Last Week I wrote about 4 ways Christians can stay on mission in the midst of these difficult days. This past week I read a post by Trevin Wax which recounts an interview with Tim Keller. During the interview, Keller recounts a meeting with the American Bible Society. The ABS has done some polling about Bible use and people’s attitude toward the Bible. They found that the number of people who are devoted to the Bible has not changed all that much through the years.
According to Keller, “What is changing is for the first time in history a growing group of people who think the Bible is bad, it’s dangerous, it’s regressive, it’s a bad cultural force, that was just never there. It was very tiny. And that’s because the middle ground has shifted, so it is more identified with the more secular, the less religious, and it’s less identified now with the more devout.” It seems that, in the past, most people respected, or at least tolerated Christianity and biblical teaching. This is simply no longer the case.
Because this is true. What are Christians to do? Should we huddle up for protection? Should we live our lives like scared rabbits – dashing from safe place to safe place? There are three reasons I think Christians should reject the draw to huddle in safety:
- Jesus Commands us to “Go.”
- Jesus rose from the dead and “greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world.”
- This world, even our enemies, need us to remain faithful. The Gospel really is the only hope for this broken world.
Today, we will continue our list of 10 ways to stay on mission in these difficult days. You can read pt. 1 here
Goal 5 – Hold Fast to God’s Truth
For the past several decades evangelical Christianity has taken up “the battle for the Bible.” We have sought to defend the truthfulness and authority of this book as the word of God. This debate is absolutely necessary. It is important to recognize that much of the discussion taken place within historical, literary, and theological arenas. In each of these areas, the trustworthiness of the Bible remains strong. We have no reason to doubt that the Scriptures are God’s word.
However, believing and accepting the Bible intellectually is quite different from clinging to it as your lifeline and source of hope and truth. It is time for us to believe and shape our lives around the Scriptures. The enemy is a liar but God is truth. Read it, believe it, remind yourself and others of its teachings.
Goal 6 – Proclaim the Gospel as God’s only message of hope
We live in a broken world. It is painful. It is scary. It is confusing and frustrating. This is not the way it is supposed to be and there is a human longing to escape. God created the world and said it was “very good;” however, this world is no longer “very good.” Our human condition hopes for a “very good” world. However, this hope is not rewarded because we search in the wrong places.
There is no hope in politics
There is no hope in finances
There is no hope in entertainment
There is no hope in education
There is no hope in relationships
The Gospel is the hope. It is the way back to God’s “very good” world.
It is our responsibility to share this hope with the millions of people searching in the darkness.
Before you believe the lie that no one wants to listen, check out this post which shows that about 73% of all people would be willing to have spiritual conversations.
Goal 7 – Live Pure in a Corrupt World
Because the world is fallen it is very easy to sin. We have plenty of opportunities and plenty of outlets for sin. In fact, in Romans 1, Paul seems to promise that we will get better sinning, creating new ways to sin, and also applaud those who can do it more creatively. Several years ago I read that the average teenager today faces more sexual temptation before school than his grandfather would have faced on a Saturday night when he was out looking for it!
As Christians we need to strive for purity. Rather than looking for creative ways to sin and get away with it. Be creative in ways to live pure.
- Your Purity shows the integrity of the gospel
- Your Purity protects your family and the body of Christ
- Your Purity keeps you from feeling shame and guilt
- Your Purity empowers you to ministry with courage
Next week we will look at goal’s 8-10.
Scott Hildreth is the director of the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies. He frequently speaks on issues of missions, spiritual formation, missiology, and theology. Scott also contributes to SEBTS faculty blog www.betweenthetimes.com