The Work Page

The American Flag
A little about this "work" of God, taking place in America, that everyone is talking about....

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       As I continually observe American society, and in particular, Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christian society, in these most recent years I have perceived a dawning and an awakening by the people of God to the realization of an outward, yet barely perceptible, movement by His Holy Spirit in the midst of us. There is a mention of it here and there, if not in an obscure message posted to an electric board deep in the guts of the frenetic activity of the Internet, or in a lonely article tucked away under a furniture ad in the local newspaper. A resurgence of "religion" or a growing need for "spirituality," as the political and social pundits of every stripe say, trying desperately to pigeonhole and rationalize it, as if perhaps they can control it and explain it away. This "work". Yet, it continues. For example, one writer posted this on an obscure message board, in response to some contestant,

       "But don't start celebrating your victory yet. The pendulum is still swinging and it has started its return swing. There is a movement afoot that will once again make this nation the shining city on the hill that God intended it to be. Hopefully it can be accomplished in love and compassion as Jesus would want it. But I would not want to be standing in the way. God help us!"

       Anyone who has made an objective attempt to watch the political and social condition of the American nation and it's very evident moral decline since the '60s and the era of the Vietnam War, knows that the turning away from the basic principles of godly living, by the people of this nation, has led America to a tenuous and precarious civil footing at best. The American people, in their interchange with society, have placed the Word of Almighty God on the back burner. As a result, they have acquiesced to the Pied Piper's song of illicit sex and money, and feeling the inevitable frustration and disgust, have all but abandoned the running of our government to charalatans and crooks, to whoever promises them a life on "easy street." And so, a few radicals and extremists from every political background have seized the opportunity and taken advantage of this failure to place God first, that has developed over time. This influences our society, by and large, in a very negative way. Hey, who cares? Right? As long as it doesn't affect me. Why try? My vote and voice doesn't matter anyway. But it does. That's not to say there has not been some very good changes these past few decades, as some still empower themselves with God's Word, and America's worldwide dominance and prosperity is witness to that. But for many who don't trust God as their main Hope, despair still prevails.

       Divorce on a whim is still rampant, with the ruin it causes in the lives of the children, and that becoming more and more acceptable, even in the Church. Crime still plagues our society, with violent juvenile crime spiraling ever upward, as we cower in fear behind our locked doors at night and read the daily newspapers in horror, instead of reading the Bible in hope and in Power. U.S. corporations abandon the American labor market for easier pickings over the border and overseas, and some workers are even laid off or fired just before they are able to draw their pensions. It's endless. Spiritually weak people are getting angrier and the tension is often at a critical level. Frustration and hopelessness pervade the lives of so many of the "common man", many who fail to accept the remedy which God has provided.

       Where has the Church been, through this time of social upheaval and change? Are we all asleep and watching powerlessly from the sidelines? Some seem to have been taking advantage of the freedom we have in America, assuming that somehow it will always be there and not chiseled away, bit by bit, by an ever increasing hostile national legislature, by our own neglect of God's Word. The United States has been a wonderful haven for the Church of Jesus Christ up 'til now, and a powerful witness to the world of godly freedom. We surely have slipped into complacency these past years, and become part of this weakness, isolating ourselves behind the walls of our various denominational facilities and of our personal lives. We are fulfilling the words of 2 Timothy 3:5, "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (Note: The "Power thereof," in this verse, is none other than the Word of God. The "form of godliness," is all of the other religious and ritualistic forms and activities of the church. Also, the Power of the Word of God functions through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit functions through the Word of God.)

       The Holy Spirit's restraining influence in our society is inevitably attenuated and dulled through the Church's retreat behind the perimeter of her own camp, where she sits grasping at the things of the world, whether governmental institutions, political parties, church marketing strategies, religious denominations, or a "social gospel," in a furtive effort to resolve so many of the complex but exclusively spiritual and moral issues at hand. Instead of wielding the powerful and effective, spiritual "weapons of our warfare" derived from the revealed Word of God, we have substituted lipservice and form. And so the "cauldron of discontent," as the F.B.I. has called it, continues to bubble and boil; occasionally spilling over into what we enjoy as normalcy. A riot here, as a city is looted and burned, a bombing there, as yet another extremist purveys his deadly deeds.

       But know this, she is asleep no more. . . .

        In the midst of all this turmoil, there have been those who faithfully walk with Him, praying for this nation and its future, refusing to yield to the moral rot that plagues it. Bible-honoring individuals have taken their stand, despising the indifference of the masses and said, "Enough is enough." Ministers and common folk who have faithfully held to the primacy of the Word of God, have begun to see the results of their faith. The holy Spirit, moving in the hearts and homes of the faithful, is the only One Who has ever made a difference in our society; He has begun His "work." That stirring in the hearts of Christian men and women to read the Bible in true faith, and opening their eyes to the Power that is contained therein. And this is what is so amazing, that work which is now taking place is happening completely outside of every political and religious arena and forum, outside the influence of any who would try and pigeonhole and categorize it; to criticize and control it.

