By Leon Skinner
The essence of our Christian faith is: Repentance, Faith in Jesus Christ, Baptism in water, Receiving the Holy Spirit and Sharing this same message with others.
We should then disciple those who believe and send them out to teach others the same message. This is the core of our faith. It is the lifecycle of Christianity. A very simple message but not without power. It is the cycle that our Lord Jesus has set in motion and it has transformed our world.
Disciples making disciples. Loving God and then loving our neighbours. Getting right with God then helping others to be right with God. Seeds within seed. Starting with one seed, falling into the ground and dying on the cross, a seed that bore many fruit, who in turn had more seed. So the cycle continues reaching all the way to the day we live in. We can still see the fruit of that one seed even in our own lives. His way works. History testifies to it.
However, let us not be ignorant of the devil and his devices. The devil tries very hard to stop us every step of the way. His aim is to twist our Lords plan that a simple powerful gospel is turned into a complex powerless one. He wants us to stop half-way. He wants to make us comfortable where we are. He wants to corrupt God’s commandments with man-made traditions so that it might be ineffective.
Let us do the opposite today, let us go back to the simple truth and examine ourselves so we may know what the next step of obedience is. And then take that next step. What does that mean? A step can be another tick on a to-do list that we simply get done, or a step can be another stride in this walk of faith. It should be a step of obedience, a stride closer to God. Something we pray about and consider and search out in the Bible. Most importantly our hearts need to be right with God every step of the way.
Friend, can I speak plainly? If we look at our world today: the needs, the hunger, the poverty, the unreached, the widowed, the orphaned, the sick and the poor. Our whole world is convicting us that our generation is lukewarm. We are disobedient. We are not going into all the world and we are not making disciples. We are not preaching the gospel. We are not relying on the Holy Spirit and our faith is without works.
If we were truly doing these things our world would have looked different. We might as well go back all the way and confess that we are still living in our sins. Most Christians will keep struggling with the same sins their entire lives. Can you find someone with repentance not to be repented of?
I am afraid for myself and for our generation since we are being disobedient to the simplest fundamentals of our faith. And I preach this first and foremost to myself. I am guilty. I am disobedient.
I know this is an unpopular message I share with you today but it is time for us to get fed up with lukewarm, shallow Christianity and stir up zealous flames of fire in our hearts. It is time to be obedient to the simple truth. To go back to the basics.
We need God to help us because we are a lukewarm generation who needs the Lord Jesus more than all. We need to truly repent with a repentance that does not need to be repented of. We need to overcome our sins by the blood and name of Jesus. We need to turn from our sins to the living God. We need fruitful faith, faith that is not dead but that is proved by works. Let us show the world our faith with our works, let us shine our lights. We need to be baptized as an act of obedience to the living God. We need to desire and pray for the Holy Spirit because we cannot preach the gospel without Him. We need the boldness, and the words that the Holy Spirit will put in our mouths at the right time. We need to disciple new believers properly. We need to help and disciple them through all the steps of faith: Repentance, Faith in Jesus, Baptism, Receiving the Holy Spirit and then they must go out and teach others the same.
This is not a religious to-do list. It is a journey of faith that we take one step at a time. Yes, we might stay on one step for a long time but the journey must go on. If we are disobedient the cycle is broken and everyone will suffer loss. Unreached people who will be born, live and die without hearing the name of Jesus even once. They will suffer because of our disobedience.
Will God hold disobedient Christians accountable for their souls? It is not a pleasant thought. But how can they hear if no-one preaches? How can we preach if we do not have the Spirit that gives us the words? How can we be born of Spirit if we are not first born of water? How can we be baptized if we do not truly have faith? How can we say we have faith if we are still embracing our sin? How can we turn from our sins if we are not convicted of them? How can we be convicted if we do not hear the simple truth?
Today friend, I do not say I challenge you but in the name of our Lord let us be honest with ourselves. Let us look at the steps of this walk with God, let us fervently pray and let us be obedient to the one true living God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us take the next step of faith. My prayer is that our hearts might be stirred ablaze into a zealous fire for the living God, in the Lord Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.
Infographic: Leon Skinner