The Essentials of Our Christian Faith and Service
The essentials of our Christian faith are based on four truths: The first one is that those who serve the Lord must put their full trust in Him and remain faithful to His word. According to Hudson Taylor, the missionary to China and the founder of Faith Missions, “God’s work done in God’s way and at God’s time, will never lack God’s provision”. So we must always seek for God’s direction in our ministry duties. And thus, God’s Word, should be the guide and companion for every Christian worker. We must understand that, God’s written Word is inerrant and authoritative in all aspects of a Christian life. When we read it, and internalize it (apply it to our situation and life), it becomes God’s Rhema word- alive and active and powerful. Of great essence is that, the Bible is God’s redemptive plan for His creation which He invites mankind to be a partner in fulfilling it, and that is the basis of our faith.
The second truth, which is closely related with the first one, is that as God’s servants, we must practice hearing and obeying the voice of God on a daily basis. This is because the power or success of any Christian ministry is not in the eloquent or many well fashioned words we use in praying; but in the ability to hear and obey the Voice of God and obediently act upon God’s Word. This requires the discipline of patience and humility. It also requires an intimate relationship between us and God. We must learn to listen to God before we can speak to Him. To help us understand the subject of Hearing and obeying the Voice of God, Loren Cunningham in his book “Is that Really You, God” has given us the three steps in hearing the voice of God. According to Loren, the three steps are: (1) Take authority over the enemy, (2) Clear away any preconceived ideas, and then (3) listen for Jesus Voice. God created us for fellowship and companionship and He has a better plan and agenda for us. But we must be willing to hear Him and obey His voice to understand that agenda.
The third truth is about God’s will which is revealed in His Word. God has given to us the Holy Spirit to help us know and understand that will when we meditate on God’s word in prayer. In His Word, God has given us the revelation of His will. He shows us His plans for us, His people, and for the world. With the most precious promises of grace and power, He carries out these plans through His people. But the Holy Spirit will quicken our hearts and minds to understand God’s word and illuminate our minds for understanding. Therefore we must yield ourselves wholly to the Word and Will of God in order to discern what God’s perfect will for our lives is. We must, at the same time, yield ourselves fully to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We need both the Word of God and the Leading of the Holy Spirit for us to discern the will of God for our lives.
The fourth truth is about the Local Church. The church is “the called out ones” and it has a connotation of being called out of the world and sent back into the world as Christ’s ambassadors. As evangelicals in Africa, our passion and livelihood is to see the local church taking its mandate in fulfilling the Great Commission. God’s plan and ultimate purpose is to have a people who are recreated in Christ Jesus from every nation, language and people groups, fully yielded to His kingship and whose all-consuming passion is to glorify Him and become an extension of His divine purpose and person. God has chosen the church (His redeemed people) to accomplish this purpose. The re-statement of the Great Commission as we have it in the gospel records and in the book of Acts was actually given to the 11 disciples of Jesus, who at the time were the local Church. In Ephesians 1:4-5, Paul reminds us that “Long ago, even before He made the world, God chose us to be His very own through what Christ would do for us. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Christ. And this gave Him great pleasure”. As God’s servants then, our faith should be cultivated and matured through the local church.