House of God Part 3
Nation Against Nation
July 2, 2010 - West Texas - Camp Butman
What I want to share with you this morning is probably an amalgam of two or three different things. Sam has mentioned the work that has begun in Atlanta, by surprise, and I was there just two weeks ago back in that situation with Michael Barrett, whom I'm assuming many of you know Michael. And we were doing a conference, a similar type conference on Spiritual Warfare and a pretty good number of pastors – mostly black or African American pastors in the Atlanta area - had been invited to the conference and not a very large number had responded positively with respect to making attendance, and even fewer actually attended. At the same time, however, a gentleman that I know there one of the pastors that I know in Atlanta, had begun to meet with another man who is not really formerly a pastor but had begun ministering to ex-prisoners, ex-convicts. The particular fellow that I knew was trying to get into prison ministry and apparently that's a little difficult in that area - to get into prison ministry – I don't understand why and we didn't have time to talk about it.
And so because of his contacts with this ministry to ex-convicts, the leadership there said, “You know what we should do because not all who were invited to the banquet could find a reason to come, let's go into the highways and byways,” and so I had an audience about half composed of ex-convicts and half composed of pastors for a spiritual warfare conference. Rather an interesting time, we had some fun. Now one of the beauties of that - and I'm gonna touch on something here and then I'm gonna go to the central matter and come back to this – one of the beauties of that is that's low hanging fruit if you want to do a demonstration of spiritual warfare. I think we're aware – and if you're not aware, I'll help you get there – that most of the people, most of the men it particular, but women as well – who end up in prisons came from dysfunctional families particularly under the guidance, or non-guidance, of dysfunctional fathers and I think we're aware of that, just almost like, “Duh.” And as we continue to work together to discover the nature of the fatherhood of God, one of the things that we're finding is that that is certainly not God's model, He's not dysfunctional. I don't know if that's news to you or not but God is not dysfunctional, He's a functioning Father; He functions perfectly and accurately as a Father. We know that and yet, maybe even here and certainly in most of the places that we have opportunity to be with people, we speak with men and women who, when they hear the word “Father” there's a spot in them that cringes. I wish God would call Himself something else, why don't we call Him “King” or just “God”, “Father” is not a particularly pleasant concept for many folks, it doesn't work well for them but that's OK because God continues to present Himself as “Father”. You know, Jesus almost always referred to Him as “Father”, there's a reason for that and the reason is, God came to show us His Father by showing us how to be sons and if you've had a dysfunctional relationship with a man that got you here biologically or whomever replaced him - in some cases, a series of replacements - if that has been the history that you had, it takes a while to figure out that you might even want to be like the Father.
So during the conference it occurred to me that we just probably ought to go right ahead and deal with one particular spiritual stronghold and that was the stronghold of fatherlessness amongst those people, with good result. We enabled a room full of people to dismantle the place where they held the man that they held responsible for their spiritual conditions or their natural conditions, they forgave him. And when you move away from that particular stronghold or any other spiritual stronghold, you have the opportunity then not to be like you were. I said to us yesterday with some eye opening comments, I don't intend for you to go away unchanged, you should go away changed. There's a little game, you've probably heard of it “20 Questions”. We've even got a little programmed gizmo you hold in your hand and you play 20 Questions with and it guesses whatever it is the item was you picked out. The fact of the matter is that I've discovered that in 15 questions or less I can find a spiritual stronghold in your life. There were two or three places in you, that's where they are, those places that went, “Uhh, how dare he think he can pick around in there and find that.” That's where they are.
Now that's not actually what I'm gonna talk about, I made you uncomfortable a little bit for a reason. And I will come back to it in a little while but that's not mostly where I'm gonna focus, so you can let that little thing relax, it's gonna be OK. That place you like to go when certain kinds of things come up in life, it's OK for now, I may challenge you later to think about doing something about it but I'll leave it alone for now.
It was a wonderful experience, being with those men. Now I've told you that to come to this point that is going to lead me to the place that I do want to go with you, I think. For those of you who don't know me very well at all, for those who do, you may be smiling already, I typically will have a pretty good idea of what I'm gonna do when I speak to a group of people and then the Lord does what He wants to do, and frequently they're not the same thing, so bear with me, I don't know where we're going either but I think I do and we'll just take off and launch in that particular direction.
Sunday afternoon, two weeks ago, we agreed to meet at a particular place – those of us who were involved in the conference and debriefed the conference - and we were going to meet there at a particular time and then subsequent to that, get me to the airport and make other arrangements for the rest of the time that Michael was going to be in Atlanta. And I was supposed to be finished preaching by 1 – I was left to preach at one of the churches – I was supposed to be finished by 1 but it was Father's Day and we didn't start until a quarter to one. And so the pastor said to me shortly before that, he said, “Just go ahead and do whatever the Lord is telling you to do and don't worry about the times.” We started at 11:00 and got done at a quarter to two. Now I didn't particularly care for that either, that's a long time, that's a very long time. But one of the comments that we got during the time that we were speaking to one another about what we had just been through, was one of the men had said to one of the leaders - one of the persons who was there was not a pastor - said to one of the leaders who was a pastor, he said, “I know this is real, I know this is real because I saw how they loved each other.” You hear me? It wasn't the things we said or the things that were done; these people saw that we loved one another. You know, Jesus spoke about that, “By this sign all men will know that you're My disciples. This is what's going to prove it to them; this is the evidence that you're My disciples: that you love one another.”
