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"A Christian exists to
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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The above statement is one of those innocuous sounding half-truths that can be easily misconstrued so that people are misled. It was stated by a Bible teacher on a promotional CD made by Colin Urquhart’s Kingdom Faith Ministry, in 2004, called Impact.
When you take a closer look at why it was said, it sends a shudder down the spine. There is pride and self-seeking behind it – well disguised of course – as the deceiver, Satan, always does!
Now I don’t mean to imply that Colin Urquhart or Michael Barling who uttered the slogan are deliberately deceiving people. Good men don’t do that, and even most false ministers don’t deliberately deceive. They are just blinded to truth, and get caught up in the drift that has developed, usually without perceiving why. They go along with ‘the flow’, and it is human to seek acceptance, recognition, prominence, or popularity. So, reaching more people is the aim, and that end often justifies the means.
Slogans get coined to help promote the agenda.
But we should always question the veracity of what ministers say, and check their ‘drift’ according to Bible truth. That is the first step in contending for the faith.
It’s Not His Time
My kingdom is not of this world... (Jn 18:36).
Jesus didn’t come to establish His kingdom in this age. That is for the next age, the Millennium. His kingdom has come, only in the sense that He works invisibly by His Spirit, fashioning His character in the lives of the few whom He has chosen and called out of this world’s society, ideologically speaking. They are still in this world physically, and His Kingdom still awaits the birth of the next age to be fully realised.
When He comes back in shining splendour and awesome glory (Rev 19) all people will see Him. Then His Kingdom will be visibly and fully established on earth, and all people throughout the world will come to know Him and obey Him then (Mic 4:1-4).
But NOW, His Kingdom is not of this world. That has massive implications for gospel preachers! Yet, few perceive this truth. Many don’t want to perceive it!
The former is forgivable, the latter is not.
Where there is wilful sin, God’s truth is not able to shine.
Unfortunately, I have heard messages by Colin Urquhart and preachers cooperating with him, puffing up their audiences with false notions of ‘populist’ ideals – promoting mega-churches, seeking many converts, impacting society to change it radically in this age.
Yet, have they never understood Jesus’ words? He didn’t come, intending to change society – to impact it in that way. That isn’t what He intended.
He came to be rejected, despised, forsaken, and to die (Is 53). His first coming was to live His life as an example of righteousness for us to follow, and to die to pay the penalty of sins that none of us could pay. In His footsteps we are to follow, emulating that humble surrender to the will of God, not seeking pride or preeminence, or popular acclaim.
It is true that the early Church DID impact society! They turned the world upside down by their preaching after Jesus’ death and resurrection. But they didn’t set out to do this. That was not an objective. It was an outcome. Jesus laid the groundwork for it. The disciples didn’t try to do that, nor intend it, or plan it. They expected the opposite!
Had they planned to impact society in such a way, they would have been guilty of pride. And, they could not have done it anyway.
It was not because of them, but despite them, that Jesus engineered what He did, and society was impacted. But it wasn’t impacted in the presumptuous way Colin Urquhart’s ‘team’ envisage. What came eventually was further rejection, persecution and scattering, not mega-churches! That’s history’s record.
How Should We Impact Society?
Confrontation or contending is an inevitable feature of what occurs when the gospel is preached. Upholding truth, especially Bible truth, God’s truth, makes enemies. You don’t set out to make enemies but it occurs. It happens when truth is resisted.
That is one impact upon society. To most people it’s not a positive impact.
Positive impact is achieved amongst the few who accept the truth and begin to live by it. But they come out of society psychologically, and are no longer a part of it. They are part of the ekklesia, the called out ones – ‘the Church’. And by their positive example of living with God’s love, ideally others are brought to Christ, too.
That is the ideal, and it happens in some instances. However, often Christians are not good examples in society. They tend to be the weak of the world, not the wise and accomplished (1 Cor 1:26, 27). And society is not dramatically impacted by such ‘models’. The overwhelming majority of people in society carry on the same old way, ignoring the gospel.
Irrespective of the reasons why, God can only call a few at this time. Up to now He has only planned to call a few – in comparative terms. While believers are certainly millions, in relation to the billions on earth they are a minority, only a ‘little flock’ (Lk 12:32).
