conflicts that have engulfed so many?
We find in Scripture that the Word of God was never meant to be used as an overt method of correcting social injustices. Nor was it meant to be used to overthrow evil governments or reprobate, corrupt dictators. This of course is not to say that the people of God cannot be involved in politics or well-intentioned civic groups or organizations.
Joseph in the Old Testament is a good example of how a godly man was positioned so that the plan of God would be carried out and fulfilled. Joseph became second in command to the Pharaoh of Egypt himself. We find no record that the Pharaoh became any less of a pagan due to the influence of Joseph, nor do we find that the religion of Egypt was changed during Joseph’s administration. But, God’s will was brought about, and it was through the commitment that Joseph had with his God.
The prophet Daniel was another example of God’s chosen one being put into a special position of authority and power. Daniel served four powerful pagan kings during his long life as a loyal and dedicated statesman. He served King Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonian Empire, then his grandson, Belshazzar. After the Medes and Persians overran the Babylonian Empire, he found himself in service to King Darius of the Medes and also the Persian King, Cyrus the Great.
During the days of the first century Church, the Christians found themselves in a unique position. As we understand from reading the New Testament book written by James, the half-brother of Jesus, the Christian gatherings were the only place in the world of that day where slaves, slave-owners, nobles, and paupers all found themselves on an equal footing. All were people of God, no matter what their social status or position. Interesting to note, is that the Church did not attempt to rid the Roman Empire of slavery. It also did not try tp correct the social injustices so prevalent in their day.
It is no different today. Without the guidance of the Spirit of God, government will not match up to God’s standards, nor will different cultures or societies. Until the Prince of Peace Himself comes and sets up the Kingdom of God, there will be societal ills, corruption, abuses, injustices, and every kind of evil. Until the Messiah comes and takes absolute control of this planet, Christians will continue to live their lives among wolves. God never intended the Christian community to correct everything that is wrong in our world. Jesus just called us to be the Light of the world and, as the salt of the earth, to keep our “flavor.”
As we fulfill our parts in the Great Commission of Mark 16, we preach and teach the Gospel of the Good News of Jesus Christ the Messiah who came to die for the sins of mankind and is soon to return to rule this planet as GOD / KING. The government of the world will not be a democracy, nor will it be a republic. It will be a theocracy where God will rule as all-powerful KING. Until then, we reach as many with this Gospel as will hear the news. Along the way, the Lord makes it possible to build a few orphanages, some medical clinics, feed some of the world’s poor, and bind up some of this desperate world’s wounded. This is how the Great Commission reads in the Scriptures:
He said unto them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Mark 16:15-20
As most believers in our day should recognize by now, we are the last generation before Jesus Christ returns as KING. Until the real KING arrives, this world is not going to find universal peace, nor will this world be entering a golden age where all problems are solved. Until the KING returns, the conditions of the world will continue to spin out of control. Even when it seems that things are getting better, we are given a very strong warning in God’s Word. It says…
For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 2 Thessalonians 5:2-5
Another Scripture that gives us instructions for our walk with God while we wait for His return was written by another of Jesus’ half-brothers, Jude. With these words he ended his short little book:
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction, but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forevermore, both now and forever. Jude verses 20-25
Our world today has 7.5 billion souls in it, and we are living amongst these teeming masses. Some will be reached, most will refuse the free gift of forgiveness. Joel 3:14 says, Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision…
Whether God has put us in the jungles of Africa, the mountains of the Far East, the deserts of the Middle East, or in the materialistic West, our world is facing problems no man or man’s organization can solve. But, we offer the free gift and, as Jude said, we will pull some out of the fire. That is what we have been called to do. As Christians, we have been given the privilege of being part of this great harvest God is bringing in from this fallen world. The wolves are everywhere, but if we are wise as serpents and harmless as doves, we will be able to complete what God has in mind for each of us so the last soul is reached that will close out the Times of the Gentiles.
In conclusion, I will share a short passage out of 2 Peter:
But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers…If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 2 Peter 4:7, 11
Forever In His Service: