In an era of great and hopeful initiatives to repair our world, we Christians find ourselves in the middle of a difficult conjuncture—namely, who are we? How exactly are we to “help” our community that is hurting so deeply? The perfect storm has been formed: racial injustice, economic downfall, world pandemic, fear…to name a few of the latest pains that our world is facing.
And yet, the question prevails, who are we? As Christians, how are we to interact with these issues? How are we to touch those who remain untouched? If we are not careful, however, we can find ourselves using the tools that the world has been trying for so long, and that have proved to be utterly inefficient. Social justice, feeding the poor, or conversing about race, are not the ultimate solutions to a world that needs solutions so desperately.
Please allow me to share three important thoughts in regards to our Christian interaction in a post-Christian era.
First, who are you?
I believe that this question is so basic and fundamental for a purposeful Christianity. We must remember who we are and then engrave it deeply into our hearts and souls. In the words of Peter, we are, “chosen of God, and precious”, and furthermore we are “… also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ,” (1 Pet. 4, 5). This is crucial because at times we believe that as Christians we must repair the world, right every wrong, or help our communities. However, while all that is true in a certain degree, Peter would argue that all those actions cannot define who we are. We are not the Savior, we are His reflection. We are not the helpers, we are His sent ones. We are not the message, we are the mouthpiece of His Word.
Are we to help the poor and the needy? Absolutely! But as in everything else, external actions never trump internal motivations. Our understanding of our identity will determine the quality of our actions. A faulty understanding of who we are will produce a faulty solution in how we help. In other words, the Church of the Lord is not a “community fixer”, rather, the Church is the “pillar and ground of the truth”, (1 Tim. 3:15). We are proclaimers of His message, heralds of the King, citizens of His Kingdom. As such, we do help others. But we don’t help to be the kingdom; we are the kingdom thus we help.
Then, what are you doing?
Once we understand that our position in Christ is the cornerstone for our position before the world, then we can start utilizing biblical tools to advance our kingdom. There are difficult issues at the heart of every generation. In decades past, prior generations also faced challenges that defined them—right or wrong—nonetheless defined them.
How will future generations see us when they study our response to racial injustice, poverty, hunger, or fear? The Bible is clear about this. In a post-Christian era we minister with the Truth—the Gospel of God. I am afraid that much is made about the “methods” and “preferences”, but little is emphasized about the Truth. Much discussion is centered on ties, jeans, pants, radio programs or social media. But put all that aside, I don’t think the conduit is as important as the content that is being transmitted. Of course, there are some obvious instances that it is not so. But it is imperative that whatever you do and however you do it, you do it with a high concentration of biblical content.
I will put it like this. It is not true—not everything we do is evangelistic in content. We may give food away, or donate material things to shelters or food banks, or things alike, but that is not evangelistic. Please note this, it is great! Don’t misread me. I think it teaches a lot to our own kids, and it is a great example to our community that we are not only “words” (James 2:15-17). But our actions cannot be only Gospel-oriented, they must be Gospel-centered. And for that to be true, we must preach, live, and proclaim the Gospel at all times.
Evaluate your preaching or the preaching that you hear. It must be saturated with biblical truth. Not sermons that are about the Bible, or about biblical values, but sermons that are heavily nurtured with doctrine and truth. Always ask yourself this, did I preach about the Bible or did I explain the Bible while preaching? Did I interpret the passage, or did I “share” something from that passage? Do I have a good grasp of this passage and its implications? Do I understand how this passage connects to the rest of the Bible? These are questions that will reveal much about the content of our sermons.
What our post-Christian world needs today is timeless truth—and that can only be found in Scripture. Supplement it with food, shelter, conversations, community help, pizza giveaways, or whatever. But never forget that our best efforts to help our communities will all pass away, and yet His Word shall never pass away. Why would you not use His powerful Word to help a powerless world? That would be an act of hate—to hide truth from a obscure world.
And so, why do all this?
Because we are His Kingdom. We are representatives of the King, charged with expanding His kingdom to all nations (Mat. 28). We must live “kingdom lives” that reflect His kingdom. The world needs to see that the only place on earth where racial prejudice has been eradicated, is the Church—the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus. The world needs to see that the only place where there is true social help, is in the Kingdom of Jesus. The world needs to see that the only place in the universe where there is true love among humans, is in the Church. The place where there is true hospitality, generosity, acceptance, help, embrace, union, justice, stability, peace, tranquility, and more, is the Church, the Kingdom of God! All that will never become a reality through conversations, elections, or politicians. That kingdom has to be lived out in His church, His bride, His loved ones—our Lord so commanded it.
I encourage you to use the Bible in everything you do, think, talk, or do. His Words. His Words. His Words. Nothing else touches the souls of men and women as His Words. They are medicine, they are instruction, they are life. We are His Kingdom of light—and that matters a lot since we live in the kingdom of darkness.