Have you watched the news lately? I can’t say that I blame you if you haven’t. There really is nothing but bad news these days. Whether it’s ISIS or Ebola, it seems like civilization is going to Hell in a hand basket.
And with the renewal of the euthanasia debate in recent weeks, the faces of hopelessness have become even more real. In Oregon, one dear person–someone made in the image of God–chose to take her own life this week instead of enduring the painful duration of brain cancer.
I cannot imagine being in her shoes for even a second. But it’s clear that hopelessness has become the rule of the day.
Is there a better time than now for the Church to rise up and declare there is hope?
Perhaps the greater question is, can the Church rise up and declare the hope of the gospel?
In Colossians 1, the Apostle Paul begins to reveal his ministry to the church at Colosse. Paul wrote the letter from prison after hearing that the Colosse church had begun to believe a mixture of false doctrines. Among those beliefs was the heresy of gnosticism.
The Gnostic belief that reduced the role of Jesus from Saviour to just another source of knowledge, had quickly distracted believers in Colosse.
To this attitude, Paul asserted that God was using him to make known the full message of Christ–a message that was hidden in mystery to the Colossians because of their mostly Gentile background and their drift back into heresy.
Paul said the key to the mystery is “Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).”
What we have then in Colosse is a church in which Jesus had become a lesser thing. Christ was now just another means of knowledge unto salvation, rather than the hope of all the world.
It was a church that had become just like its surrounding culture.
Could it be that the world is hopeless because much of the church has become hopeless in our day?
Is the Church in America merely an empty shell in today’s culture?
The Church with Jesus Christ at its head is still the hope of the world.
Where Jesus is still the central theme, there’s still hope. Where His Lordship is still celebrated, there’s still hope.
Pastor, if Jesus has become a lesser thing in your sermons, your worship, and your everyday walk, please put Him back where he belongs.
The hopeless world cannot afford to have a hopeless church in this day.
Joel A. Barker is a worship pastor, minister of the Gospel, blogger and church-planter-in-training from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Follow his Kingdom Voice Ministry blog at joelabarker.com.