You probably have heard what they say about American Christians at the Rapture. Everyone knows we'll be taken up into the air FEET FIRST, because we'll be hanging on with all our might to all our dearly beloved "stuff" here on Earth!
But a believer who truly seeks close fellowship with the Lord desires HIM, and to be where HE IS. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above: WHERE CHRIST SITTETH AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD; SET YOUR AFFECTIONS ON THINGS ABOVE, NOT ON THINGS ON THIS EARTH." (Colossians 3:1-2).
There is a famous one line announcement from a concert many years ago: "Ladies and Gentlemen: Elvis has left the building!" The crowd that came to see Elvis Presley perform that night long ago was so thrilled by his performance, they just kept calling for encore after encore from the singer, and wouldn't leave the concert hall! The master of ceremonies finally had to get on the P.A. system and announce "the king" was already long gone from that place, so they would all just give it up and go home.
From God's vantage point, a child of His has already quit this planet: "Ye are DEAD, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col. 3:3). In other words, "Elvis has left the building." This earth offered no place to our Savior, the Lord of Glory. What could this desolate wilderness possibly have to offer the sons of God? See Hebrews 10:34; 11:13-16; 13:14.
Not only is it God's will that we see ourselves as already departed from this earth and situated in Heaven (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:1-4; Hebrews 3:1; 10:19-23; 12 22-24), but I believe such a mindset will greatly empower us in our Christian services as it enriches our Christian lives.
It is a bold brand of radical faith that dares to take hold of Heaven as our PRESENT residence and possession, but, as we grow in the apprehension and appropriation of these truths, I believe it will revolutionize our outlook and ultimately enable us to bear all the barbarism this world may hurl in our faces. That kind of faith, and that mindset, MUST be continually fed by prayerful time in the scriptures.
It is a necessary,"noble-minded" thing to always be sure we are staying true to the Word of God (Acts 17:11; Isaiah 8:20). I vigorously applaud such doctrinal carefulness and believe it is tremendously important to keep ourselves within Biblical parameters.
There are many dear Christians today who are so chronically fearful of "going BEYOND what is written" (I Corinthians 4:6), it seems they are too deathly afraid to even GO AS FAR AS GOD'S WORD DOES ACTUALLY TAKE US! So afraid of taking things TOO far; we end up so often NOT TAKING THINGS ANYWHERE NEAR FAR ENOUGH!
Over and over, the Word encourages, even outright commands a BOLD faith (Matthew 8:10; 15:28; 17:20; Mark 9:23;Hebrews 3:6; 4:16; 10:19, 35; I John 2:28; 4:17-18). I believe God wants us to be absolutely BRAVE, COURAGEOUS AND BOLD with His Word; to take it to the utmost; to seek out and believe Him for all the fullness that He intends for us.
God told Abraham, "Truly, blessing, I will bless thee; multiplying, I will multiply thee." That is a Hebrew idiom, meaning, "in the very midst of blessing you, I WILL BLESS YOU FAR, FAR MORE; in the midst of multiplying you, I WILL MULTIPLY YOU FAR ABOVE ANYTHING YOU EVEN IMAGINED."
I'm convinced it is a matter of serious commitment to the proper, in depth study of God's Word, and then, simply TAKING HIM AT HIS WORD; firmly believing He truly SAYS WHAT HE MEANS, AND MEANS WHAT HE SAYS!
We live in a time when so many Christians are not finding meaning, fulfillment or purpose in 21st century Churchianity in America. They deeply feel something is lacking; they are not having the vibrant, dynamic Christian experience they believe they should be enjoying. They feel the Bible has little or nothing to offer them.
I believe there are three main reasons for this:
1. Believers don't really KNOW what the Bible says
(you may have heard about Levi's decision to shut himself up in his room over Christmas break for the purpose of reading through the whole Bible, from cover to cover. At one point, he came down briefly for a food break. Encountering me in the kitchen, he suddenly said, "you know, Dad, I don't think most Christians have a clue what's in this Book.").
2. People are unwilling or unable to truly BELIEVE what God says (the late Christian writer, Michael Wells, would call them "UNBELIEVING believers").
3. Too many believers are just not willing to put the brakes on (or let God put the brakes on) their love for themselves and for this world (I John 2:15-17; Romans 12:1-2; II Timothy 2:4; 3:1-4; James 4:3-4; Colossians 3:1-4).
Because they have no clue as to the incredible, limitless value that faith in the Bible truly holds for them, many are searching frantically for something OUTSIDE the true, Biblical faith that is thrilling, alluring, meaningful, exciting. Something that is capable of giving their life purpose, and is worthy of their passion and all-out dedication. Hence, the rise of so many cults, and so much morbid interest in the occult and so many "new, exciting" versions of Christianity and "church."
I believe, though, that if Christians knew more of the riches that God truly has for them in His Word (I Cor. 2:9-10), and were prepared to spend the time to truly dig for them (Proverbs 2:1-5), and were prepared to TRULY BELIEVE HIM FOR HIS VERY UTMOST (II Kings 13:18-19), then there would simply not be all the sad searching for unbiblical and extra-biblical experiences and trends that fills the horizon today. There would be no need.
In other words, if we really KNEW the rich, stellar taste of the highest quality filet mignon and fresh-caught Maine lobster that God offers in the TRUTHS of His Word, we wouldn't have such an unhealthy craving for the greasy, sugary "junk food" that shouts at us and grabs for our attention from every false church and movement in America.
Because the TRUTH of God's Word is more amazing, more wonderful, and more fulfilling than any fashionable falsehood that you'll find anywhere in this world.
Remember: "Elvis has left the building." And, if you truly believe God's Word in Colossians 3:1-4 -- SO HAVE YOU.
More later, Lord willing