Earthquakes, famines, diseases. Wars and rumors of wars. Jesus called these birth pangs – the beginning of sorrows. Christians will be hated because of our stand for Christ. “Many will be offended,” He said. Sound familiar? You can’t even drink a cup of coffee these days with someone being offended by the way you do it. Flags? Really? We have dozens of people shot and killed in one of our major cities in America, and we believe a flag caused it? Really? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are racist? Are you kidding me? It is almost as if people are looking for something to offend them. Jesus said that the last days would be like the days of Noah. Many teach that means everyone will be surprised by judgment. I think that is true, but I think that there is more to it. The days of Noah were some of the most wicked days on planet Earth. Things were so bad that God was sorry that He had created mankind, and sent a worldwide flood to destroy His ultimate creation. I cannot believe the world could have been any more sinful than it is today. I cannot believe that God’s wrath is not ready to be poured out on this world. So in the face of all this, how should the church, the true Bride of Christ, respond? The way that we should have been responding for 2,000 years. The church must be the church.
What follows is part of my message from last Sunday morning at Southside Baptist Church. Please note that I have taken the point of personal privilege in which I have editorialized somewhat.
So here is how I hope that we are going to respond. Southside Baptist Church is going to Share Grace through evangelism and missions. We are called by Jesus to “go into all the world and make disciples” (Mt. 28:19-20). For His own reasons, God has chosen salvation to come to a lost world through the proclamation of the good news of Jesus. I don’t know why God chose this particular method, but He did. Most of us would rather have to climb a mountain or perform some heroic deed in order to be saved because that is how we are geared. Our mindset is that we must earn anything good that happens to us. That we must earn God’s favor, but God says that His plan is simple. All we have to do is to trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Then, we are called to go into the world and make disciples. We are the ones sent to accomplish that task by sharing His grace through our words and through our deeds.
Too often, we get caught up in this idea that all I have to do is go out and talk to people about the church and religious things. There’s more to it than that. Too often, we think we just have to share the Romans Road of Salvation. Romans 3:23 – all of us are sinners. Romans 6:23 – we deserve to die for our sins, but God wants to give us a gift of eternal life. Romans 10: 9, 10 – all we have to do is confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that He died on the cross for our sins and rose again on the third day. And we do need to share that information. The Bible tells us that salvation comes through the proclamation of this simple story of good news. Whatever your method, we must share those truths. But not only do we proclaim God’s love through our words, we must also proclaim His love through our lifestyles.
Now let me be careful to explain to you that I know that I don’t know it all. I find myself learning something new every time that I open the Bible. But I know what is sin and what is not sin. I know that ALL sin breaks God’s heart and is punishable by death. You want to talk about the sin of gossip? Lying? Gluttony? Laziness? Abortion? Drunkenness? Adultery? Homosexuality? Murder? These and many more like them are sins, and they are all punishable by death. The good news is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took the punishment for all these sins on Calvary’s cross – for every sin that has ever been or ever will be committed. When He died on the cross, the blood that He shed satisfied the wrath of God once and for all. That means for all time. In other words, no other sacrifice is needed. It also means for all people. Yes, for all people. Murderers, adulterers, homosexuals, liars…. However, each person must claim the gift that He has offered, accept it as our very own. For most evangelicals, we talk about the ABCs of salvation. A – admit that we have sinned and are sinners. B – believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sin but rose from the dead three days later. C – confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. That means He becomes our Master and we become His servants. Total surrender to His will. That means that when He says to go into all the world to share grace through evangelism and missions, we say, “Yes, Lord.”
That means if we want to change our world, if we want to bring our nation back to being “one nation under God,” we must seek God through worship and share His grace through evangelism and missions.