by Allan Knapp
John 8:31–32… So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
I really like our church yard signs – Truth and Hope. What a great gift we have as believers – the truth has set us free. Freedom from sin, freedom from shame, freedom from anxieties in this world because this world is not our home, knowing that our God will be victorious over all His enemies and bring us to Himself. In that truth, freedom, and hope we can rest, be content, glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Yet we do have a task in His here-but-not-complete Kingdom. We are to be His witnesses. So, we need to speak truth to unbelievers and pray for their hearts to be changed and their souls redeemed by the ONE who is the Truth. They can rightly be seen as prisoners of war who need to be set free.
We know that God’s kingdom has continued to advance even from the first days after the Resurrection. We have known individuals who have experienced the miracle of a heart changed from stone to flesh. We know that God has sometimes worked in a large group of people in a short period of time, bringing revival and the heart miracle to many. We pray for such a revival.
When revival comes, we will have another set of tasks. Many baby Christians will need discipling, instruction, and fellowship that builds them up in the body of Christ. We need to prepare, equipping ourselves with the WORD so that we can teach it accurately, winsomely, and humbly. We need to increase in the Spiritual gifts needed to support teaching and preaching the word to these many new believers – think of church plants, small groups, and one-on-one mentoring. We need to be hospitable and welcoming.
In many ways, URC needs to continue what we are doing – preaching and teaching the WORD, rightly administering the sacraments, and exercising good formative and corrective discipline. But we need to have a larger vision. Hold on tightly to the fact that we have been set free. Remember that our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Be aware that historical Revivals have started in the church, often with a sincere confession of sin, and then spread to non-believers. Stop being comfortable with where we are; pray for and expect many new converts to come to our doors in need of spiritual food. Be ready to assist as we are able.
Hebrews 12:1–2 calls us to recall those who have gone before and persevere in our calling: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”