Culturally induced dilemmas lead to culturally infected thinking and result in culturally impotent remedies.  We have chosen our own delusions and have secured for ourselves a self-inflicted captivity which is chaotic and confusing.  Even though the prophet Ezekiel was literally a physical captive to a foreign invader, he asked a question that is as appropriate for us as it was for his people: “How then shall we live?!”  How then shall we, in the 21st century, live in the culture we now recognize as our captivity?  We’ve asked this question in the last 4 blogs, in our part 2 blog, we shared several essentials the people of God must focus on in these critical circumstances.

Our first essential for God-followers in dangerous days of peril is an intentional return to the supremacy, authority, and sufficiency of God’s Word.  Then, we spoke of the necessity of intense intercessory and imprecatory prayer.  We now turn to the third imperative: the development of mature, responsible, and accountable local assemblies of God-followers. 

Repeatedly, the attitude of the contemporary church has given us reason to be disillusioned and depressed.  She has become casual and comfortable.  Compassion has morphed into capitulation and complacency.  We rarely see any confrontation with the powers of darkness.  The remedy is not to isolate ourselves.  The remedy is not a “lone-wolf” mentality that neglects obedience.  The remedy will take a radical adherence to God’s Word and the cultivation of vibrant, intelligent, and loving communities of faith.

  • The Church, as the body of Christ, is the most powerful entity on the planet, and no force formed against it will ultimately succeed.
  • The local Church is where we define and discover our spiritual gifting and then determine how we may uniquely meet the needs of the assembly in order to minister to others.
  • The Church is where we study the Scripture together as the Spirit weaves coherence, discernment, and encouragement into the body.
  • The Church must be a safe place to have conversations about real issues we face in our culture.  By this “binding and loosing” we forge Spirit-led paths to follow as we engage the world around us.
  • The Church is where we are equipped and challenged to take the reality of Jesus Christ into our homes, to the marginalized, to our workplaces, and to the nations.

In a very practical sense, there are Scriptural studies that can be explored to ‘reboot’ our perspectives and renew our passion about the Church!

  •  Start with some very basic Scriptures such as Acts 2:42; I Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 10:19-25.
  • Read through the book of Acts to see the Church’s birth and adolescent stages and its growth into a worldwide phenomenon.
  • Every epistle was written to one or more churches or to those who played a vital part in that particular church.  This will show you their commonalities and their diversities.
  • There are 59 references to “one another” in the New Testament.
  • There are 14 exhortations in Hebrews to the people of God, and they all begin with “Let us…”.
  • Paul’s 13 epistles speak to his warm and personal relationships with other believers.  He mentions 82 of them by name. These include women, men, slaves, soldiers, and he uses 32 different terms of endearment when describing them.
  • The study of the 7 churches in the book of Revelation is multi-faceted and reflects current reality.
  • Our 20th century Church structure may have turned into adopted traditions that sometimes blind us to Spirit-guided ways to complement the local church ministry.

In the next post we will discuss how every believer must respond to the call of God in their life.  Is your local church influencing this critically personal relationship with the Almighty?