One of the characteristics of the household that we find ourselves in, the spiritual household that Judy and I find ourselves in is that the men are uncharacteristically capable of showing affection for one another, uncharacteristically capable of that, it's not normal. And that I believe is the outworking of exactly the kind of thing that Jesus was talking about, “This is how they'll know that you're My disciples,” He said. Sam opened up the issue of the nations with you last night and I don't have a choice, it's not that Sam offered me a challenge that I'm being 'basted' currently, 'roasted' or 'basted' or both alternative, baste awhile, roast awhile – I'm not really sure what all is exactly going on in my life, but I am immersed here lately, constantly “in difference”. Not only has the Lord upset my apple cart as Sam said, I was raised in the south, not really southern, but I was raised in the south. I was actually born in Connecticut but we escaped quickly, we escaped very, very quickly, I was like eighteen months old when we got out of there. My dad said he would not spend another winter in Connecticut; he was raised in Louisiana so he packed up my mom and myself and took off. So I have virtually no memory of Connecticut, it's a place I know about, I've watched its politics, I'm pretty happy I don't live there anymore. You know that sort of thing.
So the Lord has begun to say to me, and this has been a challenge, I want you to know that, having been raised in the South and having been raised white in Louisiana where it is true that not only did the adult white people that I knew forbid their children from having anything to do with black children, it is also true that the adult black people forbad their children from having anything to do with white children, it's a two way street, it's racial, it's a racial divided America, it's got its history but it is a two way street. And this is kind of one of the central points I want to work with you for a while and that is, that the things that divide men are whatever they are and they're mostly about men; these are not things that should divide us, they're simply things that do divide us. So first, Sam didn't tell you everything, last spring at the conference in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania I accidently had an unplanned session talking about women in the Body of Christ. Now my wife will tell you I know nothing about women, she'll be happy to tell you that – I don't have a clue. But I had to open that topic up and there's been some continuing dialog and stuff going on with respect to that, and not all of it has been fun, Sam, some of it has been, “Well what do you mean? How do you know? How dare you?” You know, those kind of comments. And then the racial thing broke open and Sam said by virtue of teaching on slavery and then this year the Lord sent me to Eastern Europe to look around a bit and to particularly to Budapest, Hungary and Sophia, Bulgaria - follow on trips this fall to Saint Petersburg, Russia, Cata Visa, Poland. In preparation for that kind of journey, I have taken time to begin to read about these places because I grew up – as did many of you – the bulk of my life, those nations didn't exist, they had been swallowed by a thing called The Soviet Union and they emerged about 20 years ago but they emerged without identity, those peoples emerged without identity and I'm gonna make some comments about that.
One of the things that I've discovered in beginning to study these places is that all of the ethnicity, all of the ethnic tensions that preexisted the coming of the communists in Eastern Europe, are still there. We didn't see them for 45 years because for 45 years they were under an oppressive form of government. And I want to compliment the communists for a moment, it'll come around, don't worry – and that is in this way: they did not permit ethnic disturbance, if it looked like something that was approaching an ethnic disturbance they simply killed everybody that was involved or stuck them in jail. They simply squashed, they suppressed people's ethnicity, their identity, in an ethnic sense it was completely suppressed. One fella in particular, you probably have heard about a fella named Tito, who created a country that we used to call Yugoslavia, if you'll remember Yugoslavia, during that whole period he was kind of a rogue as a communist, he never really did permit himself to be integrated into the Soviet Union but he still had a communist government, it was still a very centralized, authoritarian, dictatorship, it was. And many, many peoples lived under that, under the rubric “Yugoslavia”, they were Serbians, Croats, Slovakians, Slovenians, Montenegrins, quite a few Albanians, Macedonians and a lot of other people who happen to have, at different times, smaller groups intermingled with those folks. What we heard in the West was, “Yugoslavia,” made famous by the “Yugo”. OK, it obviously dates me but that was a humorous episode in history. For those of you that are younger, the Yugo was a car that was actually exported from Yugoslavia and it developed its own spare parts as it went down the street so that the next Yugo that came by could find spare parts in the street.
