New Hope Notes
New World Order
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
Today, we will talk about what kind of world we are in, and what world we are actually of. And this will restore your true identity so that you can live differently. We are indeed in the middle of historical times. We have been experiencing recession, loss of jobs, and changes in laws and government. The changes are going very fast like a spinning wheel and we are being spun with this wheel and caught up in chaos. If we don’t understand and grasp who we are in this world, we will be lost in the changes, and we will just be someone blending in with the world and lose our true identity. When we lost our identity, we will be pressured to get twisted with our surrounding and eventually lose ourselves.
Keeping up with changes is not a resolution. We won’t be able to keep up with the changes nowadays as things are changing a lot faster than we are capable of. Meanwhile, changes are not necessarily bringing in progress, whereas they brought irreversible damage most of the times if you don’t think carefully before making a decision. In fact, we are in the midst of damages that were brought on by changes. Let’s take the debt of our nation as an example. The government resolved our economic crisis by redistribution of wealth, causing depreciation of the stocks and our wealth. This problem then led to a result of borrowing money from other countries. United States is now in debt, paying 4.2 billion a day on the interest of the debt, while the taxpayers are actually the one paying this debt. The quick fixes rolled into damages and burdened the taxpayers while the economic issues never get resolved. Next, people would think that job creation is the answer. Nevertheless, it’s not as simple as we thought. In the old days, America was getting rich and powerful because of manufacturing goods within our homelands and selling the goods out to other countries. Money would then come in while goods got exported out. However, changes happened because of greed. The Bible already told us that money is deceptive. The more money you have, the more you hunger for it. The appetite of money never ends. When the business people noticed that the minimum pay rate in other countries were way lower than that of America, they decided to move their manufacturing factories out of America to minimize their cost, and started manufacturing in other countries such as Thailand and China. So the goods are coming in from outside of America instead with the exchange of our money going out! It means that we’ve been spending money on other countries to buy goods in instead. These decisions resulted in less employment opportunity within Unites States and depreciation of the value in U.S. dollar, whereas the value of other currencies is increasing. This depreciation of U.S. dollar became irreversible. We are actually facing a fast track of bankruptcy!
As the changes are happening too fast, we can’t do anything now to reverse the damage. In the old agricultural days, the society changed every generation. Then the society entered the industrial age and changed every 5 to 10 years. Afterwards, the society emerged into the technology age and changed every 18 months. Now we are in the informational age and change every 28 days. There are a lot of digital media blasting us with information and we start feeling dizzy as we get overwhelmed by the changes and information. But you continue to try keeping up with the world because you think that’s the way to get you power and status. However, Romans 12:2 said, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). Therefore, being conformed to the world makes us lose ourselves instead. This reminds me of a ride I had in an amusement park in Japan. We saw that everyone coming out of the ride throwing up. We thought it was interesting and went to try it. This ride was inside a house. We sat on a bench with our feet dangling. As the ride began, the internal walls started spinning around us. Though we were not physically spinning, we started getting sick as we were looking at what was spinning around us, and then threw up after we got out of the house! This house is very much like the crazy world we are living in nowadays. If you focus your eyes on what is changing in this world, you will get dizzy as if you are spinning too and the changes will eventually mess up your systems rendering you in chaos. Then how are we going to navigate through this world while things are going so fast? We can find the answer from the scripture, as it was written, “Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away” (1 Cor. 7:31). As we know that the things of this world is going to pass away, we can only navigate through this world by fixing our eyes on something that never changes or passes away, which is Jesus and our identity in Him. There is no way we can survive with fixing our eyes on the changes and trying to keep up with it. If you keep focusing on how terrible things have become in our world, and only getting upset and depressed with the immorality or injustice that is growing around us, you will soon lose your identity and lose your place in the world. We do not ignore what is going on, but we just don’t focus our eyes on those which make us forget who we are.
