How Now Shall We Act?

In light of Friday’s Supreme Court decision Christians find ourselves in a predicament. The new reality in America today suggests that, if you do not agree with the Supreme Court’s decision, you are intolerant, prejudiced or even bigoted. Is it possible to disagree without disrespecting, to love without compromising? I say “yes” if we practice the following five principles:

  1. Stay anchored in God’s Word. Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32 ESV)  Right is still right and wrong is still wrong–and right and wrong are found in God’s Word.
  2. Speak the truth in loveRather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV) The church has always swam upstream, gone against the flow, spoken into the ills of its day. This time is no different.
  3. Remember love is always rightSo now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV) While those outside Christianity struggle to understand this paradigm, it is possible and necessary to love sinners while speaking out against sin.
  4. Don’t confuse people with politics. Friday’s decision was more politically motivated than people oriented. As Christians we must never confuse the two. Paul said, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22 ESV)
  5. Remember who you are. While the church has become the whipping boy for many problems in the world, the church has been and still is the source of feeding the poor, clothing the naked, starting hospitals, ministering to the desperately sick in developing countries, responding to natural disasters all over the world, defending freedom, fighting sex slavery, loving orphans…you get my point.  Jesus, the hero and object of our faith, had this to say. Let his words resonate in your mind and hearts today: Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. (John 15:20-22 ESV)

Martin Luther said, “Anyone who is to find Christ must first find the church. How could anyone know where Christ is and what faith is in him unless he knew where his believers are?” Let’s be the church.

Rescue Station or Country Club?

Consider the following quote from J.D. Greear’s book, Jesus Continued:

hand“In every age, the church faces the danger of degrading itself from a movement to a place, from a conduit of God’s mighty, rushing wind to a sacred place where we seek serene, spiritual moments; from a rescue station to a spiritual country club.” (page 49)

What the church is not.

The church is not a building. If it were, and it happened to be destroyed by fire, the church would no longer exist. Since the church is not a building, you don’t go to church on Sunday. You are the church Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The church is not deposit account from which we make withdrawals when we need God. If it were, worship would be all about what I could get rather than what God has done. Church services would be little more than customer satisfaction events appeasing those who attend.

The church is not a country club. If it were, you could buy your way in and sign yourself out when the club voted on a rule you didn’t like. Your position in the club would depend on your ability to pay the club’s bills.

What the church is.

The church is a movement. It is dynamic, not static; changing, not stagnate. It got its start with a mighty rushing wind that swept through the upper room, swept the disciples off their feet and into the streets of Jerusalem and to all parts of the known world.

The church is a conduit. Through it flow the grace of God, the Gospel of the cross, the compassion of the Savior. Through God’s church, grace flows in and grace flows out. When grace ceases flowing out, the church ceases to be the church.

The church is a rescue station. As soon as someone is rescued, their attention turns to the dying people around them. They want to rescue others. For 2,000 years the church has rescued the perishing.

Who is within your arm’s reach today? Who is drowning in sin crying out for a Savior?