Last night I began a 2-part study I’ve entitled, “Preparation for Confrontation.” The theme is Gospel proclamation. Being the light of the world. My point is not that the Church has failed to confront the world with the Gospel, but that because she has done so so poorly, many of us have abdicated our biblical mandate to “preach the Gospel to every creature” altogether. The solution is not to label witnessing as dated or fundamentalist, but to let the Holy Spirit reveal through the Scriptures how we should be obeying Christ’s commission to his disciples and then repent. Change our thinking on the subject.
My premise is that there are three components to effectively fulfilling the mandate to proclaim the good news: Christlike character, a redeemed intellect, and the Holy Spirit. Each of these, by definition is a confrontation to the prevailing culture. And when the first two are operating under the governance of the Spirit, I am convinced that revolutionary movements much like those detailed in the book of Acts are possible today. Ultimately, the world doesn’t need well-run religious organizations, although there is nothing inherently wrong with administrative and practical excellence. The people of our world need salvation from the sin that has kept them in bondage. Only the Gospel has the power to accomplish this liberation, and only to the extent that our churches are a conveyance of this Gospel are they truly successful.
So in considering these three components needed to effectively advance God’s Kingdom, I think we can ask three related questions:
– Is my character – my default mode for living – a sharp contrast to those around me who don’t know Christ?
– Do I perceive the world and process things in a way that is fundamentally different than what is presented by secular friends, media, etc.?
– Am I regularly deferring to the Holy Spirit in life’s decisions, acknowledging his role as leader and guide in my life?
I’d like to put together a couple posts that will helps us flesh-out answers to these questions and hopefully propel us deeper into our destiny as God’s witnesses. Of course, I’d like to think that these questions and this very teaching highlights a crucial point: the failure of the world to embrace the Gospel is possibly as much the result of our weakness as it is their stubbornness. We should walk away from talks like this with a profound sense of compassion and humility, not condescension or aggression.