When we observe the New Testament church, we see a bold and confident church. We observe a church that is in no way intimidated by, subservient to, or relying on “Big Rome” (Big Gov). They understood that Big Rome wanted to destroy them. They had no faith in Big Gov because they knew Rome was of this world. They had experienced a new life, not of this world, and they now had a bold confidence in Christ alone. The first century church was on fire with the power and love of God, and they were taking their directives from Him.
One author describes well the difference between present day Christianity and the early church:
The great difference between present-day Christianity and that of which we read in these letters is that to us it is primarily a performance; to them it was a real experience. We are apt to reduce the Christian religion to a code, or at least a rule of heart and life. To these men it is quite plainly the invasion of their lives by a new quality of life altogether. They do not hesitate to describe this as Christ living in them. Mere moral reformation will hardly explain the transformation and the exuberant vitality of these men’s lives—even if we could prove a motive for such reformation, and certainly the world around offered little encouragement to the early Christians! We are practically driven to accept their own explanation, which is that their little human lives had, through Jesus Christ, been linked up with the very life of God…These early Christians were on fire with the conviction that they had become, through Christ, literally sons of God; they were pioneers of a new humanity, founders of a new Kingdom. They still speak to us across the centuries. Perhaps if we believed what they believed, we might achieve what they achieved. (J.B. Phillips’ Preface to Letters to Young Churches)
Demon Powers Take Notice
God’s intent for the Church has always been a bold and confident church built on the foundation of bold access to Christ. This boldness in prayer communicates the wisdom of God even to demonic powers. In the book of Ephesians, Paul writes, “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places…in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” (Ephesians 3:10-12)
When the Church becomes a bold praying church, even the demonic powers ruling over cities and regions take notice. I believe the reason we saw so many riots, upheaval, and chaos during the covid pandemic was because the Church was shut down.
When the Church backs down, demons rise up! When the Church rises up, demons back down!
The rulers in Thessalonica in speaking of the bold and confident church said, “…These who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” (Acts 17:6) This is the intent of Christ for the Church, that we would be turning the world right-side up. The advancement of the Kingdom of God on the earth is always through the local church. God is building such a Church today.
Shocked into a New Reality
If there is one major thing I’ve learned as a pastor and leader during this covid “wake up call” is our authority and power is in Christ, not in the federal or state government. The first century church intuitively understood this because of the counterculture lifestyle they had already developed as Jews under Rome. In America, we are being shocked into a new reality as we observe the active hatred of certain political ideologies toward the Church.
We will have to go through a reeducation process in our relationship with governing authorities. Instead of relying upon them to protect us, we should be prepared for them to attack us. Our faith must be in God and His power and not the political ways of men. It’s a new day.
Our reliance must be upon intimacy with Christ, listening for His voice, and heeding His guidance. He is the One who instructed us, “I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) Jesus is building a bold and confident Church.
Bold & Confident in Christ,