O, That We Would Preach the Word   Leave a comment

“Here is a problem, here are these widows of the Grecians, and they are not only widows but they are in need and in need of food. It was a social problem, perhaps partly a political problem, but certainly a very acute and urgent social problem. Surely the business of the Christian Church, and the leaders particularly, is to deal with this crying need: Why go on preaching when people are starving and in need and are suffering? That was the great temptation that came to the Church immediately; but the Apostles under the leading and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the teaching they had already received, and the commission they had had from their Master, saw the danger and they said, ‘It is not reason that we should leave the Word of God, and serve tables’. This is wrong. We shall be failing in our commission if we do this. We are here to preach this Word, this is the first thing, ‘We will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the Word.’

“Now there the priorities are laid down once and for ever. This is the primary task of the Church, the primary task of the leaders of the Church, the people who are set in this position of authority; and we must not allow anything to deflect us from this, however good the cause, however great the need. This is surely the direct answer to much of the false thinking and reasoning concerning these matters at the present time.”–Martin Lloyd-Jones

Lloyd-Jones wrote this book in 1972, and the concern he foresaw in the church has only grown since that time. And, to be honest, it makes sense. Christians are to care for others. Jesus commands that we love our neighbors as ourselves. And when we see our neighbors in the world, we see all sorts of problems and our hearts yearn to help.

5 American soldiers died last week in Afghanistan. We mourn for those soldiers who have lost their lives fighting a seemingly endless war in Afghanistan. It pains us to see our soldiers coming back in body bags, so we join protests to end war and stop violence.
A Mexican shootout kills 35 drug suspects. We not only see the problems drugs create in the lives of those we love, we see the bloodshed in places such as Mexico, where druglords own the land and reign with an iron fist. We ask Congress to create safer borders, and we establish rehabilitation centers locally.
A typhoon kills 3 in South Korea. It seems as if weather conditions are getting more and more severe, so we champion the cause to end global warming.

Aside from these, there are plenty of other issues that grip our hearts: abortion, domestic abuse, orphaned children, poverty, victims of rape, brutal deaths of animals, and many others. And I believe that all of these causes have validity and they must be combatted. But we, the church, are not called primarily to champion these causes. We are called to champion the cause of “prayer and the ministry of the Word” because underlying all of these problems and issues is the foundational problem of the world–every single individual in this world has sinned. Those sins will either be dealt with on the cross through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ or they will be dealt with by each individual through eternal punishment by God. In light of that perspective, all other causes pale in comparison. So, while I commend lots of churches for their commitment to social issues, I pray that churches that are founded on helping victims of any sort of the world’s woes would be done away with. Instead, that they would be replaced by a church that faithfully preaches the Word of God and, as a result, a church that lives out the Word of God by caring for the orphans, the abused, the environment, and the poor. I pray that nothing would take the spotlight away from the gospel of Jesus Christ, but that these serious problems in the world would only point more clearly to our need for Jesus Christ. Christians should not look to the victims of war and say, “We need to end war.” Christians should look to the victims of war and say, “We need to make sure that people know Jesus Christ because only a heart changed by a genuine relationship with Jesus can overcome hate in the hearts.” Champion the cause of the gospel, my brothers and sisters.

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Posted September 7, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

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