On June 8, the second day of the Ridgecrest Assembly 2012 meeting, The Rt. Rev. Rennis Ponniah of the Diocese of Singapore continued his three part Bible study. He focused on a fresh vision for the Church drawn from Isaiah 42:1-9. Bishop Ponniah revealed the nature of the Church’s presence is that of a servant and showed the “contrast between the glittering idols of the world who can do nothing and the servant of the Lord who can bring the renewal of the whole world.”
In chapter 41 verse 29, Isaiah turns to the pagan nations and explains their gods are worthless and powerless. Then from Isaiah 42:1, we read, “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.”
If we are to be faithful in our generation and our context, we must embrace God’s vision for the Church. When it comes to God’s vision, “the scope is transformation in the uttermost parts of the world,” Ponniah said.
Ponniah explained the only way we, as a Church, will fulfill that calling is through a covenant relationship with God, where we submit to his rule; we delight in his rule; and we proclaim the Gospel and all that the Gospel entails. “That’s what’s the Church is to do – to restore God’s right judgments in the world,” he said.
“You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. The servant’s role…is a role that remains open to be fulfilled by us, the new covenant community,” said Bishop Ponniah. “You express in your life what it means to be under the righteous reign of the Creator and Redeemer of the world,” he said, noting that “without the Gospel there’s no entry to live under God’s reign.”
However, everything hinges on the Holy Spirit. There is no way the Church can be the transforming agent of God and a light to the nations unless we are plugged into the power of the Holy Spirit. “The spirit makes real God’s empowering presence,” Ponniah continued.
Ponniah noted that the strength we will need to fulfill God’s vision comes from the Spirit, which is why we will be not discouraged or grow faint. (Isaiah 42:4) “The Spirit will sustain you into the next land because of the work of the Lord as you trust Him,” he said.
In closing Ponniah prayed, “Forgive us for failing to be a covenant for the people and a light for nations. Cleanse us and revive us and fill us afresh even in this Assembly with your Holy Spirit so that we can be, by your grace, the bride of Christ making known the salvation of our God.”
Read the story recapping part one of Bishop Ponniah’s Bible teaching here.