But they can impact society. However, it is not in the way that the promoters of Impact meant. They imply that society could be radically turned around, and the current system improved as a result. But God isn’t in the business of patching up and improving a satanic system that by its very nature and basis is destined to fall.
No, the impact to society is one of witness. A witness comes to court to testify. A prosecution witness testifies against the accused, presenting evidence or testimony that incriminates him or her. And so it is with a Christian’s witness. He testifies against society by his life, and to a lesser extent (where appropriate) by his words.
Society, for the most part, does not change as a result of his life. His life of righteousness condemns the wickedness of the wicked. It brings the wicked under God’s condemnation.
This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil (Jn 3:19).
Just as Jesus was the greater Light, so are you to be a lesser light, but one nonetheless that God uses to bring evildoers under His condemnation. You don’t have to say anything necessarily to condemn them. Your righteous example serves as a yardstick against which they can compare their lives.
You accepted Jesus and chose to live His way, but they didn’t, even though they knew you lived in His light of truth. That will condemn them in the judgement.
That is the main way you are meant to impact society.
What About Revivals?
"What about revivals?" people will ask. "Like the Welsh Revival, when Evan Roberts impacted society in a dramatic way, and they could no longer get the pit ponies to move because their commands were swear words, and the miners were so transformed that expletives were no longer heard on their lips?"
Agreed, dramatic changes have been seen in isolated areas where revival has broken out. But these have been relatively short-lived, and localised. And, most significantly, they have been sovereign moves of God – generated by Him, not by the whim or plan of man.
I believe they serve as an example to us of what CAN be done, when people put aside pride, self-will and self-interest, and are prepared to completely humble themselves. They serve as a reminder of what is to come after Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom on earth, and how wonderful it will be.
"So why can’t we achieve that now?"
For the simple reason that the motive of trying to achieve it is one that stems from presumption or pride. Men who lead churches or large ministries have often hankered after such an achievement. But they have overlooked the most fundamental and central aspect of WHY revivals come.
In one word it is repentance. But repentance cannot be engineered or produced by man. Only God can bring a person to repentance (Rom 2:4; 2 Tim 2:25).
Repentance follows from the moving of the Spirit on a person’s life, to bring them to a deep conviction of their sins. They are broken inside, and brought to a graphic realisation of how awfully they have lived. This happens as they are presented with truth, and God enlightens them at that point to see the error of their ways. Their genuine remorse allows the light of God to shine and transform them within.
But show most church leaders or ministers their sins and they will show you the door even quicker! For that reason, revival cannot come via Colin Urquhart’s Kingdom Faith movement. His presumptuous claim to fame in the name of his National Revival Centre in the UK has firmly shut the door on that. He has wanted to be the centre of revival that many have prayed for in the UK. But that very desire is what will prevent God giving him such a destructive success – for success in the physical can so easily bring destruction in the spiritual through pride.
The revival that is coming to this land – and I was given a prophecy about this coming when I was in one of his meetings about 11 years ago – is going to bypass those who seek elevation through it.
Such revival is not coming to impact society in the way most people humanly want. It’s going to prepare people for the horrors of the Tribulation that is fast looming over the horizon. Those dark days which Jesus prophesied (in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21 and Revelation 6) are a mere two or three years away.
A heaven-sent revival, in which people are humbled by a new awareness of their sins, is not going to come through the churches, where leaders are not open to the restoration God is performing. They don’t want to be told they got it wrong, or that their agenda was not God’s but their own, part-influenced by Satan!
Most of them will fight it, resist it, badmouth it – the very heaven-sent truths that are the foundation of the next age when Jesus rules! Can you believe it?! – most church leaders and ministry leaders resisting the very thing that many of them have prayed for, longed for, preached about, and thought they would help to usher in?!
Yet, that is the way God has always worked – the unexpected way. It humbles. And that’s His greatest purpose in all His work. Without it there can be no foundation for righteousness in your life.
Humbling, and acceptance of truth as a result of that humbling, is the foundation of revival. THAT is the way to impact society, yet it’s not what anyone seeks by themselves. God has to bring it. & Malcolm B Heap
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