What is Global Impact?
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
As Reclamation War began, God chose a man of faith and the Holy Land to start the process of taking back for Himself what had been stolen from Him, this world and its inhabitants. The Lord made a promise to Abraham, the man of faith.
Genesis 22:18a “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;”
Abraham, through his descendants, especially Jesus, would be the conduit for conveying God’s blessing to all the nations on Earth. This is Global Impact.
I enjoy stories from mathematics, my area of training. Archimedes discovered the law of the lever. This enabled people to lift massive objects otherwise immovable. Archimedes, proud of this discovery, once boasted, “Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the earth.” That would have been Global Impact.
What Archimedes boasted of doing physically, John Wesley sought to do spiritually. A man consumed with passion to see the lost saved, he was frustrated because initially no church would let him preach. Finally given a pulpit in Bristol, and feeling set free, Wesley entered his ministry with reckless abandon, regularly preaching twenty-four sermons a week. As he watched the anointing of revival begin to flow in tidal waves, he said, “Give me where to stand, and I will shake the earth.” He later said, “The whole world is my parish.” That was Global Impact.
What is Global Impact? It is realizing something is wrong with God. He is troubled, grieved, not all is well in Paradise. God lets His tranquility be disturbed.
The one true, only living God is omnipotent, self-determining. No one limits Him. The only boundaries that restrict Him are self-drawn. He alone decides what He will or won’t do, but once He draws the line, not even God Himself will violate it. He will not go against His own “once for all time” determined will.
Why does He allow sin? I don’t know, but He does, and groans over it. Why will He use only people to reach unbelievers? I don’t know, but He grieves over the small number of hearts willing to go. Don’t miss the pathos in God’s voice calling out to Isaiah, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” (6:8).
Listen with an ear of faith. Sadness in His voice can still be heard. Never lose sight of the tear that ever lingers in the corner of Jesus’ eye for prechristians.
We at Second should feel a collective inward grieving that the Sovereign Lord of the Universe should have to plead from His throne, “Who will go for Us?” Global Impact begins in worship, in loving the Lord our God first and foremost. Anything that troubles Earth’s Supreme Potentate should also trouble His subjects.
What is Global Impact? It is realizing something is wrong with this world. Isaiah moaned, “I live among a people of unclean lips” (6:5). We won’t attempt to impact anything we’ve decided doesn’t need altering. We won’t try to change the culture or neighborhoods we live in as long as we’re okay with their current status.
Columnist Cal Thomas recently presented the observations of unbelieving sociologist Alan Wolfe, who contends USA believers are remarkably like everyone else. C. S. Lewis called this serious enemy to the church “contented worldliness.” Wolfe says, in the battle between faith and culture, “American culture has triumphed.” Global Impact is supposed to flow the other direction.
Wolfe hands down a stinging indictment of contemporary Christianity, “Talk of hell, damnation, and even sins has been replaced by a nonjudgmental language of understanding and empathy.” We’re not sinners, we’re dysfunctional. We’re not addicts, we’re victims. We’re not immoral, we’re finding our way.
Despite our culture’s disbelief, Hell is still real and remains hot. Sin still affronts God and remains a painful head-start on Hell for people while here on Earth. Lost people’s lives are crumbling long before they fall off the final cliff.
Somehow we are not seeing how critical their status is. If we saw a boat accident, we would immediately sense the urge to help rescue the perishing, but do not sense the same urgency for spiritually equivalent accidents. Jesus was so sensitive that he saw “ships wrecking” everywhere He went. Christ could see this world trembling here and now, plus quivering over an everlasting pit yet to come.
We have become too de-sensitized. We have succeeded in erecting barriers to keep us from seeing, in individual’s lives, sin and its hurt. Lostness causes sin and pain all around us, but we practice “touch not, see not, hear not.” We need to remove the blinders, and peel off the insensitive layer wrapped around our hearts.
The least painful way to deal with sinners nearby is to know little about them. The surest way to escape unselfishness is to pull our heads into our shells.
We often display a spiritual blindness that filters out sin, sorrow, need, sickness, or adversity. It looks on the bright side of life by looking away from all that is wretched. This will never do. Something is seriously wrong in our culture, and only believers hold in their hearts the solution, Jesus. Christ is our only hope.
It is impossible to be a good Christian if we who hold the solution to the problem ignore sin and pain around us. We USA Christians have been mad at sin en masse so long that we have forgotten how to be sad over sin in individuals.
It would be better for some people in our city if they lived in Brazil, for USA missionary zeal might find them there. But living here as they do, no one cares for their soul at all. We must, as Jeremiah and Daniel did in their day, bear the sins of others upon our hearts, grieve for them even when they are adamant. Global Impact requires us to serve, to love our neighbors as ourselves.
What is Global Impact? It is realizing something is wrong with us. Global Impact begins when we are changed. Isaiah knew something was wrong with God and with the world. The prophet realized he had to worship and serve, but before Isaiah could go help correct the first two wrongs, he had to fix what was wrong in himself, what kept him from effective going. Isaiah, like us, could have picked any of many potential problems as a place to start, but sensed his most urgent sin problem was a mouth failure. Isaiah cried, “I am a man of unclean lips” (6:5).
For our consideration I submit this is also our most serious failure. I know without a doubt it is mine. In a culture wanting to discuss spiritual things, Bible-believing Christians are strangely silent. Prechristian sociologist Wolfe picked up on this phenomena. He says evangelicals increasingly dislike sharing their faith with others for fear that doing so might make them seem unfriendly or invasive.
For three or four years now, I have had a growing conviction that unbelievers want to talk about spiritual things. I now know by experiences over the past three or four months that this conviction was absolutely right on target.
It is Satan, not the lost, seeking to make us unwilling to talk to them about Jesus. Our main breakdown with unbelievers is communication. It is no coincidence God prepared Isaiah to go by first having an angel take a hot coal from Heaven’s altar and touch the prophet’s lips with it. Isaiah’s lips needed help most.
We are called to Global Impact on behalf of those who do not worship our sweet Savior. For the task, our lips will be either instruments or impediments.
Join me in praying God will burn words on our lips until we again feel the flame. May He set us, as He did Isaiah, on fire where needed most. Instead of flesh, may our lips be flames, ready to encourage, to state truth, to speak compassion, to tell good news of Jesus. Christ died for sinners, but till then He lived for them, telling them what they needed to hear. We too may have to die for sinners, but in the meantime let’s live for them, telling them what they need to hear.