If we can’t work well together as Christians and churches when things are going well, what are we going to do when things get tough?
What are we going to do when/if persecution comes?
Will we keep arguing about minutia or will we get serious about our mission?
The reason we have had the margin to have countless lessons on instrumental music is because we have been safe. Safety leads to complacency. Complacency leads to mission drift. Mission drift leads to death.
If we cannot withstand a single cranky complainer without uprooting whole ministries, how are we going to face real strife…even actual physical pain or harm? We are woefully ill-prepared.
When hard times come (and I believe they are coming) are we going to defend our kingdom corner or band together? We had a small dose of this with September 11th and Christians worked together for all of a few months…then we went right back to old habits. Old habits die hard. Homeostasis (same state) is our gravity and uncomfortability is seen as our enemy.
I think we are in our Church of Sardis moment from Revelation 3,
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. 6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
We need to head these instructions.
It is time to wake up church. It is time to train. It is time to equip ourselves for kingdom work. It is time to prepare our souls for deprivation and great difficulty.
I had a dream the other night that I want to share with you…it taught me to find joy in suffering and I hope that this message encourages you as well. God bless you…I am praying for you and hopefully with you. The church’s best days are ahead and the path to better days is through the valley of the shadow of death. A persecuted church is a rejoicing church.
I have for many years realized our rules of fellowship (or lack thereof) were geographically based. In the Bible belt, groups of churches created more and more exclusivity over time, yet in the north and particularly at military installations around the world new CoC arrivals would often disregard the legalistic approach and gladly join with the nearest (or only) congregation in the area.
It occurred to me that should I suddenly find myself myself deported to outer Mongolia, I would gladly walk six miles to study, worship and sing with even a Southern Baptist!
I and my fellow elders here share your assessment of the present situation. It is time for all believers (certainly those who understand that the Kingdom came with power at Pentecost and is a present spiritual reality) to band together in spite of our (petty?) differences.