"Who Is Possessing The Land?"   (October 2004)

Recently, I attended a rally in support of the marriage amendment which was to be on our voting ballots during the Presidential elections.  One of the speakers, a minister, made a statement that has really stuck with me.  He said, concerning the homosexuals and atheist, that God has given the land- America- to them.  He used the scripture- "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot:  I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15,16) His point was that the church has not been "white hot" and on fire for the Lord, and as a result we have sat back and done nothing- allowed prayer to be taken out of our schools, we've not made a stand against abortion, we have been appalled but not said a word about homosexual parades on the main streets of our cities.  Our doing nothing was, and is, an indication that this land, the people, our children are not very valuable to us.  Therefore, we must not want the land.  The homosexuals want it (that's obvious) and they are doing everything in their power to posses it.  Therefore, the Lord has given it to them- or rather He has stepped aside and let them have it.  You may disagree, but think about it.  They seem to have more rights than we do.  The judges are backing them and even rewriting laws to accommodate their demands.  We can be arrested if we speak out against their lifestyle, but they can speak out hate threats against us and are applauded for doing so.  The Bible tells us that the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:12)  They are taking it by force.  They have forced their way into every area of society- the work place, the schools, the entertainment industry, government- they are blatant, militant, and refuse not to be heard and accepted.  Evidently, they wanted it worse than we did because they have gone in to "posses" the land with not much opposition from us.  Thus, proving this minister's point- we have been lukewarm (indifferent) or cold, and in the process allowed wickedness to take over the land.  

   As you look back over the history of the United States, not the "new and improved" version that they are trying to make us believe is the truth, you will see that our nation was established because a group of people were looking for religious freedom.  They wanted a place where they could freely worship God; so God gave them this land- the United States.  It has been a Christian nation since it's conception.  God gave the land to our forefathers- He gave the land to us.  Sadly, we haven't valued it as highly as our founding fathers did.  We have lost it through neglect, through compromise, through complacency, through assumption- we assumed that it would always be a Christian nation with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  We didn't think we had to worry about any "enemy" taking it from us, but we do.  The biggest threat to America is not necessarily the terrorist from without, it's the promotion of sin from within.  A nation can be destroyed from the "inside out" as easily as it can be from "outside in".  If you don't believe me look at Sodom and Gomorrah.  "And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.  And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.  Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground." (Genesis 18:20-22; 19:24,25) Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed by an invading enemy force, their sin (that which was within their own gates) caused God to turn His face against them in judgment- they were responsible for their own destruction.  We see this warning very clearly in Leviticus 26.  It's a warning to any nation that they can destroy themselves. (I am only going to give you verses 14-17, but please read the whole chapter when you have a chance.)  "But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it.  I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you." (NIV) In these verses the Lord mentioned enemies, but those enemies from without will come only as a result of punishment on the enemy that is within.  Jesus warned us, "But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth." (Luke 11:17)  Destruction doesn't always come from without, it can come from within if that nation is divided against itself- you can cause your own house or land to fall quicker than an invading enemy army can. 

  When the Lord brought the nation of Israel out of the bondage of slavery in Egypt, He planned to lead them into their own land- a land that He had promised to give to Abraham and his descendants.  "On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates." (Genesis 15:18- NIV) When it came time to take possession of the land, the children of Israel would not do it.  They would not go in and possess what God had promised them; what God had said was theirs.  Why?  Why would they refuse to "go get" the land that "had their name on it"; the land that God Himself swore to give to them?  "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel:  And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.  And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.  Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.  But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.  And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.  And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight." (Numbers 13:1,2a,25,27-28,31-33) The reason they didn't can be summed up in the following verse-  "So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief." (Hebrews 3:19)  They didn't believe that it was really their land, they didn't believe that God would give it to them, they didn't believe that they could take possession of it, they didn't believe that God was more powerful than the inhabitants that were living there at the time.  It was unbelief that kept them out and wandering in the wilderness for forty years.  What keeps us from possessing the land that the Lord has given to us?  What keeps us from holding tight to it, from valuing it, from "violently" hanging on to it? 

