But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.Revelation 1:4-5
Call to Repent
This is a hard thing to write. That I need to repent. That the Church needs to repent. The call to repentance is never easy to hear.
This is a call to turn away from that which is not bringing God glory and not bringing the Gospel to as many people as possible.
The Church was formed so that others can know what we know – that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world! That he was born, lived, died, rose, and ascended to forgive all sin and bring all those who believe in him to heaven.
But we have fallen away from this calling.
The Calling of Jesus
Jesus called his Church to bring the Good News to the entire world.
His calling was two-fold.
First, he gave them the means to bring the message of forgiveness.
21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”(John 20:21-23 ESV)
This is called the “Office of the Keys.”
“The Office of the Keys is a special God-given way of applying the Gospel to the individual” (Explanation to Luther’s Small Catechism, 1991, p. 225). When a person repents, we are called to proclaim to them that God forgives their sins. If they do not repent, we are called to warn them – lovingly – that God must be just when it comes to sin.
What We Need to Repent Of
The problem is that the Church – for the most part – has fallen away from this calling. For far too many, being a Christian means – at best – that they sit in a church pew or seat once a month (or less).
Jesus didn’t call us to be church-goers. He called us to be the Church!
To be the Church means to tell other people that Jesus forgives their sins. That also means that we will sometimes need to tell people they are sinners.
But we need to still learn how to tell people they are sinners (proclaim the Law) and what God has done – and offers – in his Son Jesus Christ (proclaim the Gospel).
The reason the Church needs to repent of falling away from this calling is because the Church has an enemy.
We are to tell people they are sinners. Then we are to tell people they are forgiven of their sins through Jesus Christ.
Sounds like a simple plan and, in a way, it is. Take what you have been given – salvation – and share it with someone else.
But it is a plan that has a very dangerous enemy.
Satan doesn’t want the Church to succeed. He hates God. And he hates everything that has to do with God.
The top of that list is the Church. And in his hatred of the Church, he tries to convince you – the Church – to not tell people that Jesus loves them and died to forgive their sins.
The Good News for the Church
I’ve got good news for you. Satan has already lost!
When Jesus died on the cross, it appeared that Satan won. But when Jesus said, “It is finished!” he meant that the plan of salvation begun in the Garden of Eden (when Adam and Eve first plunged the human race into sin) was now complete.
Every human being now had all they would need to be saved from their sins, no matter what Satan throws at them. Satan is a defeated enemy.
But in his last, defeated, breath, he is trying to convince you – the Church – not to tell others that Jesus won our forgiveness.
Don’t give in to Satan’s lie!
Get out there and tell people that Jesus won! Tell the world – one person at a time – that Jesus loves them and died to save them!
Heavenly Father, help me to tell other people about the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Protect me from the assaults and lies of Satan. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
© 2019 True Men Ministries