Is it time for a lane change in the Church? Have we come so far from the Cross of Jesus Christ, that we need to now change directions and look for something”New”?
You don’t have to be in the Church very long and you will find that people will say that God is doing something or is wanting to do something “New” today and in some cases they say that people or things need to change for it to happen.
(Some people even suggest that we must cooperate with God’s newness or be left behind or possibly have Ichabod written on your doorpost, with the fear that God’s glory will depart from you or those who don’t embrace this new thing.)
But, is he really doing or going to do something “New”? Often each new generation of believers wants to feel as if God is doing something with them that he has never done before or in past generations and without it the next generation will be lost.
True, things around the Church have changed greatly since the cross and from those early days in which the Apostles first went out preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
But has the message itself, has it changed or does it need to change or be modified; has the world so greatly changed that the message of the Gospel that was first preached back then, that it is no longer applicable for today?
” all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8)”
This verse as well as other verses, reveals to us that God had a plan of salvation before the fall of man ever happened. Which means at the cross, (nearly 4000 years after Adam sinned); God’s plan hadn’t changed; his love and grace was already in place, knowing what he would do before Adam sinned.
Now, once the plan was put into operation (or after Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection), things did change! How people was to now worship God or make their approach to God did change. (However, these changes even though they were a “New Thing“, they too were also in the mind of God before he ever created man. And because this was part of the plan also, this newness didn’t start changing God’s plan of how people would enter into salvation.)
Now after another almost 2000 years later (today), God’s plan and message of salvation still hasn’t changed, nor will it. No matter how far we move from the cross or how much the world changes; it will always be the same message. (However, though this timeless message may not change, it does cause things to change and “New Things” begin to happen.)
Also, neither will the message have to be adapted or modified to reach any sinner or generation. (Other than speaking it in terms or a language that one can understand the message, but the message itself doesn’t change).
As time changes, we may find newer vehicles to deliver or newer ways to present the message: (Radio, Television, Satellite and Internet). But the message stays the same. (People are no longer dependent on the tent meetings to come to town to hear powerful messages from their favorite preacher.)
Jesus tells us, “that no one comes to the Son, except that the Father draws them“. John 1:9-13 lets us know we are not born spiritually by our own will, but by the will of God.
Simply put, our part is to present the same Gospel that God had planned from the very beginning and it’s the same message that was preached 2000 years ago. And then know it is then up to the Father and the Holy Spirit to draw the people to salvation through that message.
Some time back, I had a friend who was a long-haired, (covered in tattoos and piercings), drug using biker.
One day he went to an old-time Pentecostal Church, they preached the simple Gospel of salvation and showed him love in spite of what he looked like and his background, where he then accepted Christ as his savior. After a few years he felt the call of God on his life to preach Christ.
Strange thing was, he felt that God want to do something new with him; (Meaning), he felt that he needed to keep his long hair and biker look to reach those who were like he was, (he felt like he was the only one who could reach theses kind of people, so he had to look like them to do it!)
I laughed and said,” Aren’t some bikers bald?” He told me to shut up! I told him I was simply showing him that it wasn’t his hair that God needed or he couldn’t reach the bald people with his new message.
Then I asked him, “How many biker looking people preached to him in that Church, in order for him to get saved?” Again he told me to shut up! I told him that it’s not a certain look or appearance that God needed from him or he himself shouldn’t have been able to receive Christ in that old-time Pentecostal Church he was in!
My point; it’s not about cutting or not cutting your hair, it’s not about having or not having tattoos or removing piercings or not removing them. This isn’t what God looks for or needs to draw people to himself, nor are these the things that the Church needs in order to minister to the lost.
But what we need is the confidence, that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation; whether it’s preached in person, by radio, TV or the internet. It’s the message preached or spoken that God needs, it’s people’s love for other people and availability that God needs.
So is God delivering a different gospel or new gospel today in order for people to get saved? No he isn’t! It may be delivered to people in a way differently, (radio, TV, music…) Or, (it can be just something new being worked in us), God is using us in a way we never allowed God to use us before or work something new in us or our heart, but the message is never out dated and in need of change.
In some cases, things are being restored that has been lost or neglected by the Church, (as seen through The Reformation or the various Revivals.) And possibly, he is about to cause things to increase to a greater magnitude or intensify things as we get closer to his coming, but even then it really won’t be something new that he is using to reach the lost, rather it will still be the same Gospel that he has always used, but through a new you (new creation).
Don’t get me wrong, though I do believe God is doing new things in the earth today, those new things don’t change the message of Jesus; they are only used to help to get the message to the people who need the same “Old Message of Christ” and for those who haven’t heard it yet, it will be “New”!