   While unbelief is still a factor that hinders any of us from taking possession of the things that God has promised us, I submit to you that our reason is very different from the children of Israel.  I believe we can find the key to what our reason is by looking in 2 Timothy chapter three.  This chapter describes the "last days".  It tells us what the signs of the last days will be.  I believe that behind these signs are "spirits", spirits that cause men to act in particular ways.  For example- fear is a spirit, it's not just a response, a character flaw, an emotion, but it's a spirit that torments you and causes you to react a certain way in certain situations.  "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7) Let me try explain to you what I am talking about.  Because it is the last days that we are living in, then we will have to deal with a different kind of spirit (strategy, assault) of the enemy than we had to deal with before.  It's like when you are in a real combat situation, if you don't see the enemy responding in defeat to the weapons you are using against him, then you use another strategy and other weapons to try to defeat him.  This is where I believe we are.  The enemy couldn't get us with his other devices so he has saved other artillery to use against us at this time- the last days. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." (1 Timothy 4:1)  The enemy used the fear of giants against the children of Israel to keep them from possessing the land, he'll use a different strategy on us such as sending seducing spirits and doctrines of devils to stop us from possessing the land.

  "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (Verses 1-7) I would like to look at verses 2,7- "For men shall be lovers of their own selves; Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." What are we battling with in these last days that is hindering us from taking possession of the land?  My belief is that we have become "lovers of our own self" because we are preaching a "self-centered" gospel.  It's been my observation that the majority of preaching that we hear (in America) is centered around "ME".  It tells me how to be blessed, how to have all my needs met, how to live a prosperous lifestyle, how to give to get, how to enjoy life, how to have the biggest and best, how to get everything my heart desires, how to have houses and lands, diamonds, furs, and big automobiles, how to have all my dreams fulfilled, how to live in comfort and never have lack.  Everything I hear is about me, me, me, and how to have everything that I want in order to live a life of comfort and ease.  This is not what Jesus taught.  He taught a gospel that calls a person to deny himself, take up his cross and follow Him.  (Don't misunderstand, the Lord does bless His children when we are faithful to keep His commandments- He even causes His blessings to overtake us, but that's not what it's all about, that's not the whole gospel, that's not why Jesus died on the cross.)  It's a gospel that sets the souls of men free and gives eternal life.  It's a gospel that says love God first, your neighbor second, and yourself last.  It's a gospel that requires self to die; not sleep in the "lap of luxury".  Why have we "lost" the land?  I agree with the minister I talked about earlier- we are cold or lukewarm.  Why are we like this?  Because we have gotten off "front and center" by preaching a "comfort in Zion" gospel instead of fulfilling the Great Commission.  How often do you hear a message that tells us that it's not about us but about them and seeing them won to Christ- the homosexual, the blasphemer, the abortionist, the adulterer?  Our gospel is to warn the wicked man of his wicked way.  It's also about feeding the hungry (instead of being wined and dined), clothing the naked (instead of being so blessed that you can wear two hundred dollar dresses), visiting the widows and orphans (instead of always thinking about your needs), visiting the sick and the prisoner.  The gospel is about loving the sinner and preaching repentance for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  We can learn a lot about prosperity and the blessings of the Lord and still "never come to the knowledge of the truth" (miss what the gospel is all about).  Jesus didn't come to make us rich, but to save our souls.  If souls, treasures in heaven, became our priority instead of treasures on earth, we might take back possession of the land once again...at least make a good showing.  Sin will always be present until Christ sets up His kingdom here on earth, but if we were out preaching the gospel (sharing the good news with the lost like we were commanded to do) then they would get saved and become "new creatures" and turn from their wicked ways.  As the sinner turns from sin to Christ, his life changes.  The more people that get saved, the more there will be a change in society.  We must get out and reach our world for Christ, but we won't do it if we are focused on "us".  We have already proved this... A self-centered gospel will not save anyone.  So, take up your cross and deny yourself and follow Christ into the highways and byways and seek out those who are lost.... Take the land.