Secret Church was held last Friday night. This was my second and like the first it was a unique experience. I am looking forward to next year. The topic this year was “A Global Gospel in a World of Religions.”
David Platt led the study of five world religions: Animism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Atheism. But before he got into these other religions, he covered some very interesting things.
There are almost 10,000 religions or para-religions in the world. Of those, 270 have a following of over 500,000 individuals. I had no idea there were that many different religions in the world.
Christianity is the largest at 1.9 billion, then Islam at 1.7 billion, Atheism at 1.6 billion, Hinduism at 915 million, Buddhism at 250 million and Animism, with no specific number, can be found in 40% of the world’s religions, including the ones mentioned above.
If current projections hold, Islam will exceed Christianity by 2050. This is based on fertility rates and conversions but could be effected by unforeseen events. Christianity is projected to grow in Sub-Saharan Africa and in the Asia-Pacific area. It will decrease in Europe and North America. That really shouldn’t surprise any of us, but surely it is disappointing.
He then went into the Gospel. It was shocking to hear him say that most people who claim to be Christian do not believe fully in the Gospel. That statement still hits me like a punch to the gut. How can someone claim to be a Christian and not believe fully in the Gospel? The answer is obvious. Just look around at our world and at our churches.
“The gospel is the good news that the only true God, the just and gracious Creator of the universe, has looked upon hopelessly sinful men and women and has sent His Son, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath against sin through His substitutionary death on the cross and to show His power over sin and death in the resurrection from the grave so that everyone who turns from their sin and themselves and trusts in Jesus alone as Savior and Lord will be reconciled to God forever.”
David Platt, Secret Church 16, page 14.
So the question to all of us is, do you believe this is true? Totally true? To refuse to believe any part of it, is to believe none of it.
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Romans 3: 21-26.
This is Good News! The “greatest” of all news! Are we living it and sharing it with a lost world? Have no doubt as “Good” as it is, it is also offensive to those who don’t believe. There is no other way to God, no other way for sinners to be “saved.” We cannot earn our salvation nor can any other human give us salvation. I like the following statement from page 26:
We are all rebels, especially at the very heart of who we really are. Have you laid down your rebellion? Do you seek to lay down your rebellion each day and die to yourself and pick up your cross and follow Jesus? That death is the only way to truly live.
The uniqueness about Secret Church this year, for the folks at LFBC anyway, was the power going out about an hour into it. The thunderstorms and rain tried to put a damper, pun intended, on the night. At first I think we all thought the power would come back on in a few minutes. Well that few minutes ended up stretching into over 3 hours.
For my part, I ate and spent time talking. There are times that I am slow to pick up on what is going on, paying attention can sometimes be a struggle for me. This night was no different. But after a while I finally realized what was happening in that dark cafegymatorium. The youth, the young men and women that drastically outnumbered the “older” adults (this is a subject of some concern) had gathered in one corner and started singing praise and worship songs.
When I finally stopped entertaining myself and started listening, it made an incredible impression on me in a number of ways. I thanked God for those young men and women, I can’t call them kids because they were acting more mature than I was, who have a relationship with Jesus and chose to sing praises to Him instead of entertaining themselves. Honestly, I was never that kind of young person.
I thanked God because even when things go against “the plan”, He is still in control. He can be praised and worshiped anywhere at any time by those who are unashamed. We need to remember that today.
When the power did come back on, we were able to go until midnight. We will have the opportunity to complete Secret Church on Wednesday nights this month.
So was Secret Church a success? Was it worth it? Absolutely!
Run to the cross, where the real power and light is.