or "Thy Kingdom
I wonder, dear reader - are you aware
of the history of awakenings of
Christian enthusiasm during the last three hundred years of America's
I found a succinct and believable
account of those awakenings in
Wikipedia under the heading of "Great Awakening". That article's
initial summary is as follows: "Historians and theologians
identify three or four waves of increased religious enthusiasm
occurring between the early 18th century and the late 19th century.
Each of these "Great Awakenings" was characterized by widespread
revivals led by evangelical Protestant ministers,
a sharp increase of interest in religion, a profound sense of
conviction and redemption on the part of those affected, an increase in
evangelical church membership, and the formation of new
religious movements and denominations."
I have had the great privilege of
experiencing some of the Fourth and
Fifth revivals identified in that article, but I find no mention of the
fact that a revival or awakening clearly presumes that there is a state
of slumber or apostasy from which Christians were awakened or revived!
So, my intention on this page is to
look at the causes of Christian
spiritual slumber or apostasy in the hope that you, dear reader, might
be challenged to evaluation your life in the light of God's calling for
you, and to properly present the plan of God for mankind to you, dear
reader, in the hope that you will be challenged to become all that you
can become by the mercy and grace of God which are available to one and
First of all, then, my understanding
of the overall plan of God for His
creation is that He created the heavens and the earth, and all that is
in them, both visible and invisible, to know Him personally and to live
together with Him eternally in perfect peace and joy and harmony.
Part of God's plan, and perhaps
central to His plan for creation is
that we are all to be bound to Him and to each other by His incredible
love! And part of love is freedom. Love does not control,
but it does seek and draw those who are loved.
As a result, God was not surprised
when, as is succinctly expressed in
a passage in the Bible book of Isaiah:
we like sheep have
gone astray; we have turned, each one to his own way; and Jehovah [God]
has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
So, we find all of mankind went
astray from a personal knowledge of
God. As a result we live a physical and mental/emotional life
without the spiritual life of God which only comes from His indwelling
Spirit in a person. Each person is born into this life of being
astray from God, and God actively seeks anyone and everyone to come
back to Him by recognizing that they are astray from Him, and that His
plan for life in His kingdom is better than our best efforts of life
astray from Him in our own little kingdoms.
To complicate matters, we really do
have an invisible adversary who
actively sows mayhem and hinders us from being fully reconciled to God
through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The result of all of these factors is
that those who do turn to God
when they realize that He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently
seek Him still tend to go astray from Him as well as being subject to
the interferences of our invisible adversary. This, in my humble
opinion, is the cause of spiritual slumber and apostasy.
I further believe that God allows
this straying to happen so that we
realize how inept we are at knowing Him and doing His will.
Otherwise He would simply slay the adversary, melt us all down with His
incredible love, gently show us the truth about ourselves, and
establish His kingdom in short order. The trouble is that, if God
did not show us clearly how apt we are to stray from Him, that we would
do so quickly and His Kingdom would not last forever!!!
Therefore we have had about two
thousand years since Jesus lived on
this earth and showed us the Father, and taught us what we needed to
know about God and His kingdom, to prove how quickly we stray from God
and turn to our own ways.
But there is hope! I believe
that the end of this current age,
which many call the 'church age' is close at hand, and that God will
soon begin to pour out His Spirit in new and different ways to
establish His Kingdom on earth with Jesus reigning from
Jerusalem. That, according to the Book of Revelation, will last a
thousand years, and then another final apostasy will occur, after which
there will be new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells
From now on it will be clearly shown
that Jesus was indeed right when
He declared that:
For whoever desires to
save his life shall lose it, and whoever desires to lose his life for
My sake shall find it.
Mar_8:35 For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but
whoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel's, he shall save
Luk_9:24 For whoever will save his life shall lose it, but
whoever will lose his life for My sake, he shall save it.
Luk_17:33 Whoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it, and
whoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
Thus we come to the need for
the crucified life for those who would accompany Jesus and join His
kingdom. The church has failed to proclaim this truth and God's
provision for our spiritual death and resurrection in the death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ because the church has relied on its own
understanding of what is recorded in the Bible instead of trusting God
with our whole hearts.
The original disciples of Jesus had
all the qualities which God
desires. They were untrained and unlearned, they didn't
understand what He was teaching, but they trusted Him with their hearts
instead of relying on their own understanding! THey were
imperfect and their imperfections have allowed a flood of slumber and
apostasy to creek or flood into the body of Christ. And yet this
arrangement will not last forever, but will eventually (and hopefully
quickly) be replaced by the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and
ultimately by the rule of God over all.
I hope that this gives you a little
food for thought, dear reader!!