We continue today sharing a GraceLife article written almost 15 years ago at the beginning of the Third Millennium A.D. These were thoughts about the new millennium at the beginning of the new millennium. I’m thinking now about how the first 15 years of the millennium have gone for Christians and the world God called us to reach with the Gospel. This is the second part of that article. If you haven’t read the first part, you may want to do that now.
Also, I’m curious what you think about what this article says about Christians and Christianity, about the Gospel and the people who need to hear it. Please share your comments with us and we’ll include them in the section below the article. Thanks!
[Originally published January 2000]
Let’s get back to the new millennium for a minute. If we’re honest with each other, and since we’re family we can do that, the first two Millennium A.D. haven’t gone so well. We started well. Jesus died on the Cross and paid for our sins. That’s excellent! His disciples told everybody they could find about salvation, but not many people wanted to hear it. In fact, some people killed Christ’s follower to shut them up. It didn’t work, though. God changed a hot-blooded Jewish prosecutor into a lover of Gentiles who traveled the world declaring the wonderful Grace of God. That was also a good thing.
Paul led people to Christ, started lots of churches, taught teachers how to teach and leaders how lead. But you know what? It wasn’t long before members of God’s Family started whining and complaining about what God had given them. Paul had to write more and more letters to explain God’s Vision to them. What did he get for it? At the end of his life, Paul wrote that few people had stood with him. Most people had left him. Even so, Paul wrote: “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear.”
Did you hear what Paul wrote? “…that all the Gentiles might hear.” Paul got it! He understood God’s Vision. Paul knew what God wanted and he was intent on going to his death (which he did shortly after writing these words) giving everything he had to The Vision.
Unfortunately, not many people have shared Paul’s passion since the First Century A.D. Instead of being a powerful, unified Family of the Almighty God of the Universe, we are a pitifully small, unorganized, disunified group of vagabonds with no discipline and little idea of what to do about it.
I think God was disappointed with Christians at the end of the Second Millennium. Since that was just several days ago, He probably still is … disappointed with us. How does it feel to know God’s disappointed with us? I feel pretty bad about it to be honest. I’m not proud of what most of us have done. I’m not proud about what I’ve done. My vision of what can be accomplished in a lifetime is mighty small compared to God’s Eternal Vision.
We Christians don’t think big enough. We don’t think like God Thinks. Paul thought like God Thinks. That’s one of the things that made Paul such a great and unique leader. Paul didn’t want to do what Paul wanted to do. Paul wanted to do what God wanted Paul to do. Paul wanted to be so close to God that he shared His Mind. That’s an amazing relationship.
Paul told the Corinthian Christians that they had the Mind of Christ. It’s a gift God gives His Family of Grace. He doesn’t give it to anyone else. God gives His Spirit and His Mind only to those who belong to Him.
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:12-16
Yes, we are very special indeed. Unfortunately, most Christians don’t know how special they are or are so caught up in this world that they spend their days on worldly enterprises instead of what God wants. Reminds me of the next thing Paul wrote the Corinthians: “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3) Sounds like something Paul would write most of our Christian churches if he were in town today. Sad, isn’t it? Christians didn’t get it in the First Millennium. They didn’t get it in the Second Millennium. Will they, will we, get it in the Third?
I hope so. We need some big changes “in” us. It’s easy to gather around the fellowship table and wag about how bad the world is, how bad sinners are, and how good we are in comparison. It’s another thing to leave the table, walk outside and do something about it. It’s another thing to put ourselves aside, unite with God’s Mind, see His Vision, love who He Loves, and pray that he’ll use us to make His Vision happen in our communities. That’s quite another thing.
We need God’s Love and Grace in the Third Millennium. We need to know it, understand it, feel it, want it, pray for it, get it and do it. God’s Love and Grace are the only things that will make a lasting difference. We’ve met together, preached together, sung together, prayed together, shouted together, rejoiced together and hoped together. We’ve seen a little hint of God’s Grace in our time, but is that it? Is that all there is to God’s Grace? Just a hint? Just a little bit? Just a small taste? What ever happened to the Almighty God with the Everlasting Arms?
Where’s the God we sing about? Where’s the God Who loves all the little children of the world? Where’s the God Who can move mountains and change the course of great rivers? Where’s the God Who can control the hearts of kings? Where’s the God Who Loves with a Love that has no boundaries, doesn’t see the color of a person’s skin, doesn’t count how much money they have in the bank? Where’s the God Who shakes nations and penetrates the thoughts and intents of its leaders? Where’s the God Who can heal the brokenhearted and raise the dead to life? Where is He? Look in front of you. He’s there. Look to your left. He’s there. Look right. He’s there. Look behind you. He’s there. Look up. He’s there. Look down. He’s there. Look inside. He’s there. God’s been there for His people for thousands of years. He doesn’t play hide and seek with us. He doesn’t clock out for lunch. He’s always with us. That means His Vision for lost souls is always with us. If He has the Vision and He’s always with us, something’s wrong if the Vision is not part of us.
Back to reality. Do I think these thoughts will make a difference in what happens this new millennium? I don’t know. I hope so. I hope this article and other articles and sermons and lessons and web sites and television and radio programs and any other possible way to communicate will help all of us get with the program, God’s Program, and make a big difference in the lives of millions of people.
We live at a time when communication and outreach are easier and faster than at any other time in history. We can tell people in person, on paper, by telephone, on television, through radio, in the World Wide Web, by e-mail, on satellite, on the movie screen, by fax, by voice message, just to name some. Let’s use what’s in front of us. Tell somebody this week that you love them. Tell them God Loves them. Tell them God’s Son died for them. Tell them how to be saved. Make sure everybody knows. Take the Grace of God to the World! That’s His Vision.
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”