"The Resistance (Pt.3)"
TEXTS: Matt. 24:10; 2 Thess. 2:9; 1 Tim. 5:11-13
1. Believers are called to resist the common worldview that claims human life consists solely of what we can observe with our senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell). This mindset ultimately eliminates the presence of the spiritual world (which we are unable to observe with our five natural senses). In reality, there is an unseen spiritual “world” that consists of supernatural beings. Some of these beings are ambassadors for the Lord, while others represent the powers and influence of darkness. We refer to these beings primarily as ‘angels’ and ‘demons’.
2. The elders of ALAG–who are called to care for, guide, and protect the souls of the congregation–feel obligated to continue the ‘specific’ work that the Lord seemingly intends for us to carry out on our grounds. Meaning, working through the effort, prayers, and lives of past generations, God established and ordained that our church would proclaim and live out pentecostal doctrine (this can clearly be observed by our church’s voluntary affiliation with the Assemblies of God). Therefore, our spiritual leaders see that it is necessary to offer a worship service in our community that encourages people to pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, teaches charismatic doctrine, and creates ‘spaces’ where the gifts of the Spirit can operate in an uplifting and edifying manner.
3. One of the more compelling pieces of evidence upholding the truthfulness of Jesus’ claims is the number of present followers–slightly over two billion–that honor and serve Him as Lord, Savior, and Creator.
4. Followers of Christ will often find themselves battling the temptation to have a passive nature in relation to their personal relationship to Christ and His Church. We are presented with an abundance of options concerning how we will spend our time and what habits we will fill our lives with. And it is quite easy–and sadly all too common–for believers to get lost in all the options as we go about our daily routines and find that we have essentially “forgotten” about God and His Kingdom. Meaning, our passion for God’s presence becomes diminished and we find little to no desire to share the gospel with the lost world.
5. There is no such thing as a “light-hearted” commitment to God and His Kingdom. The Bible proclaims that there are only two options to select from when considering our personal commitment to Jesus–you have either made the commitment, or have refused to. In other words, you are either ‘in’ or ‘out’; there is no “in-between.” Culturally, it is common for us to observe people who claim to follow Christ but display no evidence of being committed to Him and His Word. This “light-hearted” commitment that can be observed in our culture does not show up anywhere in the Bible as an appropriate response to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
6. Believers need to resist the possibility and likelihood of their love growing cold. If we are not intentional about spiritual growth and cautious about what we fill our minds with, our initial ‘warmth’ towards Christ and His Kingdom can begin to dwindle away. If we find within ourselves an unwillingness to be humble, teachable, and open to hear the voice of the Lord through others, then we need to be aware that we are on the path that leads to a “cold” heart towards Christ and His Kingdom.
7. Some people tragically assume that the “end” of the Church Age–which the Bible commonly refers to as “the day of judgment”–will be so discernible that they will be able to repent and turn to Christ just prior to the day of judgment. This flawed concept is tragic because the Bible reveals that a “strong delusion” will be present during the end of days and such a conversion is highly unlikely, albeit impossible.
8. Children of God should earnestly strive to produce spiritual “fruit” and be conformed to the image of Christ. A failure to do this increases the amount of temptation we face concerning living ‘idle’ lives. Additionally, the Bible ties gossip and backbiting together with idleness. This reveals during times of idleness we will often gravitate towards actions and words that harm (ourselves and others) instead of edify.
TALK TO EACH OTHER:
1. It may be beneficial to consider what you would say to someone who is highly skeptical about the existence of an unseen spiritual world. What would you say to someone who holds this view (if you were endeavoring to share Christ with them)?
2. Why is the presence and amount of followers such a compelling piece of evidence regarding the truthfulness of the gospel? Is it just because the number is so large? Or does it communicate other truths that allude to the Word of God being a true and reliable revelation from our Creator?
3. How would you define what it means to become a "passive" Christian? What can we do to ensure that we guard our hearts and lives from succumbing to this temptation?
4. What are some of the most common factors in determining whether or not our love will grow cold?
TALK TO GOD:
Pray as you feel led concerning the following areas:
- Against passive faith; for our church to passionately worship and serve the Savior
- That we'll seriously consider the necessary actions we need to be committed to, the actions that guard against our love growing cold; for whole-hearted commitments