Last week we saw signs of what it looks like when our church is NOT living like it is God’s family. This is part of a series where I am comparing the “family of missionary slaves” model of being the church to an autorickshaw.
This week, let us look at how a local church looks like when it’s no longer living as missionaries. And I am assuming I am not the only one in all of God’s Kingdom who goes through times when I am no longer very eager to talk about Jesus before others who are not Christians.
“This missionary is stationary and empty. Intriguing!”
When considering the three wheels of an autorickshaw, I am persuaded to think that the front wheel is the missionary wheel. The front wheel gives control & direction to the autorickshaw, just as the missionary aspect gives the church right direction. It is the main thing. The primary task of the church is to show the world Christ Jesus, it’s Savior and it’s Judge.
After all, it was Jesus’ own chief purpose in life. After all, God’s Holy Spirit is given to Christians, to proclaim the gospel in word and through our new lives.
In the midst of creating God’s community and serving with much grace, Jesus’ one purpose was to be a missionary by proclaiming the Good news that forgiveness is available to those who turn from their sins and put their trust in Him. He began with not just good deeds, as some might claim, but used audible gospel words.
So how can we know if His church is no longer keen to live like missionaries for their Lord Jesus?
Problem II. Our church is not living as God’s missionaries.
1. We don’t pray desperately for people we know to get saved- Neither do we pray for our zeal. When was the last time you and your church prayed regularly for someone’s conversion from sin to Christ? I mean – does it hurt you that someone doesn’t believe in our precious Lord Jesus? That they would perish on the final Day?
2. We don’t find time for evangelism, because we have our life-priorities wrong. We are called to seek first God’s kingdom, which implies there has to be repentance and re-orientation in how we live our personal life, career and recreation for the gospel and God’s mission. Like the disciples, we can find ourselves in a corner, trying to earn our own fish through our jobs to feed ourselves.
But this is NOT coastal Kerala lunch-time! This is the kingdom of God, if you indeed belong to Him!
3. We find our time spent mostly in places where only other Christians are found. Easy life?
When did Jesus say hanging out comes at the cost of initiating and developing relationships with non-Christians? But that is exactly what a lot of us end up doing, don’t we?
Remember how Jesus Christ pursued us while we were still sinners? Let’s go do likewise – consistently!
4. We are seldom invited by non-Christian friends to hang out with them.
As my church community elder recently reminded us in a sermon, Jesus was so often invited by ‘sinners’ for their parties. And He gladly went.
Are you invited by your lost friends? When invited, Do you let a couple of believers tag along and go?
Why not? Maybe it’s time to ask the Lord the reason?
5. We fear men and women above God- we are afraid of confrontational talk and discussions that can bring us trouble in any form.
A lot of times, being a servant of Christ could mean nothing but being the most loving spiritual whistle-blower in town.
6. We have been bad examples before non-Christians and that hinders the gospel.
Repent and asking forgiveness to the Lord AND to our non-Christian friends is a good starting point out of that mess. I have been there. God will come to our aid, even when we don’t deserve Him.
7. We don’t hear or read of others’ salvation stories and learn from the experience of veterans in sharing the gospel.
This should be self-explanatory.
8. We do evangelism, but we do not rely on Holy Spirit to give us Jesus-type of love for others.
When with non-believers, do you talk about their bad behaviour behind their backs, with little intention of addressing the problem with the person concerned? That’s sin- that’s gossip. 1st Corinthians 13 reminds us that without love, God counts this “evangelism” nonsense-noise.
Are there any other points you see that are missing from these symptoms? Please write in from your experience of sharing the gospel.
Next week : Signs that our church is not living as God’s slaves.