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Listen to the episode here: https://gospelofeverything.com/podcast/the-long-term-battle/
Welcome to the Gospel of Everything podcast where we consider everything in the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am your host, Jon Davis. On this show we do not obsess over the end of the world, but rather we are looking to see the glory of God show up in every area of our lives. We are not waiting to go down in glorious defeat. We are expecting to win.
Greetings friend. Welcome to another episode of The Gospel of Everything podcast talker in Chief. I'm looking forward to sharing with you today things that will fuel your hope no matter how dark the times appear. The Gospel of Everything podcast is where we consider all of life in the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and where I am looking to inspire, connect with and mobilize you, my fellow victorious Kingdom Ambassadors. What again, is a victorious kingdom, ambassador.
A Victorious Kingdom Ambassador is someone who is not looking obsessively for the end of the world, but rather is looking to bring God's kingdom more and more into the world both now and in eternity. A Victorious Kingdom Ambassador is someone who is not looking to change the world by humanistic manmade ideas, but rather by embracing God's revelation and everything that flows from it. A Victorious Kingdom Ambassador is someone who is not looking to be saved by another political government scheme, but is looking rather to be saved by Christ and then expecting to live out Christ in every area of life. Please take a moment to pause and subscribe to this podcast in your favorite app before moving on to make sure that you never miss one delicious morsel of an episode.
So today in this episode, my goal is to put in your mind and inspire into your heart the long term vision that will cause you to have optimism and live effectively in the now. I wish to inspire you to not interpret the Bible or your faith or reality through whatever you see in front of you today, especially things coming from a humanistic antiGod media. But instead I want you to see the multigenerational long term vision and goal of the Kingdom of God. I believe this will help you to be faithful in the little things in the context of the long term vision. I remember after having an encounter with God during my youth with a Mission Discipleship training school back in 1992, I came back home to Illinois still a young man and I wanted to live out my faith.
I wanted to live out what God had done in my life. And somewhere along the way someone taught me some great wisdom that it's about being faithful in the little things. So I remember that I focused on I'm going to mow the lawn and I'm going to do the dishes without my parents having to tell me to do it and I'm going to do it as an act of advancing the kingdom of God as an act of worship. So I did that. I used to go out and mow the lawn, and for me, I wasn't just cutting off the tops of the grass.
I was establishing and advancing the kingdom of God. When I did the dishes, I was honoring my parents. I was loving God. I was worshiping God. I remember when I was raising funds for ministry.
One time I was sharing with a couple here in Illinois, and at the end of the presentation, or actually it was when I called back later to follow up, the lady of the house told me, my husband doesn't think you can do all that. And that was the first time I became aware, maybe not the first time, one of the big times. I became aware that the way I see the world sometimes communicates to people a grand vision without understanding how the little things work. So my vision, if you were to ask, what is the vision of your podcast or what is the vision of your ministry? Well, I'm trying to take over the world for Jesus.
I'm trying to take over the world for the kingdom of God. Everything, every area of life, every nation. This is the vision. But I understand that it starts with the little things. It starts doing one thing at a time.
And I don't know how big my part will be. I don't know how much God will allow me to do and be in the world tithe things I want to do and be. But whether it's a small thing or a big thing, I don't care. I would be happy if some little seed that I sow in somebody's life or in a book or in a podcast episode goes on to transform the world, even if nobody ever hears my name. There is a light that shines in the darkness, the light of the glorious future shining in the dark, present in the little things and in everything.
I want you to get in your spirit and in your soul more and more, this light of optimism, this light of hope, this light of a vision that looks way into the future and sees what Jesus sees, what the Holy Spirit sees, even when the whole world around you looks like it is going to hell in a handbasket. There is a vision of a city set on a hill for the whole world to see that can move you in every little thing that you do. When Jesus told the parable of the ten virgins and the oil, the whole point of that parable was that they needed to be ready for a long wait. They needed to have some kind of a fuel that would sustain them even when times were dark and even when it seemed like the kingdom of God that Jesus was teaching about was never going to happen. So let's just read through that passage real quick and you can decide if I'm representing it correctly.
But Jesus said, this is in Matthew 25, then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five of them were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them. But the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout look, here is the bridegroom, come out to meet him. Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out. But the wise replied, no, there will not be enough for you and for us.
You had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves. And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he replied, Truly, I tell you, I do not know you keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. Now, there's a couple of things that Jesus sometimes seems to be talking about in the New Testament, when he talks about things like this, he's oftentimes he's talking about the judgment of Old Covenant Israel that came when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 78.
