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Ministry Matters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Why and How of Standing Firm

  

I just finished two books while on vacation.  Letter to the American Church by Eric Metaxas and Uncanceled by Phil Robertson. I found them to be complementary to each other — they wrote as a warning to the American Church; Church, Wake Up!

The Church is flagging (and has been for decades) in its ability to positively influence our society and culture in the United States.

   Metaxas uses 20th-century Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s description of an unbiblical faith – or “cheap grace” to underscore the need for the American Church to stand up and stand firm against the powers of Satan and his darkness.  Robertson warns the Church (followers of Jesus) not to allow themselves to be shuffled off to the sidelines of our society and culture and be canceled by those opposing the Church and its message of Truth. Truth personified is Jesus. Jesus is our hope; Jesus is our strength to face the enemy and speak truth in love – not to be ashamed nor afraid of what “man” can do to us.

   Speaking the truth in love can result in wagon loads of backlash from those who hear it. Good news is not good news for some folks (after all, truth exposes the sins of those who live in darkness) and they’d just as soon that good news disappears and you along with it; canceled. Ignored with nothing to say. And the Church is allowing itself to be cancelled.        

   We have too many churches that go along with the world’s foolishness because they want to play nice to bring more people in – for what? Hearing God’s truth? The tragic and frightening thing is that these churches are bringing more people in to hear Satan’s message of how good and wonderful it is to support and champion aberrant behavior and lifestyles along with society’s confused and mindless claim that they are wiser than God concerning sex, gender, abortion and more. Society believes their opinions trump God’s commandments.

   The Church Universal must come forward and be silent no more. Silence is not an option. The Church must repent of its silence. As the Apostle Paul stated, we are fighting a war! “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12)

   But evil cannot keep its power when the Church – true Christians – speak up and step up.

   And the way the Church - you and I - is to be able to speak, preach, teach, guide, champion, fight and conquer is to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Asking, seeking and knocking -according to Jesus - is how you receive wisdom.

   God’s Word is wisdom for today and the future. Jesus is the Word made flesh; the same One who lives with us each day. Jesus’ death on the cross and His bodily resurrection from the tomb has done all the canceling that need be. Sin, death and the power of Satan has been canceled through Jesus’ shed blood.

   Since sin has been conquered and canceled - powerless to condemn, how then are we free to live?   “. . .live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:1-3)

   In other words, you get prepared by supporting one another with encouragement, teaching and training one another in the reading of the Bible so that you’re so   familiar with it, it will help you think and grow stronger in your faith and provide the words you need when you challenge the foolishness of a wayward society. Pray together – not just alone. Practice reading together the prayers written in our devotional booklets, Portals of Prayer and Our Daily Bread. You’ll get accustomed to each other’s voice as you pray and you’ll find you can use these prayers as patterns for your own.

   Join a Bible study. That’s how you learn it. The more you read it the more it sticks with you – it becomes part of your life and character and is second nature. As you gather knowledge from the Bible, you also get wisdom. Wisdom brings confidence and boldness. These gifts and disciplines will inform you as you break the silence of the Church and tackle head-on the challenges of a world who needs us to tell them about Jesus. You must be a straight shooter; warn people of what will take place on the Day of our Lord and how they can be on the heavenly side of the judgement that is already  taking place. Trusting in Jesus doesn’t allow you to be canceled; you’ll keep on warning against the sin of the world and keep preaching the good news of God.

   As the Lord told Joshua as he was preparing to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land and possess it, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

   You cannot be canceled; therefore, go, tell, work.  Follow Jesus to make you into someone who makes a difference.

Pastor Fred Westerhold

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