There are three things that are distinct marks of a radical Christian: The demonstrated and spoken gospel, coming forth from that individual, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Such a person has also reached the end of themselves, and their only agenda is to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Jesus. These are Jesus' rules for radicals:
First Sign of the Radical: Self-Denial
"But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me. For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men. Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it (Matthew 16:24-25).
As we mentioned last week: To deny one's self is to do without something that is desired. To take up one's cross, however, if to go forward, accepting the pain that will come with the preaching of the gospel. However, we can not "deny ourselves and take up our cross" if we are mindful of the "things of men." This is the issue we contend with the most - the cares of this world. Radicals don't care. One more thing: Radicals do not feel comfortable with most of the church culture we are experiencing today. Something in their heart says, "There has to be more!"
Second sign of the Radical: Ego Euangelion
Thirdly, the radical Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit.
The early disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. This baptism is what turned fearful retreating men and women into fiery witnesses of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. When you look at the church age today, do you see the same fire? When you look in the mirror, do you see the same desperation to tell the world that Jesus is alive? There has to be more. I cannot make the gospel known by my own effort. I cannot move in the power of God, alone. I need something from God that will enable me to be credible beyond human arguments.
What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit? Why do we need it?
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the interior and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “ Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” “No,” they answered, “ we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” “Into what, then, were you baptized?” Paul asked. “The baptism of John,” they replied. Paul explained: “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the One coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied" (Acts 19:1-5).
We need the Baptism in the Holy Spirit for the ability to witness the resurrected Lord wiht POWER! It is indeed, a second blessing which is for believers, not just for witness, but for personal edification and empowerment. God will spare no means to bring the gospel to the world, and has called His church to do so. We are the resistance against the apostasy, and the uprising of the spirit of antiChrist. We are those who are called into a realm of no impossibilities. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the thing which causes that to happen.
Question: Have you recieved the Holy Spirit since you believed?
Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it (Matthew 16:24-25).
1 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 "Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold." 9 And he said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." 10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that "they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven." 13 And he said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold." (Mark 4:1-20)
The Taliban is radical. ANTIFA is radical. BLM is radical. ISIS is radical. The Communists and secular progressives are radical. They all have one thing in common: Active conviction. If we were to examine what a Christian radical (in the purest sense) were, what would it be? It seems to me that our Lord requires nothing less.
Active conviction is the fuel of victorious warfare. It is the firm belief in a particular thing that eventually leads to radical action. We’ve lost this in the church. Satan has not lost this. Daily, he assembles his minions to do war against the souls of mankind. He attacks with famine, persecution, disease and all the sin that can be conceived in the human mind. He blinds the minds of those who do not believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and hinders the work of Christ through distracting the church with the cares of this world. Will Jesus return as Moses did in his day, and find us playing around an idol of gold? Or, will he find us doing what Israel should have been doing – occupying until the return?
Anyone can become radical if they are stricken enough. Once an enemy reveals himself as such, it forces the supposed victim to take action, immediately. But action alone will not win this war, no less than the actions of a preteen upon a seasoned warrior -- and there are few David’s in the church today. Knowledge of power, and a crave for violence must be embedded in the minds of those who will draw their sword against the onslaughts of the wicked one.
So, do we fuel ourselves with hatred, and use the lesser weapons of guns, daggers, and fists? Do we summon the destructive power of carnal warfare? God forbid. In days past, the church’s actions in this manner only led to tragedy for which we still see our brothers and sisters suffer. We must not use carnal weapons that bring death, but rather, spiritual weapons that bring life, fueled by faith, hope and love. We must use the weapons of the Word of God, and prayer.
For though we walk in the flesh, we don't wage war according to the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds, throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience will be made full.
There is a much larger story than what we see. There is an inescapable eternity that waits for us all. Our fate is determined by what we do with the story behind the story of our lives. In our life, we have flesh and blood. In the spirit realm though, that is not the war being fought. There, the fight is with principalities, powers, spiritual wickedness in high places and the rulers of the darkness of this world. It does not matter if we are pacifists. They are coming to us to do battle, and we can either fall to their wiles, or fight – we have no other choices. They come to do battle with our children, our loved ones and friends; they don’t have any intention on losing. It is a spiritual battle whose story is told through temporal, natural things. The things which are seen tell the story of the things that are unseen, which are eternal – the real things. Christian life is more than meets the eye. That is why we must walk by faith, and not by sight. On the outside, you may see trials all around, but through the eyes of the spirit, there is actually much more going on. There is a battle that depends on your faith, and your use of the Word of God.
