II. Communication, and the Division Caused by Sin
THE ORIGIN OF COMMUNICATION
We communicate because God communicates. Francis Schaeffer has shown that within the Trinity, there was both communication and love. Jesus had glory, and the love of the Father before the creation of the world (John 17:5, 24). The Father communicated to the Son that Jesus was to go into our world (John 17:18). There was knowledge of each Person of the Trinity (John 17:25). The Word had fellowship with God (John 1:1) before coming to earth. The Spirit is also eternal (Heb. 9:14), and was present with the Father and Son from the creation of the world (Gen. 1:1-2; John 1:3; Col. 1:16). As Schaeffer has noted, the love and communication among the Trinity is the basis of love and communication among men and women whom He has created in His image (Gen. 1:27).
DIVISION CAUSED BY SIN
Schaeffer also correctly observed that this world is abnormal, due to the effects of sin, which has affected every aspect of human existence, including the mind (in contrast to Aquinas' view). Man is separated from God, which creates a spiritual division. He is separated from society, which creates sociological problems. He is separated from groups within society, even within his own culture, which creates social psychological divisions. He is even separated from himself, creating psychological problems. The Gospel is able to bridge each separation. However, the existence of these divisions creates challenges both within and among cultures. Normal differences are magnified by sin, and exploited by Satan. This is so among Christians, as well as non-Christians.
Fallen people join in fallen societies. It is possible for certain sins to dominate a city, as sexual perversion dominated Sodom and Gomorrah (Jude 1:7). Intellectual pride seems to have overtaken Athens in the first century A.D. (Acts 17:18). The Assyrians were known for their cruelty (Nahum 3:19). Such strongholds of sin require divinely powerful weapons to destroy them. Among such weapons is prayer (2 Cor. 10:4-5). Conversion of individuals will result in the change of societies, composed of individuals. A Christian is a "new creation", following a new master, with new goals and values (2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 1:13). But even Christian churches can have strongholds of sin, as the letters to five of the seven churches in Revelation reveal (Rev. 2-3). Ephesus lacked love for God (Rev. 2:4); Thyatira apparently tolerated sexual immorality (Rev. 2:20); Sardis was complacent (Rev. #:2-3); Laodicea was proud (Rev. 3:17).
Nor only are individuals fallen historically through Adam (Rom. 5:12), but they are actively dominated by a wicked ruler, Satan. "The whole world is under the control of the evil one." (1 John 5:19). God's superior power is evident, however. Jesus keeps God's people safe (1 John 5:18). Satan's defeat is decreed (Rev. 20:10). Conversion robs Satan of a subject, so evangelism is spiritual warfare. Considering the enemy, we can do nothing apart from Christ (John 15:5). Satan has his subjects in supernatural blindness (2 Cor. 4:4). Christians are advised to wear the full armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18), so that they can "be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." (Eph. 6:10). Cross cultural ministry compounds the normal problems of evangelism, increasing possible misunderstanding.
Because of the supernatural nature of resistance to the Gospel, the Holy Spirit must come in convicting power upon the unsaved (John 16:8). This is technically an awakening, in contrast to a revival. When the Spirit comes in conviction upon a church, it is revival. The best conditions for the spread of God's Kingdom exist during the powerful outpourings of the Spirit, as the worldwide revival/awakening of 1905 demonstrates. Dramatic conversions were common, especially in Wales. The Welsh revival sparked the Korean revival (J. Edwin Orr). One hundred years have elapsed since the last worldwide revival. The most prudent mission strategy is prayer for the Holy Spirit to come upon both the Church and the lost in great power. Generally a revival results in zealous new missionaries, as with the East Africa Revival, begun in 1930.
II. Communication, and the Divisions Caused by Sin
© Copyright Jim Sutherland, 1/2/1998; Used with permission.
You can send questions and responses to the author at Jim@reconciliationNetwork.org.
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