Friday, August 12, 2011

The Kick

In the futuristic movie, “Inception”, men have figured out how to initiate and manipulate dreams. In the movie actor Leonardo Dicaprio and fellow actors and actresses are working on a project that “builds” dreams. They are able to manufacture dreams, enter those dreams, and even bring others into their dreams. Not only were they able to initiate and manipulate dreams, they could do this at multiple levels. Once in a dream, they could initiate another dream – a second level dream. They could continue this until they were several layers or levels into the dream worlds. The catch was that the deeper one went into the dream world (i.e. the more levels of dreams one was engaged in) the more likely it was that they would never wake up. Once a dreamer went past the first level of dreams the risk that they would never wake up increased. This risk increased exponentially with every layer deeper the dreamer went. The reason the risk increased the deeper the dreamer went was due to the fact as the dreamer went deeper into the dream worlds the less the dreamer was able to differentiate between the dream world and the real world. In other words, the more levels of dreams the dreamer engaged in the more the dream world felt like reality and because the dreamer was in so many levels deep simply waking up was no longer physically possible. A deep level dreamer would never wake up if not prompted to do so from the reality level. Therefore, to protect against a dreamer never waking up, these dream programmers would leave a designated individual at the reality level (i.e. awake) to initiate what they referred to as, “The Kick”. The Kick was a premeditated act that would shock the deep dreamer sufficient enough to wake him/her up from all levels of the dreams at once. Without The Kick, the deep dreamer would never wake up from the dream and would die in his/her sleep.

As fallen human beings we are all, to various degrees, living in a dream world (i.e. a false reality). Our sin has put us asleep to the reality of eternity. Each one of us has fallen into respective levels of dreams; and like the movie, the deeper we have fallen into the dream world the more the dream world feels like reality. Many of us are so deep that we actually believe that this temporal world, which we can see, is complete reality and the eternal world, which we cannot yet see, does not even exist. The truth is very different – what we see is only a small part of reality and what we cannot yet see is the complete or full reality. Because many of us are so deep into this temporal dream world, unless “The Kick” is applied by someone who is awake we will never wake up until it’s too late and we have passed into the eternal reality.

The whole concept and foundation of the gospel message is one of the eternal reality of heaven and hell. If living in the dream world, we see no need for a Savior – why would we – if this dream world is the complete reality and Jesus only offers eternal security, what’s the point. If this dream world is all there is and there is no other reality, Jesus really just gets in the way and only means we may enjoy our dream reality less. Someone living in the temporal dream world not aware of the eternal reality has no incentive to accept the gospel message – it is a waste of time from their false sense of reality.

Passing into the eternal reality without having made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and living for Him results in an eternal reality of never ending pain and suffering (i.e. hell). Living in the temporal dream world and never waking up to the eternal reality of heaven and hell is literally lethal. This I believe is the devils primary strategy – to keep us asleep in the false reality of the temporal dream world. So long as we do not wake up to the eternal reality and stay in our temporal dream world the devil can be assured we will never see the need or rational for true repentance and acceptance of a Savior. Unlike the common belief that the devil’s desire is to make our life miserable, it is the exactly opposite. The devil is ultimately after our eternal suffering, not our temporal suffering. Trials and suffering in this temporal dream world can be effective in waking us up; comforts and worldly pleasures typically serve to keep us asleep, which is why [I believe] the Bible warns us so sternfully and repeatedly about the dangers of wealth and worldly possessions. Trials and suffering are Kicks in and of themselves as they remind us of the futility of this temporal world and often serve to get us thinking (and even looking forward to) the eternal reality. Luxuries and worldly comforts serve as sleeping aids and the devil uses them extensively to keep us in the temporal dream world. This is why the most effluent countries are often in the deepest levels of temporal dream world – yes, this should serve as an indictment of the Unites States of America. It is a fool that thinks they, despite the repeated stern warnings of scripture, have the ability to overcome the power of the most efficacious sleeping drug ever known – wealth.

So often well-meaning ministry completely ignores the impact of the dream world in people’s lives. More often than not, ministry presents a version of the gospel message that stops short of the eternal reality of heaven and hell, and in doing so, it naively preaches a gospel message that actually serves to keep the person being witnessed to asleep. Rather than wake the person up with “The Kick” of the truth of the gospel message, we try to calm them back down and make them comfortable again – which is effectively singing a gospel lullaby that puts them back to sleep in the dream world with a false sense of comfort. Think about it, what are we inclined to tell lost people who are hurting that come to ministry for help? We typically remind them of God’s love for them and how He loves them just as they are – which is completely untrue. While it is true that God loved us while we were still sinners and sent His Son to die and pay the ransom for our sin, if you stay as you are and do not repent of your sins, die to your old life of sin, and live a new life in Christ, God does not continue to show His love to you. In fact, when Christ sits on His Great White Throne on Judgment Day, He will condemn all those who have not changed (i.e. “just as they are”) to eternal punishment. We may also be inclined to tell them that if they accept Jesus as their Savior that their pain will go away, which is also unbiblical. What we should be telling them is the truth – which is no matter how painful this life may be at times, it pales in comparison to what awaits those who have not confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and resolved to live their lives in His service. The very pain and suffering they are experiencing may be the very thing that helps wake them up from the temporal dream world; yet we try to sing them back to sleep with false or partial gospel messages.

One of the most effective “Kicks” is the truth concerning the eternal reality of hell. This is why [I believe] the Bible spends so much time discussing the topic of eternal damnation. If we really understood what awaits those who have never given their life to Christ, we would all be sober, alert, and passionately trying to wake up the lost dreamers. One of the most efficacious Kicks in this regard that I have personally encountered is the audio theatre produced by Messenger International (The ministry of John and Lisa Bevere) entitled, “Rescued”. In this fictional audio drama a senior pastor of a large church, a man by the name of Alan, is on a trip with several of the long-time members of his congregation. While on the trip, Alan and those with him are involved in a boating accident and all of them perish. Alan is brought before the judgment seat of Christ where he witnesses the judgment of several of his congregation members, including Hal and Carrie, before receiving his own judgment. In this audio drama John Bevere very effectively wakes us up to the reality of hell. If you have not yet listened to this audio drama, I highly recommend it – it will wake you up from the temporal dream world (i.e. provide “The Kick” that we all need).

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