I sat through a National Day of Prayer service last Thursday and something became very clear about an hour into the service. Christians simply aren’t sure how to respond to the changing moral climate of our country. The majority of the service consisted of videos highlighting gay marriage, Planned Parenthood, the current Presidential race, and an array of other issues the church is facing. So, how should we respond?
5 THINGS WE CAN'T FORGET AS FOLLOWERS OF JESUS:
1. Historically, the church has thrived in seasons of suffering and persecution.
If you’ve done any study on the early church in the first several centuries then you know a persecuted church has always been a living, revived, radical church. In Acts 8, the martyrdom of Stephen became one of the single greatest factors in the spread of Christianity throughout the world. If you need some other examples feel free to study how the persecuted church (i.e. China) is growing at an unprecedented rate around the world today.
2. Christianity has always been a counter cultural movement.
It’s astounding how many Christians are terrified of living a counter cultural faith. We’ve been the majority for so long we don’t even realize that Christianity was birthed out of a counter cultural movement. The Kingdom of God is radically subversive by nature. We are called to live such radically transformed lives in front of others that we become living witnesses to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
3. This shift will force people to get off the fence.
This is a great thing! The large section of “casual Christians” will become non-existent because people will be forced to choose to become disciples or not. As the road of discipleship becomes increasingly less convenient, the price of true discipleship will become higher than many are willing to pay. Sounds a lot more like what Jesus did all throughout the gospels. (John 6)
4. Our prayers must transfer into action.
When you study the book of Acts you see that every genuine move of God, every time the Holy Spirit fell, the people were empowered to be witnesses for the gospel. It was birthed out of prayer but it always led to increased mission to make disciples of Jesus. A great prayer meeting is where we’ve met with God and we’re ready to begin walking in that power to make disciples of Jesus. There is no biblical context for a genuine move of the Holy Spirit that is simply for our own benefit. It always leads to mission.
5. The solution isn't sitting around talking about the problem.
I don’t see anywhere in scripture where Jesus, the apostles, or the early church sat around and prayed for the Roman government to change. Maybe they did and we just don't read about it but it seems unlikely to me. But here's also a reality: They didn't need the government to change for the mission of Jesus to go forth.
They weren’t obsessed with trying to change all the external factors around the Christian faith. They were obsessed with making the kingdom of God a reality wherever they went. They were obsessed with being led by the Holy Spirit to go and make disciples of Jesus. They were obsessed with developing a multiplying movement of disciple-making and church planting that would raise up more disciples and change the world.
This doesn’t mean we don’t get involved with politics or public policy, it means that our hope is not based in a governmental system or popular opinion but in the church of Jesus Christ. Oh, and by the way - the church wins in the end. (spoiler alert) The church of Jesus Christ and the mission of God will go forth regardless of any changes in legislation, leadership, or cultural shifts.
SO, AM I AFRAID OF THE CHANGING MORAL CLIMATE OF AMERICA?
QUITE THE CONTRARY.
I believe the church can usher in one of the greatest, genuine disciple-making movements our country has ever seen. Unprecedented moral decline in America will open the door for unprecedented opportunity for the church!