(Photo: Cornerstone Church of San Diego)
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – There is more to the Gospel message than simply "hope," there's "faith" as well, said Pastor Obed Martinez during The Heart Revolution conference last week.
"Hope is the hook for the unbeliever but faith is the anchor 'in the now.' When we preach to an unbeliever, we preach 'hope' which is inspiration, [then] we bring them into faith which is the 'now' [and also considered a] revelation, and then they become overwhelmed by love which is 'impartation.' But sometimes we only preach 'hope' and that's why they don't walk out with faith and that's why they can't move mountains," Martinez said.
For the last nine years, Martinez has been pastoring Destiny Church in the California Coachella Valley alongside his wife Lissette. Initially, what began as a humble meet-up of only a few families in a living room has grown into a multicultural and multigenerational church where thousands have been impacted. During his message, Martinez focused on the disservice that some churches create for unbelievers when hindering their ability to embrace radical faith.
Martinez noted that the common issue found in the church is that there is no demonstration of follow-up after the spoken word each Sunday. He told the crowd at Cornerstone Church of San Diego, the host location for the conference, that faith is something in the present moment, and hope lies in the future. Because this distinction is not overly emphasized in churches, people oftentimes do not understand the function of a church, which is "driven by an unseen world," he said.
"My concern for the church is that we're preaching to an audience of unbelievers and all we do is preach hope, that's why people walk out inspired by they don't walk out with revelation. We know what Jesus can do but He's not doing it in the midst of us," Martinez said. "This is what is crippling the church, we cast the net to people so they can believe that their future is much better than their now and yet we don't realize that the reason that our future is delayed is because we're not handling the things we should be now."
He also noted a recurring theme in many preachers' messages about placing an importance on "what will come" versus "what can occur." According to Martinez, this is another problem that the church needs to identify in order to begin a transformation.
"Every time we speak on hope, we talk about what's going to come, 'Oh, God is about to bless you, get ready, something is about to happen.' But what you're speaking is about the future and not faith, because faith is always present, it's right now," Martinez said.
In order to change that message, he says churches must first understand the "crippling" that occurs among them. He uses the illustration of the Biblical story about Lazarus' sister, Martha, to give conference goers a clear perspective on his point.
"Martha is the picture of how the church is functioning in their thinking today. In the Bible, she sees Jesus and the first thing she says is, 'Lord if you would've been here earlier my brother Lazarus wouldn't have died,' and that's the church talking about its past. Then she says, 'I know he will resurrect with you on the day of the resurrection,' that's the church talking about its future. It's interesting that she was present with Jesus, and she was talking about her past and future but she couldn't discern the 'right now'," Martinez said.
He talked about a person's transformation in terms of a metamorphosis, such as butterflies experience.
"God speaks about transformation not change in the Bible. You see, a caterpillar is who you were while you were in Egypt, you were crawling, beneath not above, you were the tail, not the head. Once you left the life of a caterpillar, you stepped into the cocoon, which is your wilderness, your transition and process but once you stepped into the promise land, you became a butterfly. There's always a three way process in how God is transforming your life," Martinez said.
During the conclusion of his message, he added, "I'm tired of churches preaching change and keeping people in the process of a cocoon, they're butterflies but they're still crawling, they got wings but they're still looking for their feet," Martinez said. "We ought to start preaching church reformation, it's time that the church changes its altitude and begins to soar above the mountains."