Anyway, very, very short lived economic endeavor, back in the seventies I guess it was and the thing blew up almost immediately after the end of the communist era. If you'll remember, we got into a bit of a war in what had been Yugoslavia because Serbs and Croats were killing Albanians, at least that was ostensibly the reason we got into it. Actually, it was a lot of killing of everybody by everybody because as soon as that thing disappeared that suppressed peoples identities, their identities immediately reverted to what they had known previously. Man under supression is incapable, absolutely incapable, of escaping that phenomenon. Now the bad news is this: it will continue and it will get worse. And theologies like Liberation Theology will never do anything better than stir the pot. Liberation Theology is a theology that emerged primarily in Latin America that says the pheasants have to rise up and overthrow the ruling class. That simply stirs the pot.
Now the enemy enjoys these kinds of things, it's certainly OK with him if we continue to hate. Where did that come from? Where does that come from? And Sam opened that last evening, I hope you heard what he had to say about how in the second generation only very shortly after Eve and Adam had separated themselves from fellowship with God and therefore had been asked to relocate. Shortly after that, they began to have children and they had two sons and the first two that we know anything about anyway - and certainly Cain must have been the first born - the first two that we know anything about got into a relationship that was so poisoned that murder was a result. It was poisoned not necessarily because of anything that Abel had done, but it was poisoned nonetheless and it was the design of the enemy that brother would kill brother; it was the design of the enemy. We must grasp that that's the case.
Governments provide what they provide, civil and political governments provide whatever they provide and one of the things most of them attempt to do, and do a reasonable job of, is suppressing the things that lead people to kill one another but they don't eliminate them. Man is not capable of changing the basic nature of his fellow man through political action, it cannot be done; right wing, left wing, middle wing, hot wing, it doesn't matter. It simply cannot be done, please hear me. It is impossible; in fact what it really does is it produces more of the kind of thing that happened in Yugoslavia; when somebody let the pressure off, “Kaboom!” When I was in Budapest in May, I was there on a national holiday, May 24th I believe it was, a Monday. The following day, the 25th, I was in some meetings with a university there and during that time the new government that had just been elected was being formed. Now the way you form government in European, parliamentary governments for the most part - with the exception of monarchies - is you have very nearly equal power president and prime ministers and they form a government that's based on the fact that they are in opposition to one another politically, almost invariably and they split up the ministry so that the president gets half the ministries and the prime minister gets the other half. And they struggle through a period of time that's primarily characterized by compromise on the very different points of view of these two folks; the president and the prime minister. The people perpetuate that in their voting behavior because the people are split and so many of the people vote for this and many of the people vote for that and one of them gets to be the prime minister and the other one gets to be the president, this is the White House in South Eastern Bulgaria. Very interesting, the white house is across a very busy boulevard from the parliament house and it's characterized sort of like the presidents over here, the Prime Minister's over there so they can look out the window and yell at one another across traffic. It's that kind of situation. We don't actually do that here but we're characteristically moving in that direction. If you watch national elections in the U.S., we're swinging very widely now. And do you know the reason for that? It's that every single one of them promises that they've got the solution that the other idiot doesn't understand. And so we vote again and we say, “It didn't work with that guy, well let's put this guy in,” and then we get what we had the time before.
Back and forth and it has to do with the fact that human beings were made with a capacity to have this fundamental flaw, and as Sam pointed out, it showed up quick, pretty quick after The Garden in the situation where the man murdered his brother. The scripture also has a number of other examples of this, I want to point out two or three things very quickly. Judah had three sons initially, the first son's name was Ur, if I remember correctly, and the second ones name was Unan. Now Judah found a wife for Ur, she married him, for whatever reason the Lord didn't really care for Ur very much and so He killed him relatively young and without offspring. Now the culture in which those fellows lived, the not having of offspring would result in not having your inheritance, your identity carried on into the next generation. So in order to care for that matter, the thing that would normally occur – this is kind of the unwritten law – the thing that would normally occur is, another brother would marry the widow and she would be his wife, at least until she bore a son. Once she had borne a son, then the property of her first husband became that son's property as an inheritor so that the inheritance would continue forward and this predates the Levitical law that would establish these things, Judah was way before the law.
And so Ur died because he was a wicked man, we don't know anything about Ur's wickedness but he died, God took him. And Judah, doing the proper thing, married the widow, Tamar, to his second son, Onan. Onan said to himself, “If I am married to this woman and if we have a son, that son will inherit and it will be as though he were not my son and that will confuse the inheritance of any sons that I have with other wives. It will be a confused mess with respect to the inheritances. I will not permit that.” So he would not permit himself to impregnate her, Tamar, he wouldn't do that.
Well that was wicked too, so God got rid of him and you know the rest of that story: Judah put the woman away, he said, “This woman's poison, every time I marry a son to her, he shows up dead and we're not going to do any more of that.” So he put her away. Judah was taking care of her, don't make a mistake about that, she was taken care of because she was a widow of his sons. So she didn't have a bad life, she opted to try to find a way to have someone who would inherit, because inheritance is pretty important.
