For years, Christians have been searching for the success formula that made the first church so extraordinary—how they turned their world upside down for Christ! What did they have that we don’t? In the 60 and 70’s, the Charismatic Renewal made a spiritual impact on our nation. Along with the ministries of Billy Graham, Oral Roberts and Kathryn Kuhlman, many were reached for Christ. The Pentecostals, also stressing the power of the Spirit, advanced the Kingdom as well. But how have we done lately? Haven’t we lost generations: X, Y and losing the Millennials? There are bright spots, but Jesus said his church would knock down the gates of hell, not the other way round. What are we missing?
You Shall “Be” My Witnesses Pastor Ryan hit the nail on the head last Sunday—it isn’t what I do with the power of the Spirit; it’s who I become. But far more important to Jesus than the change he makes in you and me—wait for it–wait for it—far more important to Him is who WE become as a body of believers, united in love. I’ll repeat it. IT’S FAR MORE IMPORTANT TO HIM WHO WE ARE AND WHO WE BECOME AS A BODY OF BELIEVERS, UNITED IN LOVE.
Pastor Ryan scored again, focusing on the one verse in Acts that reveals what we are missing–more than Acts 1:8 or 2: 39, when 3000 came into the church. Act 2: 47 is key because it reveals who is the evangelist who won so many to Jesus and so quickly. “God added to the church daily, those who were being saved.” It also reveals with a single Greek word, how this church met the conditions that caused God to act: homothumadon, often mistranslated “together.” The best lexicons tell us it means “of one mind and heart.” The greatest miracle of Pentecost wasn’t tongues or healings, it was the miracle of God’s Spirit filling these Jews, so often divided, with the power of Christ’s love to be “in one accord.”
And this is what God is waiting for from us—for the church of His Son, His body, to at least make a start towards falling in line with his Son’s command, repeated five times. Count them.in John 13: 34, 35; 15: 12,19: Love one another as I have loved you that the world may know and recognize who you ARE—my disciples. It’s a new command, not a rehash of the old one to love our neighbor, given thru Moses. He isn’t saying to just go out and love everyone, but specifically to love our brothers and sisters. His goal is to please His Father and to win the world. He commands us to give the Father what every good father wants from his kids—that they love one another. We are those kids, if we love His son.
In the same vein, God is waiting for us, the church of His Son, to fulfill Christ’s passionate request, also repeated an astounding five times, made at the climax of his high priestly prayer in John 17:21-23. My prayer for them is they may be of one heart and mind, as you and I are, Father— as you are in me and I in you, so they will be one in us, that the world will believe you sent me.22 “—the glorious unity of being one, as we are— 23 I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one—so the world will know you sent me”.
Notice the bold outcome that links Jesus’ command and prayer? A lost world waits to know who we are. God waits for Christians, not just pastors, but for pastors to lead their flocks to cooperate, not compete, with other churches. He waits for leaders to leave doctrinal disputes, traditional divisions and just plain indifferent separation, on the altar of Christ’s love and unity. A lost generation waits. Paul writes, “The whole creation groans in anticipation to see God’s children come into their own.” Rom 8:22. Satan’s PLAN is DIVIDE AND CONQUER. Will we find some UNITY IN CHRIST TO CONQUER HIM?
SCRIPTURE I S CLEAR. GOD DOES HIS PART WHEN WE BEGIN TO DO OURS–CHURCHES COOPERATING, SHOULDER TO SHOULDER, FIGHTING THE DEVIL, NOT EACH OTHER. WILL WE CROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE? OR WILL WE KEEP GOD WAITING AND LOSE ANOTHER GENERATION TO THE GATES OF HELL?
Please make comments, they encourage us to continue with this vital message.