Here is a parable. There is a wall covered with ivy and it is at the end of the earth. This wall has been there since the ancient time. People have been thinking that’s the end of the earth and there was nothing beyond the wall. Meanwhile people are living in a one dimensional city which is full of hopelessness, craziness, chaos and incongruence. A man came to the wall one day, and the gardener of the ivy showed up and revealed a hole that was on the wall. The man looked through the wall and was stunned with what he saw because there is a whole new world that is way better beyond the wall! He asked if he could go there now. The gardener told him that he could go there later but not now. When the right time comes, the gardener would come to the city to gather him and others who believe what they saw through the hole; then they would all go to the other side of the wall together. The gardener told the man that he could come as often as he’d like before the day comes, and he could bring friends to come and see through the hole. But the next time he comes, he needs to cut out the ivy that grows over the hole first so that he can see through the hole again. Since the man has seen what is beyond the wall, he lives differently now in the city because he has hope for the future. He can live a life differently not by his own strength or personal effort, but with the hope and faith in what he will inherit at the other side of the wall.
We’ve got a glimpse of what eternity is since we’ve known Jesus. This enables us to live differently now. We have been given a new identity after receiving Him. We need to see through this hole constantly through daily devotion to remember who we are. The Israelites in the past were caught up in one side of the wall in the past and forgot who they were. They were in a crazy world mixing with people worshipping false gods and immorality. They were all blended together and you couldn’t tell which one was of our God anymore at that point. So Elijah went up to the mountain and said the following, “Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people did not answer him a word” (1 Kin. 18:21). We are in the same situation right now. We see inconsistence among people in churches. Some people go to church and claim to be Christians but they support the values and leaderships that don’t align with God’s values because they have blended in with the world. We can’t be half godly and half worldly as this will only breed monsters! You can’t hesitate anymore and not to make a clear choice. You have to choose either God or the world, you cannot choose both. Therefore, if the Lord has shown you that He is the true God, follow Him.
Evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of” (2 Tim. 3:13-14). We are living in the world but not of the world. It’s not a discussion of whether those people are saved. As a matter of fact, we were given salvation at the time we received Jesus. But there will be no testimony in our lives if we don’t continue living in what we have learned in God and become convinced of. Jesus gives us salvation not just because of saving our souls, but also because He wants us to be His light in the darkest world. We are still here though we are not of the world because a lot of people who are still lost need to find their ways back home to God through us. We are in this world to act as a beacon emitting bright and steady light in a stormy ocean, so that people can see us and be able to sail back to God. This identity is our birth right, and who would want to give up a birth right? If the sole purpose of salvation is only to take us to heaven, God would have killed you already right at the moment you raised your hand for Jesus. Therefore we cannot forget who we are! We cannot let the world pressing us to blend in. We are to be transformed by God and not to be conformed to the world, then we can live differently with hope, peace and love regardless the changes that are going on in this crazy world. This identity doesn’t make us immune from the world, but it enables us to live differently as we now know who we are and have the promises from God. It won’t last if you are living as if you are carrying out Christian duties. It will last only because we know our identity very clearly that we are not going back to our old lives and blend in. As the world is spinning, you just need to keep your focus and eyes on Jesus so that you don’t spin with the world. With our new identity in Christ, we need to keep making unchanging decisions daily to keep this identity uncompromised.
UNCHANGING DECISIONS THAT MUST BE MADE DAILY
That’s why Elijah said that if our Lord is God, follow Him. If you have received that our Lord is our only true God, you need to make the decision of serving Him and following Him regardless the changes in the world.
1. If God is God, then I will SERVE HIM.
“Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served, or the gods...in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15). Serving God is the first unchangeable decision we have to make by choice every day as you are betting your life on this choice. I would not bet my life on anything else but Jesus as He has promised me future and hope in eternity. You cannot serve God and the world at the same time. You have to choose one now, if our Lord is God, serve Him only. In addition, it was also written, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17 KJV). Since we are a new creation in Christ, we have to throw away our old lives and anything that is not of God so that we can serve Him ONLY. It’s a commitment like our marriage. When you say your vow at the altar, you will say that your spouse is your only love, not your first love, because there is no second or third love. There is no other love besides your spouse for your marriage to work. It is the same situation when you serve God. If you are offered with other choices after you made the decision of serving God, you have to deny those offers and commit to the decision you have made to serve Him only. You cannot let anything to compromise this decision you have made. God’s law is the only law you will have once you made the decision. You can’t tap into other things that would not identify you with God. Moreover, with this identity, you also need to make the second unchangeable decision to identify with Him with honor!
