This week I’m posting a list of five things we Christians need to stop believing in order to be more effective Gospel proclaimers in our communities. These are things we hear all the time from seemingly endless sources and pass them along as truth among ourselves. I’m of the conviction that believing these falsehoods is damaging to our Christian witness. Believing these things that just aren’t true has the potential to shut us down.
Yesterday we looked at The Church is in Decline.
We also need to stop believing The Church is Irrelevant.
We hear that the Church doesn’t know what’s going on in the world, that the Church doesn’t have an impact on anything that’s happening outside its own walls. Wrong answer! Don’t believe it!
The churches right now today are rebuilding Houston. God’s Church is rebuilding all the areas of South Texas that were devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Not the government, not the Red Cross, not the insurance companies — they all left a long time ago! The churches are rebuilding the homes and restoring hope to those families God’s Church was first on the scene and God’s people will be the last ones to leave.
Disciples of Jesus provide free health care to the poor. God’s Church provides shelter for the homeless. Followers of Christ feed the hungry kids and furnish the transitional houses and train the unwed mothers. God’s Church builds the schools in Kenya and operates the clinics in Guatemala.
Christians understand the physical, incarnational aspects of salvation and they always have. In the early days of the Church, the apostles healed the blind and the crippled and fed the poor. In the first 150 years of American history, God’s Church established 90-percent of the colleges and built 100-percent of the hospitals.
Living in the middle of a world, in the middle of a culture, that resists Christ and his Church, living in a society that rejects salvation from God in Jesus, we need to believe the Good News. We have to believe that God lives in us and his Son is our Lord. And we must believe that God is powerfully at work through his people to heal the sick, to restore the broken, to feed the hungry, to clothe the poor, the comfort the hurting. We must believe that, like he always has, God continues to work today in and through his Church to take care of the most basic and fundamental needs of a broken world.
Remember, the Romans during the second and third century plagues and pandemics marveled at how the Christians took care of, not only their own, but all of their community’s sick and dying. Roman historians wrote about it — at great personal risk, disciples of Christ ministered to the sickest and poorest among them. That hasn’t changed.
God’s Church is irrelevant? I don’t think so.
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