Reformed, Young, and Motivated...But to What?

Article by   November 2008
Reformed Theology has arguably had a humble revival in recent years.  Who would have thought that the Reformed "mega-church' in Seattle, (I'm thinking of Mars Hill)   would have reformed works found on the shelves of Wal Mart supermarkets? I'm thinking of Piper's work on the Cross. Even in Southern California we have seen several Reformed church plants, including my own fellowship, Great Oak Church.  This work of grace has even orbited the postmodern culture and has brought many young people to a reformed understanding Scripture, with many for the first time seeing the true God of the universe in His rightful preeminent place in everything.  I for one can certainly testify to the colossal impact Reformed Theology has had upon my finite soul, leaving me both devastated and overwhelmed, but at the same time completely engulfed and submerged in truth and grace.  In short, for most young believers Reformed Theology comes as that spiritual meat one was hungering for while tiring of the bottle fed milk of "evanjellyfish" preaching. For me it became a truth worth fighting for, giving substance and definition to my Christian walk.  

This personal reformation can be and end itself.  The fact that God is pleased to take a person and open the eyes to sovereign grace is enough to meditate on until glory.  However this does not mean it is only an end in itself.  But as Eph 2:10 says, we are saved onto good works.  This of course is immediately agreed upon by all true believers, that God does not save us just to be a trophy of His Grace but has foreordained good works for us to walk in.  These works according to the New Testament Scriptures are to include obvious Christian duties such prayer, evangelism, the admonition and the exhortation of the saints, but beyond this we have mercy ministry, which is generally done with involvement of all the before mentioned.  So what is mercy ministry? It is simply a good deed done to those who are unable to help themselves in order to show the love and mercy of Christ. This of course is taught throughout the Bible. We have several verses in the Pentateuch that commanded mercy ministry.  We have the wisdom literature that is full of mercy ministry. Even the prophets speak of severe judgment on those nations that neglected the needs of the poor, including Israel.  And this is in no way repealed in the New Testament, but further enforced. This is clearly a required work for the people of God throughout redemptive history.  

However it is not my intention in the scope of this article to present the Biblical case for mercy ministry, but to bring our attention the fact that God constantly commanded His people to be in this work even when others are neglecting it.  So this should tell us that there will be a tendency of risk for both the individual believer and for a local church to become ineffective in this God honoring work.  In particularly I have become increasingly convicted that this work should be fervently done by the young Reformed Christian.  Why do I say this? Because by definition most young reformed Christian have spent the majority of their energy and time on understanding the Scriptures, (which of course is of the utmost importance, as well as being able of effectively defend and communicate Gospel truth): but since the "lion's share" of our time goes rightly to these spiritual disciplines, we can some times become deficient in other spiritual exercises such as mercy ministry. There is, (I discern), a subtlety of Satan here; to get young Christians exclusively preoccupied with Biblical study and give no space for the outworking of this saving truth into the outer regions of the Christian life. In other words, the Word and Worship of God must come first, followed by prayer and evangelism, but beyond this we have helps and mercy ministry.  So in order to travel the full orbit of the Christian walk we must actively engage ourselves in mercy ministry.  It is that final outworking of an overflowed satisfied life in Christ.  Just as John 7:39 says, "out of ones belly will flow out rivers of living water."  Most professing young believers have John 3:5 (regenerate) and 4:24 (Gift of Holy Spirit), but sometimes stop short of the outflow of the Spirit; the giving of your self for the benefit of others, sometimes even strangers.  

I am convinced that if young Reformed believers, including myself, really walked in this quality of life we would have a far greater impact on society than any of our "cool" (sometimes expensive) programs we might try to impress the world with.  In fact I am convinced that mercy work will put those faddish efforts for us look relevant and "cool," to shame. What would God rather us do; find the types of Christ in the Matrix movie or visit the widow and the orphan in their time of distress? I would rather do mercy ministry and say I happen to like the movie The Matrix, allowing a postmodern culture to see that we are in world but not of the world.


Jonathan Goundry is co-host of The Narrow Mind webcast (www.unchainedradio.com) and he blogs regularly at www.bringthebooks.org.




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