God desires to make His goodness and greatness, His grace and His Gospel known among all the people of the planet Earth. If this is true then this changes everything. Christianity is not about me and what fits my preferences and my comforts. It is about Him. It’s about making His glory known in the world no matter what the costs to me personally. Yes, the reward is greater than anything this world has to offer but we don’t spread the knowledge of Jesus to every people group because we will be rewarded. We do so because we love Him and thus obey Him. Jesus Himself said, “If you love Me, you will obey Me.” And it is His command to “go into all the world and make Him known.”
So, as we read and study His Word, the Bible, we must understand that this Word we are absorbing and growing by was meant to impact the world for Him. As we are transformed – more than just informed – by the Word we then take the Word with us into our world and, in fact, the whole world. There must be an intersection of our life lived by His Word and the world we are called to influence. There must be a collision between Word and world in my life. Otherwise, I am simply on a “what’s in it for me” journey like the rest of the world who don’t know Him.
The collision of Word and world. I have seen it many times. It means that the Gospel message impacts people and influences society – the community, the culture, the nation. But recently I have had a familiar feeling that has haunted me a number of times in the past. The feeling that I was missing the point of all this “church stuff.” That I was losing sight of that needed collision between Word and world. Thus, I was simply spinning my wheels and going nowhere. Resulting in no one being seriously impacted by the Kingdom and the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Now, we can’t afford to go nowhere – simply spinning our wheels. If the Bible is true, that means over 4.5 billion people in the world right now are lost and apart from Christ and on the road that leads to eternal Hell. Yes, I believe in Hell. A couple of billion of those have never heard the Gospel. This is not tolerable. We can’t coast through a nice Christian life feeling safe, secure, and comfortable; knowing we are going to Heaven when we die. We were created for so much more – the spreading of His Gospel to the ends of the earth. That calls us to live more simply, give more sacrificially. And if we are really following Christ, we are going to find ourselves going against the grain of the culture around us in many different ways. We are called to be a counter-culture and not a sub-culture.
To impact the world with the Word we cannot be passive. We must engage with the culture and speak into the hot button issues of the day. And what might they be – abortion, poverty, sex-trafficking, marriage, and sexual immorality. And when we face these issues, confront these issues, we are going to find ourselves face-to-face with the trends in culture and it is going to be a lot less comfortable, a lot more costly.
But the key is that we must believe that God’s Word is true and our only authority. But when we see what God’s Word says about homosexuality or marriage then we are inclined to wonder, “Can we trust God’s Word on this? Is this antiquated? Is this open to interpretation now, when maybe it wasn’t 100 or 1,000 years ago? We start to question the authority of God’s Word, the timelessness of God’s Word. Our confidence in God’s Word begins to wane. We see this, unfortunately, all over the Church today. And that leads to a real fear and hesitance to speak and proclaim God’s Word, whether it is in public ways or even just in personal conversations.
Even for those who have confidence in God’s Word, there’s a lot of fear when it comes to personal conversations. We ask ourselves, “Am I going to share what God’s Word says about this knowing that it will make me look crazy to some of the people around me – or offensive, narrow-minded, or even hateful?”
If we don’t have rock-solid confidence in God’s Word then we are certainly not going to speak up in those kinds of settings. Even if we do, there is often a fear that breeds reluctance. So, we need, like the early Church (see Acts 4) to pray for greater boldness and the willingness to sacrifice our reputation and even our lives for the true Gospel of the Kingdom and the truth of God’s Word. We need to stand strong and speak up so that there is a collision of Word and world because of our life, words, and actions.