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December 2014

Like no other matter since the Affordable Care Act, the President’s recent executive action allowing perhaps 5 million or more illegal immigrants to remain in the United States has fired up people on both sides of the issue—whether conservatives, liberals, or libertarians. Surely much prayer was lifted up to God about such executive action by the President which we knew would have significant impact on America’s future. Yet the Lord allowed the President, in the opinion of many believers, to exceed the limits of his constitutional authority. But whatever our political persuasion happens to be, it’s essential for disciples of Christ to keep in mind that before we are Americans, we are citizens of the Kingdom of God.

Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Our allegiance is first of all to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. Our devotion to our nation—as beloved as it is to us—should be a distant second. Our obedience to God’s commands and laws should supersede all else.

As believers in America we can definitely exercise our right to vote and freedom of speech. If we hold political office, then we are beholden to those who elected us and should legislate according to their interests. And as believers who are private citizens as most of us are, our thinking and subsequent actions should primarily be determined by the word of God and only secondarily by political or ideological concerns.

The final command of Jesus Christ to His disciples

The final command given by Jesus Christ to his disciples before his ascension to the right hand of the Father is known as the Great Commission. We are commanded by the King of kings and the Lord of lords to preach the gospel and to make disciples of all nations. If we focus on this, we can better understand why the Lord allowed the President’s recent executive action—which may encourage many more millions of people to cross our borders from Latin America in the years to come.

Yes, as some commentators are telling us, this influx will have a definite negative effect on our nation in various ways. But Romans 8:28 also tells us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” How? We who love the Lord should want to obey His holy commands, and his final command was the Great Commission. The flood of illegal immigrants is an opportunity for us to reap of great harvest of souls during these last days before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Some of us have faithfully interceded to the Lord for lost souls and for the nations to come to Him according to Psalms 2.

Psalm 2:8 Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.

God is answering those prayers through the President’s recent executive action. The nations will be coming to us by the multitudes. We will find them everywhere: in our streets, our schools, in our communities. And many of them will be very open to the gospel of Jesus Christ if it is presented according to Scripture.

How was the gospel presented in Acts?

Let us study Acts 8 to see the circumstances behind the very first significant harvest of souls for Christ outside of Jerusalem and its environs.

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria….

The church in Jerusalem was the very first megachurch where the disciples gathered every Sunday to be taught and encouraged in the faith by the Lord’s apostles. But for some reason God allowed a great persecution to break out against this great church. Why did God allow such a thing? Perhaps it was because the believers in that megachurch had become little more than comfortable pew-sitters enjoying God’s presence every Sunday—while ignoring the Lord’s command go and preach the gospel “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)  What did the disciples do after the persecution scattered them to the four winds?

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city. Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.  (Acts 8:1-12)

Only after the believers were scattered from the familiar confines of the Jerusalem megachurch did they preach the gospel as the Lord had commanded. In particular Philip (who was not an apostle) proclaimed the Messiah in a city in Samaria where the locals had been mesmerized by a powerful witchdoctor. But the Lord confirmed his gospel to the Samaritans by completely outdoing the sorcerer with powerful miraculous signs like the healing of the sick and the setting free of those who were demonized. As a result the Samaritans believed in Jesus as the Christ and were baptized.

This is exactly how the gospel should be preached to the millions of Latino people groups who are already in the US and who will flood our nation in the near future. Powerful witchcraft and Santeria mixed in with idolatry has made Latinos very sensitive to the very real realm of the supernatural. They live and breathe in this realm of darkness completely beyond the experience of most Westerners—and which we hardly believe exists. And when the gospel is preached with powerful supernatural signs they do not see in their pagan practices, they are very willing to come to Christ alone as Lord and Savior. When the gospel is preached with words alone as is done traditionally, Latinos usually see it as the protestant religion which Hispanic Catholics are taught to abhor.

As the gospel was preached to the Samaritans in Acts 8, so we in the United States should preach the gospel to Latinos. In John 14:6,11-12 Jesus promised that we will do the works that He did as evidence to the lost that He is the Son of God and the only way to the Father. Let us not allow man’s tradition to rob us of this very powerful weapon to be used to confirm the gospel to the lost for a time such as this.

Since we won’t go to them, the Lord is bringing them to us

In Acts 8 God allowed persecution to scatter the disciples from the comfortable confines of Jerusalem so that they would at last carry out the Great Commission. Similarly today God is allowing the President’s Executive Action because for the most part the Church in America has decided to ignore the primary purpose for which she was so greatly blessed in America. Christians in America largely use God’s blessings for personal comfort and to enjoy the American Dream for themselves. They have mostly forgotten that we are “blessed to be a blessing” to the nations. Evangelism and the Great Commission have been reduced to little more than afterthoughts. In the annual calendar of a typical church “Missions Sunday” is reserved for but one Sunday a year. Unfortunately in America it is thought that in order to grow a church and keep it growing we must keep the people happy by concentrating on ministry to their felt needs. While humanly speaking there may be some truth in this, can we not believe the Lord to bless our people in a supernatural fashion even as we instead focus on and teach them the Truth that “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come”? (Matthew 24:14)

Since the Church is not willing to “go” to preach the gospel to the nations and would rather just sit back to enjoy the Lord’s blessings back home in the States as did the Jerusalem believers in Acts 8, the Lord is now bringing the nations to us.

Now is the time to train Spanish-speaking disciples how to preach the gospel as Philip did in Samaria—as Jesus did and as He commanded His disciples.

Luke 10:9  Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

This is exactly what God has called The Elijah Challenge to do. The endtime harvest will be great.

Does God’s promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 apply scripturally to America?