Where Are We Going?

Posted: January 24, 2009 by Josiah Batten in Christian living, Reform, Revival, The Church

One thing I find frustrating about the Institutional Church is the belief that our actions are a consequence of our success.  There seems to be a belief that we must wait until revival breaks out, and then we will do everything God desires.  We will evangelize once revival breaks out. We will disciple once we’re successful. We’ll commit to building a good worship team once we have 300 members.

Such a view is myopic and ignorant.  Success is a result of planning and action.  Success is a consequence of vision; vision is not a consequence of success.  Many Churches are Arminian on all things save ecclesiastical practice in this regard.  We say we will just wait “until God starts to move” and then expect everything will just “work itself out”; or we think if we have great services everything else from fellowship to ministry will follow suit.

Fellowship, evangelism, discipleship, ministry, and worship are all intentional things.  We don’t need to wait for God to start operating a revival, and then expect Him to tell us to do these things. He requires all of these things in His Word.  God has been moving. He sent His Son 2,000 years ago, that was a pretty big move.

How long will it take the Church to get on board with God’s will to reach the nations and build up the Church into the Body of Christ?  We need to stop acting as if success will suddenly hit us in these areas.  God is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  The condition for the reward is our diligently seeking God.  The reward is brought about by a passion, by a vision of what a true relationship with God looks like.  Granted, such a vision must be imparted by God, but I believe we often miss what He is trying to tell us because we’ve turned a deaf ear to the clear mandate of His Word and the inner conviction of His Holy Spirit.

Do you want to see signs and wonders, pastor?  Every time that phrase is used in the Bible it is in the context of evangelism.  Read the last chapter of Mark, particularly the last few verses.  Signs and wonders follow and confirm the preaching of the Word.  Peter and Paul did not wait for signs and wonders and then preach. They preached and signs and wonders followed.  God had mandated that Peter and Paul and all the Apostles preach and establish the Church.  God has mandated to us that we preach and build up His Church.  We are the means God is using to complete His plan.  Read II Corinthians 5; we are Christ’s Ambassadors, the people through whom God makes His appeal to the nations!

You say God hasn’t given us a vision, sure He has!  We must look no further than His Word.  God’s plan is made abundantly clear. Everything else, all the details will align with His over-arching plan.  Don’t get me wrong here; we need to pray. We need to seek God’s face. We need to ask Him what His will is for us for our Church and for our city.  But when He reveals the specifics we need to run with it. We need to follow His directions in bringing the vision He places on us to completion.

I’m not advocating we replace the call of the Spirit with strategic planning. What I am advocating is the call of the Spirit and that the clear mandate of Scripture presents us with a vision that has everything to do with reaching the lost and building up the Body of Christ.  Some of us will be called to do this as pastors, some as evangelists, some as encouragers, some as prayer warriors, some as businessmen who will finance the Lord’s work, but we are all called.  God has a plan and a vision for all of us, and any failure to realize this deals not with the fact that God isn’t working, but with the fact that we aren’t listening.

God bless!

Josiah

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