OUR PRIMARY MISSION – GET INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD

Chan shared that his latest book, Until Unity, was inspired by John 17, where Jesus prays for unity among the Body of Christ. Though he didn’t want to write another book, the bestselling author felt compelled to do so after seeing the severe lack of unity among believers. 

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Francis Chan criticises Western church for lack of unity and obsession with busyness

“When I look at Scripture, I see how much God wants unity. This is why Christ died on the cross; to make the two one. And I see how Ephesians four says that we actually grieve the Spirit of God by our disunity. I really believe this is God’s desire. And I just saw the Church getting worse and worse, and I would see the way people would bash each other. We’re getting further and further away from what God wants.”

The Crazy Love author emphasized the power of silence, citing Exodus 14:14, which reads “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still,” and Proverbs 10:19: “When words are many, transgression is not lacking.” We don’t know how to quietly be in awe of Almighty God together. If we did, we’d find ourselves on our knees, in tears,” he said. 

Unity, Chan stressed, “has to start with Christ; it has to start with, ‘Wow, I was created in the image of the triune God.”

“But how many people wake up in the morning and have this reverent awe?” he lamented. “And because we don’t have that, and we’re not spending time marveling in silence at God and our oneness with Him, we try to jump to, ‘OK, let’s all get along.’ And I’m going, ‘No, we cannot all get along if we’re not in shock that we are one with Him and He’s given us His glory so that we can become perfect.’”

“The reason why we fight and the reason why we’re so sure of our opinions … is we don’t get into the presence of God,” he said. “All of this horizontal stuff is because we really aren’t truly, with all of our hearts, soul and mind loving Him, and entering into His presence.”

The author said he fears that many Christians are becoming the “Second Timothy 3 group that are always learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.”

“I don’t want to be one of those that are constantly acquiring information but not knowing it,” he said. “I worry about my friends, everyone else that grew up in the same type of evangelical faith that I did that it’s busy, and we don’t take time to meditate and know these truths. If we did, we wouldn’t be so quick to speak.”

“Get alone with the Lord,” he advised. “Let Him open you up. You may find issues and He may find issues in you that you need to know are wrong. You may have thought you’re just going in for a checkup, and He cuts you open. We’ve got to get back to getting people into the presence of God.”

POWER OF PRAYER TO RELEASE GOD’S POWER TO ACHIEVE HIS PURPOSES

Great testimony from a pastor, Jason Hubbard. He admits the church he led was not a praying church until God stopped Jason in his tracks and challenged him about whose church it was. Did Jason truly believe the church could function as God’s church without prayer? That was the question God put to Jason. Listen to the transformation that occurred when Jason confessed his folly to the church and they obeyed God and became a praying church.

GOD HONOURS PRAYER & FASTING

Be encouraged by this 13 minute video of what has happened in Bourke (remote town in the”outback” of Australia)  largely with the indigenous people as a result of prayer and fasting and being involved in the 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting Movement in 2017. Check out their website http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org.au 

Now 12 Months later good things are still happening in Bourke. The churches are working together in new ways and are experiencing renewed favour in the community. The broader community is working together as never before. Crime rates are the lowest they have been for ten years. 

When did you and your church last participate with other churches in prayer and fasting for your community and the nation? It’s time.

TIME TO STAND STRONG AND STAY THE COURSE

Francis Chan speaks to pastors, realising there is an urgency at this time to challenge leaders of the need to be courageous and fearless, and to prepare their flock for the coming of the Lord. Of the need to stay on course, despite the tragic end times events that are unfolding. Don’t judge those outside the church, but we do need to judge those inside the church.

He takes us to 2 Timothy 3. In the last days there will come times of great difficulty, people will be lovers of self, “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”, even having the appearance of godliness.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3;1-7

He really challenges these pastors:

  • about loving their flock, as Jesus prayed to His Father that they would be one as we are one. Why? So that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
  • about teaching the truth of God’s Word.
  • about the truth of what can be achieved with the Holy Spirit.

 

CHURCH AS JESUS INTENDED & JOHN 17 UNITY.

In John 17:21, Jesus said that the purpose—goal—of His church here on earth would be accomplished by the testimony of UNITY in His church.

Why is unity so important? “that they all may be one, as You Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe you sent Me” John 17:21. It matters—because when unity is demonstrated to the world, it will be the testimony that Jesus is who He said He is – the only Son of God, Saviour. When Jesus is thus “lifted up” then all men shall be drawn to Him.

Paul continued to emphasise the importance of unity throughout his writings:

 “Be eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3

This is the vision and purpose Christ has for His body here on earth. Sadly, the world does not see a unified church.

What is the biblical model for unity of the Spirit in the church?

The perfect and highest expression of unity of the Spirit was modelled in the early church after Pentecost: “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers. Fear came to every soul. And many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common. They sold their property and goods and distributed them to all, according to their need. And continuing daily with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47).

Three distinct levels of unity of the Holy Spirit are actually expressed here:

Level 1 – Basics

(v. 42) “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers.”

Level 2 – Signs & Wonders

(v. 43) “Fear came to every soul. And many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”

Level 3 – A lifestyle of mutual support and sharing all things

All who believed were together and had all things in common. They sold their property and goods and distributed them to all, according to their need. And continuing daily with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-47).

Each of these three represents a progressively higher level of unity in the church, the body of Christ on earth. And, each of these levels is real, tangible, and measurable—just like the actual resurrected body of Jesus.

When you have time watch Francis Chan talk about church as God intended, with all of us using our Holy Spirit given gifts to further God’s Kingdom. Francis walked away from a church of 5,000 in California, when He was challenged by God that very few in the church were using their gifts, and the other issue was how many were really born again.

In the last days, will we see a church like that in the Book of Acts? Yes! we will, and in fact where the church is or has experienced persecution, we are seeing and have seen a unified church. In the Middle East, particularly Syria, the remnant church is unified and operating as the did the church in the Book of Acts and all three levels of unity are visible. The church in China that came out of 40 years of persecution under Mao, same story.

portion of this article was extracted from “Achieving True Unity of Spirit in Your Church” by Louis Posthauer. He is the executive director of Hunters of the Harvest Ministry.