Friday, October 1, 2010

Rescuing and Equipping by Dudley Hall

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every god work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)

      It seems that the primary objective of God's revelation of himself in Scripture is to equip people to accomplish what he has purposed for them. Contemporary culture, however, seems to be more interested in being rescued than being equipped.

     We have become so accustomed to being rescued from our dilemmas that we expect every sphere of authority to fulfill that role. We are not so interested in being equipped to avoid some of the pitfalls. That would require a measure of personal responsibility and mutual accountability. So we complain that the civil government doesn't pay for our sloppiness and foolishness, and we demand that the church serve as the rescue agent for troubled people as long as it doesn't mention the issue of maturity and stewardship of life.

     The numbers of people in need of rescue are so great  we often don't think there is time to equip people to handle temptation and trials. This triage mentality has become standard operating procedure. On one hand, it is encouraging to see new charities birthed to address crises in societal relationships. Many people are willing to give money to charities that feature rescue. There is a sense of fulfillment when we help someone in trouble. On the other hand, it is harder to get investors for attempts to train and equip people for managing life. It is not as fashionable to be involved in the long process of equipping.

      Ministers who use mass media soon learn that people do not send great sums of money to programs for training or education. The public is moved by starving children or abandoned animals more easily than the need to develop clear thinking disciples of Jesus Christ. TV ministries learn to connect their ministries to rescue-focused projects so they can fund the rest of their organization. Churches have been willing to retreat to the status of charities and chaplains, not wanting to address issues that could be controversial or that might require hard work and personal responsibility.

     Our society is flooded with people who need rescue, but not just from a temporary pit. They need to be rescued from the victim mentality that refuses to embrace the totality of life offered by the gospel of Jesus Christ. They need to be rescued from irresponsibility and purposelessness by discovering their true dignity as objects of God's love. They need to be rescued from believing the lie that government and church programs can support them. They can enter a relationship with the God of the universe who will guide and provide for them as they walk with him.

     The church that affected the known world of the first century was not only a rescuing community, but also an invading community. They equipped people to manage the life they were given. These people permeated every sphere of society and brought salt and light to a decaying and dark world. If the church stands up to its calling today, it will again feature obedience to Jesus' command to "make disciples."

     The end result of properly reading and interpreting the Scripture is the fully equipping of people of God for every good work.


  1. One of the problems we have in the "west" is that we are TOO COMFORTABLE! Everything is our "right" and we expect someone else to pick up our mess, so we can just go on being the lazy, self-centered couch-potatoes that our "American Way of Life" has made us. A girl from India whom I have been discipling for about 6 years now, and has just had a culture shock by moving to Leeds in the UK, said to me the other day, "The trouble with the west seems to me to be that they have not known any TRUE hardship and discomfort." The west's greatest danger is its affluence, and it is SO hard to find Disciples of the LORD who will turn their backs on the wealth and comfort that we are surrounded by to serve Him. Even poverty here is not the poverty that 3rd world nations face. THEY NEED RESCUING FROM THEIR AFFLUENCE! Like the rich young ruler who turned away from Jesus' offer of discipleship, because he wasn't prepared to lay down his wealth and influence to humbly trust God for His provision. Little did he realize that he was swapping his spiritual birthright for a mess of pottage!

    Our God seeks a people who are individually spiritually strong in their faith, like mighty oak trees standing alone on the plains of life, with their roots deep into the Rock Christ Jesus, who can't be felled by the storms of life, and spiritual drought, but whose roots drink from and are sustained by the river of Life.....becoming a place of sanctuary and comfort to those lost in hostile circumstances. He is looking for those who have the wisdom and faith and strength to reach out and help those who need help to grow into the men and women of God that they are. He is looking for men and women who cannot be seduced by the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life, but will lay down their lives for their brethren.

    I pray that I will be salt and light to all those around me - 24/7, and that Jesus Christ will be glorified in ALL that I do and say. I pray that He WILL build His church, and that she will be breathtakingly beautiful and spotless in His sight! - and I pray His kingdom WILL come! Come LORD Jesus, come quickly!

  2. I love the phrase, "invading community." That is the first century church, and we've lost it, but, sister Clare, there are and were individuals in the west that gave their all. I am thinking of many I know in YWAM, and also Keith Green who gave away his merchandise, and concerts for free saying that the Gospel is free. I agree that we are too affluent. Switchfoot called it "Lexus cages," referring to the prison of bondage to materialism. The world even uses charity as worldliness. Look at Warren Buffet and Bill Gates giving away billions of their own money to their own foundations. They've made it cool to give away fortunes. Jesus is coming back to set everything right. We should be doing what He said when He gets here, Matt 24:46.

  3. Yes, "Anonymous", there ARE those who have given their all, but I challenge you to COUNT them! I do not refer to THEM (I HONOR THEM!), but I refer to the pew-warmers, the "heads" that are counted each Sunday who profess to be Christians but are not. Jesus made it CLEAR what the cost of discipleship is (See Matt.8:18-22, Luke 9:57-62). Everything. Being prepared to "GO!" without even thought of food or shelter. Being prepared to turn our backs on treasured relationships, also. In other words, being prepared to walk out the door to serve Him without ANY thought for provision or protection......just to GO! Hands up ALL those who are prepared to do this? It is a NARROW, LONELY path that we are called to walk. It is one of hardship and difficulty. FEW ther are that find it. But there is a PRIZE that is ETERNAL at the end. LIFE.
    The like of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet will sadly find that they cannot BUY their way into God's favor. We can do NOTHING to EARN His love and eternal life. At least the rich young ruler didn't ask Jesus, "Can I just give SOME of my money to the poor?....and keep some for myself?" These guys do, because they want their cake and to eat it too. Doesn't work that way. Jesus laid down His ALL for us. God is offering us HIS all in exchange for us to surrender OUR all to His love, and His will. The rewards will be immeasurable! But the reward of His gift love, forgiveness, healing, provision and protection NOW is unspeakable! I can't think of one house, car, bank-balance, jewel....NOTHING in this country, or world, I would swap for my relationship with the LORD, and what He has done and IS doing in my life. They are just a mess of pottage.


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