In yesterday’s post I hinted at the notion that “as go the Christians, so goes the nation.” I am not by this saying that the Christians should get on a program to “take back the nation;” not at all. Nowhere in the Bible does it say taking back the nation is the mission of the church.
Our mission is two-fold: to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost and, to those who believe in Him, to teach the unadulterated word of God so as to make disciples of them. (1 Ti 2:5; Mt 28:19,20)*
What is the gospel of Jesus Christ we’re to proclaim? — that He was God come in the flesh, that He died on the cross for the sins of ALL men (believer and unbeliever) that He was buried and resurrected on the third day, and that “whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (1 Co 15:3,4; John 3:16-18)*
The Gospel is good news — the good news that, though we were born sinners and have all sinned in various ways, our sins are no longer a hindrance to us having a relationship with God. Jesus bore the penalty for those sins on behalf of every one of us in His death on the cross so that we can have a life with the God who is love, justice, and righteousness, who is all-knowing, all-powerful, gracious, generous, wise…
No one’s sins will ever send him to the Lake of Fire; it is only the refusal to believe in and accept the work Christ has done on one’s behalf that sends him to hell. By doing so this person is saying, “No thanks. I don’t really want anything to do with you, God.” And God says, “Okay then. I will remove Myself from your presence and leave you to yourself. You can be with all the others who feel the same way.” (John 3:18)*
The choice is ours. Believe in Jesus Christ and be saved, or reject Him.
The second part of the Church’s biblically mandated mission is to teach the unadulterated Word of God to believers so as to make disciples of them.
Just because one has believed in Christ doesn’t automatically make him a disciple. The Greek word translated “disciple” is mathetes and it means pupil, learner, student, an adherent, a follower. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary) The apostles were instructed to teach believers from every nation “to observe all that the Lord has commanded in His Word,” with emphasis on the New Testament epistles which are directed specifically to the church.
In addition to the apostles, the spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher was (and still is) given to individual men to instruct the believers “in the commandments of the Lord.” With the passing of the apostles, this gift is now the primary source of the teaching needed to make disciples of believers in Christ. (Eph 4:12)*
But again, the choice is ours.
Those with the gift of pastor-teacher can choose to actually study the word and teach it, or focus instead on works programs, social activities, social action, entertainment, etc.
The would-be disciple can then choose whether he wants to be a true student of the Word, or would rather pursue the works programs, social activities, social action, and/or entertainment.
The more both parties deviate from God’s instruction in these matters, the more the nation as a whole will suffer.
It was the same way with Israel with her priests in the role of the pastor-teacher. They could either learn the commandments of the Lord (and I’m not talking about the 10 Commandments — there are WAY more than that) and carry them out, or they could go off on their own, following false gods and doctrines. When they did that, the nation inevitably suffered, as much from the immediate results of their bad decisions as from the discipline that God brought in on them to get them to wake up and return to Him.
And so it will be — is, in fact, occurring now — with us.
* 1 Ti 2:4 “[God, our Savior] who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Mat 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations … teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;
I Co 15:3,4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,”
John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Eph 4:12- 15 “[pastor-teachers] for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,”