Breaking Spiritual Inertia

(2 Timothy 1:6 NLT) This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…

“Many present day Christians seemed to have experienced three stages: condemnation, salvation, and stagnation. Babyhood is a delightful thing: Perpetual babyhood is deplorable….A spiritual revival is not important to the Church and to America: It is imperative! At this moment…the Church is plagued with inertia.” Leonard Ravenhill (Revival God’s Way)

If we were to be totally honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that overall, the church in the United States is far more self serving than actually God serving. Far too much of our ministry revolves around feeding the fed, and reaching the reached. Most of our church growth is no more than transfer growth, where believers from one church relocate to another church. Very little of our actual growth seems to come from those who are being reached with the gospel.

Adding to this dilemma, we are witnessing an ever increasing anti-church movement among many professing Christians. I would suggest that this is not driven by knowledge of Scripture, and obedience to Christ, but rather by a misinterpretation of what following Christ actually involves.

I Will Build My Church. We have mistakenly supposed that knowledge of Christ equals obedience to Christ.

“Perhaps the question we need to ask ourselves is, “Does the gospel we preach produce disciples, or does it produce consumers of religious goods and services?” Bill Hull (On Being and Making Followers of Christ)

(Matthew 7:20-21 NLT)  Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced. {21} “Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as ‘Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdomof Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven.

“Too many Christians are pew sitting consumers. Up to 80% of some congregations are simply consumers.” Howard Culbertson

A faith that does nothing is worth nothing. (James 2:18-20 The Message) Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.  19-20Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands?

“The gospel is free, thank God, but that does not mean that it is “cheap and easy,” and all too often that is the kind of gospel that has been presented.” Arthur Wallis, (The Radical Christian)

The Great Commission: If the commission to make disciples of all nations is rightfully called ‘the Great Commission,’ should it not be of the greatest importance to us who claim to be disciples of Jesus Christ?

“If people are lost outside of Christ, and if faith in Jesus Christ is the only avenue of redemption, what could possibly be a higher priority than spreading the gospel as far as we can as fast as we can?” David Shibley

We must change our focus from serving ourselves to obeying the great commission. (Matthew 28:19-20 NLT)  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. {20} Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

We are to make disciples of all nations, not merely converts with fire insurance. We are to teach them to obey the commands of Jesus Christ.

“Believing in Jesus has no meaning if we don’t follow Him in discipleship. Believing without discipleship isn’t believing. It’s agreeing to a set of facts about a religious figure. The problem we face is that we have created and taught a faith that doesn’t transform people.” Bill Hull

While we may not all be called to actually go to the nations as missionaries, the greater point is that reaching the nations should still be a burning passion of our hearts. (Matthew 24:14 NKJV)  “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

(Acts 1:8 NKJV)  “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judeaand Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The main objective of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is to equip us to go. First to Jerusalem (where we live), next to Samaria, (the surrounding area), finally to the world, (every nation on earth).

If we were to be brutally honest with ourselves, we would have to conclude that the church in the United Statesis far more interested in serving self than selfishly serving a lost and dying world. (Luke 16:19-21 NLT)  Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed and who lived each day in luxury. {20} At his door lay a diseased beggar named Lazarus. {21} As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.

This story could easily serve as an example of the overindulged church in this country, with the spiritually starving in the nations who are crying out for a mere crumb of bread. I would have to admit that by far my greatest frustration as a pastor in this nation is the lack of spiritual appetite exhibited by so many of God’s people.

(Mark 4:18-19 Amplified Bible) And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word; 19Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.

“The question before us is this: Is there enough passion in the soul of the church to carry this holiness message to the peoples of this world? Our problem is not with our profession, but with our passion. Our problem is not with our procedures, but with our passion. Our problem is not with our policy, but with our passion.  Our problem is not with our purpose, but with our passion. Our problem is not with our programs, but with our passion.

When it is all said and done: If we lose our passion, we lose our movement.” Jim Diehl, Nazarene general superintendent                                                                                             

“The coming revival is not ultimately that we might feel better or even have a more decent society in which to live. The purpose of revival is to fire the Church with divine energy for her divine assignment.”  David Shibley

I am concerned that we have set our sights so low in this nation, that we are willing to celebrate even the most meager results as if it were a great victory.

“We honour God when we ask for great things. It is a humiliating thing to think we are satisfied with very small results.”D.L. Moody

“Let us be satisfied with nothing else than leaving the deepest mark on our generation.” John R Mott

 

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