And there's other times where he seems to be talking about a distant future that has to do with the final return of Christ. And Christians like to argue about which is which and what is what. I'm inclined today, anyway, to see this one as talking about the reuniting with the bridegroom at the end of time, because it's talking about going into the wedding feast and joining the bridegroom. But studying the context, it could go either way. However, whichever way you look at it, the message here has to do with being prepared for the long haul.
So I know it's. I don't know the main doctrine today. The main view that seems to be popular about the end of the world is that it's imminent. At any moment now it's going to happen, and I suppose it's going to happen when God appointed it. Regardless of what you think or what I think, however, this teaching says that at least one thing you need to consider is being ready for the long haul.
You need some fuel to keep you going, even when it seems like Jesus isn't coming or it's been a long time, or when is he going to come, or when is the victory going to come? Or when is the kingdom going to manifest in my life or in my nation or in my city? You need some fuel to keep you going and there's a lot to be talked about there. But I think at least one of the types of that fuel is the vision of Jesus manifest in all the earth. I want to talk to you a little bit about Abraham.
Abraham had faith and lived as a sojourner in a foreign land, looking ahead to a better day, a new city, a new country. Let's read about this also. Not also, but in Hebrews eleven, verses eight through 16. By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he set out not knowing where he was going.
By faith, he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old, and Sarah herself was barren because he considered him faithful, who had promised, therefore, from one person, and this one as good as dead. Descendants were born, as many as the stars of heaven, and as the innumerable grains of the sand by the seashore. All of these died in faith, without having received the promises.
But from a distance, they saw them, and they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth. For people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country.
That is a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God. Indeed, he has prepared a city for them. I believe there are two parts to this story of the heavenly city that Abraham was waiting for. One, there is a season of history before Christ's bodily return, where there is an increase in the city of heaven manifesting here on earth more and more, until at some point we enter the next season when Christ bodily returns and all things are fully manifest in their fulfillment.
I don't think the city of heaven that's being talked about here is some kind of place in the clouds where you float on the clouds with a harp wearing a robe like in the cartoons. I don't think that's what is being talked about here when it says heavenly, the heavenly city has come, is coming and will come. When Jesus died, he purchased his bride to live in the heavenly city. When the old covenant Israel was judged in 70 ad. And destroyed, the new city began to be manifest in the earth.
It was being manifested through the people of God. Right? Something has happened. This kingdom has come, and this is an idea you're going to have to wrestle with it. The kingdom of God has come, is coming and will come.
There's a sense in which you will often hear it said now and not yet. There's a sense in which the city of God is already here. It's manifesting in the earth through his people. And there is a climax coming to history where Jesus will bodily return and death itself will be reversed and sin nature will be erased from history. So we're not there yet.
But I want you to have hope for both. My understanding is that most people, when they have a hope for the future, they have a hope for heaven. What they just mean is when they die and leave this horrible place, they go to heaven and you know what you do. But there's more to it than that. Abraham had a faith so mighty that even though he did not see the manifestation of the dream God has given him fully, he could see it from afar.
It was manifested first through ancient Israel and eventually through the body, god's body, of both Israel and Gentiles here on the earth. Jesus actually uses this idea to prove the resurrection. God is not tithe God of the dead, but of the living. Abraham still hasn't seen in body, his vision fulfilled. I suppose he's watching from heaven.
But I believe when Jesus bodily returns, abraham will be with him and he'll be able to see the fullness of what he was hoping for, what he was yearning for. But it's being manifest in the earth right now. So there's a sense in which the city of heaven, the city of God, the heavenly city, is being manifest through you and I right now in the earth. Jesus had this joy of this heavenly city, which is his bride, set before him. And because of it, he was able to endure the cross and scorn its shame, because he knew what the long term result was going to be.
And he felt that it was worth it. Hebrews one two, verses one through three. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. Looking to Jesus, tithe, pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.
Jesus saw the end objective the bride of Christ, the City of God, a people of worshippers, to be his bride for all eternity. He saw us. He saw you. He saw me. He saw all of history being fulfilled as the bride becomes the City of God.
And and dwells on the earth, lives in the earth. America our country. Or I don't know what country you're in. You're welcome here, whatever it is. But at least a significant number of my listeners are here in the US.
