A Task That Is Humanly Impossible
August 3 2009 by D.E. Parkerson

Jesus gave His followers a mission that was humanly impossible to achieve. A “heaven-sized task” can only be achieved if heaven’s power accompanies those who attempt it. When Jesus said, “Go ... make disciples ... baptize ... teach,” He also said “and I will go with you always — even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).

To achieve its divinely assigned mission the church must be IN the world, but not OF the world. Subtle and dangerous trends, however, have infiltrated the church. The line that separates it from the world is often all but obliterated. The beliefs and practices of the world are now accepted by a shockingly large number of professing Christians.

A.W. Tozer, in Keys to the Deeper Life, wrote, “The moral climate of the church is not that of the New Testament, but that of Hollywood and Broadway.” To the degree that this is true, it is a harsh but sobering criticism.

A recent Gallup poll on religion in America finds that more than 70 percent of all those polled believed themselves to be Christians. When pressed to explain why they thought that, many said they were Christians because they were church members, or because they try to live by the Golden Rule, not because they had accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and had committed themselves to being His disciple.

The church that patterns its doctrines and policies after those of the world simply does not understand the demands of genuine Christian discipleship. It may continue to exist, and may do many excellent things in its surroundings, but it cannot and will not achieve its divinely assigned mission.

In The Cost of Discipleship, the great German pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, warned Christians that “cheap grace” is not what God grants. The strength and hope of our relationship with the living God arise from His nature and from the sacrifice Christ made at Calvary. Our lives are to rehearse that sacrifice daily (Rom. 12:1-2).

Leonard Ravenhill of England said, “The H-bomb has disturbed everything but the church. The world sleeps in darkness; the church sleeps in light. The world is not waiting for a new definition of the gospel but for a new demonstration of its power.”

In his book, By the Power of God, Samuel Shoemaker stated: “Our greatest sin is not our sins of passion or our less obvious sins of attitude; it is our ineffectiveness in the presence of so much unmet need when we have access to so much power.”

God holds every church responsible for all the good it could do in the world — if only it were filled with Holy Spirit power. We are vessels, to be sure, but vessels to be emptied and refilled continually. The proper order is receiving, followed by giving. It is not continual receiving without giving.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Parkerson is a native of Georgia, a graduate of Mercer University (B.A.), Southeastern Seminary (M. Div. and Th.M.), and Campbell University  (D.D.).  He has served as pastor of one church in Georgia and five churches in North Carolina. Following retirement as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sanford on September 30, 1996, he has served nine North Carolina churches as interim pastor. His column, The Paper Pulpit, has appeared weekly in a few newspapers and other publications since 1958.  He and his wife, Jessie, live in Wilmington near their daughter and family.)

8/3/2009 6:39:00 AM by D.E. Parkerson | with 0 comments

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