I want to talk a little about where I think we are as a church in these days. What I see is that God wants to bring us into a deeper revelation of who He is by bringing clarity on the difference between the Old and New Covenant.
He wants us to move beyond our present understanding of Him, His kingdom, His covenant. Moving forward can be a messy process, however. It requires that we leave behind old mindsets and may even cause us to loose some affiliations (although we should always pursue peace with all men as the Scripture says).
As we are in this time of progressing as a church to greater depths of revelation, there can be a temptation to stay “safe”. There is a type of safety that is really an illusion. It says that if we don’t rock the boat, if we simply continue doing things the same way (which is considered to be the “right” way), then we won’t be in danger.
Let me give some practical examples of this. In the present time, there is an awakening in the church to such things as the truth of the New Covenant as well as a positive view of the “End Times”.
However, many churches and even whole denominations are pretty settled on what they believe about these matters.
Most churches would say that God will forgive us when we mess up. But what about when we start saying that God HAS forgiven us for all time; that all are pre-forgiven because of Christ’s sacrifice? I guarantee that will not fly in some circles that have an established system of confessing in order to be forgiven after we sin.
Also, much of the modern church is steeped in a negative view of the end times (eschatology), that is crippling our hope for the future and greatly affects us in the present. This is a huge issue as some are insistent that you follow the modern futuristic doom and gloom worldview. Some pastors can apparently even be fired for suggesting different options for end times views.
It can be easier to just not speak up about those things. It can feel safe to blend in with what other believers around you are saying. It is so easy to be wishy-washy and say, “Well, the Bible is unclear about certain things. The important thing is just to love.”
Now is not the time to be silent about fresh revelations from the Lord. Is there a chance that we will miss it in regards to correct doctrine and need to re-evaluate what we believe and teach? Indeed it is, but the lie is that if we just not go for it and agree with whatever the people around us believe, we will be “safe”.
There are people out there who are stepping out and boldly saying things that need to be addressed. Things like this, which go against the grain of the popular mindsets, include:
- God is not about to judge America because of the stored up sins that have been forgiven already.
- You are NOT under a curse if you do not tithe since Jesus became THE curse (although we always encourage giving from the heart and are not promoting stinginess).
- Matthew 24 and certain other “End Time” scriptures are clearly talking about Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD and not some future tribulation.
- It is not “dishonoring” when you disagree with what your church leaders are saying from the pulpit or to say that a specific person is preaching things that are false, based on Scripture.
Even as I write those things, I feel a need to explain myself into safety :) I feel that inadequacy you can feel when you are not lining up with the status quo; you know, when we aren’t acting the way we’re “supposed to”.
In my own personal life, I am seeing how I have been taking refuge in this illusion of safety. There are areas where I have failed to step out out of fear of failure. If I am not pursuing more and pushing ahead, then I won’t run the risk of failure. If I do not bring things up with the people around me that they might not like, then I will not run the risk of their disapproval.
But if I live like that, I might start to interpret the apparent lack of trouble I experience as some sort of success.
If I don’t pray for the sick, then although I won’t see someone healed, I won’t see someone not healed while attempting to minister healing. If I don’t present the gospel to someone, they can’t reject my message.
This is no way to live (talking to myself here). By facing life head on while trusting the Comforter and filtering everything through our relationship with God, we will accomplish much more than if we sit on the sidelines and applaud the successes and shame the failures of those who put themselves out there.
Paul was a good example of someone who stood for the revelation they were given by God.
To begin, he was not one of the original disciples and even had some of them killed. Then, he gets revelation directly from God about the gospel and goes to meet with the leaders of the church (awkward). It turned out, he had deeper insight and conviction about the gospel then even the top apostles.
For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:11-12).
It seems that he was always pushing ahead, through the limitations of the times, with the truth of the gospel. He even needed to correct Peter in front of the church.
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party (Gal. 2:11-12).
We might not be dealing with issues as to whether or not it’s okay to have pork chops with certain people groups, but we do face issues similar to what Peter faced. Its worse than the peer pressure of grade school. Its pressure to appear “right” in the eyes of those who uphold a standard of what “right” should look like.
Paul was not dishonoring Peter. Nor would it have been the safe thing to do to just not say anything or go along with the pressure to fit in.
But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (Gal. 2:14)
This sums it up. God is getting us aligned “in step with the truth of the gospel”. Things that have held us back or have just not made sense in our relationship with God and understanding of the Bible will fall inline as we move forward. It might be messy and might offend the old mindsets, but where else can we go but where the life is?
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:18)