After exiting the ark on dry land, God established an eternal covenant with Noah and his descendants. That covenant is still operational today with you, me, and the other 7,655,957,369 people living today. God promised never to destroy the world with water again.
God instructed Noah’s family to spread out and establish dominion over the earth as His image-bearers. But that is not what happened. Opting instead for a largescale family retreat on the plain of Shinar, they decided to build a tower into heaven and make a name for themselves. In just a little more than 100 years Noah’s family had forgotten what had caused the recent global cataclysm. For a while, the building progressed according to plan. What made this possible? The Proto-Babylonians were:
Organized – God’s people desirous of accomplishing the greater works Jesus spoke of must learn how to work together. Without defining skill sets and abilities, placing people where they can succeed in the enterprise, and allowing them to work together, the project will die, and the people will drift apart. Designers, material procurers, managers, and laborers all have to work together to execute an organizational plan.
Equipped – Appropriate resourcing is essential to any successful enterprise. The Tower of Babel’s builders required bricks and mortar, ladders and scaffolds, shovels and chisels, muscles and brains. Noah’s descendants were equipped with almost everything they needed to complete their tasks. Ask yourself, “Is the Church equipped to fulfill Jesus’ expectation of doing greater works?
Trained – Having an organizational chart and sufficient resourcing is not enough to accomplish hard, even impossible things. Training allows workers to practice simple tasks that lead to more complicated tasks. Training develops new skills and proficiencies benefitting the entire project. Providing insufficient or improper training dooms organizations to failure before they begin. It is not enough for a would-be carpenter to know what a circular saw is and how it works. Without training, they will hurt themselves or someone else. Would you move your family into a house built by schoolteachers who never trained as bricklayers, framers, plumbers, or cabinet makers, people who had never built anything in their lives? I’m just thinking here. Is at possible that the lost around us have no confidence in our witness because of the lack of practical training we have submitted to?
“Wait, K! Go back, say that again!”
Since the time of the Tower of Babel, nothing has changed. “There is nothing new under the sun.” The key ingredients necessary for individuals/communities to accomplish impossible tasks must be in place, or they won’t get done. The builders of the tower were organized, equipped, and trained. They had it all. Or did they?
K started over. “The military is organized, equipped, and trained. What ties all of this together? The military accomplishes hard things because of common doctrine.” Before basic training, every member of the military takes the following oath.
I, (Insert Name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
(Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).
This oath is taken seriously, even to the point of death. Approximately 73,000 American soldiers participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy. The Normandy American Cemetery is the resting place for 9,387 Americans, most of whom gave their lives during the landing operations and subsequent beachhead establishment. Out of every 100 soldiers who took part in the landing, 13 gave their lives to advance their common doctrine!
Flip the Spiritual Switch
Think about it. If the Lord does not Rapture the Church in our lifetime, every single one of the 7,655,957,369+ of the people alive today will die. But that is not the end. We all face eternity on the other side. If the Bible is accurate, most will be separated from God forever, dying spiritually a second time. Perhaps these verses should be considered as the backbone for an oath all believers should take?
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. – Hebrews 9:27-28
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. – Revelation 20:12-15
I am not a prophet. No one knows how many days, weeks, months, or years are left before God’s story for this world reaches its conclusion. What I do know with absolute certainty is this. Billions of men, women, and children will die before history comes to an end. It is time that the Church step up and do the “greater works.”
Brothers and sisters, before anything can be done, the Church must pray for forgiveness, forgiveness for willfully choosing comfort over compassion, embracing style over substance, and being satisfied with the status quo. Only then will the Holy Spirit clean and and quicken us, unite us as one, empower our ministry, and produce the type of fruit we read about among the Jesus followers of the 1st Century.
- Read James 2:14-17. “So even faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” The Church must break the chains of useless dead religion and reorganize itself to do the greater works Jesus created us to do. Let’s organize and mobilize ourselves to reach the lost where we live, work, and play. Stop trying to take them to church. Be the Church right where you are.
- Read Ephesians 4:11-16. Everywhere, Jesus followers must be equipped with practical tools to engage the lost by Kingdom living. They are the sheep without a shepherd needing to be found. Start by attacking the Enemy’s strongholds in neighborhoods. An excellent book to read on this matter is The Gospel Comes With a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield.
- Read Luke 6:40. The Church must actively train disciples who make disciples. Making disciples requires much more than passively listening to the pastor’s Sunday sermon. Making disciples demands that functional disciple-makers take non-functional Jesus followers by the hand and show them what disciple-making looks like in the real world. Disciplers, take those you disciple beyond the pulpit and pews. Leave the brick and mortar temples behind. Actively train your disciples to use acquired skills to create Kingdom interest, disciple the curious towards faith, and train new believers to do what Jesus followers have always done, make more disciples. If you are reading this now, you are on our website. Visit the home page. We have lots of training available, free of charge.
- What is the common doctrine the Church must jointly proclaim without distraction or diversion? “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” – 1 Corinthians 15:3-5
Let’s start a conversation.
COVID-19 has forever altered the way the institutional Church functions. New missional thinking is required of Jesus’ followers on our post-pandemic planet. What are the opportunities and obstacles for/to expanded Kingdom impact as a result of COVID-19? Please share those thoughts below. Be polite and respectful. Profane and argumentative your comment will be deleted.
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