“When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
When pastors and other church leaders get together they often talk about renewal. Well, they don’t always use that word, but that’s what they are talking about. “Renewal” is what theologians call it, church development people call it “revitalization,” and normal people call it “revival.” Whatever you call it, it is really all about the process of being made new again. You might ask, “Why do we need that. Is there something wrong with us?” The answer to that question is, “Yes, there is.” And that isn’t a personal criticism; every person has sinned and fallen short, and continues to sin and fall short. Everyone has missed the mark and continues to miss the mark. As a result, the image of Christ, in which mankind was created, is continually deformed, distorted, and blurred by our disobedience. If the world is to come to know Jesus, that image needs to be made new again. That is what the Holy Spirit desires to do in us moment after moment, day after day, as long as this life lasts.
Take my word for it, the church in America needs renewal. Why? Because the zeal we have for Christ and His church and the ministry to which we are called tends to cool off in time, and ours has. And heed this warning; the greatest danger for the church is that it should become lukewarm. In Rev. 3:14-16 we read these words of Jesus: “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” The church – every congregation and every member - needs to have its passion made new again. We need to be renewed! And that is a work of the Holy Spirit.
The more we yield ourselves to the Spirit of God; His fruit, His illumination, His gifting, His conviction, His wisdom; the more we will reflect the character and fulfill the purposes of Christ. So I encourage you to pray, study, worship, love one another, joyfully give, help the helpless, and whatever else He might call you to do; because all these serve as fuel for our zeal as individual Christians and as the Church.
Pastor Keith Andrews