The Amen

“Grace to you, and peace from God, our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever, Amen.” Galatians 1:3-6

Popular music has the capacity to hit a nerve and release clear evidence of a spiritual nature within the heart that cries out for God. Unfortunately, a spiritual experience does not necessarily lead to an encounter with The Author of Salvation, Jesus Christ.

This is the counterfeit nature of music that often passes for worship, but leaves the seeker in a state of spiritual bankruptcy. Still, powerful lyrics and the driving rhythm of a song often reveal a heart with a God-made, and a God-shaped vacuum that only Jesus can fill.

One of my all-time favorite words in the world is “Amen.” As a child, it always served as the trigger that was pulled at the end of a service that would set me free, and launch me out the door of the church with a new surge of FREEEEEDOM.

In my teenage years, this simple word was put to music in a Gospel song that became a national phenomenon. The featured soloist, simply repeated “Amen” over and over again, as a choral group responded with a series of refrains. It ended with a crescendo that caught the attention of millions of radio listeners, believers and non-believers alike.

If interested, Google, “The Amen Song” and you will discover, "Amen" was a song popularized by The Impressions. The song was written by Jester Hairston, for the Sidney Poitier film Lilies of the Field (1963). Curtis Mayfield said ‘I'd gone to see 'Lilies of The Field,' and the song in it, 'Amen,' was very inspiring for me as was the movie.’

The song went to number one on Cashbox Magazine's R&B chart for three weeks and reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1964.[ A new version was released by The Impressions in 1969 under the title "Amen (1970)", reaching #44 on the Billboard Best Selling Soul Singles chart in January 1970.”

“Amen” shows up often in Scripture to bring closure to a powerful prayer, or to precede a prophetic statement. For instance, John’s Gospel employs it no less than 25 times in this manner. When repeated back to back, “Amen. Amen.” It meant, most assuredly. When Amen closed a prayer, often those hearing it would repeat it as a personal and corporate, “So be it.”

“The word "amen" is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best known word in human speech. The word is directly related — in fact, almost identical — to the Hebrew word for "believe" (amam), or faithful. Thus, it came to mean "sure" or "truly", an expression of absolute trust and confidence.”  The Blue Letter Bible Commentary

In Paul’s prayerful and graceful greeting, “Amen” is a reminder that what has preceded it requires a response to it. Paul’s letter was not a source of interesting information for the early church, nor was it for their temporary inspiration.  He was sending them a manual of instruction.

Paul’s letter to the Galatians challenged them, from the outset, to put their listening ears on, and to take what he was writing into their hearts, and to own it.  It still challenges us today.

Believers are receivers of The Word of God. They are not just listeners to and students of The Word. They are not nit-picking bibliophile constantly learning but never coming to the knowledge of The Truth. They are not navel gazing lint-pickers sitting, and soaking, enjoying or critiquing the efforts of a hired wordsmith.

To be rescued, snatched out of “this present evil age,” is not a change of location, but a change of heart. It is a turnaround, and a transformation of a culture, one heart at a time. This gathering of transformed people becomes a church that gives off a striking aroma in a world of corruption like a gardenia in a garbage can. This kind of creation does not blend in with the culture of “this present evil age.” It lives to serve a Risen Savior, and extends His hand into the culture, to pull people out of it, not to slap them down for being corrupted by it.

Paul’s uses the word, “Amen” not so much to bring closure, but to bring exposure. His words expose the motive of every believer, individually, and the church corporately. Each must respond to the condition of “this present evil age” and own their part of the mission of The Lord, Jesus Christ, reaching out to those caught in its undertow.

The church must be filled with First Responders, who race to the cry of the lost. Too often it becomes a gathering of people who have secured their place on the lifeboat, and then spend the rest of their lives turning it into a cruise ship. Big difference.

Pray for the insight to see the difference, and for the courage to make a difference, before it too late for a drowning man to be saved and a dying church to be revived. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!