Many of you know that at the beginning of 2016, I “passed the baton” as Senior Pastor of HRock Church to my son Gabe and his wife Monica, allowing me more time to travel the world in order to train, equip and encourage leaders in the Body of Christ. In the past few months alone, I have traveled extensively to nations in both Europe and Asia, and have met with numerous pastors and apostolic leaders.
I am encouraged by the countless miracles and testimonies of God’s goodness and power in the nations. He is raising the dead back to life, delivering people from oppression and encountering many with His glorious presence. A greater harvest of souls is what we live for as believers in Christ. But I believe that God wants to do more—I believe He wants to transform the very fabric of society in every nation with the values of His Kingdom, demonstrated by and brought forth by the saints. Jesus said we should pray:
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10).
As believers in Christ, we can declare Come thy Kingdom!— we have the responsibility and authority to declare His power and presence on earth.
When we declare His Kingdom come, we are stepping into our roles as true reformers. Reformation is transformation of a society that makes a positive and lasting impact. Possibly the most well-known reformation to have ever taken place was the Great Reformation, the 16th century movement begun by Martin Luther, who spoke out against the Catholic church’s practice of issuing pardons for sins in exchange for money. Luther’s reformation revolutionized the Church by emphasizing that all believers must be able to read and understand the Word of God, resulting in the teaching of Truth, the empowerment of common men and women to practice their faith in a personal way and the belief in salvation by faith.
I want to highlight three key characteristics of reformation that I believe will empower us as believers to envision and believe for transformation in our spheres of influence.
1. Reformation is a result of true Revival
There is an important distinction to make between revival and reformation. Revival indicates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit unto the salvation of souls, working of miracles and other manifestations of God. I have experienced powerful revivals in my lifetime, notably “The Jesus People Movement” in which I was saved in the seventies, and the Toronto Blessing in the nineties. These were wonderful, powerful times of harvest, but I believe that we missed opportunities for reform.
These revivals did not result in permanent societal shift or blessing; during the seventies, for example, Roe v. Wade was passed, which legalized abortion. Our attitude then was one of “waiting for the rapture.” But I believe that this next wave of revival will empower believers to enter into the world with the power of God and the culture of the Kingdom to bring lasting reformation. Philippians 2:15 says that we are to be:
blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights of the world.
We are to stand out because of our righteousness, and in doing so, testify to others of the Kingdom of God.
2. Reformation Results in Permanent Transformation
Reformation results in societal change that stands the test of time. Take the Great Reformation, as I mentioned. The idea that every individual should be able to read the Bible and practice his or her faith at home was revolutionary. It transformed the face of literacy at the time and personalized a relationship to God. The relatively recent invention of the printing press enabled Luther to print and widely distribute German Bibles and additional religious literature that spread information and education to the masses. This was one of the original media revolutions that changed the face of Western civilization as we know it—the common person was now able to receive and critically analyze information for themselves, a change that has clearly lasted into the 21st century.
I am believing for a reformation to take place in the United States as well as the nations of the world that will likewise permanently improve the state of society. Although there has been great revival all over the world, for example under the leadership of Reinhard Bonnke in Africa, there has not always been change as a result. Have the nations of Africa experienced the reversal of corruption in governmental systems? I believe that when we see genuine reformation take place through the dissemination of the values of the Kingdom, we will see all spheres of society permanently influenced.
3. The Word of God is Foundational to Reformation
Sustained reformation comes through obedience to the Word of God. The instruction given to us by Scripture ensures that we live in righteousness before God, creating lifestyles and values that build a healthy society. We must disciple the nations with the Bible to align culture and value systems with Christ. Psalm 119:1-2 says:
Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek Him with all their heart-
It is not enough to read the Bible occasionally or to hear it in church. We must be personally devoted to reading Scripture on a daily basis in order that we understand and practice the ways of God. We are to meditate on His precepts and consider His ways (Psalm 119:15). How can we reform society with the values of the Kingdom if we do not have a firm foundation in the Word? For example, Jesus says in Matthew 5:44:
But I say, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.
What would a country torn by divisiveness and prejudice look like if all members of society loved their enemies? Imagine a culture defined by love, mercy and forgiveness in the face of hatred and fear. We must hide the Word of God in our hearts so that we might impact this generation with the revolutionary Truths in the Bible.
Here are some resources to help you learn about reformation.
- I recommend The Book that Made Your World a very powerful book about the foundational power of the Bible in our world.
- I edited this compilation of teachings from reformers who are changing our world today.
- Watch my teaching from the HIM Global Summit to learn more about the topic of reformation.
- Don’t miss out on HRock church’s current series, Reach Your City, Reach Your World.