“I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” ~1 Corinthians 9:22
There are stumbling blocks in the Gospel message. Big-time stumbling blocks. The cross of Christ is a huge one. The call to sacrifice and service messes people up. The Resurrection can get in the way. The requirement to surrender is a problem. The directive to die is another one. The Lordship of Jesus can be a real issue.
Those are all certainly necessary components to the Good News. But if we’re not consistently preaching and teaching and living those things, then it’s not Christianity. It’s another religion, entirely.
Our mission as God’s Church is to remove each and every unnecessary obstacle, to strip away the things that would prevent an unbelieving world from accepting the grace and forgiveness of Christ. That doesn’t mean running away from our traditions or carelessly discarding our practices. It doesn’t mean we treat our heritage flippantly.
It does mean we are constantly evaluating the things we do and the reasons we do them. It means we are always thinking and reflecting. And we measure our message against the will of our God and the mind of our Christ: not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
It means that when we consider a change, we don’t ask, “How will this affect me?” or “What if this upsets one of our members?” We ask, “How will this reach someone on the outside?” And if it might, we take the risk and we do it. Boldly.
We need to be less concerned with our own congregations and church structure and organization and worship practices and much more concerned with understanding our culture, getting inside the heads of the people around us and determining what makes them tick. We should be eaten up with trying to figure out their access points to the Gospel.
We should never ask, “How many Church of Christ people live within ten miles of our building and how do we get them here?” We should ask, “How many lost people live within ten miles of our building? And how do we win them for Christ?”
Yes, we need to be faithful to our past. But we also need to be faithful to our future. That’s a God-ordained responsibility, too.
Paul says “by all possible means.”
More empty tomb “tags” from around our community:
How about that “tag” on the grave marker there? Paul Brightwell’s dad died almost a year ago. He sent me that picture last night with these words: “I laughed; then I cried, thinking, someday, because of the empty tomb, we will see each other again; and then I rejoiced.”
That’s what Resurrection Conversations are all about. That’s what the power of the Resurrection and the hope of the Resurrection is all about.
Keep applying those decals. Keep dropping those cards. And when people ask, tell them that the tomb is empty. And tell them that means death has nothing on you. And neither does sin.