If we take a step back and examine the modern day church, I believe that, more often than not, we will see a group of godly men who have been neutered through their fear of being politically and culturally incorrect. Which in turn spays the bride of Christ that is the church in order to remain inoffensive to a lost and dying world.
This is a harsh statement and an uncomfortable thought I know. However, I believe that if we are honest with ourselves we will find that this is a truthful assessment of the state of the church. In today’s society, it is uncommon, rare even, to see godly men standing up righteously for the biblical doctrines and principles that they believe to be true for fear of being demonized by society. Sure we see groups that will hold signs up with bitter and hateful statements. They will line the streets in protest. Shouting and viciously swinging the sword of the spirit with awkward and clumsy movements, or quietly placing a harshly worded bumper sticker on their vehicle. Rarely do we see those who patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage with good teaching both the lost world as well as those in the pews as Paul instructs Timothy in his second epistle to his young disciple.
We all too often see a model where the men of the church who the world needs to hear from the most stay silent in hopes that simply by the example of their life and how they live it, the Gospel message will be received. We see God appointed ambassadors acting more like covert operatives. Sneaking and lurking in dark alleys only sharing the message they’ve been tasked with delivering in the safe houses that are today’s temples. In reality, we are called as ambassadors to come into the foreign land with our heads held high and the light of the Good News shining from all four corners of our motorcade. Our persecution is promised and that persecution may come in many different forms, but also promised is the safety and provision of our Lord Jesus Christ. Which, in the worst case, is our martyrdom and the eternal life that is promised to us. When we fail to evangelize because of this fear of persecution we make an idol of ourselves, our jobs, our family, and any other worldly thing that we allow the fear of loss to outweigh the God-given commission to evangelize. Bonhoeffer wrote, “Witness to Christ involves suffering for Christ. It is not an accident that the Greek word for witness (martyrs) came to be associated with martyrdom. Suffering, then, is the badge of true discipleship.”
In our freedom and the comfort of cultural Christianity that as Americans we have had the luxury of living in, we have gotten extremely soft and now consider every little push of resistance as persecution. When we lose a Facebook friend because of a Christian themed post or are called a "bible thumper" we cry out about the persecution we receive. When we are fired over our faith or taken to court for standing up for what we believe we become outraged. When in reality, our suffrages pale in comparison to our missionary counterparts both of today and of those men and women from the church of Acts. I often wonder how different our cultural landscape would look today if we had to face actual persecution here in the U.S. If we faced the same life and death scenario our brothers and sisters face in the Middle East, as one example, for sharing the Gospel. Would we be seeing the same awakening and revival that they are?
We have to recognize that we are simply beggars before the throne and that we play no part in our salvation or anybody else's for that matter. However, we are commanded to share the Gospel to all nations. That includes here in the states. "...First in Jerusalem, then in Judea and all Samaria...", as Jesus speaks to the Apostles. He not only includes where they are residing but puts it at the forefront of the list. The Gospel message was just as offensive in Jerusalem in biblical times, if not more so than it is in our current political climate here in the U.S. Yet, Jesus did not give His disciples a free pass there nor does He give us a free pass here.
There have been many social studies surrounding the homeless community or as some would refer to them beggars, one thing that has been very consistent is that these “Beggars” help their fellow “Beggars”, if we can grasp that we are mere beggars ourselves should we not have a desire to help other beggars (lost souls)? Just as we have a natural desire built into our DNA to reproduce, as born-again Christians we have a desire to evangelize. It is in the very fibers of our being, but we allow fear, pride, and a lack of ambition to overwhelm that desire and the passion that the presence of the Holy Spirit within us has kindled. And, rather than fueling that fire by standing together upon the word of God through discipleship and evangelism we allow society and their political correctness to snuff it out. Letting ourselves become as irrelevant and useless to the world as an unlit candle in the dark.
We have received a gift that was purchased at a higher price than anything that has ever sold from Tiffany’s or the Sotheby’s Auction House or been listed in the Robb Report Magazine. Even so, unlike holding a housewarming party for our new home purchase, taking our friends on a test ride to show off our new cars features, or posting on social media pictures of that newly acquired engagement ring, we tend to place our biggest and most valuable gift, the gift of salvation, in a box (under a bushel one might say) under our bed or in the back of our closet where it does a huge disservice to the dark and dying world we live in. Where we are called to be a light we merely fade into the darkness becoming just like the world around us. Scripture tells us that we are born again. A new creation! Yet we spend so much energy trying to look like the dead shell we left behind in order to camouflage ourselves and blend in with the lost world! We must remember that just because we were no different than the lost we are completely different because of the cross! We must be diligent in evangelizing and discipleship no matter the cost and we must remember that it is possible to be inoffensive in how we share the Gospel even though the Gospel is itself going to be received as offensive to a lost world.
As children, we don’t make it past kindergarten without being taught that sharing is caring. What does our evangelistic activity level say about how much we care about the billions of souls which would go to hell today if they died? We cannot afford to continue to look at our lost friends and family members, our neighbors and coworkers without the vision of what eternally awaits them in the forefront of our minds so that we may sleep comfortably in or ineffectiveness to bring the Gospel message to them. We must take action and be diligent and intentional about our mission of sharing the Good News that is the Gospel message of Jesus Christ!