Church and gospel

It’s a saying in some parts that, in God’s church, some are evangelists but all evangelize. That’s a fair summary of the work of the saints. Whatever function we fulfill in the body of Christ, whatever our task, no matter how large or small, everybody has a single mission—to save souls. Isn’t that what Christ came to do?

From the cross the Savior did not hand goodies or ladle soup. While hanging on the cross, he did, in his last earthly breath, save a soul. On Pentecost, our Lord did not establish a benevolent work or camp or orphanage or Christian college. He founded a people composed of the saved, Acts 2.47. He put supervisors and servants to guide it, not a board of directors who were heavy contributors to makes its decisions.

The church was created as an agile creature, mobile in the extreme, flexible in its approach, with a complete Message to proclaim to all. Missions was not an appendage. It was its reason for existence.

But today many churches are playing more games than an NFL team that makes it to the Super Bowl.

In God’s church, talk about souls and winning souls is common. Prayer requests abound for people who need to obey the gospel. In the church of Christ, there are no apologies for talking to people about conversion, about their need to put the kingdom of God first and to change their lives.

Near the top of the list of the marks of the true church is its mission. (Did I mention that its singular mission is to evangelize?) Real saints know that gospel (good news, remember?) is both content and communication. It’s not gospel unless it is characterized by true content and personal, continual communication.

Catholics and Protestants have this silly controversy about which came first, the church or the Bible. God spoke, Christ died, and both church and Bible came into being. Because both are his instruments of salvation. Eternal life. Hope of heaven. If you’re not in both, the church and the Bible, and working from both, you’ve not gotten with the program.

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¶ Before he turned to God, a convert had read the entire New Testament. After his immersion, he started on the Old Testament and began again on the New. Are there any disciples of age who show such avid interest in God’s word?

¶ Memorization, like handwriting, has become an activity of ages past. Is learning by rote now disdained? (Or maybe learning itself as an activity?) As a boy, I won a Bible in a congregational contest for memorizing Scriptures. Whether it was a good thing or not to make it into a contest, you be the judge. But let us hold high the goal of storing up God’s word in our hearts, Psa 119.11.

¶ We ought not to call people fools out of an emotional outburst. That makes us what we call others. The Bible has plenty to say, however, about who is a fool and identifies foolish behavior. So I should become familiar with what it says, so that I don’t fool myself into thinking I’m wise when I’m not. Let us not forget that foolish behavior is often sinful as well, 2 Sam 24.10.

¶ Oh, puulease. Can we get past that old saw about the humble person not knowing he’s humble? But, of course, spouting nonsense has always been present in the world. Again, if Moses could write that he was humble, can’t we figure out that without recognizing humility we can never become humble?

¶ We sometimes take for granted the change in covenants at Jesus’ death. When working with non-Christians (especially religious friends who think they’re Christians), we must bring much teaching to bear on this truth. Any good evangelistic study ought to deal in depth with the various covenants and time periods found in the Bible, because so much of denominational practice borrows from the Old Testament. Tithing and music are but two obvious examples. But also all the physical and material blessings found there which health-and-wealth frauds offer as being present promises.

¶ Back in 2002 I wrote, “I have put all my eggs in one basket. All my hopes, all my dreams, all my trust, all my honor. I will not be disappointed, for that basket is called Jesus Christ.” I still have no reason to revise that thought, inelegant though the expression may be.

#Corollaries #mission #evangelism