The Mystery of Godliness


by Mike Ratliff

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. (2 Peter 1:3-10 ESV)

In the visible church in our time one of the key terms that we are hearing and seeing everywhere is rooted in the word “transform.” Rick Warren likes to say that his church is responsible for thousands of transformed lives for instance. In the incarnation/missional/dominionistic push right now we are seeing some call their particular flavor of that “transformational.” This word is a good biblical word. For instance, in Romans 12:2 we have Paul saying, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” The words “be transformed” are translated from the Greek word μεταμορφοῦσθε. Paul used this word to describe God’s process of the Christian being transformed by the renewing of their minds. That is, Christ has come to give us a new way of thinking, which is not legalistically following a fixed set of rules and regulations, but desiring to serve Jesus with all our heart and mind. It is this transformation that produces true godliness that cannot be faked and is a mystery to those outside of God’s grace. Is this the same thing that is being described by Rick Warren and the Dominionists? Continue reading

Transformation


by Mike Ratliff

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV)

Despite the fact that the unregenerate refuse to accept what I am about to say as being true, it does not change the fact that it is the truth. The true Christian walk is one of faith that results in faithfulness while the counterfeit or false Christian walk is one of works righteousness that results in a pragmatic form of religious works meant to counter failures of the flesh. The true Christian will be on a path of continual, progressive transformation unto Christlikeness that will result in God using him or her in doing His good works (Ephesians 2:10). On the other hand, the false Christian, not being regenerate, may still be fooled by their religiosity into believing that he or she is on that narrow path. They may even zealously do good works and call that a transformed life, but it is still nothing more than works righteousness. The enemy of men’s souls has produced a counterfeit version of Christian Transformation, but it is totally different and only produces temporal fruit while genuine Christian Transformation produces fruit that is eternal.  Continue reading

What is the Role of the Church in the World?


by Mike Ratliff

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)

The “missional” mindset’s god is not sovereign. One of the “leadership” methodologies employed within this movement is to “shame” or “belittle” those who are not fully committed to a 100% effort to reaching the world as a Jesus follower through missional outreach of some sort. The following is an excerpt from the 2010 Exponential Conference sessions:

2010 EXPONENTIAL

THEME:  “Transformation”

KEY TEXT: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39

BIG IDEA: Transformation begins when we love God and what He loves.

If the world was a village of 100 people… 67 would have no clue what it means to be loved by God and love Him in return
 20 would live on less than a dollar a day
 Most would be children without clean water and meal tonight

This was not what God intended life to be. He longs to see his children, his church, his cities, and this entire planet transformed. Planting new churches is the best way to reach the 67
 Planting new churches can revitalize the 20
 Planting new churches brings good news to children waiting for it

Transformation begins in the heart of one.

  • When what breaks the heart of God breaks the heart of a leader, transformation activates that leader and permeates the new church that leader begins.
  • When what breaks the heart of God breaks the heart of a church, transformation remakes that church and spreads throughout a city through new churches and life-changing ministries.
  • When what breaks the heart of God breaks the heart of a city, transformation marshals God’s resources and community assets to reach the world, meeting needs and impacting all people.

But first, transformation must begin in the heart of one.

Now is the time for transformed leaders to lead in the transformation of our churches and our cities.  The next generation of churches can no longer be satisfied with just “saving souls,” nor will it be content with “meeting physical needs” void of the love of Jesus. We can no longer be complacent about 67% of the world not knowing a love relationship with God in Jesus. We can no longer stand by and let 20% of our world goes to bed hungry and hopeless every night. Let us be churches that love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind; and our neighbors as ourselves. Let us plant churches and lead churches that experience and offer transformation Continue reading