Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" - Luke 18: 8b (ESV)
Jesus is coming soon. Of this there is little doubt across the landscape of Christendom. We see the signs. We feel the birth pains. Wars everywhere. Wickedness not only abounding but celebrated. Famine across much of this world. Pestilence threatening our very shores. The church seemingly impotent in their self inflicted morass. Creation is groaning. The Creator is coming soon. Yet, what will He find when He returns? When we look at today's key verse we see Jesus Himself was not even sure He would find faith on earth when He returned. That means faith in Him of course. Not what we have turned faith into. Not faith in the recreated gods we bow down and worship each week.
So let us take a journey this week and see what would happen if Jesus Christ would in fact come back today. If He would in fact return - what would He find? What would He find in His church? The church that bears His name. That claims His heart and His mission. The church that swears He is Lord. What will He find? This return can be to any gathering of Christians. It could be a "value voters" summit. It could be to Bill Hybels "leadership" conference. Hillsong, IHOP, you name it, because it doesn't matter. If Jesus Christ returned today preaching His Gospel. The Gospel He preached centuries ago. What would He find in His church? Let us dive into the story:
The crowd had gathered for several hours now. This was the tenth annual Christ-Fest Conference. It was the fastest growing leadership and Christian motivational conferences in all of Christianity. The light show during the opening worship still had the people buzzing about how great this year was going to be. Many remembered last year. The lineup was stellar. Bishop Jakes preached something about instinct and then we were given a steep discount on his new book too! Pastor Joel taught us all how to speak prosperity into our lives. Jesus Culture brought the worship and we all learned how much God loves us. The worship leader shared a bizarre testimony but hey, who are we to judge? It was all about love. The altar calls were packed. It was so exciting to see so many people find their purpose. After that, the tickets for this year's sold out in record time. Sure $179 was a steep price but it is two days with box lunches included. Plus all the discounts. They were selling genuine prayer shawls that had been soaked in blessing water and dried in the Jerusalem sun during Passover! Only $99! You can't beat that! Sometimes our faith just has to be worth the sacrifice.
That was when the crowd noticed Him. I should say they saw Him because He kept their eyes from recognizing Him. Just as He had done on that walk along the road to Emmaus. The crowd saw Him and wondered because He was heading to the microphone. This segment was supposed to be Bill Johnson on how to teach the gifts of the Holy Spirit and this guy sure was not Johnson. There was nothing in His appearance to be desired. Nothing to be esteemed. No beauty. No majesty. No swag. The beard was also a bit much. A little unkempt. He could have at least shown some respect for a gathering of such Christian heavy weights and shaved for the occasion. Oh well, ours is not the place to judge. Maybe He was just one of the valet guys coming to let someone know they left their lights on? Yet it did not seem so. He seemed to be striding to the pulpit with a purpose. For a reason. As He settled in behind the holy desk, He opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the who? Did He just say the poor? No, that is not right. Dr. Murdoch taught us yesterday that the poor are under a curse. That they must not be obedient to the tithe and as the Prophet Malachi warns us - the devourer is now upon them. He said that the windows of heaven are closed. Waiting for us to a sow a seed of faith. That God wants to throw open those windows but He is only moved by our action. That the seed will only remain a seed in my hand. That it cannot produce a harvest unless I release it! I cheerfully sowed my $229 seed for the revelation given to the man of God that 1Chronicles 22:9 promises me rest on all sides from my enemies. Hallelujah!
Blessed are the poor? They do not look so blessed to me. And theirs is the kingdom of heaven? Mike Bickle taught us this morning that we are foot soldiers in the end times army and our role was to bring forth the kingdom here on earth. To capture the seven pillars of society and force people to bow to the will of the King of Kings! The crowd went nuts when he got to that point. It was so crazy it must have been a move of the Spirit! We are in a war and we must prepare the earth for the second coming of Jesus; praise the Lord! Bickle got into some weird stuff about kissing Jesus and skinny dipping in the river with Him but hey, judgment is for the Lord not me. Blessed are the poor? Not a good opening gambit. No wonder they put this guy right after lunch. Everyone was half asleep.
Knowing their thoughts, Jesus continued: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Mourn? Is He serious? Was He listening last year when Pastor Osteen preached that powerful word about how being Christian means every day is a Friday? That this is our best life now? That sadness only leads to sad thoughts and sad thoughts lead to sad self statements and how sad self statements will actually attract sadness and negativity into our lives? That does not sound like a victorious life to me! We are supposed to call things that are not as if they were! We are the head not the tail! A lender not a borrower! We are entitled to the blessings of Abraham and I am going to get my blessing right now! In Jesus name of course.
Jesus looked over the crowds and had compassion on them for they were like sheep without a shepherd. He continued His teaching: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
The meek? What kind of milquetoast, pantywaist, liberal Christianity is this guy preaching up here? He needs to sit in on John Hagee's session later this afternoon about how the godless atheists need to leave this country! Didn't He hear Franklin Graham call anyone who does not take a hard line political stance a Christian coward? The meek? What has meekness gotten us so far? Meekness got kicked God out of the schools. Meekness took the Ten Commandments from the courthouses. Sorry friend, meekness has failed us miserably. It is time for action. It is time for our end times army to rise up and let our enemies be scattered! It is time for a supernatural shift in the atmosphere. I am not sure what any of that means but General Cindy Jacobs prophesied it this morning over this conference. Her accuracy rate in prophecy is at least 65%. That's practically from God Himself!
What's all this about inheriting the earth anyway? It's ours already! The Bible says that the whole earth is the Lords and we are His children, so it belongs to us already! We do not have to wait for our inheritance! We certainly do not need to be weak and meek to get it. It sounds like this guy trained at the namby pamby school of effeminate liberal Christo-speak. Hope this picks up soon. I paid a lot of money to come here this weekend, not to mention the hourly offerings they keep taking. I'm starting to wonder about that Malachi guy"
Sensing their unrest and knowing what they were thinking, Jesus continued teaching: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."
Hunger and thirst for righteousness? Did I just hear that right? Is this guy preaching the law to us? Someone get Him a Bible! Better yet, find Him a seat in the closing service with Joseph Prince! We do not need to hunger and thirst for righteousness. Jesus is our righteousness! It is done already! The price has been paid for my future sins, regardless of how heinous they might be! God is never angry with me. God would never seek to chastise me or punish me! I've been set free from the bondage of worry about my own sins. I am permanently under the favor of God! I cannot believe they let a law preacher speak at this conference! Grace has set me free! Not to sin of course but if I slip, I know it doesn't matter to God anymore! He only sees the blood of Jesus covering me! You can keep your law Gospel bearded one, I am drowning in the grace of God.
And for what? To be satisfied? I am already plenty satisfied. I attend one of the largest churches in the country. We have a dynamic vision casting pastor who gives me just what I need to get back to him the next week. I have found my purpose in the security and parking lot ministry there. My hand is to the plow! I'm baby-steppin; I'm not a slacker! Pastor just finished a ten part series on improving my marriage and already my wife is listening more to me. Satisfied? Yes I am and I do not need to be hungering and thirsting for something God already gave me! I do not need the law as it is nailed to the cross. That includes the Ten Commandments. They were given to Israel anyway. We have a better covenant. A better way.