By Paul Ravenhill
Somehow in each generation the whole history of mankind is played out again.
Somehow in each individual the whole history of mankind is played out again.
There is always creation (natural and spiritual)... innocence, and battle, the presence of evil and the purpose of God.
But each generation carries, as an inherent part of itself, a transition.
Maybe it seems overly obvious to state that this generation is our generation.
This is the place of our opportunity.
This is the place of our responsibility.
We have only the present in our hands. The present, different from the past and different from the future.
The past is beyond our reach.
We may study the men of God of the past.
We may study moves of God of the past,
but the operations of God represented there belong to another generation and will not be repeated, anymore than John the Baptist was a repetition of Elijah, or Elijah a repetition of Moses.
The future too, is veiled. There may be indications of coming storms (or dawns) but this is partial and we must walk by faith. God does not reveal the future to us in detail.
Amos said God would show His secret to the prophets...
yet prophesied nothing of the great earthquake which shook
Jerusalem two years later.
Every generation is a transition, nonetheless within the march of history some generations witnessed a greater transition than others, a transition which is profound, final. Generations which are not just "continuances" but which mark an end and a beginning. I believe our generation is such a one. As I mentioned in the recent posting "What time is it?" we live at the end of an age, just as surely as Luther, Wesley, or Booth. Many of the mainstays of contemporary civilization have outlived their usefulness and the anachronic structures of the past are now found to be the things which suffocate the opportunities and challenges of the future.
I believe we will see many of our cherished institutions crumbling in the near
future, in the world around and also within the church.
I believe at this time of transition we, in our generation, are in a special way,
a vital link in the chain of the outworking of God's eternal purpose here. And
if we can see this
We are the ones whose turn it is to "fight the fight" and "keep the faith."
We are the ones whose turn it is to perceive the heavenly vision
and declare God's purposes in the midst of mankind.
Where does the process start? How may we prepare ourselves to hear and to respond to that call? I believe the first thing is honesty - an honest look at the principles and practices of our lives and our churches. Just as businesses can resort to fanciful esoteric book keeping to cover failure, so in Christian circles there has been much adjusting of truth in order that it fit our reality and "balance our books." Both quantity and quality seem to have been vastly exaggerated as the church looks at itself at home and overseas - What does a "membership" of thousands of people mean if on Sundays only a small percentage of them attend church? What about the converts who somehow never form part of the congregation?
What about the quality? - If these folk don't ever come to church at meeting time can they be born of the Spirit of God? - Or is their's just the interest of a passing emotion?
What about the tide of sin which seeps around our churches? What about the stifling darkness? - Are we making any impact there? Can it be that the community around not reflect the influence of so many Christians?... So great a move of God? What of the bars, the violence, the injustice?
Is this God's glorious working or is it man's shading of reality?
We could go on and on about different aspects of our worship and activities but suffice it to say that if we would take the scalpel and remove the dead matter from our churches and lives to get to reality we would be shocked. As I have mentioned before, the Kingdom of God is where the King is Present... is Ruling... is Working. Can we honestly appraise to what degree this is true in our experience? Can we face the truth?
A thorough examination by the Holy Spirit will not only show us our condition, but will show us God's desired foundations; the unalterable things of God which He desires to work out "on earth as it is in heaven." God is the same in heaven as on earth - When He visits man He always does it in the fullness of His power and His purpose. He comes as He is, the First and the Last, the Source and Sustenance of Life without limitation, the One to Whom all power is given in heaven and in earth. There is never a day when He will settle for anything less than the heavenly standard or a day when He doesn't have the power to do His work. He aims for a reconciling of all things; a bringing into harmony with Himself of every part of man's nature and man's world - the coming in our midst of His Kingdom of Life and Fullness.
As we see God's standards and our own level of reality these reference points will allow us to look to the future and discern the unveiled purpose of God. Then as the prophets and saints of the Old Testament, we will be a people on earth holding the Eternal portion of God in our hands and carrying the Kingdom through to another generation. We will hold the faith and be the link that God desires us to be in joining the past to the future until the day when all the earthly generations reach their end and the Light of Eternity shines forever.
Copyright © Paul Ravenhill 1997 - http://www.ravenhill.org/