by Scott MacLeod
One summer afternoon in 1994, my spiritual eyes were dramatically opened and my life was forever altered as I watched a television documentary celebrating the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. It showed how WWII had escalated until the Spring of 1944 when Nazi tyranny had overrun most of Europe. D-Day, June 6th 1944, marked the beginning of the Allied Forces' invasion of what was then called "Fortress Europe." It is remembered as beginning of the end of the Nazi occupation and as the beginning of liberation for multitudes of Europeans. As I watched the old black-and-white footage of this infamous battle unfolding across the screen, a narrator began to read from a journal penned by one of the allied soldiers. I was astounded at these words:
"Out here there is no prejudice. We are all brothers fighting together for life and victory. I've realized that men are only prejudiced when they are comfortable and complacent." -An unknown soldier of the Allied Forces
Never before had I heard someone speak of a place in the world where there was no prejudice! As I pondered upon this remarkable statement -- "out here there is no prejudice" -- the question flashed through my mind, "Where exactly is out here?" The Lord immediately answered -- "on the frontlines."
The truth is, when we are fighting for freedom for our fellowman on the "frontlines" there is no room for prejudice. Prejudice produces division. And division on the frontlines of war would bring swift defeat. And when you are in the heat of battle there is no time for petty differences, discrimination or dissension among the ranks.
As I reflected further on these profound words written by this soldier, the Lord spoke to me. He said, "This is a picture of my Church--comfortable and complacent, divided with prejudice."
LIFE ON THE FRONT LINES
In return for their willingness to lay their very lives on the line these soldiers experienced something that few of us, even in the Church, have -- unity, brotherhood, comradeship and victory against all odds. Every believer in Christ, whether they know it or not, is called to the front lines to fight for the liberation and salvation of their fellow man. This is the very purpose that Christians (Christ like ones) are built for! I believe that things are about to change in the Church in a remarkable way -- God's people are again hearing the voice of their Commander.
Many in the Body of Christ have recently been in a spiritual boot camp -- and it has not been an easy process. To be adequately prepared for what is coming we must first go through God's basic training. God has been bringing many out of the complications, entanglements and self-centeredness of "civilian affairs" and back to the basics of the frontline gospel. God is committed to forging "good soldiers of Christ Jesus" who will sacrificially do what Jesus did. He is actively assembling His allied forces that are prepared for the heat of battle.
We must come out of the comfort and convenience of our religious walls and back into the "risky" front lines of our culture. True faith always involves risk. Without great risk there are no great victories. The front lines of obedience are precisely where the Lord is calling His Church to today. We have been given the tremendous obligation and privilege of doing the work of our Savior - which primarily is the work of saving lives!
THEIR SECRET - AN ALLIED EFFORT
As we think back to the historic D-Day, we can see that the secret of their victory against the fortified enemy was the power of the "Allied" Forces. Things had become so bad and the Nazi war machine had become so strong that the only hope for victory was for the liberated nations to unite as allies like never before. That is where we are today in the Church -- wickedness is increasing at an astounding rate and we can't stand up against the forces of darkness with unity.
To be "allied" means to be "joined or united in a close relationship." God is currently building His last day army (Church) - not politically or religiously, but relationally. One of our greatest weapons against our demonic foe is simply and profoundly to "love one another." When we are on the sidelines doing "our own thing" we don't really need each other (or at least we think we don't). But when we step onto the front lines we face the danger and fury of enemy fire, and we are again awakened to the sense of urgency of the multitudes of our brothers and sisters who are perishing under the brutal tyranny of the enemy. It is then that we become divinely interdependent on one another just as God has intended us to be.
The power of the Allies was found in their unity and wholehearted commitment to the same purpose - to destroy the power of the enemy and set the captives free. They were willing to unite together against their common enemy with one purpose, one plan, and one heart. Because of this, they were able to defeat a seemingly more fortified enemy and win the war. In war, unity is the victory!
ANOTHER D-DAY IS COMING
There is a spiritual D-Day, a "Deliverance-Day" coming first to the Church and then to the world. God must first reform the church to change the world. We, the Church of Jesus, must first be delivered of the selfishness, fear, complacency and prejudice (which is pride) that keep us divided and ineffective. Only as we courageously "deny ourselves and take up our crosses" will we be free and prepared to "fight the good fight."
