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Good businesses and productive people work out of priorities. What is the priority of the church?
Because none of us have been in a present day global lockdown before, and because there are still many unknowns about the coronavirus we are facing, it is hard for any of us to be an accurate voice on what the next 1-5 years hold. Knowing our priorities can help us make better choices.
What is the church’s primary responsibility with coronavirus? My personal thoughts on this are that the church’s responsibility is first to the gospel. That is expressing the good news that Jesus died out of love for all people and lives out of that same love.
I’m not speaking about preaching from a street corner here. I’m referring to how good news informs our decisions about living life fully.
It is true that there are massive shifts going on politically, religiously and economically during this time. It is good for God’s people to have a voice in this but ourprimary voice should remain gospel (good news) centric.
Another way of saying what Jesus’ death and resurrection means is this: God’s heart as a good Father with eternal purpose must be demonstrated by his children, regardless of the discipline that is needed, the fruit of sin in the world, or the chaos at work. If Papa’s heart is not shining like a beacon through our activities, then his gospel is not being demonstrated.
When we as the church try to “play in the sandbox” of the world systemwithout our eyes on our primary task, we will get influenced by spiritual powers every time and dilute our demonstration of God’s heart. This isn’t a rant against us being reformers, but instead to say the church cannot be truly reformational without the gospel at the forefront. I deeply support followers of Jesus being innovators in every sphere of life, but our primary call in every sphere must be the simple power of good news.
“In that day, declares the Lord of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree” (Zechariah 3:10). Also see Micah 4:4. Read the prophets. They declare a peace that comes from the sacrifice of Jesus without the tools of power, religion or money.
The early church didn’t have internal conflicts over politics. It conflicted over how to preach the gospel and how to do daily life. But all the harshest conflicts were related to making sure the true gospel was preached or lived. In the early beginnings of the church, when people lied about money, they died. When a political leader dishonored God, the church prayed and that leader died. The young church suffered greatly, but she also won her chief enemy, Saul, who was the least and yet our greatest early apostle.
Shame on us for letting political lines divide the brides, the churches beautiful ranks from her primary task. If we would unify around our primary work, it would be easier to participate in a secondary work like voting and state governance.
I’m as concerned about the state of our nation and the world as most of you are. If our gospel (that is our Jesus) isn’t powerful for transformation, why are we wasting time in the church? But if it is powerful, let’s figure out how to be sheep in the midst of wolves. That is how Jesus sent his disciples out to preach and on their return he said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning!”