Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18 (NIV)
As an Evangelical Christian I have to admit we sometimes keep closer company with the Pharisees than we do with Jesus Christ. Like the Pharisees, we can be guilty of non loving confrontations, judgmental pronouncements, self-absorbed concerns, and self-righteous invitations. We can be proud, rigid, condescending, moralistic, demanding, dogmatic, patronising, lacking in compassion, and hypocritical. On top of that we’re often preoccupied with the pursuit of personal health and happiness at the expense of humble acts of charity and sacrificial works of service.
When a church directs its efforts to saving souls, serving the congregation and standing up for the faith, yet fails to engage the community at its point of need, it falls far short of the mark. We will only live and thrive in society when we embrace the Great Commandment and the Great Commission: Love for our neighbour must go hand in glove with making disciples; good works must accompany the proclamation of God’s Word; and vital social involvement must be coupled with vigorous evangelism.
It’s time for evangelicals to make it count for Christ. God’s people can’t press on with a business as usual approach. We must recognise we’ve been our own worst enemies in advancing the cause of Christ and confess we’ve been wrapped up in the Word but failed to significantly make the Word flesh.
Change is a painful process. If we want to be more like Christ we’ll have to take responsibility for whom we’ve been and whom we want to become. Pharisaism must be rooted out and destroyed. God’s people must humble themselves, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways. Let’s not forget that as the church goes – so goes the nation. The buck stops in the pew. If you’re a Christian you’ve got to stand up and be counted. Sound theology and orthodoxy are not enough. It’s time to walk the talk!