We must position ourselves carefully to exercise influence.
Positioning means us saying ‘Let’s get where the action cannot be missed’. Let’s position ourselves to get involved with this generation. Position ourselves to be the incarnate body of Christ in our street, work place, education world and homes.
We redeem men by the proclamation of the Christ and his gospel: we influence society by being salt in the street, world. Both are essential, and often our ‘salt’ is the necessary forerunner to our proclamation.
I recently visited a township in South Africa where the conditions were so dire, the filth and squalor, the heartache, pain, poverty and hunger were indescribable. This seen is repeated world-wide, its experienced on very continent, in the back streets of Brazil, on the roads of India, in the aftermath of every war, even in areas of the so-called developed world, some time son our doorsteps. You can’t simple preach, ‘repent of your sins and you’ll be saved for heaven’ and walk away from a place like that with no sense of further responsibility. God is concerned with people’s social conditions as well as with their souls’ destiny. True, eternal destiny is paramount, but this doesn’t mean God has no concern for our social conditions.
We are to be ‘Restorers of streets to live in’ (Isaiah 58) and we must not divide our world into social and salvation, our theology into liberal or evangelical, one after the soul and the other after the transformation of society. One view looking through one eye and saying ‘don’t get side tracked into a social gospel it’s the souls that need saving and the other looking through the other eye ‘but what about saving them?’
Jesus shows us he had two eyes open, as the Son of Abraham he wanted to redeem mankind, as the Son of David he wanted mankind’s world to be an ordered and just society.
It is right to bring God’s saving grace and correct to transform society.
We must position ourselves to do both.
No longer ignoring the deepening plight and worsening social conditions of our world, while protesting we are concentrating on saving their souls, continents and countries need more than a soul-gospel. We cannot close our eyes to the growing number of homeless building their cardboard cities on our own doorsteps as well as in distant lands, which is our responsibility, let me explain.
One of the early characteristics of the community of the King, in the words of Jesus that an apostolic community, the church as it should be apostolic, was to be focused in being established where they where local ‘…wait in Jerusalem until the Spirit comes…’, then to have a four focus at one time beyond the local. This focus I suggest was a command to work on four areas at any time, being the living life church of Christ, ‘…God into all the earth…Jerusalem…Judea…Samaria… and utter most past of the earth…’, we are to be local, regional, national and international in focus, in our actions, message, pray and work of faith. We cannot close our eyes to our world and end up local minded only or even the a fool with our eyes in the ends of the earth, holding these four focuses will prevent foolish eyes for us.
We have a voice, a gospel to restore our world to the Fathers first thought in creation, beginning with the restoration of the soul to the image and likeness of God. Therefore where am I, where are we hitting the streets of our world to create a ‘….street to live in…’ and a people who are able to live in a street with a Godlikeness pursuit?