Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Prophecy series #2: Violent Response

Christ's call to salvation and surrendering to Him and living in His Kingdom demands a passionate response. There is a violent desperation involved on the part of those seeking to enter His Kingdom and there is a violent enmity in the hearts of those who reject Christ and His Kingdom. No one can be neutral about Jesus. One either loves Him passionately or hates him vehemently.

Jesus spoke of this violent response in Matthew 11:12
To add some light on this verse, read verses 7-11. Here Jesus speaks highly of John the Baptist as a man who spoke the truth and gave no thought to comfort nor popularity. Matthew 3 describes his rugged, almost violent, confrontational ministry. Matthew 14:1-12 describes his violent death for speaking the truth. Jesus continues this theme in Matthew 11: 12, challenging us to live passionately for the futherance of His Kingdom.

Biastees means violent
The Greek word biastees used in Matthew 11:12 is correctly translated violent. It comes from the Greek word bia which means violence. This word violence is used four times in the New Testament: Acts 5:26 21:35 24:7 and 27:41. If you will read these Scriptures, you will see that in each case it refers to either the violence of people or the violence of nature. In this world of sin, Biblical Christianity appears to be a violent affront to our self-centered, life style. Peace-loving people do not like that word. In fact we have an extreme repugnance for violent people.

Peace-loving people hate violence.
We are rightfully infuriated by the violence of modern day movies, television and video games that glorify criminal violence and encourage children to cruelty and murder. Because of that we approach this word violence that Jesus used to describe entering into His Kingdom with negative feelings

We associate the word violence with terrorist and with criminals. However, because of the existence of criminal violence; according to Romans 13:1-7 our peace officers and our military must use God-ordained violence when necessary to stop the violence of evil doers.

God is just as violent against sinners who oppose Him as He is loving towards sinners who receive His gift of salvation through Christ. I can't imagine anything more violent than to be cast into Hell fire alive to burn for eternity! Since God has chosen to use this Word biastees in Matthew 11:12, let's lay aside our prejudices against this word and see what God is telling us about being saved and entering into His Kingdom.

Entering in and living in Christ's Kingdom brings us peace, joy and assurance.
When we think of being saved and living in His Kingdom, we think of righteousness, peace, joy, quietness and assurance. We understand that we cannot save ourselves nor can we earn our salvation. Salvation is totally a gift of God's grace.

When we receive a dinner invitation, we go and enjoy the dinner. When a young woman receives a marriage proposal from the man she loves, hopefully she responds positively and in time they are married. So when we as unworthy sinners hear the call of the Gospel, we respond in gratitude and humility; and God saves us. The last thing we would expect to think of is violence.

Salvation is not a ho-hum experience.
Salvation is not merely an intellectual assent to the Gospel. There is a violent desperation in those who desire to be saved and enter Christ's Kingdom. It involves an understanding of our desperate need for Christ. As long as we think there is any chance in the world of being saved without humbling ourselves before God as guilty, helpless sinners; we will never turn to Christ for His salvation. In the heart of the true seeker, there is not a trace of being casual or flippant about it. Rather as Luke 16:15 teaches, there is a desperate pressing into it.

Pressing into the Kingdom
As crowds of desperate shoppers seeking sales stand for hours before the store opens and then almost break down the doors to claim their bargains, so is the seeker of salvation in Christ. As people press through crowds to flee a burning building, so the true seeker presses to know and trust Christ. Nothing will stop him.

Biblical examples of desperation to know Christ.
When Jesus walked this earth, people pressed through crowds to meet Him and receive His help. They thronged Him. Mark 5:24-34 Blind Bartimaeus refused to be quiet as he called out for Jesus' to come and heal his blindness. He was desperate. Mark 10:46-52. The thief on the cross was desperate for Christ's salvation. He had very little time left. Christ saved Him and that hour He was with Christ in Heaven. The Philippian jailer of Acts 16 who guarded Paul and Silas in prison for preaching the Gospel, fell down before them in violent desperation to know Christ and His salvation.

A radical, total change
II Corinthians 5:17 teaches that when we come to Christ, we are never the same again. God changes our hearts and as a result our lives are changed. This violent pressing to know Christ as Saviour leads to a total surrender of our lives to Him.

As a runner almost violently expends all his energy to win a race, so we run the race of life with Jesus as our goal. Heb. 12:1-2

In I Corinthians 9:25-27 Paul speaks of his almost violent struggle, one we all face, to keep body and fleshly desires under control as we are under the control of the Holy Spirit.

Paul speaks of desperately pressing on to maturity in Philippians 3:10-15. We never reach perfection in this life; but it is our goal as we travel through this sin-polluted world.

The writer of Hebrews speaks of the labor of learning to rest in Christ. Hebrews 4:9-11 That takes hours of time in prayer and in studying God's Word and learning to know Christ personally.

Living in Christ's Kingdom results in the violent opposition of Satan and his kingdom.

When we become Christians, it's not long before we begin to face the violent opposition of Satan and those controlled by him.

We see it in Bible times when the self-righteous Pharisees in their hatred for Christ, led the people to form a violent lynch mob who called for His crucifixion.

We see that same wild-eyed Satanic-inspired hatred for Christ in various parts of the world, even in America today. Some hate the Bible and all it stands for. They hate anyone who stands for Christ. I've read that there have been more martyrs for Christ in the past century than in all 2000 years since Christ lived on earth.

It is clear in the Gospel accounts that Israel rejected their Messiah and King. The story of the early church recorded in the book of Acts, shows how that rejection continues; not only among Jews, but among gentiles.

Saul of Tarsus was one of those Christ-rejecting, Christ-hating Pharisees. The story of his conversion is told in Acts 9 and again in Philippians 3. He violently hated Jesus and all those who belonged to Him. The risen, glorified Christ violently confronted him as he traveled to Damascus by throwing him to the ground. Saul instantly recognized Jesus as his Saviour and Lord. Immediately his heart was changed and he whose name was changed to Paul became a fire-brand for Christ, spending the rest of his life preaching the Gospel and finally being beheaded for His faith in Christ.

Dear friends, Christianity is not seeking a pious feeling. It is not "playing church" on Sunday. It is not about going to a church where the preacher makes you feel good about yourself. Christianity is not a deal that you make with God to give Him a week or a summer or one year of your life, and then live the rest of your life for yourself.

Living for Jesus involves all out war with Satan for the souls of lost men and women, boys and girls. There are no days off, no vacations, and no promises of wealth and prosperity; only the promise that Christ will be with us and provide for all our needs for as long as we live. I am an aging preacher who has been fighting the good fight of faith for over fifty years. Most of you reading this are younger. Will you take up the cause of Christ and live the rest of your life for Him?

A few good men!
Jesus said in Matthew 11:12 "The Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it." NIV. No wonder it's advancing! Jesus promised in Matthew 16:18 "I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." That is, Satan himself with all the violence of those in his kingdom cannot stop the progress of the church and the Kingdom of God.

The Marines are looking for a few good men." Christ is seeking for men and women who have been saved and cleansed by His blood and who have proven faithful in small responsibilities; whom He can use in to turn this upside down generation right side up for Christ. Will you be one of them?

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June 3, 2006 - Posted by | Prophecy Series

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