- Lorie Hedgepeth
Change Is A Product of Choice.... Not Chance
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
I Cor. 6:9-11
Paul shares a long list of people that absolutely will not enter the kingdom of God and follows that list with this incredible statement: “but such WERE some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God”. From these scriptures, we learn that at salvation, a regeneration takes place--a change that no amount of will power, counseling or rehabilitation can produce. Paul was changed from a persecutor to a preacher. The Gadarene demoniac was changed from a mad man to a missionary. Peter was changed in character from a “reed” to a “rock”. The Gospel we preach and the message we share offers those whose lives have been ruined and ravaged by sin to be redeemed and changed by God’s great grace and measureless mercy. Indeed, God’s mercy can rewrite our life.
Change is not some allusive dream. The power to change is inside every believer in God’s church. With faith, fervor and passion, we preach that we, as God’s people, need not be defeated by the world, the flesh or the devil, for “greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world”. The same power that enables us to break the cycle and shackles of sin also enables us to change and become what God intends us to be as a church.
Pre-Pentecost, the core group of the church was frail and fragmented. Thousands followed Jesus at different times but, only 120 gathered in the Upper Room to wait for the Promise of His Spirit. Even the disciples met secretly behind closed doors for fear of the Jews. The verses and chapters that follow Acts 2:40, describe a united, bold, progressive, and aggressive church. The same God that worked then, works now in God’s Church.
Just as individuals can change, churches can change. Youth groups can change. Boards can change. It may seem your obstacles are greater than your opportunities. The voice of discouragement may have convinced you that too much has been too wrong for too long and your church will never change. Don’t believe or accept that. Regardless of history or adversity, every church can be changed and charged with the power of the Holy Spirit. Your community needs your church. May every church be what it needs to be, to be effective in winning the lost and discipling the saved!