It is said in Acts 6:17 that Jason and some other disciples had “turned the world upside down.” (KJV) I believe that in our culture that it’s time to turn the church inside out. It’s time for the church to tear down the walls we’ve built of jealousy, envy, strife, and discord and begin to build back the outward focus on the world.
For too long we’ve hidden behind Bible verses like, “avoid all appearances of evil” and “bad company corrupts good morals.” We sing songs that have words like “make friends of God’s children.” We teach our kids concepts like, stay away from “those people” because they are bad news. Now, where I agree there are times we need to be smart, I think we have just gone too far in the sense that we forget that “those people” have a soul that needs saving.
We’ve forgotten that Jesus rubbed elbows with the “sinners” of his day. He went to their houses and ate supper with them. He sat down and spoke to them. He touched their physical as well as their spiritual lives. Jesus told us that we cannot be of the world, but that we need to be in the world. His prayer was that in the world God would keep us from the evil one, but that is not reason to hide in our safe houses we call church.
It is time to outwardly focus. I have a new dream and vision. It is to get more involved with those outside of Jesus. Those people who on Sunday morning would never darken the door of our cathedrals. They are confused by the double talk that we love them, but in order for them to find out how, they’ve got to come to church. In order for them to be saved, they have to jump through our hoops and look like us. Shame on us.
People need one thing and one thing only in order to find salvation–JESUS. He said that he was the “way, the truth, and the life.” That’s enough for me.
“Jesus is the answer for the world today.” We sing those words, but do we believe them enough to step out of our dogmas, traditions, and our church culture long enough to spend time with not yet Christian people. Instead of compelling people to “not forsake the assembly,” we need to go and discover what these people’s lives are like and while there tell them about the wonderful news that their lives don’t have to be filled with sorrow, shame, disgrace, and pain. They can come to know the healer just like we did. That’s inside out thinking.
So, the next time you feel the urge to go and talk to that person, try building a relationship with them. Let them know how much you care. Before long we would all be enjoying our Christian walk as it is focused inside out.
How can you an I do this more? how can we get more outwardly focused?