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Summer Reading Challenge. Chapter 6 Commentary.

“As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him,” 1 Sam. 17:48

The author, Jim Cymbala wrote this book in 1997.  It is a book that is 17 years old but the premise of chapter 6 is as contemporary as if it were just penned.  He is asserting that the body of Christ, the Church, is lukewarm in our culture. We are in need of answering the knock of the Savior at our hearts door to invite Him in for renewed power for our time.

Pastor Cymbala clearly lays out the premise that the church (American Church) is not engaging the culture.  It is distressing to read his words as he compares the church of today as being like the Laodiceans in the book of Revelations.  They were believers that were a part of Christ’s body.  They were practicing their faith but not in an engaging or effective manner.  Their worship style was full of tradition and it set them apart from non-believers — but to no positive effect.  The scripture he refers to says they were lukewarm and on the verge of being vomited out.

Lukewarm!  Tepid.  If my favorite coffee spot sold tepid coffee, I would not patronize it.    America is doing church every week but having little impact on the lives of those who do not know Christ.  It is a church that, collectively, is allowing the cultural trends and political correctness to usurp the authority of scripture for appeal to a more diverse population.  There is so much taking place in the country and our communities that is an affront to the scriptures, yet the church seems much too comfortable to respond.

In addition, the very foundations of our culture are trembling.  There is an open attack on our societal institutions, government, the judiciary, education, free market system, monetary system, traditional marriage, the role of authority and the church.  The church in America has lost its position of prominence, authority and the ability to speak Biblical truth into the culture.   It has become marginalized, not trusted, and even more, not respected.  Eric Metaxas, in his biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer described the conflict of the German church, which saw the evils of the Nazis and what they were doing to the Jews, but were powerless to speak with conviction into the culture.  They were so lukewarm that eventually they capitulated completely to the German spirit of the day.

Since the author has written this, the world has gotten much darker.  So has America!  Can’t you feel it?   In the words of Job “Darkness is all around us, Thick, impenetrable darkness is everywhere (Ch. 23). What do we do?  It is not a political solution according to the author.  Cymbala quotes Acts chapter 4.  In this passage the disciples were told to be silent and threatened with physical harm from the authorities for sharing their new found faith.  They met, not to form a plan to run away from the authorities, but to earnestly call upon The Lord in prayer. In their prayers, they prayed not for deliverance but for boldness.  They prepared through prayer to stand firmly together.  It was going to be life or death! The disciples were praying to boldly “run to the enemy” in the power of God Almighty!  They ran to God in order to be equipped to powerfully confront their oppressors.

God answered their prayer for boldness and they were courageous to boldly speak the truth. Believers in Christ, in America, are facing new pressures everyday to be silenced, just like Peter and John.  It is so clear that as a church we need to run to Jesus, to pray, so we too can be equipped to powerfully confront the darkness with the glorious light of the gospel.

Now the question must be asked, “Are you ready to run?”

~ John Kegarise

#run2Jesus2bpowerful

 

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