Sunday, September 23, 2012

Welcome Home

Tonight we had a powerful Holy Spirit encounter during our Divine Conversations prayer meeting!  While singing Hillsongs "Saviour King" the line in the song "Let now the lost be welcomed home by the saved and redeemed" literally gripped our hearts.  I heard a tangible gasp by those around me as we were captured by the implications of this line.  It was as though the Spirit had paused a moment of time to emphasise the gap between God's vision for the world and His church.

We pray fervently for the "lost" to have a life transforming encounter with Jesus Christ and for the "saved" to have a life transforming encounter with Holy Spirit!*  We grieve about those who bear the name of Christ but do not reflect the unconditional love of Christ.  We dare to believe for a church where "the Lord adds to [our] number daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47). 

There is so much to celebrate about the church, but at times the attitude of the "saved and redeemed" towards the "lost" is less than welcoming!  It seems when the comfort or security of the "saved" is disrupted by the behaviour of the "lost", the "saved" are quick to forget what they have been "redeemed" from.  

We are The Salvation Army and the salvation of the "lost" is not only the core of our identity, it is the core of our mission and ministry.  It is affirmed in both our Soldiers and Officers covenants as the core of our commitment to Jesus Christ:

"I will be faithful to the purposes for which God raised up The Salvation Army, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, endeavouring to win others to Him, and in His name caring for the needy and the disadvantaged." (Soldiers Covenant)

"Called by God to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as an officer of The Salvation live to win souls and make their salvation the first purpose of my life." (Officers Covenant)

May we "be responsive to the Holy Spirit's work and obedient to His leading" to create an environment of worship and fellowship within every Corps where "the lost be welcomed home by the saved and redeemed."

*Not a theological distinction, rather a discipleship observation of Christians who are not filled with the Spirit even after receiving the Spirit at conversion.

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