To Change the Nation, Go Back to the Gospel Basics
It’s really not that complicated. Human nature hasn’t changed. Neither has the nature of sin, nor the antidote to sin, the blood of Jesus. The gospel is still the power of God to save, and if we want to see our society changed, we need to go back to the basics.
Of course, in every generation, we’re told this is not case. We’re told we must be relevant. We must adapt to changing times. We must keep in step with the culture. We must modify our message. Otherwise no one will listen to our words.
To the contrary, while cultural sensitivity is always important, what attracts people is a fresh encounter with the living God. What draws people is genuine love. What produces lasting change is the message of the gospel preached in the power of the Spirit.
Spiritual Hunger Draws People
That’s why I tweeted, “For years I’ve been told that, unless the Church does certain things certain ways, young people will not come. What I’ve found is that when the Holy Spirit is moving powerfully and Jesus is being encountered, young people will come in droves.”
For years I've been told that, unless the Church does certain things certain ways, young people will not come. What I've found is that when the Holy Spirit is moving powerfully and Jesus is being encountered, young people will come in droves.
— Dr. Michael L. Brown (@DrMichaelLBrown) July 11, 2018
To repeat: I’m all for social sensitivity. That’s why missionaries around the world learn principles of cross-cultural communication. And we recognize that dealing with young people is different than dealing with old people. No one is denying this.
But let’s be real for a moment. Homeless people do not go to a soup kitchen because they like the music playing in the background. Or because the people serving them wear color-coordinated outfits. They go to the soup kitchen because they are hungry.
It’s the same in the spiritual realm.
With my own eyes, I have seen people travel from more than 130 nations to attend unadvertised gospel meetings where the Spirit was moving. It was spiritual hunger that drew them.
With my own eyes, I have seen people stand in line outside a church building for 12 hours, from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, waiting for the doors to open. They wanted to get a seat in the nightly, 5-hour service that started at 7:00 PM. It was spiritual desperation that drew them — not famous speakers; not great musicians; not a beautiful building. And this phenomenon went on for years.
Desperate to Encounter God
The people were desperate for a fresh encounter (or, a first encounter) with God. And when they heard reports from friends and family about the wonderful outpouring that was taking place, no sacrifice was too great. They would get to the meetings, whatever it took. And they were not disappointed.
Nothing is more powerful than the gospel of Jesus.
It’s true that some of the speakers became very well-known during that season. It’s true that we had terrific musicians.
But there are plenty of churches with well-known speakers and terrific musicians. Yet people are not mortgaging their meager homes to buy plane tickets just to bring their family to one week of meetings.
Only Jesus is that attractive. Only the miraculous power of the Spirit can draw crowds like that.
That’s why I also tweeted, “In order to do effective ministry, you do not need to know the latest news events, the most popular movies, the trending political themes, or the hottest YouTube videos. But you do need to know Jesus.”
In order to do effective ministry, you do not need to know the latest news events, the most popular movies, the trending political themes, or the hottest YouTube videos. But you do need to know Jesus.
— Dr. Michael L. Brown (@DrMichaelLBrown) July 13, 2018
If we truly know the Lord, we can truly make Him known. And when people truly come to know Him for themselves, they will joyfully leave everything to follow Him. This applies to every generation. Every culture. Every ethnicity. Every age group.
The Ultimate Cure for the Heart’s Deepest Sickness
That’s why, if drug addicts and porn addicts are being set free; if the suicidal are receiving hope and depression is disappearing; if sick bodies are being healed and broken lives are being restored — people will come flocking.
We’ve seen it in the medical world time and time again. A family will stop at nothing to get a new, experimental treatment to save a loved one. They will sell their last possession and travel to the farthest corner of the earth to pursue a slender thread of hope.
But we have the ultimate cure for the deepest sickness of the human heart. We have a hope that is certain and definite and eternal. And we have a proven message with a proven method that can put failed marriages back together and deliver a teen from self-destruction and give purpose and meaning to a wasted life.
Nothing is more powerful than the power of the gospel of Jesus. And if we back the message with consistent, fervent prayer, nothing can stop us.
As E.M. Bounds wrote more than 100 years ago, “What the church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more novel methods — but men [and women!] whom the Holy Spirit can use — men of prayer, men of mighty prayer.”
Of course, we can do more than simply pray and preach. We can serve. We can love. We can stand. We can speak out. We can take action. There are many things we can do to help bring about positive change.
But, to say it again, nothing is more powerful than the gospel of Jesus. And if we want to see our nation changed, we must go back to the basics.
Are you with me?