THE FRONT LINE CALL
When we stand up for what we believe, when we declare that we are in the Kingdom of God, then we stir up the anger, hatred and jealousy of the world around us – whose “prince” is the devil.
Take a look at the situation in Ukraine. Proudly independent, they incurred the wrath of Putin of Russia, who used a pretext to invade their sovereign territory in his so-called “Special Operation”. Suddenly all the millions of Ukraine found themselves on the frontline – some as the Russian tanks rolled into their towns and villages, some as the missiles fell on their homes and businesses. Have they surrendered? NO! They have resisted and fought back – often successfully – fighting for every inch of territory. Has it been easy? NO! It has been very hard – emotionally, financially, materially, and physically. So many have tragically already lost their lives. But they REFUSE to capitulate. They are living on the frontline…
And so are we…
As Chris has been sharing with us over the last couple of years – we have been called to be “citizens” of the Kingdom of God – a calling that must influence every single area of our lives – we are His citizens in our homes, our workplaces, our schools, our entertainment and relaxation, our hearts our minds and our souls. And the enemy, the devil hates us for this and seeks to overcome us and destroy us. We are on the frontline day-by-day.
As Jim has reminded us – we are living in a world where our enemy seeks to deceive all around us (just like Putin is deceiving the Russian people about what is truly going on) and seeking to deceive the very Elect. We MUST see the world through God’s eyes and resist the deceptive advance, the lies, of the devil. We are on the frontline day-by-day.
This, then, is a short 6-session series in which we put “flesh on the bones” of our “Vision 2022” – asking us to look at our very lives on the frontline in order to decide how we are going to truly “Risk, Resist and Rebuild” as we go forward to push the enemy back.
JESUS PREPARES US FOR LIFE ON THE FRONTLINE
Let’s read the account from Matthew 28 of the Resurrection of Jesus and what happened thereafter…
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Now I have told you.’
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’…
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’
- The earthquake:
I love the fact that at the moment of Resurrection there was a “violent earthquake” – it’s like symbolic of a universal shockwave – that effected the spiritual world as well as the physical world. I believe that the devil was rocked and shaken eternally by what had just happened: Jesus had conquered death and sin! And there was nothing that the devil could do about it!
- The women:
Come on! It can’t be avoided…it was the women who went to the tomb; it was the women who first saw the angel; it was the women to whom Jesus first appeared. In a male-dominated society this was a wake-up call showing that often the women are the most committed and the most spiritual, and therefore often the most blessed. Men: we’ve got to keep up here!
- The location:
Twice the disciples are told (by the angel, by Christ and through the WOMEN) that they are to go and meet with Jesus in Galilee.
Why not Jerusalem? That’s where the disciples were. That’s where the risen Christ was.
Maybe it’s this: Jerusalem symbolised the religious centre, today – the church. Jesus wanted to meet with them in Galilee – which symbolises normal day-to-day life. It’s where they lived (Capernaum), it’s where they worked (fishing on the lake), it’s where they ate and walked and met with other normal people – family, friends, neighbours, colleagues. It’s the FRONTLINE!
- Living life on the frontline:
It’s here, on the frontline, that Christ wanted to prepare them…
- It’s the place where we are called to worship Him (verse 17): our frontline should be where we know God is with us. It’s the place where we should be living for Him, serving Him, delighting in Him.
- It’s the place where we know that God is in control: we are called to not fear, to not be anxious, but to pray. It’s the place where we are told that greater is He who is with us than he who is in the world. It is the place where we know the battle is going to be hard, but we also know that Christ has the ultimate victory. Why? Because “all authority” is His (verse 18) – the devil cannot win!
- It’s the place where we are called to serve. Now I’m NOT saying that this is our “get-out clause” for doing any work in the church! But I AM saying that our main service to God is to make “disciples of all nations” – bringing them into the Kingdom of God, teaching them about God, baptising them in the Name of God, making good Kingdom citizens of them (verses 19-20). And who are “them”? Those whom we face on the frontline – our family, friends, neighbours, colleagues…we can’t serve on the frontline when all we do is sit in the pew!
- It’s the place where we know that God is with us: ask any of the Ukrainians – they’ll tell you that life on the frontline is pretty scary. Well, on our frontline – whatever and wherever it is – we are given the assurance that we are never going to be alone – for Jesus has promised to be with us always – through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. This is such a sure and certain promise that if you don’t feel that He is there with you then you are being lied to by the enemy – for He IS with you – now and always.
You are on the frontline, you know what your role is on the frontline, you know who is with you on the frontline. You are called to be on the frontline.
THE CHALLENGE: IDENTIFYING YOUR FRONTLINE CALL
In this series, going to church is NOT going up to the frontline. Our Sunday meeting, our Wednesday home groups, our Thursday Bible Study and worship practice, are our places of “R&R” (rest and restoration), our times of refreshment, of “training”, of equipping in order to then GO back onto the frontline.
Our frontline is where we come face-to-face with the enemy. Our frontline is the battle in the mind (like the missiles being fired into Kyiv). Our frontline is the living room of our home, the school gate, the desk in our office, the patient on the ward, the neighbour, our exercise class, our unbelieving spouse or child. The frontline is where we get face-to-face with the attacks of the kingdom of the world.
As we get to know our Saviour, our Teacher, our Master, our Commander-in-Chief, better and better, so we will become more resilient to the attacks of our enemy (just like the Ukrainian people are becoming more determined the more they are attacked). As we accept our call to live on the frontline, wherever we are, so we will increasingly risk, resist the attacks, and rebuild the Kingdom of God in our lives and in our church. Are you ready to accept your calling to…
Live on the frontline.
So…what is MY frontline and why does it matter?
Your Frontline is the place where you spend the majority of your time outside the church, where you are in contact with non-Christians.
Live on the frontline.