Every ministry is unique with unique challenges and unique circumstances. Possibly the most unique factor of Red Village Church’s ministry is our setting. Red Village’s ministry setting is in downtown Madison, Wisconsin, which is known for its variety of different belief systems. In the downtown Madison area you can find those who hold to an extreme liberal understanding of life as well as those who hold to an extreme conservative understanding. You can find people who practice almost every form of every religion imaginable.
This past weekend I was downtown and talked to a couple of gentlemen who both held to a Christian worldview yet had much different understandings on how that worldview was to be lived out. The one man I talked with spoke much of the need for social justice and the care for people. In downtown Madison there are a large number of homeless. He questioned why the Christian church is not doing something to help these people out. He questioned why Christians claim to follow the teachings of Christ yet show no love toward helping others.
The other gentleman I talked with was with a group of street preachers. Evidently once a week a small group of men go downtown with the Bible and signs in hand and open-area preach on the streets. He was telling me as Christians we need to preach the gospel, and the problem with the Christian church is the lack of true preaching.
So who is right and who is wrong? Should the church spend more time doing social justice or is the church guilty of not preaching the gospel? The answer is…they both are right on one hand, yet on the other hand they both are wrong. To be a Christian is to do both and not separate the two, which unfortunately most end up doing.
During Jesus’ famous sermon on the Mount of Olives found in Matthew 25 he speaks of a final judgment to come where he will separate the goats (unbelievers) from the sheep (believers). One of the true distinguishing factors between the goats and the sheep is social justice. The true sheep care for those who are hungry or thirsty. The true sheep are the ones who even care for the social outcasts who are in prison. In much the same fashion James tells us that pure religion is to take care of orphans and widows (James 1:27). One cannot read Scripture without seeing the call to care for people and meeting felt needs.
Likewise you cannot read Scripture without seeing the call to preach the gospel. Mark’s gospel records that Jesus’ public ministry began with the phrase “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Jesus no doubt was not only meeting the needs of people but he also was a preacher. A good portion of the gospels is composed of the preaching of Jesus. It was the apostle Paul who wrote “how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news” (Rom 10:15). A popular quote for Christians is to “preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.” While this quote may sound good it is completely false. To preach the gospel you must use words. We need not forget that “faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ”.
So how can you be a true follower of Jesus? Love people by meeting their physical needs, and love people by telling them the good news of forgiveness of sin through the cross of Jesus. You cannot truly be a witness if you are not doing both. We need churches who do both and not just one or the other. Lord help us!
4 thoughts on “A Christian’s Responsibility”
Thanks Aaron! Right on! It seems that whenever people disagree on an issue, it is not so much a matter of who’s right and who’s wrong, but usually a combination or possibly a wedding of the two positions. It’s so easy to get hung up on the black&white. I am praying that God will bring you the resources and connections to reach out and meet the physical needs of the city.
Good thoughts brother. May God give you grace and wisdom to preach and live the gospel.
Great insight on a great passage and a great city. Praying for you as you continue to serve there.
besides your mother being old engouh to not only take care of herself, but you also, she has every right to preach’ to you about anything you do;; you are HER responsibility, unfortunately until you hit 18, or move out, whichever comes earlier; your mother is quite aware of her own consequences with this married man; she also knows more about his situation than you do;; like you think you know more about sex than your mom does same, same;; you owe your mother the respect for raising you in a world of protection for your own well being don’t go calling her a hypocrite, cuz frankly, she could turn around call you a copy cat grow up, respect your mother, hold on the sex until you’re old engouh to accept the responsibilities that come with it btw, you being a young MOM’ means your progression through life is put on hold..hold your progression, or hold your sex..you choose hypocrite?..you have no idea something you also may not know about mothers..they truly care more about you than they do themselves..so watch your lip give her some respect for being your mother quit fooling around in her house play house’ when you get your own .
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