A good friend of mine recently asked me a question that got me thinking. He’s a pastor of a local church in Perth who’s got a strong vision for Christians working together to see the gospel shape the people of our city, and one of his many spiritual gifts is that he asks good questions.
On this occasion, his question was this: “Can you imagine what gospel renewal in Perth would look like? Please share with me how you can imagine the gospel shaping the people and culture of Perth.”
So here’s what came to mind for me. This is what I imagine gospel renewal in Perth looking like.
A Picture of Renewal
I can imagine God working by His Holy Spirit so that the Christians in our city, across all churches, become gripped with the reality of eternity. The reality of hell, heaven, the new creation… of how magnificent our eternal inheritance is, and of just how fleeting this life really is… these realities would really land home for us.
Our eyes would be opened to see the true ugliness of sin and the true beauty of Jesus. We would be awed by God’s holiness and his love. We would be grieved over our sin, and immensely grateful for his mercy towards us.
Because of all this, our joy in the gospel would skyrocket.
Our love for God and others would skyrocket.
Our zeal for pursuing godliness would skyrocket.
Our urgency in evangelism would skyrocket.
Our use of time and money would take on a radically different shape. It would change the way we view our jobs, our hobbies, our family, our church.
Despite the growing hostility towards Christianity in our culture, Christians would be shaped by joy in the midst of opposition, by a willingness to love their enemies, to turn the other cheek, to embrace disgrace for the sake of Christ.
As God brought about this gospel renewal in the lives of His people, the Christian communities of Perth would begin to look distinctive, attractive. People would see the selfless love and the grounded joy of those who follow Jesus, and be drawn in. Thousands upon thousands in this city would be saved, and have their lives transformed in the same way, living their lives in light of eternity.
Praying Big Prayers
That’s what I imagine gospel renewal might look like in Perth. To be honest, I’m getting excited just thinking about it! And it really got me thinking: why don’t I spend more time praying for this? Both in my life and in the lives of others?
I mean, is this an idealistic picture? Of course it is. But then again, if God brought about gospel renewal in Perth in 2019, it would by no means be the first time He’s done it.
I wonder if the reason I don’t spend more time praying for God to do this is because I’ve lowered my expectations. I wonder if it’s because I’ve settled for what seems achievable from a human point of view. I wonder if my view of God has become too small.
So as we head into 2019, I want to start praying that God will do something big. Not because we’re impressive, but because He is. I want to start praying that God will bring about widespread gospel renewal, so that the people of Perth, and the people of this world, would see just how glorious Jesus really is.
What do you think gospel renewal might look like in your context?