When my daughter goes off to college (not for a while, so hopefully I have some time to train her), I’m sure I will have a list of things I want her to know. I am already teaching her to know why she believes in Jesus, so that she can be prepared when questions and challenges come. I will want her to know how to take care of maintenance on her car and where to go if something goes wrong. I will want her to know how to protect herself, or to have some type of protection to keep criminals away. And thirdly, I want her to know it’s not ok to date until she’s at least thirty. Although this one I’m sure will be highly contested.
Right now, if I were to speak to the church worldwide, there are three things I would most likely want it to know.
God Is Still God
So if we all take an assessment of the year 2020, we want a refund. It’s been bad. Going back to all of the New Year’s predictions for this year, no doubt, they were all highly misleading and just flat out wrong. Can I get an amen from the back row out there? However, putting all of that aside for a moment, there are some tremendously powerful things we need to remember, or just know. God is still God. He is still and always will be on His throne handling everything. We can’t forget one of the all-too important attributes of God–His omniscience. He has all-knowledge. Nothing escapes His wisdom. Isaiah reminds us of this. “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.” If you need more reassurance, just go and do a rundown of all the fulfilled prophecies. I like to look at those to see confirmed evidence that God knows what He’s talking about. Then I take all of those and read the book of Revelation. Reading Revelation in that context massively strengthens my faith that no matter what, God has it under control.
Know The Mission
Just before Jesus ascended to the Father in what must’ve been an absolutely surreal moment, He told His followers to go tell everyone about Him and how to obey His teachings. So church, if you take what I just said above, that God is still God and He is still in control and will always be in control, then we should move right to this. Nothing has changed. We have hope. Our response should be to go and share this amazingly great news!
Know How To Love Everyone
I really feel that all of this that is happening in our world is an exceptionally opportune time for the church to learn to love EVERYONE. I didn’t say affirm and be ok with, or speak a watered-down version of the gospel. But to actually love everyone. It takes care, concern, prayer, focus on the gospel, love of God, and a willingness to step into the most uncomfortable situations. So yes, I pray and the whole church should pray that we all get uncomfortable and shaken out of the dangerous areas otherwise known as comfort zones. We should have some uncomfort. We should be challenged and have to go to our knees in prayer seeking guidance and help and opportunities like never before (like the time we’re currently in) to be used by God to take His message to a lost, seeking, and dying world.
Love is integral to this whole thing. Paul descriptively reveals the place of love in 1 Corinthians 13. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
We’re nothing without love. Our deeds and good intentions and resume is worthy of the trash bin if love isn’t a part of the equation. Jesus even gave us instructions for how to love each other to be a testimony to the world that we are His.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
The way I see it, we’ve been preparing for serving the King of Kings. And now it’s as if the church has been deployed into active duty. The context may change, but the calling does not. Our comfort level might be shaken, but the mission is still the same. Let this year and any future uncertainty cause us to run the throne of grace with more persistence than ever before. Let us pray for an ever-growing faith and a rock-like boldness as we take our calling serious. Church, the world needs to hear about the only way. The world has no hope without gospel in Jesus.
This world is not our home. We’re just passing through. But along the way, let’s grab as many who will and lead them towards the path to life and redemption.