“When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD: "He is good; his love to Israel endures forever." And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise,” [Ezra 3:10-13]
“This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: `Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty,” [Zechariah 4:6]
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him -- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD – and he will delight in the fear of the LORD,” [Isaiah 11:1-3]
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair,” [Isa. 61:1-3]
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise," [Proverbs 11:30]
The Church of Jesus Christ has endured many storms through the ages. But perhaps the greatest enemy of the Church is doubt. Even Satan doesn’t hold a candle to doubt. I think he knows this and does all he can to lead the saints of God into doubt. When we forget the promises of God for His people –then we’re in big trouble. But when we believe in God’s abilities and fully trust them, Satan is greatly concerned. But, as James would tell us, faith without action is dead. A true, believing faith believes and acts on that belief in God.
Throughout the world there are two primary models of how to do church: 1) Attractionist, and 2) Discipling. The first form of church is usually oriented to location –people even refer to the building as “the church.” People believe that bringing people to the church constitutes an act of bringing people to the Lord. Terms like “Lord’s House” (which is actually what the word church means) are applied to the location. This form of church is generally highly competitive, leading attractionist churches to either reform their programs to compete for the same 10% of the general population or eventually cease to be an attractionist church (which usually leads to the end of the fellowship). Some attractionist churches make the lost their primary focus, which can lead to more positive results (i.e. leading new people to Christ rather than trading the same people around). And rather than put emphasis on all the members winning the lost, these churches usually expect a small staff to do all of the soul winning for the whole church. Attractionist churches are usually popular with the middle class. But a discipling church has a different outlook.
Discipling churches do not give much attention to location. The emphasis is meeting together. Even the number of people meeting together in a group is not the focus. Rather than focus on property, the discipling church focuses on people and their needs. There are usually small groups of two or three people being mentored and discipled. The emphasis is always on the lost and on deepening in holiness. Loss of property is never a threat because the emphasis is always on people. Prayer is vital and people commit to praying others into the Kingdom. Discipling churches are spreading like wildfire in China, India, parts of Africa and, yes… all over the world –even in America. Discipling churches are much more difficult to count or identify because they are not fixed to a location. This is how the early church spread so fast throughout the world. In 300 years the church went from 3000 people to 20 million! How? Because the emphasis was on winning souls –by all of her members. The strength of the Church was her belief in Jesus Christ in all of life’s situations and that belief could not just be personal –it had to be for everyone.
Those who lead others to righteousness will shine like stars in the universe (Daniel 12). Without discipleship, a church will always cease to exist. Whether a church is attrationist or discipling, every church must be evangelistic. Jesus is the Savior of the whole world. But some do not understand this. But if a church rejoices with the angels every time a lost soul comes home, then, like in the days of Ezra, the rejoicing will be great, even though some are weeping and wailing.
For all of us, our ultimate goal as His church is not what we want, but what He wants. In all things, may our question be, “What does Jesus want?” To Him be the glory, power, dominion and praise forever and ever. Let’s win some souls for Him!
On the Solid Rock we stand!