Last week, the final question was, "Using Revelation 18, in what way does Babylon relate to today?"
The church is God's resistance against the immoral, ungodly world system (Babylon). We are the called, chosen and faithful who are "with the Lamb" (Revelation 17:14). Still, what does that resistance look like? Do you think that the church (as it looks today) can content with Babylon? To take things a bit further, do you think the condition of your local church could stand and contend?
Please understand: Your private prayer life alone, will not contend with Babylon. You are no match for the world's systems. However, WE are. As a unified church, we are able to pull souls out of the fire, and dismantle the impact of the enemy for millions of souls.
Here is what is needed to contend with Babylon:
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth (Genesis 11:1-9).
Marduk: Originally, he seems to have been a god of thunderstorms. A poem, known as Enuma elish and dating from the reign of Nebuchadrezzar I (1119–1098 BCE), relates Marduk’s rise to such preeminence that he was the god of 50 names, each one that of a deity or of a divine attribute. After conquering the monster of primeval chaos, Tiamat, he became Lord of the Gods of Heaven and Earth. All nature, including humanity, owed its existence to him; the destiny of kingdoms and subjects was in his hands.
Marduk’s star was Jupiter, and his sacred animals were horses, dogs, and especially the so-called dragon with forked tongue, representations of which adorn his city’s walls. On the oldest monuments Marduk is represented holding a triangular spade or hoe, interpreted as an emblem of fertility and vegetation. He is also pictured walking or in his war chariot. Typically, his tunic is adorned with stars; in his hand is a sceptre, and he carries a bow, spear, net, or thunderbolt. Kings of Assyria and Persia also honoured Marduk and Zarpanitu in inscriptions and rebuilt many of their temples.
Marduk was later known as Bel, a name derived from the Semitic word baal, or “lord.” Bel had all the attributes of Marduk, and his status and cult were much the same. Bel, however, gradually came to be thought of as the god of order and destiny. In Greek writings references to Bel indicate this Babylonian deity and not the Syrian god of Palmyra of the same name. (Brittanica).
The ziggurat (including undoubtedly, the one in Genesis 11) was a portal which served as a connecting link between heaven and earth. They are considered the earliest known pyramids (which also served as portals to interdimensional realms in the Americas as well as in Egypt and Sudan). The idea that the tower of Babel was a tower that would reach the heavens was much like the language that was used for other towers that were built in that area: Stairway to Pure Heaven (Sippar), House Binding Heaven and Earth (Nippur), Temple Linking Heaven and Earth (Larsa), Temple of the Foundation Platform of Heaven and Earth (Babylon). The purpose of such structures was to provide a shrine for the gods.
The tower's "top in the heavens" used spiritual matters to manipulate the people. This expression uses spiritual wording. The top of the tower spiritually reached into the heavens, home of the gods. The earliest built tower with similar purpose, the Tepe Sialk Ziggurat, featured a shrine for god at its top. This Ziggurat, at Kashan, Iran, is almost due east of Baghdad and nearby Babylon. The migrating people, later building Babel, brought the ideas behind Sialk's design with them to Mesopotamia. This part of their belief system regionally continued after Babel. They believed the tower's top was a gateway to the gods. Humanity's religion is always trying to reach into heaven (Romans 10:6). Christianity is different because God came to us (John 3:13). (MacDonald, Brent 2016).
The tower was built to rise up, into the very throne of God. In this case, they were not building a shrine unto God, but to "make for themselves a name," so as to establish unity and strength, without God. It is said that YHWH, whose name was known this time was not being reverenced, but invaded (in a sense), as they were building a tower to reach God (in a spiritual sense), without the aid of God. If this "invasion" claim is true, it is similar to (but is not) the invasion of Lucifer in Isaiah 14:13).
And the Lord came down...(v5).
From this time forward, God's people have had to deal with Babylon who will not fall until the fulfillment of its falling in Revelation 18. If Babylon was here from the beginning, and destroyed at the end, then we are clearly contending with it now.
Interdimensional portals are not symbolic. They are real. As they did this in ancient Babylon, it is being done today through occult magick.