A.R. Bernard expounds and expands on the Cultural Mandate and its relevance to believers’ everyday lives.
Contributed By Jeremy Chua
It may be common thinking that pragmatism and faith cannot go together hand in hand, but in his recent trip to City Harvest Church, the chairman of CHC’s Advisory Committee, A.R. Bernard, debunked that notion with revelatory messages over the weekend of Aug. 27 and 28.
Bernard prefaced his message during the 5 p.m. service on Saturday by defining a simple term—spiritual growth. “Spiritual growth is increasing your capacity to know and experience God; everything in life has a capacity, the ability to hold and contain without malfunctioning,” he said.
He taught that a believer can intentionally increase his or her capacity to know God through the diligent and consistent study of His Word; through experiencing Him in worship; through prayer; and by developing an awareness of His presence and activity throughout one’s daily life. From this premise, Bernard launched into the main focus of his sermon, the Cultural Mandate.
Regarding Christians venturing into the marketplace, Bernard shared that going out and understanding the system, prevents disillusionment with the system. “We are called to go into the world, and work with the system, but not compromise on God’s values. We are not called to change the system, but to bring God’s values into the system,” said Bernard.
Continuing in the same vein on Sunday morning, Bernard built upon what he shared by encouraging believers to be mindful of the bigger picture in life, and to be aware of God’s hand in it. He defined terms such as times (chronos), and seasons (kairos) as found in the Bible, and shared that there is a time and season for God’s purpose in a believer’s life.
According to Bernard, the word “world” in the Bible can be translated to mean three things: culture, territory, and aion, or ages. He went on to define an age as “a period of time in history marked by notable events and particular characteristics, or the spirit or attitude of an age.” He listed the various ages that are recorded in the Bible and their characteristics, such as the age from Adam’s sin to the Great Flood, from the Great Flood to Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. Bernard also highlighted that from Jesus’ ascension to His Second Coming is what is known as the Present Age.
“There is a new age after the Second Coming of Jesus, known in the Bible as the Age To Come, where we will see the power of eternal life expressed; we will experience translation of our bodies to become a totally new species introduced to the universe and we will see the true power of God, and His plan for the Church will be revealed!” Bernard exulted.
Seasons or kairos, said Bernard, are favorable periods of time appropriate for a particular person or purpose. “In that kairos moment, we got to have faith and not be afraid of taking risks or failures. When the grace and favor of God comes in the kairos moment, we can’t work for it, we have to just receive it by faith,” he said.
Drawing a parallel to Jesus’ ministry on earth under the circumstances He was in, Bernard encouraged CHC saying, “What God has in store for this church is unknown to us yet, and God is setting everything up so that there is no interference to enter into His season for our lives. God specifically chooses the day and time when He releases us into the season of favor and grace in our lives!”
After reminding the church to be alert and intentionally increase their capacity to discern God’s activity in their everyday lives, Bernard ended with a powerful prophetic word. “God is aligning all that needs to be aligned at every level, and once these are all in place, you will know it, and everything I said this morning will be brought to your remembrance.”
On this powerful note he brought encouragement, empowerment and revelation to CHC.