This great D-Day will be realized as the many different pieces of the Body (the Special Forces) join together in one heart and one mind to glorify God and to liberate the lost and lift up the poor just as we have been divinely authorized and commanded to do.
"-then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose." (Phil. 2:2)
JESUS' MISSION STATEMENT IS OUR MISSION STATEMENT
The day Jesus officially launched into His ministry on Earth was the same day He came out of the wilderness - triumphant over the Devil and his temptations. On this great day our Lord read this following text and said that it was fulfilled in their midst -- "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon Me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the wounds of the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners--" (Isaiah 61:1)
This one verse, maybe more than any other, articulates the essence of what Jesus' mission on Earth was all about and it is to be what we who profess to be followers of Christ are to be all about. Jesus tells us that we are sent into the world in the same way that He was. Jesus said, "As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world." (John 17:18)
We can see (if we want to) that our mandate and mission has been clearly spelled out for us. We who are in Christ Jesus are called to be one in Spirit and have one ultimate purpose - to carry on the noble mission that Jesus initiated! He carried the cross and laid down His life so that others could live. And then our Lord commissioned and commanded us (his disciples) to do the same. "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence." (1 John 3:16-19) The only place where our hearts can truly be set at "rest", which speaks of a clean and clear conscience before God, is when we are actively laying down our lives for our brothers. Sacrificial love is the Christian duty.
UNITY - A RESULT OF FRONTLINE OBEDIENCE
We learn from Psalm 133 that where there is unity the Lord commands His blessing. Everyone wants the blessing that comes from oneness! Many understand that unity is essential, and that a "house divided will not stand." We have come to know that one of our Lord's greatest desires is for the unity for His entire Church? (see John 17) But the great perplexity and question that faces most of the Christian Church today is "how in the world do we actually achieve this unity?"
We have tried almost everything. In many cases, if we are honest, the bottom line conclusion is that what we have been doing "is not working." We can talk, dance and sing all we want about "taking our city for Jesus" but the reality is that "it is not happening." Stop, if you will, and look for a moment at the devastated lives of this fatherless generation found in most inner cities. They are waiting for us to pull it together. We are not united on the front lines, and therefore we are not winning this war.
So, how is essential unity brought about? I believe the primary answer for this question is... only on the frontlines "out here" doing what God has called us to do is there grace to unify the Church. All other attempts to bring unity that are rallied around any banner other than simple obedience to God's Word are, at best, short-lived and superficial. They will ultimately prove to be futile, fruitless and a big waste of everybody's time. I have seen this over and over.
GOD WILL NOT UNIFY US IN OUR CURRENT CONDITION
Many have been crying out for unity, which is a good and noble thing, but the reality is that God Himself refuses to unite a comfortable and complacent Church. He will not bless our disobedience and He will not endorse our selfish agendas. The Lord recently told me if He were to unite the American Church in the condition we are presently in, it would be like creating another tower of Babel. Obedience precedes unity - unity precedes victory.
If worship and good meetings alone could win our cites to God they would have been won a long time ago. Although meetings are vital for the life and health of the Church, our meetings or even our great worship events alone will not be sufficient to unite the Church. At some point we are going to have to do what Jesus told us to do which is to engage the enemy and set captives free. This a bloody and a sacrificial work and it is not going away -- it is our mandate. We either comply with God or we will end up much like the Israelites -- we will die doing laps in the desert (which speaks of our dry man-made religion) never once stepping foot in the promised land.
Just like in the Biblical account of David and Goliath we can muster the troops every morning and night all we want (church meetings) but someone is going to have to heroically risk their lives to face the giants of our times head-on and get this victory started. As we humbly comply with His Word we will become comrades fighting side by side for "life and victory!" The good news is God will command a blessing over us and bring His "spirit of unity" when we get down to doing what He has asked us to do. We can never underestimate the phenomenal blessing in obedience!
A NEW STRATEGY IS COMING - UNCOMPROMISED OBEDIENCE
Personally, I have sat through endless "unity" meetings. At some point we must come to the conclusion that, in general, our old ways (which are primarily "our" ways) are not cutting it. Something is fundamentally wrong. Sunday morning remains the most segregated time of the week in America. Our churches are divided. The lost are still lost. Our cities are in shambles (if we are willing to look at the inner city), and in most cases, the poor remain hopeless and helpless.
Perpetual rallying around these self-centered social settings has done almost nothing to win the true war for souls. This war consists of laying down our lives to set captives free, fighting for justice and mercy for all people, and seeing our cities transformed by the power and the love of God.
