Time for the church to take action?
In his two previous articles, Nigel Fox asked if we had an adequate view of Jesus is, challenging some of our preconceptions, and then explained why he believes that Jesus is now angry with the world. His final column in this trilogy is a call to action.
If what I have been pointing to is correct, or even only partly so, then what must we do? We know that all living organisms respond to a stimulus – even Church. Failure to respond is not an option for us.
Now, there may be things we have to come to terms with - Whilst I know Jesus to be so gracious and loving in ways that can transform even the most ‘difficult cases’ in redeeming sinful humanity, I cannot find anything to suggest He is happy with things like:
the way we’ve let this planet be misused and its biosphere damaged
the extent of poverty and disease, injustice, and misery
the abuses that children (especially) face
the threats of terrorism and destruction that tear communities apart
I am sure He’s not happy. More than that, Jesus is angry! Let that sink in…
The season of God’s own appointed times has changed. There is a growing conviction that we are facing a cry to wake up before it is too late. It is time for the Church to BE CHURCH as Jesus intends. Bearing in mind that Ephesians 5:14 is a wake-up call to the Church, for we are in a new season of opportunity.
Please look again at Matthew 25:1-13, which may well have been written “for such a time as this” i.e. before the final appearing (παρουσ?α) and the Day of Judgement.
Of course, we all think we’re among the five wise ones, don’t we? We’re equipped with both lamp (Word) and oil (Spirit). But we’re informed that all ten became passively soporific and had fallen asleep. While sleep is a physical necessity, it’s a spiritual danger-zone. The trouble with sleep is that:
we do things in our sleep that we don’t do while awake
we’re not aware that we are asleep until we wake up, and
we don’t like the alarm!
In some ways, the Church hasn’t been doing what it should and has been doing what it should not! It doesn’t really know that it’s asleep while it is asleep! But it doesn’t want to be awakened, either!
Prophetic messages from various places have been changing in their tone in recent years and months. They used to be so full of hope but, more recently, they carry serious warnings. Many will reject the call to wake up, but now is the hour to awaken.
Clear warning was once given to those at Ephesus (Revelation 2:4-5):
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
Final warning: Jesus has authority to do just that. We must do better than the Ephesians did, and repent! Yes, Jesus is so gracious. But He is not pleased. He’s also angry.
It’s time to wise up and wake up! Watch and pray!
Image by Lenora Cagle from Pixabay
Nigel Fox has served as a Methodist Minister since the mid-1980s, including 15 years since 2002 in Norwich, largely at Wroxham Road and with the Chinese Church. He still preaches frequently, but is now 'retired' and enjoys more time with his four children and eight grandchildren.
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