The bible says that we, as followers of Jesus, are exiles and sojourners in this world. That we should not be influenced by this world. We are in the world, but not of the world.
This truth is becoming more of a reality in our ever-changing world. The culture is constantly changing around us. As the church, how are we to respond? There are some “Christians” that will fall into the trap of being obedient to the world and not to the Word, and thus do everything the world tells them. As exiles, we are only to follow Jesus Christ. This includes being salt and light to and in a world full of darkness, depravity, deception, sin, and evil. These are our marching orders. Jesus gave them right before He ascended into heaven:
Matthew 28: 18-20 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Acts 1: 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
There is not a church that will not say “amen” to these marching orders. Unfortunately, we have been self-absorbed and our programing is for self-preservation and not making disciples. I know this sounds harsh, but it’s true. We have been consumed by creating church attenders and finding our worth in how many people show up on any given Sunday. I believe one of the things The Lord is doing through COVID-19, is giving the church a new vision. A Gospel Vision. A disciple making vision. I praise the Lord for this.
It has been brewing in my heart for several years to get back to how the 1st Century Church was committed to the gospel, and how they make disciples, and their prayers were directed toward a boldness in speaking the good news of Jesus Christ to their world. I am not the only one that has been feeling this “holy discontent.” The Lord is up to something, and it is exciting.
So what should we “get back” to in order to live into this calling? First, we need to recognize and learn how the first church engaged in their boldness of the Gospel. Here are 5 observations from that 1st Church that we can lean into:
- Their evangelism was primarily on secular ground.
- Their priority was on personal conversations with individuals.
- Their homes provided a natural context in their evangelism.
- New churches were started in the homes.
- There was an emphasis on in their lives on the work of the Holy Spirit.
When you look at this short list, there is no programming and it is not pragmatic. It’s just natural. Over the course of time, I am going to take each of these and dig a little deeper into them. This way we can be challenged as we strive for obedience.
As we continue to journey in a Post-COVID world, we need to be serious about making disciples. The only thing that will save the church, is Jesus Christ and our commitment to get out of our church buildings and be a light everywhere we go. Our faithfulness to Jesus Christ and living into the mission He has for us is not going to be easy. There will be persecution. The world will not understand. Jesus says all this, but he have hope in Him over all. We need to make decision’s to be effective over being comfortable; to be gospel focused over self-preservation; to be a disciple maker over a church attender. You and I are here in 2021 “for such a time as this.” The Lord has not changed. He is still looking for faithfulness. Let’s do this. The Lord has our back. AMEN!
2 Chronicles 16: 9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.