Thursday, November 29, 2012

It is time for holiness to return to the church.

     Today it is difficult to tell the church from the rest of the world.  The divorce rate of Christians is the same (or higher) than that of the rest of the world.  We hear reports almost daily of pastors who have fallen into sin and there doesn't even seem to be an outcry against it.  What ever happened to holiness?  What about repentance with Godly sorrow?  Do we really fear God?  Have we decided He doesn't mean what He says in the Bible--that it only contains "suggestions" for living instead of His righteous laws?  Why aren't we ashamed of tarnishing the Name of Christ?
     We often believe a person is spiritual when he displays 'gifts of the Spirit' but it is 'fruit of the Spirit' that defines a Christian.  Matthew 7 points out that many who operate in 'the gifts' will not inherit the kingdom.  Then how are we to determine which ministries are representative of the Kingdom of God?
       In this excerpt from John Paul Jackson's November newsletter, he talks about the fruit of a Christ-like life and what we are to look for in evaluating ministries.  I appreciate his wisdom.  You can read the entire newsletter here, if you're interested.

      Healings, miracles, signs and wonders are not fruit; they are gifts, and that being the case, what fruit are we to look for in any ministry?
  • Do the people have a greater love and concern for others than they have for themselves?
  • Do they radiate a contagious joy that others feel and take on?
  • Do they ooze a tranquil peace when life’s events do not go the way they anticipated?
  • Do they show a steadfastness or unwavering nature in the midst of long suffering, betrayal or deep disappointment?
  • Do they display gentleness with others who appear weaker or less capable?
  • Do they have an overriding goodness that seeks the wellbeing of others over their own wellbeing?
  • Do they have a faith in the unseen and the “not yet” purposes of God?
  • Do they radiate a meekness or softness, evidenced by how they handle others when they disagree with them?
  • Do they display a temperance or an ability to master their passions and desires?
These nine points are found in Galatians 5 and are noted as fruit of the Spirit. All deeply spiritual people will have fruit that is spiritual. Why? Because thorns produce thorns and grapes produce grapes. That which is Spirit will always have spiritual fruit.
There must be a change in the moral fiber of the Church, because the culture is not to blame for the condition of the Church, but the Church is to blame for the condition of the culture. When the Church actually begins to behave like the Body of Christ, we will see the fruit of that — not only in our pastors and ministers but also in our judicial systems and in our politicians. In other words, the culture will reflect the Church’s passion for Jesus.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

That is a great word!