R. D. Ice
My computer has a refresh command which will return to the original (default) setting of a program. I read that there have been some 176 "restoration movements" in our western world alone. Each of these had the goal of trying to reset to the Original Church (as they understood it).
1. We are in the church because we are saved. Acts 2:47 God adds the saved to the church. Therefore it is because we are saved that we are in the church. When I was baptized into Christ, God added me to His church. I am sure He did not add me to the wrong one.
2. We say things about "church" that may be incorrect. Since the church is the kingdom, substitute the word Kingdom for Church and see whether it makes sense. "Denomination" and "Brotherhood" do not apply to Kingdom. (Yes. I know there were Tribes among the Nation of Israel.)
3. The church did not immediately die following her birth. Jesus said His church was indestructible. Campbell did not "reinvent" the church. He spoke of continuing reformation. God has raised up many people over the centuries who have struggled to give form to their faith. We stand on the shoulders of these people - even when we are totally ignorant of their existence. There has been much faith, action, and cross-pollination over the centuries.
4. Restore a vital and dynamic sense of the reality of the Christian Faith. Note how Paul stresses Christ-on-the-cross in 1 Corinthians chapter 1. In chapter 15 Paul shows that the whole Gospel stands or falls on the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It is vital to believe that Jesus came in flesh and blood. 2 John 7 And that Jesus the Christ was tempted in every way that we are tempted - on a human level. Hebrews 4:14-16 Yet He did not sin - even though we are sinful. 1 John 1:6-10
5. Restore community of believers as a fellowship. Koinonia is the word which describes this family of the faith. Body life is vital to our faithfulness to Him. In fact our love of God is defined by our love of "brother." 1 John 4:19-21 Note what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:13 to illustrate the fact that we Christians are One Body. "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."
6. Restore a spiritual UNITY that transcends barriers. We humans tend to choose up sides. We think more in terms of "why God won’t accept you" than in "how can I be right with God." We claim to be undenominational yet it is probably impossible to avoid a "denominational" way of looking at things. Campbell and Stone were consumed with a passion for the glory of the primitive church. As Ed Fudge put it: (Campbell) gazed at a distant past and hoped for an imminent future. His heart almost burst at the glory of the vision; he could scarcely wait to sit in God’s kingdom in peace with all his brothers and sisters, there to raise together the praises and choruses of Zion! For him, restoration was the path to that place."
7. Restore an active and dynamic spirit of MISSION. We cannot be content to just keep house for the Lord. Mark says: "And they went out and preached everywhere..." Paul said he was given the commission: "to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me" (NKJV). Paul was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. Perhaps by being intently focused on "authority" and "rightness" we have neglected our mission to be light to the world.
8. Restore John’s last hour situation. "Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour" (NKJV). Many enemies of Christ (antichrists) are here in our world. Some even in the church, as John warned when he wrote. Hope is the anchor of our soul. We need the sense of otherworldliness which Hope and Faith give us. This world is unfair! But - plug into the fact that Jesus is Coming Again and everything changes! We need to EXPECT Christ to Come!
9. RESTORATION HAS BEEN FULFILLED IN CHRIST JESUS. Note Acts 3:18-26. Jesus did come with the express purpose of being the world’s Savior! John 3:16-17. Jesus is Coming Again! The world must be converted to Christ. Christians must united if the world is to believe. John 17:21. Pray for BOLDNESS! Acts 4:23-33.
"Awesome God! You are Holy and Holy Beings praise You daily! We pray against all the sin and evil in our world. We pray for justice and righteousness. We pray for compassion and mercy. We pray for the peace that passes understanding. We pray for the Holy Spirit to pour into our hearts the kind of love You have for us (Romans 5:1-5). Send us Revival, Renewal, and all the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. We confess our sins to You. Forgive us and cleanse us and save us. In Jesus' Name. Amen."