Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Church is Packing Heat

News stories frequently highlight the twists and turns of sin in a hundred variations, and, on occasion, shed light on how the evangelical community is seeking to operate with regard to sin’s influence.

On a recent Sunday (Dec 9, 07), there was another shooting by a crazed gunman, this time targetting Christians in Colorado, at the YWAM training center in Arvada, and then at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. This event, like the others, are tragic and troubling. There are so many issues upon which we as a society should reflect.

But the aspect of the story that caught my attention was the fact that the gunman was stopped by an armed security guard at a Sunday morning church gathering. I will be watching closely this coming Sunday to see if our ushers are packing heat.

Leaving aside the propriety of guns at worship gatherings, I would like to take the theme and run with it. The Church of Jesus Christ is indeed “packing heat,” though not the kind for which news reporters and paranoid pastors will be watching.

The Holy Spirit
When Christ ascended, He poured out His Spirit upon His Church, and we serve, pray and worship only in this Spirit. Every activity undertaken without the Spirit’s guidance and enablement is destined to be merely temporal, and actually detracts from the mission. We “pack heat” in that the Spirit of God is the One who provides the Church with power.

The Gospel
What message can change a life, and bring about the most dramatic reversal “from death to life?” What news is so good, that it drives all others stories, no matter how troubling or tragic, into the background? Only the Gospel. It is the “power of God for salvation to all who believe” (Rom 1:16).

The holiness of God is so overwhelming, that sinful humanity cannot stand in its glory. And yet, redeemed sinners are declared holy, and progressively transformed into holiness by the sanctifying (holi-fying) work of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit. This is “packing heat” in the sense of bringing white-hot, out-of-this-world sunshine into human experience.

What can melt the heart of stone? God’s love. And God has demonstrated His love in sending His Son, Jesus, as sacrifice for our sins (Romans 5:8). That is a very hot love. And now, followers of Jesus Christ are to be the carriers of that very same kind of love, by which other hearts may be melted so they can be changed toward holiness through the Gospel administered by the Holy Spirit.

I am thankful that more lives were not taken last weekend as the gunman was stopped in that confrontation by the security guard. But I desire a Church that packs the kind of heat specifically ordained by God to reach a very cold world.

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