As we come into the new year the Lord’s churches will face difficult obstacles in evangelizing their communities with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the greatest obstacle that we must conquer is our apathy towards the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have become dull to the wonderful Gospel that saved us. The Gospel of Jesus Christ must stay fresh in our hearts so that apathy does not occur. Paul kept the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the forefront of his ministry. He was saved by the Gospel, received the Gospel and stood in the Gospel throughout his ministry (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Earlier in 1 Corinthians Paul testified: “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16). We need the Gospel to be a burden that can only be loosened as we tell others about the saving grace of the Gospel.
Another obstacle we must conquer if we are to be the light in our community is unbelief. The word “unbeliever” has changed over time. In years gone by an unbeliever was someone who believed the Bible but rejected God’s plan of salvation. However, today's unbeliever does not believe the Bible to be an accurate representation of truth but fairy tales. Recently, a leading and popular political pundit on a major news network viewed Noah’s Arc as a fairy tale. For generations, our public education system has taught impressionable students out of believing the Bible. How do we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people who do not believe the Bible to be authentically God’s word? This is a huge obstacle that must be crossed if we are to evangelize our community. Thankfully, the Apostle Paul gives us the framework and foundation in preaching the Gospel to people who do not believe the Bible.
A third obstacle in evangelizing our community is division. Our churches are incredibly and sadly divided. I am not talking about division based upon denomination differences or division between one church and another church; rather, the division that exists within a local church. Satan knows one of the best ways to squash the Gospel of Jesus Christ is through division. There is nothing more Satan enjoys than wreaking havoc within a church while using the church’s members to accomplish the plan. This obstacle has conquered many churches because Satan has convinced us that the pursuit of being in one-accord has become fool’s gold. Satan whispers in our ear how that unity or being in one-accord is not the answer for better results. "No", he says, "we must be more contemporary (in his thinking, more like the world) to have positive results." Instead of an app needing updating, we need our church updated.
Pursuing unity and being in one-accord is not fool’s gold. The early church in Jerusalem arguably had the greatest success of any church in history because they were in a constant state of being in once-accord. Even though the church was led by “unlearned and ignorant” men, God worked miraculously in saving thousands and becoming an organism that would have a global impact. What was their key? Five times in the first five chapters of Acts we read how the church at Jerusalem was in one-accord. The phrase “one accord” means to share the same passion. The early church at Jerusalem shared the same passion in church ministry and activities. Even when disagreements popped up, sharing the same passion allowed the church to conquer these disagreements.
My prayer for 2020 is that our church will share the same passion!