When we talk about father and son, we're talking largely about inheritance and identity, that's what we're talking about and orphans don't have inheritances, I don't know if you really recognize that, it may not be self-evident but the orphans are not characteristically people who have inheritances. That's the reason that this spirit of orphan hood is such an important matter that has to be dealt with in the Body of Christ. God, by the way, went through a lot of trouble to see to it that people don't remain orphans if they choose not to remain orphans. And all through the Old Testament – I don't know why we bifurcate Scripture that way – but all through what we call the Old Testament, in many places there are commandments to remember widows and orphans because identity and inheritance is absent in their lives. And the issue for Ur and Onan was not apparently a matter simply of any kind of conflict between those two brothers, it was really a conflict in Onan's mind about his identity, his inheritance and the eventual inheritance of his children.
So after Ur's death there was a problem between Ur and Onan that got Onan killed as well. You've all heard the story of the prodigal son, we don't know, there's no evidence in Scripture that there was ever any strife between son one and son two, it's not in Scripture that there was. But when son two came back home, son ones reaction was not very good and the things that he said to his father were rather interesting. Let's look at that, that's in Luke chapter 15. This is what son one said to his dad after son two came home, in Luke 15 beginning in 25, “Meanwhile the older son was in the field and when he came near the house he heard music and dancing,” he was out there doing what he had always done; being obedient to his father, tending to the property that he would eventually inherit, all of those things, but he was being a good son, in any event. And so he heard all this and he called one of the servants and he asked him, “What's going on?” The servant said, “Your brother has come and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.” The older brother became angry at that point, “He became angry,” it says, “and refused to go in,” he didn't even want to go into the party; he heard the party, he got mad, “I gonna stay outside.” Now this is about the other brother. So his father went out to him, where he was, he didn't wait on him to come in, he went out to him where he was and he pleaded with him and he answered his father and said, “Look, all these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders, I've earned something Dad and you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends but when this son of yours who squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him.” “My son,” the father said, “you're always with me and everything I have is yours, so we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again, he was lost and he's found.”
In Matthew 24, let me finish setting this up, I'm about done with setting it up for you. In the 24th chapter of Matthew, usually I have to quit by the time I get setup. In verse 7, Jesus is speaking of some end time things with the disciples and in 24:7 He says, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there will be other kinds of signs and these things are the beginnings of birth pangs.” The word “nation” in Matthew 24:7 is “ethnos”, ethnos is the Greek meaning “some identifiable people group”. Now - some of you have heard me develop this much more in detail than I'm about to do – but very quickly, there's a fundamental question I want to deal with and that is: where did the “ethnoi” come from? “Ethnoi” is the plural of “ethnos”. Where do they come from? If you got a place like Yugoslavia and you have all these different 'ethnoi' living in a place like that and after 45 years when they're free from suppression, suddenly, they hate each other again. Where did all of that difference between them come from? It's a pretty important question because we started with one guy. Who were the other 'ethnoi' around Adam? Well, there weren't any, there was just Adam, there was only the one 'ethnos', there couldn't have been any other 'ethnoi', there was just Adam and God saw that that wasn't working out particularly well, so He took from Adam and He made Eve but there was still one 'ethnos', only one 'ethnos'.
And in a very short period of time, after the expulsion and relocation, in a relatively short period of time, man had become so divided from his fellow man as a result largely we can point to the dispute between Cain and Abel, so much separation had occurred that God looked at the earth and He said, “Man, those guys can't do anything right, I'm going to obliterate this mess.” And more than anything else, it was the result of human beings doing their own thing and various 'ethnoi' had apparently emerged among them and the various 'ethnoi' became the basis from which disputes emerged between people, it was kind of a family thing. Well, then God pretty much took care of that because He got rid of everybody that wasn't in the family of Noah. Is that not right? Noah had three sons, each of whom had a wife that he brought with him to the boat, Noah brought his own. That was all there was, this one group of people, eight of them in one family, one single family; those eight people. Then they got out of the boat and some things occurred but in a relatively short period of time, it's in Genesis that you begin to see that all three of the sons of Noah had begun to have families of their own. And over some time there got to be quite a few folks and they began to move about probably as a result of needing to have better places to live, they were all definitely shepherds and that sort of thing among them and so they began to be a somewhat nomadic people. But eventually they came to a place and began to settle down and began to build a city – build 'cities' actually – and in a little while they decided that, “You know what, let's build ourselves some sort of permanent memorial of the fact that we're here.” And they began to build a tower that they thought would reach up to heaven; they began to exalt themselves against God, in essence.
Now at that particular point in time there is absolutely no evidence of any strife among them, none, they were a family still, a big family but still a family. Now I'm sure family reunions were as painful for them as they are for us but they were nonetheless a family. But the reason you endure a family reunion is because it was after all their family. You've heard people say things like, “Well, their family, you'll just have to excuse them, that's what they are.” And I think I'm talking to people who know what I'm talking about. And we'll go to a family reunion. Somebody once asked me about high school reunions, I've never been to one, I kind of think that they won't let you do that at maximum security prisons. I've never actually been to one; no I've been to one. Anyway…it will come to you eventually. I won't tell you where I went to high school but maybe privately you can ask me and you'll understand why I said “prison/high school reunion”.