Of A. And some of what motivated our Founding Fathers were similar ideas. You know, quite a conversation to discuss how close they got to understanding the Kingdom of God or not. But I believe it was Christianity that brought into the world this ability to look deep into the future and live right now for a glorious future. So just to make sure I'm being very clear here, I am not equating America with the Kingdom of God or the dreams of the early Americans or your dreams or my dream for America with the being the Kingdom of God, although it's probably part of the process of the Kingdom of God coming in the earth a manifestation imperfect, flawed.
Right? Think of the song America the Beautiful and whatever you think of the author I read some controversial things about her and looked closely and some of them aren't as sure as people say they are. But whatever about her she captured something in the song America the Beautiful part of the song. I used to read this in the Himal at church when I was a kid. Makes you wonder what was I doing at church, right?
I was sitting there, amongst other things reading patriotic hymns in the hymnal. But there's a part where it says o beautiful for patriots dream who sees beyond the years thine alabaster city's gleam undimmed by human tears. Now, without a doubt there have been humanist versions trying to attempt this. I don't know what vision this author had but the whole concept of having this kind of vision of the future not being obsessed mostly with the past but seeing a vision of what can be as a result of Christianity and some Americans have attempted to live that out. There have been people in our country who have seen a glorious future far into the future beyond their life and they built that for us with all the flaws.
We have inherited a lot of good things. We have been blessed because of what our ancestors did. I was recently watching a movie about John Adams and I heard a quote in that from a letter that he wrote to his wife after signing tithe Declaration of Independence. And I remember reading about this in a book called The Light and the Glory many years ago. But after the Declaration of Independence john Adams wrote a letter to his wife and this is part of what he said.
I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forevermore. You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this declaration and support and defend these states.
Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means and that posterity will triumph in that day's transaction. Even although we should ruin it, which I trust in God, we shall not. So this is a man just having a vision for a nation and you can find people debating just how Christian was John Adams. But however Christian he was, I don't believe such an idea, such a vision would have ever happened on the earth if not for the Kingdom of God.
Vision of the Old Testament prophets manifested through Jesus having come here. So again, I'm not equating John Adams vision and saying America is the kingdom of God or something like that. I'm just trying to show you this kind of vision. Look at what it has done for our country with all the flaws. They had a vision that saw beyond the years, saw way into the future, and they were selling the seeds right then to build what they were trying to build.
We aren't limited to them, by the way. We have a greater vision. We have the vision of the Kingdom of God on the earth, the bride ruling and reigning with Christ here on the earth both before and after the bodily return of Christ. What all this means is that you can be optimistic about now, no matter what you're doing, no matter where you're at, and have that hope not only for the long term of your life, but for sowing your life as a seed in a long term that is more glorious than you could possibly imagine. Far above all we can ever ask, think or imagine you can successfully survive suffering, persecution, hard times or hopelessness now because of the joy set before you.
Not just the joy of entering into eternal life, but also the joy of the Kingdom of God coming more and more on the face of the earth even before Christ's bodily return. This has practical effects with ethical questions and political questions and questions about how to do the Kingdom of God. One of the things that people have often said to me when I have been discussing or presenting various ideas about what I think the Bible says about civil government trying to attempt to apply Christianity to civil government, sometimes people will just kind of say, you're kind of living in Lala land. That's not realistic, that's not where we're at. And I actually understand what they're saying, but I believe that this is actually a distinct lack.
This is being stuck in the short term vision and only seeing ahead to the next election or the next short term historical event. I believe that even the way we study the Bible is affected by this. If you don't believe there is a glorious victory in the long term, both in eternity and this side of eternity before the bodily return of Christ, you will have a tendency to only be focused on the now or possibly on the past. You will read the Bible trying to interpret everything based on the times you live in, rather than seeing the long term vision of the Bible and interpreting based on that. The possibilities of what the teachings of Jesus mean and what his life means are huge.
If you look at them in the long term sense, jesus stepped down into this world and changed everything. It was the beginning of the crumbling of the empires of evil that ruled the world up until that time, such as Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome, as foretold by the prophet Daniel. Even Rome ultimately was infiltrated, incompletely, but infiltrated with Christianity. That Christianity continued to unfold and then grow throughout two millenniums until eventually, well, actually about 1500 years after Christ, we have the Protestant Reformation, which basically is the core thing that built what we know as Western civilization, the progress of tithe human race that we know as Western civilization. I know Western civilization is not cool anymore.
