After June, October is the most popular month for weddings. However, only thirty-nine percent of young adults are getting married in churches. (For more, see Nick Pitts's Going to the courthouse? Millennials gonna get married?.) Researchers tie this fact directly to the growing number of non-religious millennials in America.
Does it seem that the Christian worldview is under assault on every side? As you watch the culture change regarding marriage, euthanasia, pornography, drug abuse, and other social issues, does the news seem uniformly bad?
The fault is not with the gospel. As Eric Metaxas noted in his address at Dallas Baptist University last week, God is still God. He is still King of the universe and Lord of all that is. Everything is his. There is no such thing as a "Christian" tree, for instance. Every tree belongs to God. There is no "secular" space outside his sovereignty.
If the gospel is not advancing, the problem is with those called to advance it. I believe Western Christians must deal with a pervasive failing, one that undermines all we seek to do for the Kingdom. It is Satan's last resort, and often his most effective lie. If he cannot lead us into sin and away from God's work, here's his temptation: to do God's work in our ability. Why? Because he knows we will fail.
In John 15, Jesus made this dramatic statement to his followers: "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" (v. 5). If we "abide" in him, connected to our Lord through Scripture and prayer (v. 7), we will bear "much fruit." Fruit is the inevitable, natural product of a healthy tree. But if we do not abide in him, we can do "nothing."
Human words cannot change human hearts. You and I can do nothing eternal, spiritual, or God-glorifying in our natural capacity. Only the Lord can draw people to the Lord. Only he can save souls and change lives. This he does through us, but only when he can work through us. Self-sufficiency is the spiritual cancer of our age. When we admit our need of God and submit to his Spirit, he uses us to advance his Kingdom and change our world. (Tweet this)
Leonard Ravenhill wrote these convicting words years ago. Are they still true today?
The church has many organizers, but few agonizers; many who pay, but few who pray; many resters, but few wrestlers; many who are enterprising, but few who are interceding. People who are not praying are playing.
Two prerequisites of dynamic Christian living are vision and passion. Both of these are generated by prayer. The ministry of preaching is open to a few. The ministry of praying is open to every child of God.
Tithes may build the church, but tears will give it life. That is the difference between the modern church and the early church. Our emphasis is on paying, theirs was on praying. When we have paid, the place is taken. When they have prayed, the place was shaken (Acts 4:31).
In the matter of effective praying, never have so many left so much to so few. Brethren, let us pray.
What if your present significance and eternal legacy depended entirely on the vitality of your communion with Christ? In fact, they do.
Publication date: October 26, 2015
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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