       There are many people who have completely abandoned their faith, yet not their unavoidable, civic responsibility, in the temporal institutions and things of this world. Their faith is quietly and firmly being placed back in the Revealed Word of God, that is, Jesus Christ as the Word of God (John 1:1-5) in trying to influence the world for good and to reach people for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's interesting how severe turmoil will force us to our knees in prayer, compelling us to re-evaluate our priorities. The resulting Power is even now being manifest. The work is now even being seen.

       But don't look for it to happen in Washington, because it isn't there. Don't even look for it in the local church, it probably isn't there either. There are a lot of "churches" out there, some teaching corrupt things in the name of God. Don't look for it in the "numbers" either. God can't be put in a box, neatly packaged for the six o'clock news. I don't think God is impressed by and doesn't answer to the polls, regardless of who is touting them. He certainly isn't a member of, nor endorses, any political organization, "Christian" or not. Nor is He impressed by America's military, economic, and political might. The Holy Spirit doesn't work through worldly and religious institutions, He works in and through the hearts on men and women as they daily read His Word.

       But do look for it right there where you are. Look for it right there in your house and among your own family. Look for it when you open the Bible on a daily basis and read through it and you realize. . . maybe. . . all the promises of God you read just might be true and for real. That maybe they are meant for you and me, to be taken quite literally, and not read like a Reader\rquote s Digest, for entertainment and "insight." No matter what your current state of affairs, regardless of where you are in life, no matter what your condition, the Lord can still move in and around you in a great way. God's Word is not limited by, and is so much stronger than, our silly human frailties. Look for that work among your close circle of friends, when you are talking together and you say that. . . maybe. . . even against these most insurmountable odds, His promises are all true, and the Lord can still do a great work in our cities and states. Yes, maybe even in America.

       The "work."

       Yet another aspect of the work is the enlightening work by the Holy Spirit in the true Christian Church in America, that which is called the Body of Christ. There was never any disunity or separation in the Body of Christ, nor logically, can there ever be. A body will very swiftly die if it is torn apart.

       "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." I Corinthians 12:12

       A friend of mine, Police officer Scott Keenan once wrote this:

       "Mike, thank you for the encouragement, and I would like to make sure I was not mistaken on a point I made. I believe in many things, one is that no church has a run on God. I don't think because you are a Baptist or a Pentecostal or even a Methodist that you go straight to Heaven. When I wrote about "all the Christians," I meant as a whole. I think Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostals, and even most non-denominational churches are against abortion, homosexuality, and for prayer in school and a parents right to raise there children without government interference. That is what I meant by standing together. Can you for one minute think what a Congressman would do if he thought he would lose a million votes? The sad part is we are more worried about what "title" we are, and instead of wearing the cross of Jesus Christ, we say we are Baptist, Methodist or Evangelical. There are people in Washington like that. Did you know that Clinton claims to be Southern Baptist? We need to stand together as the Church of God, to bring morals back to this country. . . ."

       Here is one man standing against the "mainstream," one man standing apart from the crowd, unbending in his faith in God that He will accomplish a great work in America. This is the faith of one person spurning the pressure to be influenced by denominational ties and holding to the Bible's Truth. Here is one more individual standing a lonely post on the borderline between God's continued blessing of this nation, and the inevitable turmoil of it's withdrawal. . . and refusing to back down.

       And so, the spark is struck, and the flame fanned into life, as the Holy Spirit moves in our hearts and combat faith is borne out of despair. And the heart of the nation gets a little stronger. And the flame gets a little hotter and starts to spread, and a stadium is filled with people who are there, not for a sports event, but to hear the Gospel. And at that same event, hundreds come forward to make a decision to commit their lives to God and to invite Jesus Christ into their hearts. Or a million plus men converge on the nation's capitol, in a historical and record breaking display, kneeling in humility and prayer before God. Then you know the Spirit of the Lord is on the loose and He has begun to answer His most faithful fighter's prayers, as they engage the true enemies in the unseen arena of the spiritual realm. In the end, it is these unseen enemies that are influencing and orchestrating the chaos and madness, manipulating the corrupt and unregenerate heart of man. And thus, the battle is engaged, and the stronghold which despair previously had begins to crumble.

       If you are a Christian and as you read this, I hope you realize your part, as a citizen of Heaven, in the future of this nation. There is a very rude, loud, vocal minority who continually tries to condemn, criticize, and portray the true Church as a group which would like to bring this nation and society back into some sort of evil, spooky "dark age" of history; a body of people who are misguided and archaic in their world view. They shout, "You're 'anti-progressive'." Ha! Love them. Pray for them. Ignore their ignorance and push on.

       "But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra: which persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." II Timothy 3:10-11

       Yes, it's a promise of God we don't always like to remember. But even in light of this, do stay the course. Because the work has begun. Just open your eyes and see.

       "Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that where on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24: 14:15

       The gods of this world being money, self involvement, gratification, apathy and callousness and iron pride. Abandon the world and its ways. Cling solely to Jesus, the Word of God. May you serve Him with honor.

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Salem the Soldier "Baptism" © Copyright Michael A. Baker 1983-2011
My Deepest Regards to R. David Conner for his help on this article. © 1998