Keys to Social Transformation

 

Luke 19:10 10 “…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Genesis 1:28 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion…”

We must marry the evangelism mandate (Luke) to the cultural mandate (Genesis). Billy Graham crusades highlight the pastoral dimension of the atonement.  The kingdom view recognizes that Jesus did not die to simply get us to heaven but to get us to God who would use us to establish His Kingdom on earth as we exercise the authority He has given us to reconcile the world back to Him. (2 Cor 5:18-20a)

Reconciling the world means we have to take authority in the 7 power centers of culture: Church; Business; Government; Arts and Entertainment; Media; Family; and Education.

The three things that can change society are: violence; knowledge; and wealth. We need to war for the territory, equip the saints for the work, and break the spirit of poverty in the church. It is imperative you understand the nature of the battle is over two dominions.

Matthew 11:12 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.

God’s Kingdom advances through violent spiritual conflict.  Jesus’ reference to John equates to the confrontation of Elijah, a violent opposition to human status quo. The context of Mt. 11:12 is, entry transcends the “softness” of religious formalism and exceeds the pretension of child’s play.  It refuses to “dance to the music” of society’s expectation that we provide either entertainment or dead traditionalism.

Jesus defined the “violence” of His kingdom’s expansion by: “sword” and “fire.”

Matthew 10:34 34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”

Luke 12:49-52 49 “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! 51 Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. 52 For from now on five in one house will be divided…”

Kingdom is a violent tearing / division…  It is not physical (John 18:36), that is, it is not political provocation or armed advance.  The upheaval is the result of God’s order as He shakes relationships, households, cities, and nations by entrance of Holy Spirit’s power.

Jesus launched this kingdom when he proclaimed it was “at hand!”

Luke 16:16 16 “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.”

Word note: Biazo means, “to press violently or force one’s way.”  Mt. 11 uses passive voice but here, middle voice means men force their way past all antagonistic efforts to prevent entrance.  (Middle voice means you do it for yourself or it doesn’t get done.)

REGIONAL TRANSFORMATION REQUIRES COLLABORATION

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

This is true of all local expressions of Christ: individuals, churches or organizations.  Prophetic Alignment: times will be increasingly difficult; we can join forces proactively now to advance the kingdom and overcome or we can wait to react by joining together – but it will then be for survival rather than advancement.

Paul said, “For we are laborers together with God” 4903 [sunergeo /soon·erg·eh·o/] verb. 5 occurrences: “work with,” “help with,” “workers together” and “work together.” = partner in labor; to put forth power together with and thereby assist.  4904 [sunergos /soon·er·gos/] adj; 13 occurrences: “fellowlaborer,” “helper,” “fellow-helper,” “fellow-workers,” “workfellow,” “laborer together with,” “companion in labor.”

Compare “synergist” and “synergism.” From sun, “together,” ergeo, “to work”; hence, to cooperate, help, collaborate, co-labor.  One person cannot be all things to all people. One church cannot be all things to any community. We often overly focus on individual victories rather than corporate challenges.

Networking, partnering and cooperating are not natural activities for the American Church. Collaboration requires initiative, resolve, and commitment.  It also requires much humility in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and of mutual submission to one another. 

Nine Challenges to Synergistic Work:

1. The Challenge of the Failure to Practice Spiritual Unity: Paul urged believers to make every effort to “maintain the unity of the Spirit.” His basic assumption was that spiritual unity in the Church should be the norm. He assumed that we who follow Jesus and are filled with the Holy Spirit should be inclined to it: he stated, there is ONE Body and ONE Spirit and ONE Lord and ONE faith and ONE baptism and ONE GOD and Father “who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6 NIV)

2. The Challenge of a Spirit of Independence/Individualism: One manifestation of sin is separation from God and from one another. One of the provisions of our covenant is to bring us back in close fellowship with God and with one another as brothers and sisters.  The concept of the Body communicates the importance of every member living in vital dependence on the Head and in vital interdependence with one another.

The independent church movement is an expression of this challenge.  In the Biblical sense, the term “independent church” is an oxymoron. 

3. The Challenge of Turf/Control: This is both internal and external.  The internal question of who is in control in a local church is an area of major conflict and division. Externally, leaders often see their communities as the turf they control and look at others as competitors, inferior or irrelevant.

4. The Challenge of Personal Kingdom Building: Some leaders are highly gifted, visionary, entrepreneurs who are focused and literally consumed with what they are doing. They have ignored or not understood how the Lord has designed His Body to function… I believe most are not aware of the sin they are committing.

5. The Challenge of Cultural/Racial Divisions: Our nation and communities have been deeply divided.  Many ethnic denominations or churches have been so deeply wounded, they have turned inward and become self-sufficient. Others are angry and want no part of a “white man’s” coalition. In contrast, many Caucasian and traditional churches haven’t taken necessary steps towards repentance of racial sins and forgiveness and reconciliation.

Class-consciousness can also be a problem. Example, those involved in “high church” (Presbyterianism as an example) often look down at those of non-liturgical churches (Pentecostals) as the “lower class.”

6. The Challenge of Denominational/Theological Divisions: Key to authentic spiritual unity is the presence and ministry of Holy Spirit. Yet, no doctrine seems to separate the Church more.  There are still great divides between traditional evangelicals, classic Pentecostals, Charismatics and, most recently, the “New Apostolic Movement.”

Another major area of division in many church and denominational circles is that of the role of women in the Church. This can constitute a major barrier to collaborative efforts.

7. The Challenge of Reconciliation Issues/Right Relationships: Without exception, the most common, consistent obstacle to unity is that of broken and/or fractured relationships that require reconciliation and the restoration of right relationships before any kind of collaboration in ministry can take place.

8. The Challenge of the Immediate vs. Long Term: Most so-called unity takes place around a short-term program or a special event (e.g., Billy Graham Crusade). This is good but insufficient because, when special events/programs end, “unity” quickly fades. Evangelicalism has too often failed to think long term synergism.

9. The Challenge of Separationalism: A segment of the church does not believe in cooperative works. They separate from any and all Christians and churches that do not agree with their minutest detail of doctrine. These churches overemphasize secondary issues and judge those who have not separated from liberals even though this includes some committed Evangelicals who have sensed the calling of God to remain. 

Holy Spirit must be central.  We must stop quenching the Spirit of God. Pray that post Covid-19 will bring forth a transformed regional church that will work together for a transformed society.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin