“If the Gospel doesn’t drive the church in every generation, then something else will.” Alistair Begg
As we watch the world slip farther and farther into the ever darkening abyss, I find that I struggle to come up with an appropriate Christian response. I have a tendency to be reactionary. I keep my soapbox at the ready because it’s hard not to beat people over the head with the truth. But as I watch our American society circle the drain with the disintegration of the family and the values that made our society strong in the beginning, I wonder what my response as a believer should be? Do we fight, or do we set our eyes on heaven?
I realize this conundrum is nothing new for believers. If you take a look at the first chapter of Acts, you will see this dilemma began then. Following His crucifixion, Jesus appeared to His disciples several times over a period of forty days. It was during this time, recorded in Acts, that they asked Jesus if it was His plan to restore the kingdom to Israel right away. They wanted everything set right for them at that moment. Sound familiar?
There was a plan, but that was not it. Rather, Jesus told them to hang around just a bit, not to leave Jerusalem, for He was sending a great gift to them there and He didn’t want them to miss it. He was talking about the Holy Spirit that would descend on them at Pentecost. It would be the great launch the early church needed. Imagine if they had decided to bug out of town early and missed out on that!
Following these final instructions, Jesus ascended and was gone. Real supernatural stuff. The disciples were pretty amazed by it, transfixed actually, as you might imagine. They just stood there, forgetting everything Jesus had told them, and stared glassy eyed at heaven. I’m sure they wanted to follow Him, and couldn’t help in that moment thinking of how great heaven was going to be. Sigh.
But then two men dressed in white appeared to them and basically said, “What the heck are y’all looking at? Jesus will be back just like He left.” In other words, “Don’t you have something to do?”
Lots of believers are stuck between these same two options when it comes to, “What do we do now?” It might be helpful if those two guys in white could visit a bit more frequently. You know, sort of clap their hands in front of our faces, and jerk us back to reality.
Some of us want to see the Kingdom of God put in place here and now. We believe it’s the only hope there is for our jacked up society. We want everything to be in order, for things to look like they are supposed to look, and for folks to act like they are supposed to act.
Others of us want to isolate ourselves from the horrible world around us and just fix our eyes on heaven, waiting for the triumphant day of His return. We long so much for heaven, we don’t want to be touched by the chaos of this world.
Both of these positions seem right sometimes, but neither are what Jesus told us to do in His absence.
It was during the forty days following the resurrection that Jesus gave the disciples the Great Commission to go into all of the world and make more disciples. It was about the Gospel then, and it’s about the Gospel now.
Our job in the absence of Jesus here on earth is not to stomp our feet, start petitions, and fret over the state of the union. Neither are we to isolate and wait Jesus out, hoping for that break in the clouds.
Our job, while we wait for Jesus to climb on that horse, is wrapped up in the Gospel. We tell, we show, and we GO share the good news of the love of Christ for all people…while we live upright and holy lives. This world is not our home, and it’s getting easier and easier to see that as it looks less and less familiar to us. These are the last days, and there has never been a better time in the history of the world to be alive, but we cannot miss it. We can’t waste our efforts on fruitless endeavors. I have to remind myself again and again, “It’s about the Gospel, stupid.”