From the Pastor’s heart                                          KINGDOM STANDARDS

 Isa 59:19So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

The standard in the Bible usually signifies a flag. The flag always denotes the Kingdom or tribe of the people who raise the flag. The flag has always had significance in battle and in denoting a standard of a nation. In modern terms that would be just like having a logo. When we are under a flag, it signifies that we are under authority to that standard. So, in other words a standard is an ethical, moral and a disciplined way of life that has serious meaning. Nations hold their standards by the flag they display. If the flag falls in battle or in decay of society, then that flag has no more relevance and denotes the fall of a nation. Often time in battle, it is the flag that brings courage to the warriors and as long as they see the flag raised, there is hope in battle.

The main aim of the evil one is to bring the standard down so that hope is lost. Battle weary warriors give up hope when they see the standard (flag) of a nation down in the battle field. Like that, the battle has been long and hard for Christianity and many have lost hope. The Kingdom of God has suffered violence and the violent have often taken it by force. Yet, the battle is hotting up and we see that the moral standard of society and the political standards of nations have deteriorated tremendously. A new breed of politicians are arising. One such politician is taking life to preserve society. Another is destroying his own nation physically through war to preserve what he believes are his standards in a nation. Nations have joined together to pull down moral standards because they feel it is the way forward for humanism. The legalization of same sex marriages and the like have been the strongest indication yet of the current moral decline of humanity just as in Sodom & Gomorrah. There are other grounds also upon which this fight for Christian morals and righteousness have been fought and are still being fought. The battle will rage till Jesus comes back.

These fights have been in the Church as much as they have been in the world. The world is throwing off its shoulders what it deems to be restraints and are now embracing anything and everything under the sun. Governments in their haste to cater to popular opinion have cast aside all caution (fear of God) to take on what they think is the new moral standard. The Church on the other hand has compromised in many sectors and have catered to the popular opinion of the world. Rather than raise a standard against moral decay and injustice, they have joined forces with the world because they do not want to fight the good fight of faith. This has crept into homes who have reduced their moral standards because they cannot fight the tide of what the children are being influenced by. So they cater and pander to the whims and fancies of ignorant children and give in.

What does one do in a situation like this? The word of God says; “raise the standard”. That means: 1. Lift Jesus up higher and let the world see the cross. 2. Secondly, raise the standard within oneself first of love, righteousness and holiness and withstand the personal attacks of the enemy to break us down.           3. Thirdly, apply the standard of the word of God in everything pertaining to your daily life and God will do the rest. This is God’s guarantee. Maybe, there will be losses along the way, but that too is part of raising a standard. None of us can save anybody or bring them into line and the more we try by compromising, the more we ourselves will sink into the same hole. Only Jesus can save anybody. That is the gospel of good news.

Raising a standard by a weak vessel in the flesh such as ourselves will bring condemnation. The world and the devil will questions one’s right to raise a standard and will call it judging. What we need to realise is, we are living to a standard that we believe in just as others live to a way of life that they believe in. So why can’t we enjoy our own standard? The reason the world attacks us is because they know the truth and are hiding behind the lie. They want globalisation of evil because they are being influenced by the devil to believe the lie. What the devil does not want is for our standard to have an effect on those whom he has already blinded. Eph 2:1And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Eph 2:2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Eph 2:3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. Eph 2:4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Eph 2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

satan has realised that he has lost us to Christ and obviously wants others to stay where they are and die like he has already died. Our eyes were opened when the word of God convicted us through the Holy Spirit that our lifestyles were wrong and had a consequence of eternal death attached to it. That understanding is continuing in us as we read the word and hear what it is saying. We too, after we have received Jesus as our Saviour are being changed even more so into His image through the Spirit and the word of God. Our lives are being brought continually to new standards in Christ as He is being raised in us through the word of God. No one is exempt from this standard. That is why, the word of God says, seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.                             His righteousness is His standard. Heb 1:8But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Heb 1:9Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

The anointing flows from righteousness. The anointing itself teaches us so that no man need teach us. Conviction is of the Holy Spirit by the word of God. We are no man’s judge but we discern between good and evil and therefore choose the good because of who is in us. In the Church, we see so many anomalies and often time we are disgusted by them or discouraged. However, if we continue to seek righteousness based on the word of God we will see the standard being raised each time. Establishing a foundation of righteousness and holiness with the banner (standard) over us as love will defeat our enemies. Maybe, all around us we will find death and destruction but it cannot come near us. Psa 91:7A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Psa 91:8Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Psa 91:9Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; (standard) Psa 91:10  There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

Standards cover a whole gambit of things from dressing to speech and from thought life to what we do visibly. It must be applied to all areas of our lives. Apostle Paul admonishes us in Eph 4.21:32 to do that. It is never easy to do but it must be done. The grace of God is there to allow us the ability to change through conviction. Conviction usually comes at an inappropriate moment or in a way that exposes us to who we really are. However, grace allows us the freedom to change and accept righteousness and then establish it in our lives as a standard once our eyes are opened.

However, we have a choice even at this juncture to choose good or evil. The more we learn to choose good the better off we are with God. The world may laugh at us and say why do you bother? Nobody really cares; they would say. Cheating, lying and sexual promiscuity is not an issue anymore, why do you chastise yourself about these things. As long as you don’t get caught in a legal sense it should not be a problem. However, we know that God is watching and all such behaviour is rewarded with His judgement either now or eventually. Eph 5:3But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Eph 5:4Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. Eph 5:5For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Eph 5:6  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Eph 5:7Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

The standards we apply are for our own good. When standards are applied in Church, people usually rebel against them. This shows our true character and nature that has not yet been settled. As long as standards are not legalism, they are good for us. We must learn to submit to God’s standards as they are brought to light. We must allow the established standards of God to be maintained by righteous reasoning on our parts. The word of God is the basis of all standards. May God give us wisdom in the days ahead and discernment to know what is good and evil and choose wisely. The ability to look into our own hearts and yield to God through these standards will increase us in everyway.

Lots of love     

Pastor Noble