The reality is, someone is going to have to take the risk and put some legwork to the Gospel. Just as we see in the war against terrorism, at some point you have to take the risk and send in the ground troops if you ever hope to win the war. Likewise, in the great spiritual battle that rages, it is time to send in the ground troops. These are the ones that will literally and intimately touch the lives of the poor and the lost. Jesus broke all the religious rules of His day to minister to the despised, the outcasts, the lepers, the poor, the women, the Samaritans, the sinners and the tax collectors. He left us this example that we should follow. Will we do as Jesus did? There is a generation at stake! Let us remember: "Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did." (1 John 2:6)
GOD'S LAST DAY INVASION IS COMING
God is presently preparing His elite vanguard to arise and engage the darkest forces of our times. A vanguard is "the foremost leading position in an army advancing into battle." These are the selfless bondservants who are willing to purely put the words of God into practice, no matter what the cost. The victory that began on D-day, June 6, 1944, didn't come without a great price. And likewise, the victory that Jesus won for us on the Cross 2000 years ago didn't come without a great cost. In both cases it took the laying down of life to bring life, victory and freedom to others. This heroic mandate has not changed. The Lord is asking us to do the same in our day -- to lay down our lives so that others can live.
God is presently infusing people with heroic faith and preparing a people that do "not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." (Rev. 12:11) They are a peculiar people -- they are living sacrifices (living martyrs) whose one purpose is to joyfully obey their Commander - regardless of the cost. The beautiful thing about obedience to the Gospel is that the price we pay in following in the steps of our Savior doesn't even compare to the payoff!
God is currently raising up the Joshua's and Caleb's from the older generation who actually believe that God can and will do exactly what He told us He would do! They are ones who believe that the Promised Land is actually "promised." They believe that it is a done deal, the victory has already been won for us, and now all that is required of us is to "be strong and courageous" and to step out in faith an act upon God Word.
The "children of Israel," the young generation, will follow these courageous ones because they too have the childlike faith to believe that God is true to His Word no matter what how big and intimidating the giants of the land may look. They believe wholeheartedly that God will fight their battles. They our willing to go forward into battle even against fortified strongholds because they too are just plain old sick of eating the dirt of the desert. They will see the Jericho's, the greatest strongholds of their day, begin to crumble before their eyes and they will partake of the giant fruit of the land.
HAVE NO FEAR - THE HARVEST IS HERE!
God is presently looking for those who will lead the way in the greatest battle for souls the world has ever known. There is a volunteer army coming forth of those who will enthusiastically risk it all to initiate this harvest and to see the awesome victory of the Lord over the powers of darkness.
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear." (1 John 4:18) There are presently a people who are falling so in love with Jesus that they are not afraid to let go of the control of their lives and abandon all to Jesus. They do not fear whole-heartedly following the Lord because they are so captivated by His love that they have unreservedly entrusted their lives to Jesus -- the "Lover of their Souls." This means that they are available for the harvest.
With six billion people in the world today, there is an unprecedented harvest of souls at hand. And just as Jesus said two thousands years ago - the harvest is great and the workers are few. But situation this is about to change because there is a generation emerging that is absolutely built for real Kingdom action. They will prove to be the greatest harvesters that the world has ever known. They are not satisfied with the safety and slothfulness of the sidelines -- because they know in their hearts that they are cut out for nothing less than radical obedience to God's Word.
I have seen these radical ones with my own eyes. You can see it in their eyes -- they are not willing to settle for the status quo. I have seen these peculiar ones in action up close as the serve "the least of these." They will win the lost at any cost!
God will "purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:14) There is a generation rising that are willing to forsake the lures and pleasures of the world and follow "the way of love." They are looking for something to live for and to die for and once they get a hold of the authentic gospel and the real Jesus there is no stopping them.
As we purpose in our hearts to unite and to fight as allied forces, we will see the ultimate victory over all of our enemies, and the magnificent outcome will be the liberation and salvation of multitudes! And this great salvation is the essence of God's heart of love for all people--"He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9) It doesn't get any better than uniting with God and with one another to aggressively fight for this great cause! Let's pray for God to give us the same passion and compassion of His heart for the lost.
IT'S TIME TO WIN A BEACHEAD!
