Sunday, November 27, 2011

not-so-great expectations

When my friend Floyd finished preaching and called for repentance, I was the first to my feet. During the message I had seen myself clearly, and I was ashamed. I publicly confessed my sin that day and asked the others at the conference for prayer.

What was my sin? Embezzlement? Adultery? No, the Holy Spirit was convicting me of the sin of unbelief. In that stark moment of honesty I realized that I really had low expectations of what God would do in my city.
John Dawson. Taking Our Cities For God - Rev (Kindle Locations 367-369). Kindle Edition.

Well, glad he had his moment. I suppose we could be glad as well that it wasn't anything, you know, really big, like the things he first mentioned. How very spiritual of him.

So, I'm trying to think--what exactly would " low expectations of what God would do in my city" mean? For example, when Jesus prophecied that Jerusalem would be left desolate, was He guilty of having such low expectation? What about the OT prophets, to whom God often gave words of judgment for them to speak?

What do you expect God to do in your city? Or to put it another way, who is your God? Is He the God of the Bible? Your God is only as big as what you expect of Him in space and time. What do you expect Him to do here on earth in this generation? Don't tell me about the God of your theology. It's easy to say that He's all-powerful, but do you expect Him to do powerful things here and now?
John Dawson. Taking Our Cities For God - Rev (Kindle Locations 369-371)

"Your God is only as big as what you expect of Him in space and time"? Really? God is limited by how I think? What a weak and pathetic God He would be, almost as bad as the gods of Emergents like Rollins and McLaren.

What do I expect Him to do here on earth in this generation? What does the Bible say He will do? What prophecies in the Bible specifically address this generation? Perhaps God has given rather negative prophecies concerning this generation. Would I be suffering from this sin of low expectations by believing God's prophecies of sin and judgment?

Now, I'm trying to think where in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament, anything is given to us concerning what we should expect God to do in any particular generation. Where does Jesus tell the disciples that if they don't have such great expectations, then they were guilty of unbelief? I can't think of anywhere. Where does Paul or any other epistle writer tell the churches to have great expectations of what God can do in their city or their generation? If anything, they were told rather the opposite. They were told to expect hard times, suffering and persecution and rejection. Concerning future generations, they were told such things as that in the last days there would be dangerous times, people would fall away from the faith, lawlessness would abound. On top of that, there is Revelation, which speaks of people suffering great judgments from God, but not repenting.

In other words, it is only when Christ Himself returns that things will be set right.

So, no, Mr. Dawson, I do not have such great expectations of what's going to happen in the cities of the world and the people of this generation. I expect people to continue to largely reject the Gospel, embrace their favorite fakes that will make them feel good, try to water down the real Gospel to mean a feel-good self-help type of fluff you'd see and hear on an afternoon TV talk show. I believe a sinful and rebellious mankind will continue to be sinful and rebellious, yet in His grace God will save some, some will be brought to repentence. Evil people will grow worse and worse, but those who endure to the end will be saved.

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