Our world is changing. We live in a fractured and broken world that desperately needs healing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But too often it is the world that is making changes to the church, rather than the church positively changing our world.
Today’s situation is similar to the church in the ancient city of Corinth – Christians in a very secular world. How can the Christians, and the church, heal our fractured world?
Ed Stetzer spoke at the 2018 Fall Meeting of the Baptist Bible Fellowship International, held at Park Valley Church in Haymarket, Virginia. Using 1 Corinthians 5:16-21 he presented four principles to help reach our secular world. I included some of the ideas he shared. What a great message to reach our community and world.
1 – We have a new perspective.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (1 Corinthians 5:16-17)
Society is decaying. Even in ancient Corinth, Paul warned “the present form of this world is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:31). We ought not be surprised that there is so much conflict in our world. But Christians have a different perspective. We are new creations of God. Our new life changes everything about us, including our perspective. We don’t see people as the world sees people. We have a new set of lenses. Like adjusting our glasses to see better, we need to adjust our spiritual lenses regularly so we can see people the way Jesus sees them.
2 – We are sent on a mission of reconciliation.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. (1 Corinthians 5:18-19)
The world doesn’t like that without Christ they are lost. But they are. We must tell them that they can be reconciled to God through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. That is our primary ministry.
3. We represent Jesus and His kingdom.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (1 Corinthians 5:20)
If you want to break through to a conflicting world you need to represent Jesus well. We are His ambassadors representing His kingdom. This is not home for the Christian. Sometimes being an ambassador can be difficult and dangerous (Ephesians 6:19,20). But we must remain loyal. Our church is an embassy of the kingdom of God. Yet, one church cannot fulfill the Great Commission. We must network together.
Jesus’ kingdom is already but not yet. The kingdom arrived when the King showed up but the world doesn’t look like it. The battle has been won but the struggle is not over. During WW2 the war was won on D-Day but the battles weren’t over until V-E Day.
4. Because of the cross.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (1 Corinthians 5:21)
This is a Scripture about imputation. We are sinners by nature – sin has been imputed through us through Adam. But on the cross, our sin was imputed on Jesus. He not only died for our sin, but He became sin. And His righteousness was imputed to us as believers. This is the motivation to reach our fractured, broken world. We do it because of what Jesus has done for us.
As we think about unbelievers, remember that they are not the enemy. They are the prisoners of war. We need to rescue them from the enemy.