There are those of the Church who are burdened about the current weakness of the Church’s spiritual influence.
Based upon Scripture, the two previous articles have referred to the concern in terms of the Christian wall that has been breaking down. You perhaps wonder what it will take to rebuild the Christian wall where it is breeched and broken. We have taken our cues for answers from Nehemiah chapter four.
Part of the answer for Nehemiah for successfully rebuilding the Jerusalem wall involved standing up to the critics. Criticism can stop many projects. But, Nehemiah stood up to the criticism of the opposition by way of reasoned responses and courageous determination.
The same must be true for rebuilding the Christian wall. The Church must stand up to the critics by reasoning well the Scripture. I have always instructed our sons on this very point — reason well the Scripture. Apostle Paul said, “… withstand in the evil day, and having done all … stand. Stand …” Paul was not cowed by the critics. He once stated that he was going to stay longer in Ephesus because there were many critics. Apostle Peter stated, “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you of a reason of the hope that is in you.”
Reasoning well the Scripture keeps one from being brow beaten and beaten down by the critics of the Church. Criticism is ultimately thwarted by courageous determination when effectively withstood in the strength and power of the Lord. Remember that Jesus Christ instructed the Church that the gates of hell cannot prevail against a determined Church. Perhaps the people of the Church should often revisit this powerful encouragement.
To this point, our cues from Nehemiah chapter four for rebuilding the Christian wall involve changing the perspective of the culture of the Church, and standing up to the critics. A third cue is the following: the people of the Church must prepare spiritually to successfully rebuild the Christian wall. How shall the people of the Church prepare spiritually?
It begins with getting armored up. You see, those who opposed the Jew’s work on the wall threatened to attack the rebuilders at any moment. So, Nehemiah instructed his workers to armor up. Nehemiah said, “I set the people with their swords, their spears, and their bows.”
The obvious Scriptural comparison for the people of the Church comes from Ephesians 6 which instructs concerning the armor of God. “Put it on,” Paul said, “that we might be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
How does one put on the armor of God? You pray it on piece by piece, and, when you do, you become prepared spiritually to deal with the spiritual battles that most assuredly come from rebuilding efforts of the Christian wall, as well as any other spiritual battle with which you are confronted. Christians cannot expect to be victorious unless they are spiritually prepared with the necessary parts of God’s armor involved in their lives.
How shall the people of the Church prepare spiritually? Nehemiah told the people, “Be not afraid. Remember the Lord, which is great and terrible.” He encouraged them in terms of preparing to have faith in God.
If the people of the Church are to expect success in rebuilding the Christian wall, it will require having faith in God. This is a spiritual-preparation must. While it is true that pride goes before a fall, it is exceedingly true that faith in God precedes spiritual victory. After all, the Scripture points out that “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world … and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” We can absolutely trust the Lord.
How shall the people of the Church prepare spiritually? This point comes from a simple instruction from Nehemiah that the workers “lodge in Jerusalem” each night. A comparative point to cite for the people of the Church is that we decisively “lodge in the house,” that we remain decisively committed to Church attendance.
Besides, worship at church is not a Scriptural suggestion, it is an expectation. Church is not only the place to corporately worship God, but it is also a place where we advance and mature in spiritual preparation. Failure to attend church faithfully by people associated with the church has definitely weakened the strength and influence of the Church at large.
Do the people of the Church have the spiritual will to rebuild the Christian wall?
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.