Wednesday • June 19
Life in the Church
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by Ron Teed
You might be a victim of some sort of suffering or tragedy this very minute, from hurricanes and earthquakes to the ravages of mental illness and other terrifying diseases. It is the job of the church to offer help, love and the message of hope. And perhaps nothing demonstrates the reality of the kingdom of God more than when Christians, even in the face of great danger to their own lives, help those whom society considers to be expendable.
How are members of the Church universal to live in this world as ambassadors of God and Christ? The mission of the Church is to carry the message of God and Jesus to what we could categorize as an alien world. The Church is to challenge the distorted political, and social values in the culture around them while at the same time demonstrating sacrificial love to others. But Jesus doesn't call the Church to a political or social agenda. The church as an institution is to debate the culture, but not be engaged in political actions to try and better it. The Church exists to save souls, not society. The hand of help, however, should always be extended to all of humankind.
Sin so pervades the world that unless the world's values and structures are constantly opposed, obedience to Christ is inevitably compromised. That's why the apostle Paul exhorts believers not to "conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). "This is the narrow road that alone leads to life" (Matthew 7:14).
It is you and I who can make a difference by reaching out in our diverse culture to get to know and understand other genders, colors, nationalities, and religions. I know the God of the Bible to be the one and only God and I want others to understand enough about God so that they are willing to explore the Bible on their own. Neither I nor anyone else alive today or in centuries past has ever had the ability to convert anyone to the religion of Christianity. It is only the Holy Spirit of God that can do that for a person and the only function you and I can play in that process is to live in such a way that others see the love of God for them through me. When Christians despise unbelievers or those that believe in a different god, they don't reflect the love of God but the hatred of prejudice, distrust, and fear.
I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose again so that I too could rise again after I die and live eternally in Heaven's perfect environment. I want to see everyone in the world believe that truth as well so that they might enjoy the same paradise. If they don't, I'm saddened but I will certainly not hate them for their decision. My God loves them and it's my assigned responsibility and the responsibility of every other believer to love them as well and to keep the lines of communication open until the day they or we die. It will be at that time that one of us will know who is right, and I know that at that time God's heart will grieve for them, but that will not change His mind because they will have made their own choice.