“So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called but few are chosen.” Mat. 20:16
There is a major shift taking place in both heaven and earth. If the Kingdom of God is to be fully restored on earth as it is in Heaven, then it must be that God will not overlook those who are least here on earth, for He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).
To whatever degree a person or a people group have descended into a pit of depravity or corruption, to the same degree the Cross of Christ is sufficient to redeem it. Too often the Church has written-off certain people, even whole cultures or people groups who have sunk to such a state of degradation and disgrace that there is seemingly no hope for them. In and through this posture we minimize the Cross and its power to redeem and restore.
I find it hard to compare any legalistic system anywhere, including that of Islam, with the one that I came out of (Old Order Amish). There was gross darkness in this place. Apart from a miracle of God, it is not remotely possible to be delivered from these mental, emotional and spiritual trappings. Yet God can and will. For this Jesus absorbed hellish agonies in Gethsemane, to ultimately redeem these seeming impossibilities.
In the past twenty years there have been many ministries here in America who have graciously opened their arms and have reached-out to the lost and forsaken elements throughout the nation. I am personally indebted to countless numbers of people and ministries, inclusive of many of their writings which have helped me find my way into the Kingdom. I shall forever be grateful for their patience and longsuffering towards me. Because of this, I was able to begin shedding every weight and sin that had enslaved me from that which was prevalent within the culture I came from. The rewards shall be great for these.
Among all the cultures here in America, there are perhaps none more depraved or spiritually bankrupt than the Amish and the First Nations People. The former being held bound under a severe legalistic system, while the latter is being held in the grips of vice of every kind, including wanton and rampant alcoholism. Rarely, if ever, is there a person or ministry willing to touch the very depths of their grave need and desperation. There are however a number from both cultures whom the Lord has sovereignly touched in a most dramatic way. But because of the shame and disgrace that follows them, they rarely speak, and if they do, they are terribly misunderstood. In fact, many take offence when they do speak. The figurative and prevailing sentiment is this: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46).
It is a terribly difficult thing for these to overcome their shame and intimidation. Yet they carry within them undiscovered and priceless jewels. The magnitude of these jewels are of such great price that they will never release them until the rest of the Body of Christ will open their hearts to them. For they are still in the grips of fear and intimidation. Because of their lowly state, many do not take them seriously, which is a tragedy, for these are now being pushed forward by divine decree to take their place in the Kingdom.
These are not only the last to come upon the scene, but they are some of the most forsaken and rejected people on earth. They signify what no ministry before them has to date—the lowliness of the first evangelists sent out by Jesus Himself. As He sent them out, they were not even to wear shoes, but in total poverty He sent them forth (Mat, 10:5-10).
Is Jesus’ original model for evangelism outdated? Do we scorn those who do not measure up to our Americanized standards? Despite their legalistic system, I have seen Amish preachers get up and preach in their bare feet!
Unless we open our eyes and receive the dregs of what God is birthing, we may suddenly find ourselves being shifted to the sidelines. God will not be mocked. Unless we are willing to eat His whole body and drink the entire cup of His blood, we shall lack vital nourishment. If we do both, He is sure to raise us up within the corporate Body of Christ, where life in Him reigns (John 6:54). In this context consider Ephesians 4:16, which reads, “…the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
The “joints” spoken of in Ephesians 4 not only represent the individual members of a local fellowship; they also represent the various elements of the Body of Christ at large. And in our day we see and hear of many outpourings of Gods’ power and grace around the world, almost daily, and certainly that within our country (U.S.). As we seek to assimilate and appreciate all that is springing-up before our eyes, may we not be fooled by the tares within the wheat or the goats amidst the sheep. For as the End-Times dominos continue to topple in perfect cadence to that which has been prophesied in scripture, we do well to heed the warning of Matthew 24:26: “If anyone tells you, ‘there he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.” We have entered a time in church history where counterfeit manifestations are vying for our attention to the same intensity that the authentic can hardly escape our attention.
As we seek to discern the times, may we be graced with the eyes to see the trees for the forest—for a few of these trees are emerging before our eyes as the spiritual branches and roots (“joints”) which will unveil the Tree of Life for millions of lost souls in our day.