Friday, October 24, 2014

Power to Overcome the Cultural and Philosophical Tide

In 1 Timothy 1:5-6, Paul presents one of the great definitions of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” The oneness of this statement, and its absolute nature, is the very nature of the pure Gospel, unadulterated by today’s political correctness in the world, and the watering down of the Gospel in many church settings. Postmodernism today, stands in stark contrast to this oneness and absolutism, and in staunch opposition of it, wanting nothing to do with the truth that is both transcendent and tangible.

When presenting the Gospel to the world, the Church is presenting the truth of “one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Postmodernists will not accept this because for them, there is nothing “one,” nothing absolute, nothing binding, nothing total. Postmodernist beliefs are rampant in society today, purveyed by the media, expressed in art forms, taught in universities. Sadly, it has also crept into the Church, and is seen in how the Gospel is watered down and made to be something less than what it is. 

The Channel of Power

In the culture that is being, and has been overcome by a postmodernist mindset, what one main activity is the Church to be engaged in for the Gospel to go forward unhindered by Postmodernism or any other philosophy? What one activity ought to be the priority of a church that desires to influence the world?

Today the Church in the West (and it has caught up the East too), has become enamored with human enterprise and has given second place to spiritual exercise. We have become pragmatic instead of dogmatic, and began to run an organization instead of nurturing an organism.  In 1 Timothy, when Paul is writing to Timothy to instruct him on how to behave in “the house of God, which is the Church of the Living God, the pillar and ground of truth,” (1 Tim. 3:15) he does not set out to give the Church some advice on the latest leadership or evangelism strategies. Among all the other legitimate things (and by that I mean biblical) the Church is to be involved in, Paul the great philosopher-theologian says the first thing is prayer. “I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayer, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all men,” Paul says in1 Timothy 2:1. First of all, not last of all, nor one among other things, but first of all, we are to pray as the Church of the living God. Prayer is the Church’s channel of power flow that brings God’s power to operate in our lives and transform the world.     

When the Power is Flowing . . .

Why prayer? Paul urges prayer, because when the Church is in prayer—prayer under the filling and anointing of the Holy Spirit and in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ—there is power to overcome the cultural and philosophical tide of nations and times, and see hearts and minds become open and transformed by the Gospel. When the Church prays as we ought to, according to this passage in 1 Timothy 2:1-9, the power flows and we have a trifold effect on the world and ourselves.

Firstly, the nation’s government will be run for the temporal good of our nation, because we are praying for all rulers. Secondly, the Gospel will be spread for the eternal good of all nations because we are praying for the advance of the Gospel among people who do not know Christ yet. Thirdly, the Church will produce men and women who are living holy lives.

“The church that is not praying is playing. The pastor who is not praying is straying,” said Leonard Ravenhill. Is yours a praying church that will overcome the philosophical and cultural tide and the shifting trends of the marketplace? Will your church have an effect on the rulers of the nation and cause the government to be run in order so that people may live and work in peace and tranquility? Under such a social superstructure, will the spread of the Gospel to the nations be effected and engaged in by your church? And finally, will men and women in your church live holy lives—lives of inward and unseen holiness, that are manifest in outward holiness seen in how we behave and appear in contrast to the world? We can answer yes to all these questions if, and only if, the first thing we do as the Church of Christ is pray for these things.  

© Kenny Damara, 2014

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