Thursday, April 22, 2021

What Can Evangelicals Do Now...The Attraction Factor of Jesus

Bay and I just returned from 12 days in Indiana speaking and serving Jesus at different venues.

The Lord's faithfulness traveled before us, and we certainly felt His hand anointing us for each event and conversation. 

We arrived home two nights ago, a little weary, but extremely grateful.

Several times I ended up in conversations about the rise of progressivism, as the leaders in historically Christian churches (even in the heartland of America) suffer the effects (the recent statistics showing the decline in evangelical churches, which paint a dismal picture overall).

Even while touring The Ark Encounter, we stopped to listen to an informative live session with Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis, and his first three slides touched on the very same stats I am seeing. 

Around the table one evening, we were asked this question, "So, what can evangelicals do? Will opposing those we see slipping toward progressivism be at all helpful?"

Great questions, which I've pondered.

I've begun jotting down some thoughts, and while too many for one blog, I have one Biblical passage worthy of consideration (though you already know how important I think digging deep in the study of God's Word is!)...

In every letter to the churches Paul founded, he wrote the same greeting:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ....

It's more than just a lengthy way to say "Hello," or "Dear So-and-So, I hope you are doing well..." 

To the Apostle Paul, as God breathes on the words he writes, EVERY WORD MATTERS!

He writes with intention. 

What he says he means.

What he puts before the readers, in essence, bubbles up in prayer from his heart.

He's not just saying, "hey there," He is offering up a whispered supplication from the depths of his soul for those to whom he is writing.

Since this prayerful greeting is in every epistle, it's important. 

Where you and I frequently gloss over it as we read, the churches understood the deeper meaning of those two words:




And that is exactly where I've landed in answering the question: "what can evangelicals do now?" 

Just as in the churches to whom Paul wrote, the Church today needs to exude the same "grace and peace..."

It should seep out of pores to the world around us.

William Barclay says in his commentary to Galatians: 

"When Paul prays for grace on his friends, it is as if he is saying, 'may the beauty of the wonderment of the underserved love of God be on you, so it will make your life lovely, too.'" 

More than anything, the evangelical church needs to be in wonder and awe at the grace that has been extended to us.

When it becomes "ordinary," we lose our sense of worship, and when we lose our sense of worship, the Lord Himself loses His mystery, and He becomes ordinary, too.

When Jesus becomes ordinary, He fails to attract the lost.

BUT, when we fully grasp the meaning of GRACE, we can't help but extend that same GRACE to others.

When we become consumed with the actions of Jesus on the cross on our behalf, we live a different lifestyle, one "worthy of His calling."  --- NEVER! NEVER! NEVER! out of a have-to (legalism), but out of a want-to (love)! ---

And, when we are swept up in the GRACE OF GOD for us, there is an unmistakable PEACE that reigns in our hearts.

Peace is the fruit of grace.

It's a complete absence of worry, of unrest, of hostility toward others, of contentment, and acceptance to the Sovereignty of God...

When GRACE is gained, PEACE follows - it is simply a logical order.

What can the evangelical church do right now? 

From heaven this prayer of Paul's still rises like incense to the Throne of Grace on our behalf...

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ....

Grace and peace are the two greatest indistinguishable marks of a Jesus-Follower. 

When we sit in awe and wonder, peace reigns...and we help others see just how attractive Jesus is. 

Let's raise His attraction-factor followers of Jesus!

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