“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ”
– 1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV
Biblical teaching cannot be based only on felt needs and areas of immediate interest. Christ Followers need a clear biblical worldview with a broad and thorough understanding of the The Faith, which is the whole and comprehensive doctrine of the entirety of God’s Word (Acts 20:27). This is why churches like Athey Creek Christian Fellowship in Wilsonville Oregon, or any of the Calvary Chapel Churches are so excellent. They teach the whole Bible, verse by verse from Genesis to Revelation in a five-year period of time. They teach the literal, historical, grammatical, contextual, and common sense interpretation of Scripture. Check out a Calvary Chapel Church near you!
Keep in mind, though, that when biblical teaching exists without a missional emphasis, it often leads to spiritually overweight Christians who tend to have a one-dimensional faith where they listen to and appreciate God’s Word, yet fail in actually following Him in a lifestyle of discipleship. James writes:
22 ”Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be blessed in what they do” – James 1:22-25 NIV
It does not matter how true we believe the Bible to be, or how effective and gifted a teacher may be. If our congregations and disciples are not engaged in missional works, they ultimately have little sustained need for the Word of God. It will only produce complacent Christians who simply listen, but fail to act.
There is a young Christ Follower in one of my groups who is growing magnificently. Last night I asked him why he chose to picket an abortion clinic? He said, “When I read in God’s Word that life begins at conception (Psalm 139:13-17), my conscience was pricked. I felt like I had to do something.” I asked him how he knew what he should do? He said, “I attended a pro-life gathering in downtown Portland and while I was there learned about a group who was going to march at an abortion clinic.” The group that marched with him were peaceful and gracious. He went on to say, “It was really a great experience, but I was amazed by the people who drove by and were so incredibly hostile.” His faith became more solidified as he demonstrated his faith through action in obedience to God’s Word. Psalms 82 says:
3 “Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. 4 Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people” – Psalm 82:3-4 NLT
Ok people…isn’t this what it’s all about!? If we read the Word of God for only information it leads to stagnation. When we read the Word of God as a matter of conscience we ACT on what we hear! Do you realize how profound this is?
So let me ask you, as I ask myself:
- Where are you choosing to be engaged?
- Are you helping the poor IN THE NAME OF CHRIST? (Remember that good deeds without the Good News simply promote good views!)
- Are you challenging the secular culture in your sphere of influence with Truth?
- Are you attempting to proclaim some aspect of the Kingdom of God in your webs of relationships on a consistent and daily basis?
- Are you responding to the abundance of unbelieving thinking and evil actions with the Truth?
- Are you challenging society or do you let the world system, “push you into its mold” (Romans 12:1, 2 Philips translation)?
Continuing in 1 Thessalonians Paul notes that because of their link between faith and missional action they demonstrated the power of God.
5 “ because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia–your faith in God has become known everywhere…” –
– 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8 NIV
The primary way the power of God is activated in and through us is when we obey the Word of God!
On Mission With You,