This is a message meant for all Christians, including the one I see every time I look into the mirror.
The Church must stop blaming culture for its failure to be and make disciples of Christ. The Roman culture into which the ascended Jesus first sent His Church was far more secular and overtly hostile to belief in the one God revealed in Jesus than is true of North American culture today.
The time for bellyaching and blaming others for our failure to be the Church that Jesus has commissioned us to be has past.
Our call is clear: Do the Great Commission. Our authority to do so is clear: Jesus Himself gave it. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Let's resolve together, Christians: No more excuses!
Pray, just as Jesus commanded us, for God to send workers into the harvest, Christians to share the good news of new and everlasting life for all who turn from sin and trust in Jesus with the whole needy, disbelieving world. (Matthew 9:38)
Pray that God will help you grow as a disciple each day through daily quiet time in the Bible, through regular involvement in groups of laypeople who meet and pray together and stand under God's Word and are accountable to each other, through regular worship of God with God's people in the Church. (More than 1.3 times per month, the current pathetic average among church members in the US these days.)
Ask God to bring unbelieving people into your life who you can befriend, serve, share Christ with, and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, make disciples.
I'm tired of excusing my failures as a Christian called to make disciples by blaming our secular culture. The underground and non-State-sponsored churches in nations like China and Russia are making disciples despite government hostility and cultural opposition. The risen Jesus is bigger than any culture.
Instead of whimpering in our holy huddles, feeding on the deadly diet of self-righteousness, as so often happens with Christ's Church these days, let's move into the world with the boldness that comes from knowing we belong to the living God Who has conquered the world through Christ's cross and with the humility of those who know that we have been saved by grace through faith in Christ.
Let's live believing the revealed truth that Jesus is the only way to life with God (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) and, moved with compassion for all of our neighbors everywhere, make disciples.
Let's make disciples, not excuses.
[Blogger Mark Daniels is pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio.]