In many areas of life it is wise to plan for certain contingencies. I have long thought about sky diving. If I were to do so, I would really, really, really like to have a back-up parachute—just in case, you know? I like fire exits, I like the ability to reset my computer. But in other areas of life, I have no alternative. If Christ is not the only Savior of sinners, I am sunk. I don’t pray to any other gods, “just in case”.
The same is true for the church. I have never had a back up plan in case 1) the scriptures do not prove sufficient and 2) the Spirit of God does not attend our worship. Allow me for a moment to focus on the second of these.
Some months ago I was preaching at church and was asked to preach evangelistically. After I read the scriptures I asked the congregation to join me in prayer. I did this, not out of a certain expectation or long standing tradition, but because of what I was about to do. I was going to speak to dry bones and command them to live. Now, I may pride myself with certain gifts and abilities, but this is, as they say, outside my pay grade. I simply cannot do it. There is no way that marching and horns can bring down walls. There is no way that a voice can raise the dead. There is no way that sinners will be saved if the Spirit of God does not attend. If God does not help my preaching, if God does not attend our service of worship, if God does not bring up our prayers, and attend our praises, then we are done. Cooked. Stick a fork in us. I have no alternative plan. I do not think to myself, okay, if the Spirit leaves us, I am talented enough to wing it. We’ll get through. We have no buildings, programs, musical talent, or administrative skills to aid us, apart from the Spirit of God. I’m thankful for that. I’m involved, in supernatural work. I’m reminded of that and humbled by that daily. It’s what makes me pray.Jim Savastio, Pastor Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville