The Church Jesus Is Building – Part Fifty-eight (end)

Continued from yesterday…

The purity and authenticity of their cultivated spirit influence everything in their path. Their beliefs, identity, behaviour, and relationships blend to project a persona that pricks the spirit in everyone around them. Analysts might say that the job of a revolutionary is to reform the culture, but that confuses purpose and product. These extreme God-lovers reform the culture simply by being true representations of whom God made them to be. They do not create and enforce a carefully plotted and meticulously deployed agenda to reform. They simply live a holy and obedient life that a society suffering from the stronghold of sin cannot ignore. The transformation that follows in their wake is not so much their doing as it is an inevitable result of God’s creatures waking up to the difference between living in the freedom of Christ or in the shackles of Satan.

In past spiritual awakenings, dynamic preachers went into society to bring people into a local church for further development. This era of spiritual growth is different. It features millions of individuals quietly using the weapons of faith and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that God has given them to be scions of transformation within the framework of their typical space and connections. The starting point is internal, not external: their message is their own transformation by Christ, made real by their words and deeds. Rather than draw people out of the world, and into a relationship with an institution, revolutionaries demonstrate what it means to bring the presence of God to wherever they are. This a broad-based grassroots awakening that has no single leader and no headquarters. The declaration of purpose is more than two thousand years old: the Bible.

In the great awakenings of the past, the pattern was always the same: draw people into the local church for teaching and other experiences. In this new movement of the Spirit, the approach is the opposite: it entails drawing people away from reliance upon a local church into a deeper connection with and reliance upon God. In other words, past awakenings and revivals were outside-inside phenomena, in which the dynamic and evangelistically gifted  Spurgeons, Finneys, Wesleys, and Whitefields of the Church brought non-christian people inside the local church to be ministered to. This edition is predominantly an outside-outside experience, where believers see the world as their church grounds and every human being they encounter as a soul to love into the permanent presence and experience of God. Many of these revolutionaries are active members of a local church, but their primary ministry effect is not within the congregational framework but in the raw world. 

So, what we believe drives what we do. What we believe matters to God – which is why so much of the Bible painstakingly explains God and His Kingdom to us. The revolution fosters a stunningly diverse array of activities that work together to produce spiritual and behavioural transformation which then changes their community and eventually the world.