Summary: Will the Church be saved? Yes! When we learn to pray prayers that are not shallow, short, or simplistic; but pray prayers that cause God to say Amen.
"Will the Church be Saved?
Text: 2 Chronicles 7: 1 - 3
Focus: 2 Chronicles 7:1 "When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifice, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple."
Last week our Pastor challenged us with the message, "Can the Church be saved?" He concluded that if we hear the word, believed the word, and lived the word; then the church can be saved.
Given where we are as a church, I indicated to him that there was another dimension that needed to be explored to truly do justice to the idea. We agreed that I should probe that other dimension this Sunday. Therefore, the question before us today is not, can the church be saved; but will the church be saved.
You may ask what is the difference? Allow me to explain. When my children where living at home and I asked them to clean up there rooms. I knew that they had the capacity: the use of their hands, access to a broom and dust pan, windex and cleaning products, and a room in disarray; but when I returned two hours later and see them playing with their Sony play station and the room is still in the same condition, as when I left. The question is not can they clean their room; but will they clean their room.
Can deals with a mechanical capacity. Will on the other hand deals with a spiritual tenacity. Mechanically is looking at the church with our eyes. Spiritually is looking at the church through God’s eyes.
I will never forget Dr. Richard I McKinney saying to me after an in-depth discussion on the meaning of God, that God is not found at the end of a syllogism.
Isaiah wrote, that "my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways me ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Therefore, can the church be saved is a mechanical process that deepens on us; will the church be saved is a spiritual process that totally depends on God.
The text provides for us insight into the mind of God that helps us to understand the spiritual process necessary to answer the question, will the church be saved. My argument hinges on this point that the church will only be saved when God says Amen to our prayers.
The term Amen is used biblically to acknowledge the validity of a saying and its reliability - so be it.
Let the church say, Amen. Therein lays the problem. We have so used the term tht it has become a colloquialism - a common expression.
Let me explain: have you ever sat down to a mean when you where so hungry and the food so sumptuous and delectable. Home cooking that only Mama can cook. The smells are enticing your nostrils and it’s your turn to say the grace. You bow your head al the while thinking about the good food, and say, "God is great, let us thank him for our food, Amen." And you grab your fork and eat.
That symbolizes the problem faced by the church: our prayers are too shallow, too short, and too simplistic.
Prayers that are too shallow focus upon our own needs and not the needs of others. Jesus says to us, "take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; not yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than rainment? Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap ... Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you. That even Solomon in all his glory ws not arrayed like one of these. O ye of little faith ... But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Paryers that are too short fail to connect you to the historical move of God and your role in God’s plan. If God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow; and we look only at today and our needs for tomorrow, we forget that God had made a way out of no way. That God is and was an ever present help in the time of trouble. That we are connected to a rich history and tradition that says, "we have come this far by faith, leaning on the everlasting arms. Trusting in his Holy Word, he has never failed me yet, Oh! Oh! Oh! can’t turn around."
Paryes that are too simplistic fail to recognize the awesomness of God. A simple prayer doesn’t dry up the read sea. A simple prayer doesn’t deliver you from the fiery furnance. A simple prayer doesn’t deliver you from the lion’s den. A simple prayer doesn’t get you freedom when the Constitution has deemed that you are only three fifths human. A simple prayer doesn’t get you voting rights, equal accomondations and civil rights.