31 August 2020

A fair amount of energy is going into the riots at Kenosha, as if the political process and the associated insurrection in the USA is the most important thing now. I’m ignoring much of this: I don’t live in the USA, and all I can do is pray for my friends who are trapped there. Our issues are around two cities in lockdown: BLM does not have much traction when the only US Blacks around are very professional, very powerful, and not afraid to let you know that. [1]

I am more worried about those who have a form of religion but deny the power of it. Who consider the church as a form of social work. They often fail as pastors after fighting vigorously to get a pastoral position, so get promoted to a staff position in the church, or a managerial position in a social agency. Or they, like one of the ministers of health whose career was ruined by COVID 19, become political activists and gain power that way.

They want the power. They do not understand that the only power we have is there to be given away, to serve others, and to give God the Glory.

Revelation 3:1-6

3 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3 So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. 4 But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

There are too many churches running on empty, and they are fragile. If the pastor does not run off with the secretary, his replacement will embezzle the church or the next generations of leaders will pander to the activists of this time in the hope that if they are inclusive they will gain souls… instead of preaching some hard truths.

The first is that we all need to repent. All of us. If we are not challenged by the word of the week, then either the pastor is not preaching the word or we have stopped listening to the Siprit of God [2]. We need to recall the fervour we had at our conversion. We need to recall how the church was more Godly. A broad hint: standards, moral probity, and an expectation that structures would be in place to keep people safe, particularly children, were part of this. Too many people have been soiled, and their clothing now has a rainbow of stains when it should be white.

The second is that there will always be some who seek God above all. Who do not fall into the trap of the spirit of the age, which will always ask us to tolerate the sins of this age while damning the sins of the previous one. Again, this is what we do more than what we say.

Being aligned with, or praised by, the people of this age is something that should frighten us.

Being dependant on platforms or institutions that are actively against the gospel should concern us.

But if, just if, we build lives together, let men challenge men and women support women in friendship, so that our faith is not what we do on Sunday but the core of our lives, then we can handle anything the world throws at us. For then we will be of God, and he will confess that before the hosts of heaven.

Aim for that, and shrug off the praise or damnation of the current feckless crowd.

1. The Maori and Pacific activists tried to get things going, then COVID came back, and they have been looking after their families, as they darn well should. The stirrers left trying to process don’t have any traction here: too many people have lost their jobs, from all groups in society. .

2. Our preacher said this week that if you don’t love people more you need to get on your knees and pray because God loves them. Ouch.