Proclaim the Truth – The Church’s Second Marching Order

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They won the victory over him by the blood of the Lamb and by THE TRUTH WHICH THEY PROCLAIMED (Revelation 12:11).

Be ready to SPEAK UP AND TELL ANYONE who asks why you’re living the way you are (1 Peter 3:15).

As the church learns to walk by faith in the Truth of God, these verses introduce the second step the church will take, after Standing for the Truth:

 2. At every opportunity, the church will PROCLAIM THAT TRUTH.

As we saw last week, first we stand without wavering against the acceptance and promotion of abortion, homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle, and castrated, beta males. A controversy will inevitably occur, but as the church walks by faith it will do what Jesus did—naturally, spontaneously and unconsciously (NSU)—unyieldingly stand against each of these sins, lovingly but firmly.

The objection to this is, of course, “We don’t want to offend ‘seekers’ who may be scared off by our decisive forthrightness.” However, this illustrates a basic misunderstanding of the organized church’s mission. It is NOT to evangelize the lost, but to equip the saints already in the church to do that job

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the EQUIPPING OF THE SAINTS FOR THE WORK OF MINISTRY, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4;11,12). The church members (saints) themselves are the ministers, eagerly and joyfully, out in the world, in the workplace, touching the lives of all they meet on a daily basis; the church leaders (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) are he equippers, equipping them to do so effectively! 

For example, the new, thriving, post-Pentecost church in Jerusalem, several thousand members strong in 36-37AD, was suddenly scattered throughout Judea and Samaria under the violent persecution that arose after Stephen was murdered (Acts 8:1).

These new Christians were not “sent out as missionaries:” They were fleeing for their lives! But they had been well-equipped by the church leaders in Jerusalem. As a result, they shared THE TRUTH (the law of God expressed by the Spirit of God in their lives as they walked by faith) with all whom they came in contact—not as a “ministry,” but NSU, as they were simply fleeing to “save their lives!” 

Fast-forward 13 or 14 years to about 50 AD. Saul of Tarsus, the leader of the violent persecution, had had his Road to Damascus experience, and was now a Christian himself.  The mother church in Jerusalem (Jesus’ disciples had remained there in Jerusalem and weathered the persecution) got wind of “something happening in Antioch” in Asia Minor they knew nothing about. Somehow, a church was growing and thriving there, as Christians (with no known “leader” at all), simply went about just daily living their lives together. 

The apostles in Jerusalem sent Barnabus to Antioch to check it out. He did so, and eventually grabbed the former enemy and church persecutor, Saul of Tarsus, and took him along to Antioch. They stayed a year, fellowshipping and teaching there until the Lord sent them out on their “first missionary journey,” and the rest is history!  

I am sure that this is how churches were started and grew in many other places in the first century as well, and spread the gospel over the whole Roman world. Paul says to the Thessalonians: “in every place your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything” (1 Thessalonians 1:18). The church grew effortlessly (NSU), in spite of resistance, persecution and even death (Hebrews 11).

What was the message it proclaimed? Was it an invitation, as are most of the evangelistic messages we hear proclaimed today—an invitation to “do something?” We are invited to “invite Jesus into your heart,” “make a profession of faith in Christ,” “walk down the aisle and give the preacher your hand.” “be baptized,” etc.

Or, was the message the church was proclaiming as the gospel spread an announcement—an announcement of what God had already done at the cross in Jesus Christ, when His last words on that cross were, “It is finished” (John 19:30)? 

I firmly believe the New Testament church was not trying to get anyone to do anything as they lived their lives each day with love, joy, and peace. They had the simple “faith of a little child” that Daddy was doing for them exactly what the Truth of God taught them He would do. He was actually changing their “want-tos” to match His (Philippians 2:13). They found themselves (NSU) doing what God told them to do in the Bible as they simply did what they themselves wanted to do, effortlessly, as the Holy Spirit lived through them (Romans 8:4)! 

The Truth of God, as I have enunciated it in this posting (particularly the previous paragraph), will be considered by many who read it to be “too good to be true.” That is because we are all addicted to trying to “be good and not evil” from birth because of Adam’s fateful snack at the Tree. Until our eyes are opened to what happened at the cross, this addiction blinds us. Next week, we will see what the Truth of the Bible tells us we can do to set the stage for attacking that blindness, and then watch Antioch and Thessalonica happen again today!

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