In Chapter 6, Pastor Cymbala highlights that the BODY of CHRIST, the Church, is lukewarm in our culture. We are desperately in need of answering the door of our hearts where our Savior knocks and waits to be invited in for a FRESH, RENEWED POWER for our time. Are we ready for that? Are we ready to be unified in love despite our race, color, traditions, denomination? Otherwise, how can we be effective? Actions speak louder than words! In 1 Corinthians 13:1, it says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
What Pastor Cymbala wrote about the “American Church” in the 90’s precisely depicts the church of today, as if he just wrote this. The church is not engaging the culture as we should be. Why is that? It is disheartening to read his words as he compares the church of today as being like the Laodiceans referred in the book of Revelations. They were believers that were a part of Christ’s body and practicing their faith but, they were not engaging or effective. “We are like the church at Laodicea. In fact, we have so institutionalized Laodiceanism that we think lukewarm is normal.” (pg. 91) The scripture he refers to says they were lukewarm and on the verge of being vomited out (Rev 3:15-17).
Since Pastor Cymbala has written this, the world has gotten much darker, especially with what is happening in our nation right now! Can you feel it? Recently, angry protests and riots over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis have swept the nation. This is just one of many events that have happened and still many more to come. In the book of Job, it talks about how Job is not silenced by the thick darkness that covers his face and is everywhere; all around us. (Ch. 23).
What do we do? It is not a matter of finding a political solution according to the author, but a spiritual solution. “The apostles could have done any number of things to sway public opinion.” However, “they quickly joined a meeting of the believers and began to pray. They immediately turned to their primitive power source.” (pg. 94) Cymbala quotes Acts chapter 4 and in this passage, the disciples were told to be silent and threatened with physical harm from the authorities for sharing their new found faith. They met, not to form a plan to run away from the authorities, but to earnestly call upon The Lord in prayer. In their prayers, they prayed not for deliverance from their situations but, for BOLDNESS. They prepared through prayer to stand firmly together whether they LIVED or would be put to DEATH! The disciples were praying to boldly “run to the enemy” in the power of God Almighty! They ran to God in order to be equipped to powerfully confront their oppressors in confidence.
The Lord answered their prayer for boldness and the result was that they were courageous to boldly speak the truth. Believers in Christ, in America, are facing new pressures every day to be silenced, just like Peter and John. It is so clear that as a church we need to run to Jesus, to pray, so we too can be equipped to powerfully confront the darkness with the glorious light of the gospel that He has already given us. (2 Peter 1:3). Prayer is not being silent. Its preparing us to powerfully speak!