REFORMATION: WHAT IT IS
It is very important to realize the times that we are living in. With rapid communication we are seeing things taking place all over the world. These are tumultuous, but exciting times. It is a great time to be alive and to be a part of all that the Lord is doing.
God is moving in Latin America, Africa and Asia, but Western Europe is a different story. Secularism has set in and Christianity seems to be fading from the scene. Some of the same forces at work in Europe are pervading the United States as well. Because of the influence of the Western culture we find these same ideologies moving into other parts of the world and influencing the church in a negative way.
The need today is for what I call ‘reformation.’ Reformation is a divine moving of God in bringing His people back to the foundational truths that we once had, but have departed from.
For example, in his survey, Frank Barna brings out how few believers – even protestant pastors, operate from a Biblical worldview. It is quite scary when one thinks about it. Malachi mentions the role of priests: “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction — because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty.” Malachi 2:7
Malachi goes on to say in 2:8: “But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble.” All one has to do is walk down the streets in our cities or the shopping malls, or turn on TV or the radio and what do we find? Often the name of the Lord is being vilified (run down, belittled, maligned). Satan seems to still have a stronghold over our societies, culture, etc. Jesus does not seem to be making much of an inroad today even in the midst of the mega churches, our radio programs and TV shows that present Biblical teaching.
What is wrong? Could it be that what we do is not in tune with what we profess. We profess to be Christians, but out of 65 common values there is no difference between us and the non-believers. We profess to be Christians but our divorce rate is right up there with the unbelievers.
Paul told Timothy: “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16) It is interesting that Paul puts life before doctrine. Is there a reason for this? I think so. Doctrine is important, but before we can get into doctrine we must have the life to begin with. However, these two go together. I need to make sure that my life is in tune with the doctrine that I say I am following.
For example: I say that I believe in Jesus and I am saved, but does my life back this up? I say that I believe in prayer, but does my life back this up? I say that I am honoring God, but what do I do with my time and money?
Even Jesus when He came says that “He came to do and to teach.” (Acts 1:1) In other words, His life and His teaching went together. What He taught was in harmony with the way He lived.
Reformation is preparing the way for the Lord. It is John the Baptist crying in the wilderness: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” Matthew 3:3