And I am more than willing to talk about and discuss the flaws and the failures and the incompleteness of it. It was very incompletely Christianized. However, it represents the greatest advance in humanity in the history of the world. I know it has always been far from perfect and there has been a lot of sin that has tarnished it, but it represents the greatest advance in the history of mankind without any doubt. I know that right now Western civilization is being systematically torn down and it has been being torn down for a long time now, starting before most of us who are listening to this were even alive.
If you look at the world through a lens of right now, you're going to come up with a very pessimistic view of the teachings of the Bible. It looks like Western civilization isn't going to make it, like maybe America isn't going to make it. But if you look at how much God has done over 2000 years, how much can he do in 2000 more now? Unless of course, Jesus bodily returns before 2000 years from now. But I don't believe we know when he's bodily returning.
I don't believe anybody who says they know or thinks they know, God knows. I believe that if you can get into your soul, into your spirit, this long term vision of the Kingdom of God, it will affect everything that you do now. And you will be able to have a bright light of optimism now, no matter how dark things get. It may be possible that Western civilization as we know it is in the process of fading into the history books. Maybe America as we have known it, especially those of us who are older than being a teenager, maybe it's in the process of fading into the history books, although we don't know that.
We don't know what God could still do. We don't know what Great Awakening I'm choosing to believe and work for another Great Awakening in this country. But my vision goes so far because I'm getting it from God, I'm getting it from the Bible. It goes way beyond America. If America ceases to exist, if Western civilization just becomes something that exists only in history books, the Kingdom of God has still come, is still coming, and will still come in finality.
Even if Western civilization fades or America fades, if that is what we are destined to live through and see, it would still only mean that God is going to do something greater and more beautiful than the Western civilization we have seen before. Just to briefly address those of you who maybe you didn't grow up in Western civilization or you feel like your society was a victim, I don't want to get too distracted by that. But I'm not claiming everything has been angelic, only that there's been a clear and discernible manifestation of the Kingdom of God, a partially yeasted kingdom in Western civilization. But we can look forward to an even better civilization and even more Christian civilization. I don't want to look back.
I don't want to try and go back to the Western civilization of the past or the America of the past. I want to move forward to the great Christian civilization of the future. And hey, I'm going to sow some seeds. Hope in America can be a part of that. But whether Americans choose that or they choose to let it die, or whether Western civilization falls under judgment and disappears from history, I am choosing to look and see the Kingdom of God in a greater civilization than we've ever seen before, still in the process of growing on the earth.
I don't know the details of how this will work out. I cannot predict how history will unfold. But I am filled with an optimism that the Kingdom of God is coming and will come and will always be coming more and more on the Earth, even before Jesus returns bodily to this place. That optimism fuels everything I do. It fuels the way I read my Bible.
It fuels what I choose to talk about and what I choose to think about. It gives me hope when I'm failing personally, in the short run, I want to be like Jesus for the joy set before me, both in my eternity as well as my role in the good things God is doing on the Earth both now and in the future. I want this joy and vision to fuel you as well. I know I am saying things that I've said before, but I recently read that you have to say something over and over and over again for many years before it starts to sink in. So we're going to have to talk about this a lot.
For some of you, many of you, I might be saying some things that are very different than anything you've ever heard before. Maybe a very different paradigm than the way you're used to. Looking at things in a now is dark. The only hope is for floating on the clouds in heaven. Maybe that's how you've looked at things.
You might think you understand the implications of what I'm saying. But I think that at least for some of you, it hasn't even begun to start thinking in yet. We are not living in a time of permanent decline. We are living in a time that looks dark. It looks dark right now in a lot of ways, but the bright hope of what God is still going to do.
Jon the earth shines bright inside those of us who have put our faith in Jesus Christ, the King, the ruler of all the kings of the earth. If we can grasp that and let that flow through our lives into everything we do, we can be a part of building the kingdom of God on the Earth so that future generations can see a civilization like nothing that has never been seen on the earth before. Now, I don't want to go back to the glorious past. I want to go forward to the glorious kingdom of God on earth. More and more future.
Please join me. I hope all this that I have been sharing gives you internal courage and an unquenchable hope. And I appreciate so much you taking the time to listen to this episode. If you have not already done so, please take a moment to subscribe to this podcast so that every morsel comes your way and you don't miss a thing. If you would like to give me feedback, please do.
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Listen to the episode here: https://gospelofeverything.com/podcast/the-long-term-battle/