2. If we are His people, then I will IDENTIFY with Him with honor.
A lot of us want to be called Christians but don’t want to identify with Jesus because they are afraid of being disliked. And it is true that we will be rejected and disliked because Jesus already foretold us that as people rejected Him, people will reject whoever follows Him. Thus, we just need to get used to this fact and be comfortable with it instead of avoiding this identity. In the days of the Old Testament, whenever God did something great, the Israelites would build or rebuild an altar at that place in order to remind the future generations who they were and what God had done. And there was no exception for the time of Elijah. It was written, “Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come near to me.’ So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob... So with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord” (1 Kin. 18:30-32). They built with 12 stones which represented the 12 tribes, so that when they were building with each stone, each tribe would be called upon and be identified with God with honor. We are not of this world, we are here passing through only. Let’s remember who we are from today on and identify with God with honor. Don’t be attached to this world anymore. We are in this world, but of the new world God has promised for us. God didn’t forsake our identities in Him; it will only be you giving up your identity and birth right if you choose to blend in with the world instead. Your assignment of being a beacon never changes, however, did you lose your identity that people can’t identify you with God anymore?
There was a letter written in 387 A.D. describing how Christians were identified. The writer said that Christians lived differently though they followed the customs of the world. They played their full roles as the citizens of the nations they were in, but lived as an alien as though they were just passing through. They lived in the flesh but were not governed by the desires of the flesh. They shared meals but not their spouses. They obeyed the earthly law but lived by the higher law that transcended mankind. They were in the world but not of the world. Are you still living this identity out in our present days?
We will definitely lose our bearing if we forget our identity in God. Don’t let worldly law trump God’s law and our faith in Him. If your eyes are on the things of the world, you are losing yourself and caught up spinning with the world. If your eyes are on Jesus and your identity in Him, you will be steady such that you can lead people back to God. Recently, I learned of what a Bishop said in answering the acceptance of homosexuality nowadays. He explained that the Bible was written so long ago that people didn’t know we were born that way back then. He considered that it’s right to accept and embrace homosexuality as now those people were discovered to be born that way. I was in shock after learning of his comment. In response to that, I will tell you that it is true that all of us were born wrong because of the sin Adam and Eve committed, and that is why we have to choose Jesus and be born in Him again so as to become a new creation with a new nature! In other words:
3. God is true, so I must follow His WORD regardless of what I prefer or what the world says.
This is a third decision we have to make constantly so we don’t lose our identity in God. We are transformed by His Holy Spirit and we follow HIS WORD, not our word! As it was written, “Elijah the prophet came near and said, ‘O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word’” (1 Kin. 18:36). We cannot be one that follows Jesus but not the Bible as this is impossible. Furthermore, the scripture said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (John 1:1-2). It is clear that Jesus is the word. If we follow Jesus, we also follow the word which is Him. That is why daily devotion is very crucial because it’s the way we can cut out the ivy that covers the hole on the wall, such that we don’t forget our identity or lose focus on God. Then we will also be reminded of the decisions we have to make constantly, to serve Him only, to identity with Him with Honor, and to follow His words regardless what we prefer or what the world says. This way, we will be able to follow what the word said in the Bible, that we “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). God is entrusting us and depending on us to be His beacon to lead other back home. Let’s ask God to give you a whole new sense of who you are today and be restored in Him. Remember that we are the people of God, not of this world. Amen.
1. How do you identify yourself right now?
2. Whom or what have you been serving lately?
3. Are you identifying with God with honor?
4. Did you follow God’s word or your preference or what the world says lately?
5. How should we navigate through this fast changing world from now on?