We must unite together and prepare to land hard and heavy on the fortified beachheads (the Normandy's) of our culture. God is looking for a people who are willing to violently invade these places where the enemy has greatly fortified his position. These places are primarily found in the inner cities. They look impenetrable and invincible, but these strongholds of the enemy must be fearlessly and forcefully faced head-on if we ever hope to win our cities.
We can have all the revival meetings we want in the suburbs but the reality is that these alone will never win our cities to the Lord. I'm not against great meetings, revivals, or the suburbs it is just that when it's all said and done "there is usually a lot more said than done." God is calling for fearless and forceful action to burst forth from His Church. In the David and Goliath account we must remember that the revival (the victory) began after the giant was knocked down. I believe this order is still the same for us today. Will the giant killers please stand up! "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force." (Matt. 11:12)
IT'S ALL ABOUT LOVE!
There is no time to waste! Multitudes of POWs await our courageous obedience. Now is the time to unite and fight for what we know is right! We who are in Christ and who are hearing what the Spirit is speaking to the Church are being "called up" into "active duty" in the army of the Lord. There is a mighty Holy Spirit led invasion that is being planned and prepared right now that is targeted directly against the enemies' most fortified territory. It is just a matter of time, for God hears the cries of the POW's and he will unleash His divine vengeance upon the enemy.
He will release His vengeance through His people -- the carriers of His unfailing love. Pure love absolutely overwhelms and overthrows the demonic realm. They have no recourse against the invincible weapon called "the love of God." It will not fail!
IT IS A VOLUNTEER ARMY
Do you want to be part of this great and noble undertaking? To lead in this great foray is not for everybody -- but it is for "whosoever will."
The allied soldiers were willing to sacrifice their lives in the fight for freedom and in defense of all freedom loving nations. Have you ever wondered why we rarely see this heroic and sacrificial life displayed in so much of our modern-day Church? What does it take to motivate and cause people to "risk it all" on the frontlines? What would cause someone to willingly put aside the comforts and conveniences of civilian life and put himself or herself in harm's way? Could it be an understanding the urgency of our times, or the depths of dangers and depravity of our enemy... or maybe it is having sympathy and compassion on the plight of our fellow man? All these, although noble and good inspirations, are not enough to motivate most Christians to selflessly lay down their lives for the cause of Christ. So what is does it take to see a heroic Christ like people rise up in out day?
Jesus, I believe, simply and profoundly answered this question with this one statement, "If you love me you'll obey my commandments." Volunteer lovers of God will always be the greatest warriors. True worshippers are the greatest workers. Love and loyalty, not for a cause, but for our supreme Commander is the chief motivating factor. Only pure passion for the Person of Jesus could inspire Christian soldiers to be so devoted that they would leave "the civilian affairs" behind and selflessly and continually lay down their lives. Love never fails! So when the Church is failing we can always trace it back to a lack of love.
God is looking for a people who will take Him and His Word seriously. Those who greatly revere Jesus and His words will find themselves fighting on the frontlines. Faithful and joyful obedience will put you on the cutting edge of God's purposes quicker than anything else. Obedience will take you there, but only a deep affection and a passionate commitment to Jesus will keep you there. There is only one way to win the war that the Church is currently facing and it is this--people will have to be so in love with God that they are willing to do what He says.
THE CHALLENGE AND THE CHARGE
Here is my question to you, and more importantly, I believe God's question to you -- Are you cutout to lead in this charge? If you are a serious Christian then you are "Christ-like" and you are completely cutout for this. Or more precisely, are you willing to? I challenge you to ask yourself this question -- Do you really have anything better to do with your life than to take Jesus at His Word and put it into exuberant action?
It begins with simple, childlike, and consistent obedience (one step at a time) to our Lord's Word and before you know it you will be right there "fighting for life and victory" on the frontlines of God's purpose. In this place, "out here" you will find "the life that is truly life!" The positive ramifications and blessings of obedience are incalculable. But we don't know this reality until we simply take Him at His Word and we step out and try it and see if God doesn't show up and back us in a miraculous wonder-working way!
What are we waiting for? For the enemy to dig in deeper and destroy more lives? Absolutely not! God forbid it!
Jesus, our Supreme Commander, has explicitly given us our marching orders. God's Allied Forces are presently being called up, trained assembled for a mighty last day charge. He has, and still is, leading the way. Justice and liberty for all! Let's Go! The victory is sure!
"The Lord thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command." (Joel 2:11)