WHO IS THE MESSAGE?

chadsilhouette-copy.jpg Paul, in his second letter to the church at Corinth tells us why we must get out of the pep rally (“church services”) and into the game (the world). Let me invite you to carefully consider this passage:

2 Corinthians 4: 6 – 11 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.[1]

The world does not see Jesus because we stay out of sight. The solution is simple: Get visible! Quit hiding! Let Jesus be manifested and seen in us. If Christ is manifested in our mortal flesh then we’d best get our mortal flesh out there! In Philippians 2:14, 15, Paul says we can do this in FOUR ways:

  1. We can do all things without grumbling or disputing,
  2. We can prove ourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach.
  3. In the middle of our crooked and perverse generation, we can appear as lights in the world
  4. We can hold fast to the word of life.

A book by Elton Trueblood, The Company of the Committed, is one of the finest books ever penned on what the church should be. In it he shares the key to understanding the relationship of the church to the gospel message.

The church is intended as a concrete answer to the prayer that laborers be sent forth to the harvest. The Company of Jesus is not people streaming to a shrine; and it is not people making up an audience for a speaker; it is laborers engaged in the harvesting task of reaching their perplexed and seeking brethren with something so vital that, if it is received, it will change their lives.[2]

We not only have the message, we are the message! We, the ekklesia, are the concrete answer to the prayer for laborers. We become salt and light not only when we speak, but also as our fellow-humans outside the meeting room see our light shine in our good works that bring glory to God (Matthew 5:16).

But, if the salt is kept in the saltshaker, what good is it? If the light is hidden under a basket, what good is it? How else can Christ be seen and heard if not in our deeds and words?

And, what a message! It is the answer to terrorism, war, political corruption, racism and despotism. Our message is not better politics, diplomacy, sanctions, threats, treaties or guns and bombs. Here it is: “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). This is the most powerful, peace-bringing, life-changing, world-transforming force in the universe…it is GOOD NEWS! The world must see and hear it.


[1] The underlining is not inspired; it was added by an overzealous scribe.

[2] Elton Trueblood, The Company of the Committed, Harper & Row, publishers, New York, 1961, p. 45.

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Filed under Christlikeness, discipleship, Jesus Christ, Kingdom Growth, Missions/Evangelism, morality, Preaching/Teaching, Religion, Salvation

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