Matthew 6:10 “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Someone said: “All humankind still prefers peace to war, justice to oppression, harmony to discord, order to chaos. Social change is possible and we see it throughout the world. How can we do equal justice to the truths of the creation, the fall, redemption and the end? Paul perhaps expressed this well in 1 Thessalonians 1:9 and 10. “…to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven.” The culmination of serving and waiting is striking, since the former is actively getting busy for Christ on earth, while the latter is passively looking for him to come from heaven. We must serve, but there are limits to what we can achieve. We must wait, but have no liberty to do so in idleness. Thus working and waiting go together.
We Evangelical Christians seem to have the swing of the pendulum in our theology. Some are social activists who are out to create utopia here on earth while there are others who think there is no hope for our culture and with a dug in mentality wait for the return of the Lord.
What we need is to strive for spiritual balance. Yes, we are waiting for the return of the Lord, but while we are waiting we are not idle, but busy in preaching, teaching, spreading the Word and discipleship. We are embracing our culture and society in order to redeem that which has been lost. Our last weekly letter spoke about redemption.
In the first reformation that took place about 500 years ago under Martin Luther the Word of God was put into the hands of God’s people instead of only the priests. The result was electrifying and brought in a reformation that affected Western culture.
We need another reformation that puts the work of God back into the hands of God’s people and when this happens we will see a change in our culture.
To get the work of God back into the hands of God’s people will require the working of the offices that have been outlined in Ephesians 4:11-12. “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”
Who are these people called by God to help equip saints for the work of the ministry? It is important to be able to identify them. In reading the New Testament one comes away with the idea that we have function before form and operation before organization. Just because someone is in an authoritative office does not mean that he has authority. The office is the result of the evidence of authority.
David Watson said, “The church should give official recognition to those in whom the Spirit is manifestly at work.” Authority is already seen in man/woman’s life. We see this coming out in Acts 6:1-6 where we have the calling out or picking out of seven men to help wait on tables. They were already recognized for their godly life and leadership ability. The same thing is seen in Acts 13 when Paul and Barnabas were chosen.
David Watson brings out another important truth. “In the early church the leaders were nearly always appointed from the area in which they served. They had the advantage of knowing the local scene intimately, and were therefore naturally placed for fulfilling an effective pastoral and preaching ministry according to the gifts given to them by God.”
Often we send young people off to seminary or Bible School for training. I am working with a church in the state of Nevada that has the right idea to have an intern program where young people come under the leadership of the local church for a period of time. During that time of training one is able to see the gifts that are being manifested and then able to steer that young person on further use in the extension of the Kingdom of God.
When I was the director of our OM ship Doulos we initiated a program called “Intensive Training Program” where young people would come for a period of very intensive training. In the process we would see who had leadership potential, etc., and once seen that individual could be advanced in a leadership role. As a matter of fact, in 2013 one of these young men will become executive director of Operation Mobilization – a mission with over 6,000 missionaries, coming from over 90 different countries and working in over 110 countries in the world.
This type of discipleship, mentoring, training can be carried on in the local level with the result of seeing our communities changed.