This family decided that it would cooperate in building this edifice, this monument to itself. Well that was really better than what was going on before the flood because at least they were getting along. But God could not permit that and so He touched them. Now let me set this up just a little bit more with you. All of the variation of mankind, every bit of it: racially, hair color, eye color, different height, whether the hair is straight or not straight; all of that was in the loins of Adam, the diversity of man didn't come from somewhere else. And if all men came from the same man, then all the diversity of man, biologically speaking, was to be found in the DNA of the first man, biologically speaking, it was all there. Now Adam was just Adam, he didn't have both straight hair and kinky hair; he probably didn't have both really dark skin and really light skin, probably. But what he did have was all of the biological variety of man in his loins, it was there. Eve had exactly the same DNA because she was made from Adam, she brought no diversity to the DNA, it was all there in the one man. When Noah took his sons into The Ark, diversity as we think of diversity of human kind, had already emerged. One of his three sons, the youngest of his three sons was named Ham, which means “burnt” or “dark”. His name was “dark”, when he came forth from his mother's womb he was a dark man and he was Noah's son, one of the three. He had four sons, that particular man, Ham, had four sons - Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan - and particularly with respect to Put, these men are the progenitors of the dark races of Africa, these are the sons, the grandsons, of Noah. The diversity of mankind was already present, when they stopped in Shinar to build this edifice to the sky, the short people and the tall people and the skinny people and the fat people and the blondes and the brunettes and the redheads and the people with fingernails that won't act right and people whose kneecaps easily come un-jointed and everybody else was already present and they were one people. They were not divided, they were distinguishable from one another but they were not divided from one another, they were one people, they were one nation, there were no “ethnoi”, there was an “ethnos”.
Everything that you can use today to distinguish one human being from another - insofar as it is natural in its characteristics and insofar as it is something that we use to define people - was present in Shinar; it was present in the building of the tower. And the tower itself was such an offense to God that He struck - not the tower - but the people; He struck them at the point of their pride and at the point of their pride was that “they could do it together”. And so God touched them and He made them unable to communicate with one another, and when He made them unable to communicate with one another they began – physically, geographically – to pull apart from one another. In order to move away from each other, you have to move away from each other, it's kind of one of those, what do you call that? There's a name for that.
It is what it is but it is a tautology of a sort that in order to do a thing, you have to do the thing. And so they began to not be together anymore and the only way to not be together is to spread out. Now God a long time ago had told them to, “Be fruitful and multiply and take care of the whole earth,” and they were all together, in one spot in Shinar. One people: tall and short, fat, thin, blonde and black headed, dark skinned, light skinned, red headed, blue eyed, grey eyed, green eyed, brown eyed – all together and in a sense, they didn't know the difference; they were a family, a single ethnos. But when God touched them at the point of communication they suddenly became suspicious of one another and the suspicions that they had that they directed at one another was such that, “You know what, we need to move apart a bit.” They didn't necessarily get together and talk about moving apart, they just moved. Sam mentioned yesterday the Pashtun; they are probably the dominant force both in Pakistan and in Afghanistan. And to the great extent that thing that's going on there with these political groups - Al-Qaida and Taliban – is that they exist among and under the protection of the Pashtun in one place, do you think they wouldn't be under the protection of the Pashtun in another place? We're trying to fight a war in one country that extends to a racial, ethnic phenomenon that crosses national boundaries. This is a hard kind of war to fight; this is a 'Babel'. Now I'm not against the war, that's not the point, the point is that man keeps trying to solve the problem of man, and we are the problem! You're not going to fix this sick thing by giving it an injection of its own serum, it won't work, it cannot work.
And so these peoples are emerging now in Eastern Europe after 45 years of suppression, 20 years later they haven't gotten anything much done yet. The energy is tremendous, let me tell you, the young people wear bright clothes and they listen to loud music and they do outrageous things and they're completely debauched for the most part. Their behavior is completely unlike the behavior of their parents' generation, who still after 20 years out from under that yoke are grey people, they still haven't found hope yet, they're looking for it, they desire it but they haven't found it yet. But the young people who weren't born under that, they look at the West, they think America is wonderful because we have all these freedoms and so forth and so on. So there's a lot of hope there but there's still ethnic jokes. “Well things are OK here, things are OK in America, things are OK in most places but those guys right over there, let me tell you about them…” you couldn't do that 30 years ago because some commissar would find out about it and you'd get in trouble. But that didn't work; it did not take away the ethnic aspirations of the peoples.
