Psalm 71: 17-18 “O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” (KJV)
Generations Reaching Our World Through Holiness
There is a church that has adopted the name Generations and it should be understood, this message is not an advertisement for that church. It is a call that rings out from Heaven that we, the people of God should reach every generation with the truth of salvation and the power of the resurrection. God has done mighty works in our lives, miracles in our families, and delivered each of us from a life of sin. He has taught us His way and commanded that we teach others. Jesus is the bread of life! (John 6:32-33)
He came to give life, teach holiness, and reconcile mankind’s relationship with God our Creator. The great commission is that we take His message to those who have never heard it. Jesus said, “… Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 NIV) He is with us as we step out to teach every generation and church growth is the result.
GROWTH — Generations Reaching Our World Through Holiness, depends on the divine power of God being manifest in our lives. That power offers anything we need for a life of righteousness and true holiness. It leads us into a life of integrity and purpose. We live in a world that does not understand or accept our values. Many of us work in environments that push our spirituality, faith and patience past the point of human endurance to test and approve our call. It cannot be accomplished through our effort it must be the power of God.
This year has been one of those testing years for me. It began with my father suffering a massive stroke. From there everything went from bad to worse as he, and the rest of the family, rode the roller coaster of personal care in and out of hospitals, skilled care facilities and back home — only to wind up back in the hospital. Add to that an ever changing secular work place and a full-time ministry that can only be fulfilled after the workday is completed — now you are beginning to appreciate my struggle. Teaching in a public junior high school, serving as Pastor in a home missions church, being a loving husband and devoted son all offer me countless opportunities for GROWTH. Yet, I often feel like a failure. Is your story much different?
The purpose we strive to attain is shining with and for the glory of God no matter what the world sends our direction. Standing only in the strength of God’s grace allows us to reach out with compassion to those around us. We reach out to the world with the hope of salvation because God has given us great and precious promises — Not because we have attained perfection. Our struggle and our most dangerous downfall becomes attempting to reach His goals in our own strength. We all suffer the same temptations and none of us can experience spiritual GROWTH without God’s intervention. (1Corinthians 10:12-13)
We have been offered an escape from the corruption that surrounds us. We share that offer with others as we live a life of righteousness. The world will notice the difference in us and be drawn to the presence of God, not our preaching. They will be drawn to the love of God, not our condemnation. Is it possible to be talking about two aspects of GROWTH at the same time? On one hand, we are addressing numeric growth, which is near and dear in the heart of every Pastor. On the other hand, we are discussing spiritual growth; both are vital to the life and health of the church. Generations cannot be busily Reaching Our World Through Holiness if there is an absence of personal spiritual growth within the individual believers who make up the church.
Developing Godly character through the free exercise of faith, goodness, self-control, and kindness facilitates growth both spiritually and numerically. Possessing these qualities ensures our effectiveness and productivity within the Kingdom of God. Our personal relationship with Jesus prevents spiritual blindness if it is a living, active, and growing relationship. Our corporate involvement in the church prevents spiritual atrophy. Believers are equipped for every good work and every generation has the responsibility to reach our world through holiness. Our participation in the act of evangelism is the product of His power at work in us. (2Peter 1:3-11)
We are all called to be productive members of the body of Christ. No matter how young or old we are there are people we can introduce to the Savior. We have been cleansed from our past sins for a single purpose. We must allow the truth of the Gospel to shine through us. This acrostic should speak to us the reality that everyone can minister to someone. Generations — every age group of people, Reaching — actively ministering to the needs of people, Our World — the place in time and space we occupy, Through Holiness — complete submission to the authority and righteousness of Christ.
Effective ministry today will not look like the effective ministry of the past. Generations change, style, language, expectations, musical taste, they all evolve into a unique mix called culture. Ministry that inspires and cultivates GROWTH must address these issues. The only constant is the message of the cross and the offer of a vibrant relationship with the living God. Reaching people with the news of salvation can only be accomplished as we meet real needs in contemporary society. The outward appearance of holiness that has been promoted by the church has become a principal point of division when it should be the foundation of unification within the body of Christ.
Holiness comes from the inside. It cannot be manufactured by strict adherence to an outdated list of rules and codes of conduct. The key is submission to the Lordship of Christ. Keeping our spiritual eyes focused upon Him guides us according to His light. Serving Him faithfully in every area develops holiness in us. (Matthew 6:22-23)
Exponential and explosive GROWTH happens as it always has through devotion, fellowship, and the presence of God. The New Testament Church experienced phenomenal growth for three reasons. 1) The disciples were devoted to the message. 2) The fellowship and identification as the family of God brought unity in their actions. 3) The presence of God was established by their praise and God’s power was evident through His demonstration of signs and wonders. (Act 2:42-47)
Stepping back to examine GROWTH — Generations Reaching Our World Through Holiness, in the first century church, we notice three things. First, every believer was devoted to the teachings of the apostles. Those teachings are the New Testament as we have it today. So, they were devoted to the Word of God. That devotion took on a personality of its own and was demonstrated both corporately and individually. Second, every believer was committed to fellowship. Their devotion to the Word of God developed a deep emotional bond with other believers. The familial bond between believers formed a sense of community. They shared everything with each other. We can understand the vast amount of love required for that level of commitment if we think back to our last holiday meal. Now imagine maintaining, or rather, extending that spirit of love and generosity daily. It would be impossible without the intervention of the Holy Spirit. The Third and final reason for explosive church growth during the Apostolic Age was the outpouring of God’s divine power. God’s power is part and parcel with His presence. The presence of God is established through praise; therefore, we can conclude the New Testament church was filled with praise directed toward God. Anytime the people of God employ praise and worship the presence of God descends and needs are supernaturally met. Because God is the same yesterday, today and forever, it is available to us even in our contemporary setting.
Do you desire GROWTH in your personal life, church family, or professional experience? It all flows from your relationship and submission to Christ. Generations Reaching Our World Through Holiness begins with personal revival. Examine the three elements that led to explosive evangelism and exponential growth in the early church. How do we as a community of believers measure up? It is time to praise the Lord. Drawing His presence near through praise will infuse us with energy, devotion, and excitement for the things of God. It is time to re-establish unity and a sense of Christian community. It is time to demonstrate our devotion to the Word and will of God by exercising our ability to worship and serve. The power of God to supernaturally meet needs flows from His presence. His presence is easily recognized in an atmosphere of praise. GROWTH follows revival and revival is a deeply personal experience — Not a corporate emotional high generated by a dynamic speaker. Generations — every age group of people, Reaching — actively ministering to the needs of people, Our World — the place in time and space we occupy (contemporary society), Through Holiness —complete submission to the authority and righteousness of Christ. Answer the call to discipleship today and begin to experience phenomenal spiritual GROWTH.