Wake-up! You’re a First Responder!

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One of the characteristics of first responders is that they run TO the danger and not FROM it. Who can forget the pictures of the fire-fighters and police who were dashing into the twin towers in New York and rushing up the stairs to almost certain death, while all around them—the terrified citizens—were madly scrambling down the stairs and fleeing for safety. 

Today, Satan’s desperate, last gasp counter attack against God here on the earth rages all around us. It is his version of a “twin-towers” attack, before his defeat at the cross becomes fully experiential. 

However, many of the Lord’s people are only semi-aware observers of this battle, some disinterested, some unaware there has even been an attack, while some are aware but fearful and afraid to be involved. They view politics as a “dirty business,” giving them a “righteous” reason to flee, to stay uninvolved. Sincere, earnest Christians abide in all these spectator camps. Some have even been deceived to join the fight on the side of the attacker!

Our often-referenced Daniel 7:13, 14, 18, and many other passages (Acts 2:32-36, Ephesians 1:20-22, Hebrews 1:13, 2:6-8, etc.), are examples of this concept of Jesus ruling after His Ascension to His Father in Heaven. However, Psalm 110 tells us, in some detail, how He is doing so—through us! For many Christians this is a shocking truth, because many of us are living by simply waiting for Jesus to return and rescue us, saving as many souls in the process as possible.  Listen to David in Psalm 110:

“A Psalm of David. The LORD (Jehovah, God the Father) said to my Lord (David’s Lord, Jesus, God the Son), ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ The LORD (God the Father) shall send the rod of Your (Jesus’) strength out of Zion (the church, the people of God). “Rule in the midst of Your enemies!” (These enemies are on the earth, not in heaven—the rule is by Jesus, in  Heaven, through God’s people, on the earth.) Your (Jesus’) people shall be volunteers (first responders by choice), In the day of Your (Jesus’) power (‘All power in Heaven and on earth’); In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You (Jesus) have the dew of Your (Jesus’) youth’” (We are young, energetic and powerful, by His Spirit).’”

Beautiful! These verses represent more detailed instructions that God the Father gave His Son Jesus when He received His kingdom in the throne room at the Ascension in Daniel 7:13, 14. Four verses later, in vs. 18, Daniel says: “But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.”  Psalm 110 is the details of this kingdom commissioning. 

Our go-to, foundational passage in Genesis 1:26-28 always reminds us why we are here: 1.) to bear God’s image (produced in us by the gospel of the grace of God), 2.) to rule with Jesus over the earth (as described in Psalm 110), 3.) to reproduce (the natural result of God’s gift of marriage). 

As we are reflecting His image and reproducing, we are ruling in God’s family business (where He created a specific place for each of us). How does that work out in daily life?

That is fairly obvious if one’s job entails the exercise of authority over others. We always rule according to the law of God, applied by the grace of God, with compassion instead of leniency and firmness instead of harshness. All words are loving, kind and positive; all actions are biblical, decisive and uncompromising, as we carry out our daily tasks.

The question is, how do we rule if we are someone who has no vocational leadership responsibilities? How about, for example, a stay-at-home mom, or a seemingly insignificant manual laborer? How does he or she find fulfillment by ruling?

The answer, in God’s upside-down, backwards, left handed, it-makes-no-sense world, is what will change that world! We rule by eagerly submitting to those with authority over us, loving all we meet (even our enemies), serving and laying down our lives for others at every opportunity, and doing it “heartily, as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). This is all done while we are standing for truth and never yielding, proclaiming the gospel and the kingdom as opportunities invariably come. This is done naturally, spontaneously and unconsciously—Jesus living His life through us by His Spirit who lives in us (Galatians 2:20, 5:22, 23).

Can you imagine what will happen when we, the church, begin to get this biblical understanding? We meet together to confess our sins and pray for each other on Sunday (James 5:16) , thus getting encouraged, energized and equipped. Thus rejuvenated, we are in full attack mode, running to the “sound of battle” as first responders at work on Monday-Friday, always looking for somebody to love, serve, be interested in and lay down our lives for!

Can you imagine that? It is exactly what happened in Antioch, and all the New Testament churches, so that Paul could say to the Thessalonians:

 “And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8). 

So, this is not a pipe-dream! There is an historical precedent. This “miracle” will happen again today, as we, the church of Jesus Christ, experience the gospel of the grace of God. As we do, progressively more fully as we mature, we will inevitably begin to find ourselves becoming first responders, as we eagerly and joyously run to the battle. I can’t wait!

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