Declare What Is To Be . . .

Isaiah 45:21 Declare what is to be, present it—let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Saviour; there is none but me.

There's a lot happening in our nation and the rest of the world right now. So much so, that there is an urgency for the body of Christ to rise up and pray for our nations and, "Declare what is to be . . .". Jesus said that where two or three gather together in his name, he is there in the midst. The whole point about the passage in which Jesus promises this is that nothing should detract from us agreeing in prayer. Were we to gather in this way, we would probably come together with different things on our hearts, but this would give us an ability to discern the mind of the Lord for us to agree in prayer. It could be that some would come with a different angle on current events and as we shared together we would be able to pray in agreement into the various scenarios we see around us.

This would also create an urgency to get out the message that the Lord puts on our hearts as we gather together. One thing is certain and that is that the Lord has invested amazing things into us as his people - therefore we should actively pursue possibilities where we can invest in kingdom ministry.

The church has been given the secret of life. Christians are the only ones who have that secret. That might sound conceited and arrogant, yet it is based upon the teaching of the Word of God. Christ is the secret of life - and he promised that he would reveal to us the 'secrets' of the kingdom (Mark 4.11). That is why the message of the kingdom never changes no matter what the age, or the century, in which we find ourselves. That is also why it is always up-to-date. Only that message will meet the needs of the world in which we live. When the church forgets this and wanders off into peripheral paths, trying to produce the by-product directly, it loses its influence, its power, and its effectiveness.

Paul was very keen for his readers to remember this fact, yet he never wants us to get so wrapped up in the results that we forget what produces them. So many times we are so anxious to get to the end that we forget the pathway that leads to it. So in the midst of this practical dissertation of Ephesians 4, he breaks off to restate the great secret of Christian living.

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 5:1-2)

That is a great declaration. Perhaps we can analyse it best by using the four words Paul uses: The first is to note the apostle's exhortation to us here. "Be imitators of God," The word for imitators is the Greek word that means "to mimic," to be a mimicker of God. Mimics are those who follow the pattern or the example of someone else. Here is what Christians are to be. If you want to put it in one word, you can say it this way, "Be godlike." That is the goal of Christianity. It is to produce men and women who are godlike in the midst of an ungodly world. That is what it is all about.

Mike Bickle, from IHOP-KC recently sent out an invitation to an event happening in Kansas City at the end of the year. We were really struck by what he said:

Today, a great confrontation is mounting up in the earth, as the powers of darkness rage against all that is godly, good, and pure, even attacking the sanctity of life, marriage, sex, and truth itself (Ps. 2:1–3).

In this hour of crisis, many are content to live in passivity and compromise, spiritually bored and disengaged. Yet at the very same time, the Holy Spirit is raising up a mighty army, those who will set their hearts to fully love Jesus and partner with Him to make known His love and power and to see justice go forth in the nations.

Deception and distortion of truth are being accepted by many who profess the name of Jesus.

At the same time, the Holy Spirit is raising up His messengers in pulpits, on campuses, and in the workplace, who will boldly proclaim the biblical message of grace, hope, and power as they believe God for a historic revival to sweep the nations.

In this hour we are witnessing a global move of the Spirit, calling believers to proclaim the name of Jesus in power and to raise up houses of prayer in every tribe and tongue and nation. He is restoring the first commandment to first place in the Church and filling the Church with hope. These are exciting times.

The Spirit is raising up a victorious Church that will be fascinated with Jesus as they encounter His magnificence and grandeur. No aspect of God’s grace more powerfully transforms our emotions than when God the Spirit reveals God the Son to the human spirit. The revelation of His excellence and supremacy is the sustaining power of our hearts and the transforming power in our ministry to others.

Jesus, the coming King, is raising up a Bride to prepare the nations for His return, when He will establish His throne on the earth. He is the mighty King, and no power can withstand His kingdom. Victory is fully assured for His kingdom, and His people will be overcomers in the battle against darkness.

He is not coming back to a prayerless, powerless, and passionless Church, but to a people walking in deep partnership with Him in worship and intercession for the release of the harvest and the establishing of justice in the nations (Lk. 18:7–8).

Where, then, does that take us? In other words, what should we be thinking about as we anticipate the next few decades of Christian existence in our nation? What can we expect to happen in that time? It seems that the church will look very different in the next 20 or so years and that will be a very good thing. It will cause us to discover how much we need one another for survival and that is also a very good thing. Our prayer is that the world in which we find ourselves will be not as violent as it has been but many don’t have much confidence in that. It would appear that the trends that prevail in our world today are heading towards a kind of chaos over which there is little control.

In the midst of that turmoil, Paul's instruction is very timely:

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 5:1-2)