*I feel a need to put a preface in place to ensure that all the readers know that I am a flawed man as well. It is not my standard that I stand upon but God’s. I fall short every day that is why I am so thankful for JESUS!
I love lions, as far back as I can remember I have always been mesmerized by them on TV, magazines, and in the movies. I think it is their size, power, and their abilities as a top predator in their environment that I love so much. They demand respect and if you do not think so, then go hear one roar in person, it is quite humbling and intimidating. You realize very quickly how grateful you are that you are in a zoo, or a reserve, and not the African plain where you as a human are no longer atop the food chain. I think that it is one of the most majestic animals that God created.
Matter of fact, the minor prophet Hosea tells us this:
10 They shall go after the Lord;
he will roar like a lion;
when he roars,
his children shall come trembling from the west;
11 they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt,
and like doves from the land of Assyria,
and I will return them to their homes, declares the Lord.
Did you catch the power and might of His roar? It so impacted those who heard it that even though they were wayward they turned back and came home trembling. Now I would say that is a bold roar, wouldn’t you?
Well, the past few weeks the Lord has not allowed me to rest on a subject within the Church and hence I am bringing a second challenge. For whatever reason, the Lord has put scripture, articles, books, videos in front of me that is continually challenging what the modern church looks like today. It is like a roar to me that I cannot let go of, and believe me in some ways, I wish I could because it causes me a lot of frustration. I see things in scripture that do not match what we as the Church look like and it does not make sense.
So here it is the second challenge which is specifically for the CHURCH (true believers, not a brick building): Be a LION, be the CHURCH that CHRIST died for!
We as the CHURCH have given away things that are our responsibility. We have allowed goats* (Matthew 25:31-46) to dictate the CHURCH’s direction and to run ministries which have, in turn, silenced our true voice. We have allowed false teaching and cultural trends to dictate what our services and worship looks like. We have allowed our voice and worse God’s Word to be removed from our places of education, our courtrooms, and in some cases our places of worship. Now before I give you an example understand that I am standing upon God’s standards because mine are indeed flawed. I am using scripture as contextually accurate as I can and with the belief that the Holy Spirit will cover my failures. So if this sounds judgemental then it probably is and that is one of the other issues that we will get back to in a second.
So here are a few examples. Many scholars, professors, and economists, smarter than I; have said that during the great depression the “New Deal” was crafted by the government due to the decline and lack of charitable work that the church was doing. Meaning you can correlate the welfare system today to the lack of work that the church was doing for the needy, homeless, orphaned, etc.. In doing this we have allowed some people to become dependent upon the government, and this has turned the government into the one who “saves” and provides for them. Therefore robbing the CHURCH the opportunity to share about the true provider and savior. Another example is that we have allowed the skill and talent of man to overshadow the calling of God. We have men in leadership that are not called by God but are gifted men with smooth voices, or musical talent, or business savvy, and this leads to cultural influence and a slow fade away from the things that God has called HIS CHURCH to be. And there are several more examples, but I will move on for the sake of time.
So as we think about the challenge what does it mean to be BOLD? Take a moment and read the scripture below:
29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.
2 Corinthians 3:12 (NASB)
12 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech,
3 So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.
8 And he (Paul) entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.
So here is where we are today, we have allowed our culture and social media to dictate what we say and how we say. Yet, we see from the example in Acts that Paul went into his culture’s place of worship and argued using God’s Word to persuade those that would listen about the Kingdom of God. But in our culture, we are conditioned to keep quiet and not be offensive. And I get it; if you are in the public eye at all this culture will persecute you by looking 15 years in the past at a tweet, or by classifying you as a bigot for any disagreement, or one that is judgemental if you voice anything contrary to how others live. But scripture is clear we have been charged by God to be BOLD and declare HIS Glory! We are to stand upon HIS principles, HIS character, HIS righteousness, using HIS Word to call sin exactly what it is.
Proverbs 28:1 (ESV)
28 The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.
Ephesians 5:11 (ESV)
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
And we are to do it humbly with the knowledge that it is not our own righteousness that God looks upon but HIS SON’s. CHURCH stop just brushing off those that are offensive to the GOSPEL and start speaking up, whether they sit in the pew beside you or just follow you on social media. Sure you will upset people, but that does not change the truth of SCRIPTURE. If someone is angered by a mirror that is held up in front of them and they accuse you of being divisive or offensive remind them that it is God’s standard, not yours and that HE is calling for repentance and will cover that SIN with the blood of HIS only SON.
Now this requires several things on our part as the CHURCH, we have to know scripture, we have to understand it contextually. Remember that when JESUS was tempted in the desert not only did HE defeat Satan but HE used scripture to do so. The only way to reach those that are against GOD or against Scripture, or against those of us that are the CHURCH is to use GOD’s WORD and then let the HOLY SPIRIT work. This is not an easy challenge and it is possible that you will lose connections and friends but ultimately we must GLORIFY GOD with our heart, actions, words, and our confrontations.
* goats= people that attend church but are not part of HIS true CHURCH (God’s Sheep)