What I'm telling you is that ethnos will rise against ethnos and it will continue as long as there are ethnoi in the earth and there will be ethnoi in the earth until the judgment has been finished. The ethnoi 'are'. Now let's talk about that, just the mechanics of all of these thousands and thousands of ethnic groups all around the world. As man began to wander away from Shinar to get away from the Johanssons' and the Smiths because they talk funny now, because that's what they did, they began then to travel into other places and then they would get to some place and as the resources began to be scarce there would begin to be strife within the family and the family would begin to split up, “You know what, there's just not enough room, you go over here and I'll go over there.” It's in The Book by the way, it happened with Lot and Abraham, those two guys. Remember they noticed that there was not enough stuff for the herds and flocks and Abraham agreed with Lot that they would split the land that didn't even belong to them but they'd split it anyway. And so he gave Lot the choice and Lot chose to go one way and Abraham went another way and it resulted in a difference between them that there had not existed before.
So as these different people wandered away from that family at Shinar, they began to be different families and those families would begin to split and be other different families and so forth and so on. Now we have a world full of thousands and thousands of relatively small groups of people. Out of the billions of us, there are some recognizable ethnic groups that have under a half a million in the world but they're recognizable and they're relatively recent historical phenomenon. As man continues his existence in the earth, we continue to split and split and split and split and split and split into what now might now be called a 'sub-ethnic' group, 25 to 50 years from now will be called “an other ethnic group” and it will have another name and it's language will have begun to differ from the language of the parent ethnic group. And every instance in which that occurs, the source of conflict is in the earth, it is not true that they can move away from one another and remain friends; when they move away from one another, they become estranged. Man is estranged from himself, he is estranged from his brother, this is at the brother level, the family level, it is fundamentally a problem with mankind. At the biological family level, man is estranged from those to whom he is closest, biologically. That being the case, it is no wonder that man is astronomically estranged from those who sound and look different.
So what is the end of this matter? If when Jesus said, “Ethnos shall rise against up against ethnos and kingdom against kingdom,” did He mean, “That's a cool thing.”? No, that is not there, not even by any kind of interpretive interjection. He was not saying it was a good thing, He said it's like 'birth pangs', it's awkward, it hurts, it makes you want to strike out at whoever did that to you, that's what birth pangs are about. Ladies? I'm blessed, I was in the army when our first daughter was born and I was in Germany and Judy was in Louisiana. In a sense I was blessed, I didn't meet Christa until she was 6 months old, but I didn't have to be there to hear all the things that might have been said about me and my parents (laughter) and relatives for several generations. Now Judy tells me she said none of that because she was under the influence, so I believe her. I was there when Rachel was born, Rachel's over here somewhere, there she is, our other daughter. I was there when she was born but they didn't let me go into the delivery room, I understand that men do that now, what's wrong with y'all? (laughing) I had this idea that if I went in there, the doctors would be all diverted trying to wake me back up. It didn't make any sense for me to be there, so at a certain point they said, “You're dismissed,” thank you, thank you, thank you (laughing). I didn't want anything to do with that.
The fact of the matter is, that even those who are close to us can be real irritants and if we have no reason to be nice to them, for example let's say at a family reunion, in which it's not even always nice, if we had no reason to be, then why would we? Well we sort of believe and we have a prevailing political philosophy these days if we make each other economically interdependent it will take care of these problems or let's make each other politically interdependent and these problems will go away. I'm telling ya, that isn't going to do it. Is there a solution to the fact that man left to himself will continue to fractionate socially into more, and more, and more groups that are distinguishable from other groups, by choice. And we do choose the characteristics we want to be distinguished by, we choose them, deliberately, for the most part. Now some things, of course, come with the territory: if you're born with green eyes…but I've never heard of the green eyed movement. There probably isn't one and I should probably start it. I've got green eyes and I don't like people who have other color eyes, there's something inherently wrong with them. Did you hear about those people with brown eyes? It's no more ridiculous than a whole lot of what goes on, by the way.
So we come to, “OK, what do we do about that?” Jesus apparently was not saying that it's a good thing that ethnos will rise against ethnos, He doesn't seem to have been saying it's a good thing that there would be wars of ethnic cleansing, He doesn't appear to have been saying it's a good thing that there's genocide so that where there were two ethnicities, there's now only one. I don't think any of us believe that that was the intent of what Jesus was saying. It is a bad thing that ethnos rises against ethnos but it is an inevitability of the human condition, it cannot be solved politically, it cannot be solved economically, it can only be solved when the difference of Babel is solved in our lives. Now that doesn't mean everybody has to learn to speak English in order for this to work out, communication was the way God touched man but man very readily took hold of that and separated himself from himself, happily, apparently, at least that's the way it is now.
The solution to this thing is for men to recognize that they are what they are, that diversity probably cool with God because He stuck it in Adams loins, been there since the beginning. It's a good thing, diversity is, it is a good thing, if you all had to look like me you wouldn't like it, it's a good thing, diversity is a good thing in and of itself. Let me prove to you that diversity is a good thing. Will you accept that I can prove that? I'll prove it to you and it won't even take long. God put it in Adam's loins, therefore it is a good thing, He didn't put bad things in Adam's loins, He put good things there.
