Sunday, July 31, 2016

Revival in the Church

Many of us pray for revival in the Church. 

Every church however does not need revival just as every person does not need medicine.  In the Book of Revelation chapter 3, we read about the fifth of the seven letters to the churches, the letter to the church at Sardis.

This is a troubling and actually very tragic letter to a troubled and tragic church because this church is dead.   We know this church is dead because Jesus Christ himself says at end of verse 1, "You are dead."

What is interested to note is that this church does not even know it is dead. That is what makes it even more tragic.

When we take a closer look at this church in Sardis, while we find it tragic that they are dead there is still hope.  Jesus says in the very next verse, Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 
 
In finding out why it is dead, we may find the key to revival. 

A revival for not only this church in Sardis but all other local churches that may be already dead as well.

Note that for each of these seven churches, Jesus presents the Godhead in a particular way.  The way the Lord presents himself to each of these churches is a clue as to what the church needs.  Here in Sardis Jesus calls himself "him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars."  These symbols were identified for us in the first chapter of Revelation. The "seven spirits" are a symbol of the Holy Spirit in his fullness.

Here is a clear fact. It is the Holy Spirit that gives life. The Apostle Paul said it is the Holy Spirt that gives life in Romans 8:11

“AND if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you,He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

If there is no Holy Spirit, there is no life. 

The church is not a building; it is the Body of Christ.  This Body includes all believers.   When we become a believer, God places the Holy Spirit within us, who leads us whenever we listen and respond to the Holy Spirit’s counsel. The Holy Spirit is our Guide, He is one who walks with us along the way.

It is the Holy Spirit that will convict us of sin and will enable us to repent (And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment John 16:8). When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin,we are led to repent.For the church to experience revival, the people need to repent. That is why our Lord says to Sardis, "Remember how you have received and heard, and obey it and repent." (Rev 3:3)

That is the place of new beginning.  This is the opportunity for revival! 

It is in repentance that people experience and demonstrate conversion from a sinful life in Christ and it is the Spirit of God that imparts the life of Christ.

It’s in repentance that we will experience revival.



Monday, July 25, 2016

We are the Church!

You have likely heard your pastor or people in your church say, “Don’t just go to church; BE the church.”

Often, what well-minded people are trying to convey is that many of the services and activities that people associate with the church can actually be done individually or in small groups - -things like bringing meals to those that can’t get out, helping out a neighbor in need, getting a group of people to help clean up a park or a church etc.

While these are very good and useful activities, that is not at all what the Apostle Paul meant when he told the Corinthians, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Cor 12:27)

When the Apostle Paul refers to the church he calls it, ‘the body of Christ.’   He doesn’t refer to it as the body of Christians.   While the body of Christians may be divide, the body of Christ cannot.  
“ For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.” (1 Cor 12:12-14)

We are the church when we recognize that while all of us have different gifts and different callings, all of us can and should contribute to the body “But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” (1 Cor 12:20-21)

We are the church when each of us individually realizes that the Great Commandment (that we love God with all our heart, soul and mind and our neighbor as ourselves) and the Great Commission (go and make disciples) applies to us, not just a ministry within the institutional church.

Institutionally, the church has had many problems over the past 2,000 years.  But as the body of Christ, we have the most profound impact and collectively work together for the fulfillment of the Gospel.

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Our small Christian non-profit ministry recently requested and received approval from the IRS to be re-classified as a ‘church’.      ...