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Jul 21, 2020 08:00am
It’s Time to be the Light of the World in the Darkness of Our Culture
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Right now, we are living in some of the most tumultuous times with a virus that has virtually brought life to a screeching halt and racial tension polarizing so many. 

The temptation is to pull back and seek safety from all the controversy and conflict.  

But in Made for More we are reminded, “The role of the local church is to be the mobilizing home base. This empowers all disciples to discover their personal calling then deploy them to express the fullness of Jesus into every corner of culture and into every sphere of society.”  

Are you expressing the fullness of Jesus?

This is not the time to retreat but to relish this opportunity to represent Christ well by loving well. 

The local church is . . .  

made up of the people of God who are 

saved by the power of God and 

saved for the purposes of God.  

As we strive to be full of grace and truth (John 1:14) we must stand for truth while not forgetting grace, and we must practice grace while not ignoring truth.  

Truth without grace becomes lifeless legalism and grace without truth, which leads to presumptuous pursuits. Orthodoxy (general accepted doctrine) in isolation always degenerates to a lifeless debate with little if any action.

Jesus Christ is in fact the King of the kingdom, the Head of his church, and is marshaling faith followers to accomplish his eternal redemptive purpose on earth. We are not to be a light hidden on a hill but rather lights in the midst of our communities and cities. 

What is God’s vision for your church in your community at this time? 

What does God desire to do through your congregation to show the love of Christ and present the life-changing truth of the gospel? 

Remember, this is not the time to retreat, but rather to embrace this opportunity to shine brightly.

How can you maximize Great Commission vitality through spiritual renewal and strategic initiatives at this time in your community through your church? 

First Peter 1:13-14 says that this is the strategy: “ Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance.” 

Peter wrote to believers who were experiencing extreme persecution and yet he challenges them to passionately follow Christ and to not retreat.

Peter offers a call to action where we are to prepare our minds by making sure we not only have the right doctrine but also the right mind-set with the right attitude.  

This call to action requires staying on your toes spiritually because it has never been more difficult to correctly navigate the cultural waters of our time both doctrinally and relationally. 

We can be right in our position but wrong in our deliverance and defense of that position. The temptation when under pressure is to scream exaggerations back at the other side.  

Peter reminds us to look forward to the revelation of Jesus Christ. We must prepare for this race with the long view in mind. 

Paul told the believers in Philippi to press towards the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. 

This is not the time to retreat but rather to relish this opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Have you ever had a dog that did not understand a leash? The dog continues to pull and press forward no matter how hard you try to pull back. While the Devil hopes we will pull back, we need to continue to represent our Lord well. 

Peter then admonishes these scattered, persecuted Christians to continue to be obedient children. When we realize who we are in Christ we then look forward to one day hearing, “Well done, my faithful servant.” 

The difference in our lives will be an unwavering obedience to the commands and teachings of our King. 

We are not to be conformed or fashioned to the patterns, purposes, priorities, or pathways of this world. 

We are instead called to be different in our hearts, which changes our attitudes and our mindsets. This is not the time to retreat!

Peter goes on to present to these believers the alternative to conformity: Holiness. There is no attribute of God more significant than holiness, which is defined as being separate, different, and distinct. 

The Old and New Testaments speak more about God’s holiness than any other attribute. Yes, holiness is running away from the sins and evil of this world (2 Corinthians 6:17), but more importantly it is being separated to a cause and way of life. Paul said that he was separated unto the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1). Paul did not retreat from that calling.

Holiness is not just what you are running from but who you are running to. Unfortunately, Christians wonder why the fun stuff is wrong, but if we really have our eyes on Christ and are pursuing him with our entire life, we do not miss the “fun” things we ran away from. 

Why would we want to go back to those things when we see the beauty, love, and majesty of a risen Savior? Just remember, this is not the time to retreat but rather to reflect Jesus Christ in every area of our lives.

In the midst of these tumultuous times we must continually ask, “What will bring God the most glory?” God will not do through you what you will not allow him to do in you.  

James MacDonald said it so well: “Only the glory of Jesus Christ manifest will take you to the finish line and leave you accelerating as you break the tape into eternity.”

Copyright © 2020 Larry Barker @ https://healthychurchpodcast.com/do-not-retreat/. Used with permission.No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.