So as we look about in different situations in which we find ourselves, we see people who may be even proud of being of different kinds of ethnic background. I'm a person without ethnicity, in a sense because my, somebody, they came here a long, long, long, long, long, long time ago, we know it was in the 18th century, probably from England but I have no sense of being an Anglo-American, I ain't one of those. We're in ??? of I don't know what, maybe I don't want to know that but it is completely irrelevant because I was born an orphan, spiritually speaking. And what really matters is that we embrace the ethnicity of being the sons of God because Paul says somewhere, “We're a new creation,” we're not what we were, it is not intended that we be saved Anglo-Americans, it's intended that we be sons of God; it is not intended that we be saved Polish-American, it's intended that we be sons of God; it is not intended that we be saved German-Americans or African-Americans or Pashtun-Americans or any other kind of American, it is intended that we be sons of God and that is a unique and different ethnicity from all the ethnicities of man because it's defined by a property that all of the normal sense of what a man is, doesn't possess, it is designed by the property that we are a new creation, not the one that our parents were and our forbearers were biologically, that's where German-American and Polish-American and Armenian-American, that's where all that comes from. And it's OK with me if you're OK with being whatever it is from some sort of a bio-ethnic sense but what's far more important to me is that you understand that you're called to be a son of God and that is a new creation, that is a new ethnicity, it is different from German-American or any of that other stuff, it is different from it and if you hold onto that other, you're missing your inheritance. And I don't care what color your hair is or whether it's straight or kinky or what color your eyes are, what color skin you have, I don't care what language was spoken to you when you were being raised, I don't care that you have poems about how to find good mushrooms and bad mushrooms because of where your parents come from, I don't care about any of that because that's just the stuff of biology and it is passing away and the only thing that's keeping it from passing away in the Body of Christ is the Body of Christ who chooses to maintain an identity that comes from the dying flesh and not the living spirit! I might get stirred up. (laughing)
It is time for those who are embracing the season into which we're coming to understand that what we were is not what we are called to be, in any of its configurations. And I'm going to meddle with it a little bit: including the religious ones and the reason that is the case is because our religions are so conformed to our political ideologies and things of that sort, that they're indistinguishable from one another. I went in and looked at the property of the patriarchate of the Bulgarian National Church, it's the “Bulgarian National Church”, the Bulgarian Orthodox National Church and if you're a Bulgarian, you're supposed to be a member of the Bulgarian National Orthodox Church, you don't have to be but you're supposed to be and most everybody is in some sort of a nominal way, it is an assumption that being Bulgarian that you're Bulgarian Orthodox. Why? Because we have made religious institutions to look like political institutions and that's true in the United States, I want to make that absolutely clear, our forefathers decided to eschew having a national church, and in the process they created a religious environment in which everybody does what they want to do but that doesn't make it right. It says in three different places in Scripture, “In those days there was no king in the land and every man did what was right in his own eyes.” And just like ethnos rising against ethnos, that is not a compliment, that every man did what was right in his own eyes. It is not a compliment today that every man does what's right in his own eyes, that is not a complimentary thing. God's sense of things is monarchical, He is a monarch, He is our Father but He is a monarch, “monarch” means “one power”, power of only one.
We're trapped, in America, we're trapped in an ideology of politics and a society that says, “Nobody can tell me what to do and I have a perfect right to exercise whatever I want to exercise and in whatever way I want to exercise it and if anybody tries to take that away from me they've violated something, that the government gave me, by the way.” It's the American way. Now I'm not trying to put you under anything in particular, you know, if we want to continue to live as a religious creature whose life philosophy is based on a soco-political idea, go right ahead. But if what we want to do is to embrace our identity as the sons of God, we're going to have to deal with the fact that we are not called to be, we are called to be sons of God. That's the only call, there's not a Baptist son of God, a catholic son of God, a Russian Orthodox son of God. It's not in The Book, the only thing that's in there is son of God and that's what you're called to be. And I want to prove it to you. In the great song in the Revelation, this to me is maybe the focal point of Scripture. In Revelation 5, when Jesus has appeared in heaven at the time when John was despairing that we would never know the end of matters, because John knew the end of matters; it was in The Book and The Book couldn't be opened and when Jesus appeared and He had not been there, nor could they find Him. It's one of the great wonders that God did, Jesus really wasn't anticipated, God suddenly brought forth the solution. Suddenly the solution appeared and it was brought to John's attention and then John says, “They sang a new song and they sang this, 'You're worthy to take the scroll and open its seals because You were slain.'” Not just killed, but killed in a particular manner for a particular purpose. “For this reason You are worthy and no other can be found worthy of this, not even the Father Himself because He was not slain for this purpose, the Holy Spirit was not worthy because He was not slain for this purpose. “You alone were slain for this purpose” and this purpose was a simple purpose, it is the focal purpose of human existence and that is this: because in that process, “with Your blood You purchased men, You purchased them for God.” And they come from where? They come from “every tribe and every language and people and nation”. Every 'ethnoi' and every other way we can think about people is included in that. Every tribe and language and people and nation. Why? To make them into a kingdom of priests to serve our God, that holy nation, that royal priesthood that Sam was speaking about last night.
