Today I am in Las Vegas, Nevada with my grandson Kaden watching me post this blog. Our whole family was here for the past week and we had a wonderful time for Thanksgiving. Being with my family is for sure my happy place. Family is wonderful!
When the early church apostles were dealing with Gentiles coming into a relationship with God in Christ, they were faced with the challenge of how to disciple them. Paul wrote that they were not to act like people in the world. Their instructions were not complicated. They were instructions that were mainly dependent upon the power of the Holy Spirit working in human hearts. Paul concluded that all things were lawful, but not all things were beneficial. It is not a matter of law and abstinence, but a matter of life and being life-giving.
1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
2 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
Anything we do should be something that causes life to happen for others. It is possible to know God’s love and go to heaven and not bring the fullness of heaven’s influence into our lives. Whether we like it or not, we have many people coming to Christ from the cultures of the world that do not understand or even know to desire the values of the kingdom of God. They are coming out of a world they have known into a relationship with Jesus Christ. God’s presence in their lives doesn’t mean that God approves of how they are or how they act. God’s presence just confirms His love for them. When God poured out the blessings of Holy Spirit in the life of Cornelius and the other Gentiles in the first century, it didn’t mean that God approved of everything they were doing. It simply meant that God loved them and wanted to be in their lives. God wants us to move into His world, so He can cause us to change in our character, nature, way, power and authority. God loving people and coming into their lives by His mercy is enough to get people to heaven when they die; but is it enough to bring things that are eternal into this earth? Can it change the world of our children and our children’s children?
The kingdom of God is an internal kingdom that is meant to change the world we live in. God told Abraham that in blessing He would bless Him. When we know we are a blessing God will empower us to be a blessing in our world for the sake of others. God told Abraham that in multiplying He would multiply him. This is not adding but multiplying. It is not an adding to our lives, but a giving of greater value to those that are beyond our lives. It is an increase of inheritance. It is an influence of heaven. When we live to be a blessing and to multiply, our descendants will possess the gates of their enemies.
Gates are influencing places. An example of a gate is various forms of media intended to affect the beliefs of people’s hearts. The media, or secular news, doesn’t give us a truth of God’s way. They give us a perspective of man’s way. If we listen to the secular news anywhere in the world we are listening to a worldly view and a testimony of worldly desires. The media often presents that homosexuality, fornication, and adultery are all normal ways of living. It is simply the way people are. To some degree this is true, because as long as we have recorded history, we have stories of people who were homosexuals, fornicators, and adulterers. Some religious people would say this is absolutely true and this is why God destroyed Sodom and Gomora. I propose that was not the reason. This is just one small evidence of a worldly mindset and greed. Which would God prefer, to destroy all the cities of the world or to transform all the people in the cities of the world? Does God want to destroy people because of flaws in their lives? Does He want to destroy them or transform them by a supernatural power of His love? I believe that God wants people to become what they could not be without Him.
If you wrestle with these areas please consider reading my coming blogs. I do not desire in any way to condemn anyone for things that are realities in their lives. I only desire to meet you where you are and find a life-transforming path to the future of your life. God loves us all exactly as we are, but His love is powerful enough to change us all in our ways for the testimony and glory of the fullness of His life.
Ted J. Hanson
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