Setting the captives free

Christians have a basic mandate to set people free from bondage. The fact that slavery could exist in America, which is a nation devoted to freedom, is evidence of a great disconnect in the mind and theology of the nation at that time. However, some did see this disconnect and preached freedom for all.

For nearly a century, this went on with seemingly little effect. However, these faithful messengers were preparing the ground, and their words were accomplishing their purpose. As we discussed previously, when the nation was ripe for it, like dry tinder, the anointed Word became a spark that lit a fire that could not go out until all of the wood, hay, and stubble had been consumed. Slavery was abolished. Even if the Word is preached under great anointing and clarity, it may not seem to accomplish much until the conditions are right, but this Word is helping to prepare the conditions. That is why, as Paul indicated to the Corinthians, all servants are doing their part whether they sow or reap, and we do not really know who should get the most credit.

This does not matter – we all must simply be obedient. When a great revival has been ignited, it may be more the fruit of faithful preachers in that region who have laboured for a long time than the result of the one preacher who happens to be giving the message when the spark ignites a flame. However, when the flame is ignited, the work is not finished, and in many ways has only begun. What is that work? The ingathering of new believers and establishing them in the kingdom. This is called discipleship. Studies recently published by the research group Barna indicate that as many as 65 percent of the population groups called baby busters and Mosaics (those born after the baby boomers) consider themselves to have made a commitment to Christ, and yet only 3 percent have a Christian worldview.

This reveals that Christianity has been very effective at getting people to make decisions for Christ, but obviously not very effective at discipleship. Other studies have shown that you cannot distinguish most Christians from heathens in basic character issues such as lying, stealing, fidelity, and basic morality. This is clear evidence of failure in our most basic commissionthe Great Commission, which is to make disciples, not just converts, teaching them to observe everything that the Lord has commanded us. This mandate to make disciples was not just for individuals but for nations. This is indeed a tall order, but the Lord does not give us orders that He does not intend to empower us to carry out. As spiritual fires are now being ignited around the world, and we can expect many new converts, we must also look at those who may have been converts for a long time, but have not been taught or made disciples.

For just one sinner to repent, we are told that this causes rejoicing in heaven and should on earth too. While rejoicing in this, we must also take this new convert as a sacred trust, just as we would not allow a newborn to try to raise itself. True, biblical discipleship must be restored for the church to accomplish her purpose. Reproduced from Morning Star Ministries with permission.

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