That's why He did what He did, He didn't do it because of some particular, inherent value in you above and beyond the value that you have as a potential, mature son of God. He didn't do it because God liked silly lumps of clay; He did it because God has built sons into those lumps of clay, if they will permit themselves to identify themselves as sons and not as something else, they came from every tribe and language and…there's not a manifestation within all of those different tribes and languages and nations of peoples, they came 'from' them and we are purchased 'from' those things, we're purchased from being Swedish American or Ukrainian Russian or whatever it might be, we are purchased 'from' it, not to remain 'in' it, purchased 'from' it.
You need to get free of identifying yourself as anything other than a son of God because as long as you identify yourself as something else, there's a stronghold in your life that needs to come down. That stronghold has a lock on your mind, a lock on your sense of self, a lock on your sense of identity – and your identity is in Christ and it is only in that identity that there is any inheritance that matters at all; inheritances of men are silver and gold, thieves break in and steal it, it says it in The Book.
The inheritance that you have been called to is the inheritance that comes to son of God, and there's not an Armenian son of God, or an Azerbaijani son of God, or a Pashtuni son of God. And there's thousands and thousands and thousands of other things that people use to identify themselves and if you identify yourself that way, you're not actually going to realize what it is to be a son of God. We have been purchased to be a Kingdom of priests, to be that holy nation, that beautiful, wonderful, marvelous, holy nation and I'll guarantee you there's a really, really good chance that if I poke around in there awhile I'll find a place where you're holding onto another identity and if you're holding onto another identity, you're not embracing the fullness of the identity that you have in Christ Jesus and it is the identity of a son. And that's the cure, there is no Cain killing Abel in this family, there is no Ur or Onan being jealous of Ur in this family, it isn't there because it isn't based in blood, it isn't based in hair color, it isn't based in height or accent, or things of that sort, or geography, it is based in the fact that we have been called out of, pulled out of, redeemed 'from' all of that 'other'. If you are redeemed from it, and you cling to it, that's like a man who falls off a boat and he's got a choice between a nice piece of wood or the anchor chain, and the anchor chain looks like your ethnicity. I'm just telling you what it is.
You are called to be a new race, to be the sons in the household of God. Now people have issues with using terms like 'household', stuff like that. Pick another one, but God presents Himself as a Father and the Son came to show us how to be sons, and a father and his son make a household. That's the definition. Are you OK with that? Well I don't care whether you're OK with it or not, it is what it is, I didn't make it up. So I want to just leave you with that.
Cain killed Abel because that's the way men are. The enemy has contributed to that and that's the way men are and we're simply getting worse. With all of our talk of peace organizations and treaties and international organizations and all of those things that men did in the 20th century, we still killed an innumerable number of people over issues that had to do with their identity because they were different from us. With all of that political nonsense going on, we still killed – nobody knows how many - millions of people in the 20th century, because we could, because man remained unredeemed, man remained not a family, man remained not sons of God but rather, all those other things. And I'm saying to you, “You can't have it both ways.”
If you think you can maintain your identity as a son of God and reach maturity and still be whatever that is, you're wrong and there's a stronghold on your mind that needs to be dealt with. We have got to move beyond being distinguished from one another and loving one another in spite of the fact that we look and sound different because those things don't distinguish us, they simply make us who we are as individuals, they're not meant to distinguish us, they're meant to give us pleasure and to give our Father pleasure in the diversity of His children. Judy and I have two daughters, they're not a lot alike, it's a good thing, if there were two of either of them….. (laughing) Not only do I not understand their mother, I don't understand them either but I love them and they're really different but I love them. And I've begun to have spiritual sons and they're different but I love them.
Am I making any sense? The difference isn't what it's about, it's that they're sons, part of the household and I love them, they're different from me, they're different from each other. I mean I think I have probably one of the most barriered groups that they'll let me talk to them, and I love them, I love them all. I don't love them in that whole thing about “God loves me just the way I am,” that ranks right up there with “What would Jesus do”. He likes you as a mature son, that's what He sees, a mature version of yourself that's exactly like you and completely different to you, all at the same time. That's hard to work out, I know you can't get there logically, that's what He's after is that in you that is of Him because it doesn't look different, it has marvelous characteristics just like we have wonderfully diverse biological characteristics but the fundamental issue is the son of God and Jesus came to show us the way and He said, “By this all men will know you're My disciples, that you love each other.” That's the solution. Men are divided, brother against brother. The sons of God have the opportunity to be completely undivided. Just not divided, there's no more 'them', it's not a good word, it's us. Amen?