What should the Church be Concerned About?
Don’t get me wrong; each and every Christian must be concerned with the immorality that underpins the political, economic and social structures of our culture, and so called, civilized way-of-life. The abysmal birth control method, that so often arises following some short unthinking pleasure ending in a pregnancy which is terminated by killing the offspring, must be a concern of every Christian. However, as will be stated here the Church has no ability to stop abortions, per se. It does however have the responsibility and ability of bringing the gospel to each individual
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14).
It is the Holy Spirit that frees a person from sin and thus immorality because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. And furthermore, without regeneration – which is re-birth – immorality will reign in our bodies (Romans 5:21) – the consequence being the evil we view each day.
Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)
But now having been set free from sin, and having become servants of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)
In these verses we see the reality of sin – sin bounds us in a manner that prevents morality – abortion is an unavoidable consequence of a people without God because they are simply in bondage to sin. It is only when the bonds of sin are broken can one contemplate dealing with root cause of say abortion.
The real issue is the failure of the Church to preach the gospel – for without the gospel we cannot expect the consciousness of individuals to be aroused to an extent they seek God, and His purposes. No greater example one can one give than that of William Wilberforce, whose pastor preached the gospel to him week by week, and year by year. Wilberforce was no moralist or social leftist, but rather a man who accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour, and when the Holy Spirit provided a clear consciousness of the righteousness of God in relationship to the abject racism and horror associated with slavery he responded. Here we see the Church carrying out its responsibility of preaching the gospel (and providing moral support to the soul), the Holy Spirit giving new life to Wilberforce, setting him free from sin (Romans 6:22, 8:11), and because Wilberforce believed in Christ Jesus (Romans 3) he became a useful vessel for the work of God (Ephesians 2:10). And in this we see the role that God has entrusted him being carried out. This is should be our example.
The mistake the Church makes today is usurping the plan of God, replacing it with some notion that she should, and indeed is able to, change the social, political and economic structure of our civic societies. This is not her role, but that of individual Christians as useful vessels for God’s work (Ephesians 2:10). Martyn Lloyd-Jones, when preaching from Matthew’s Gospel, which speaks about being the salt of the earth, he made the following remark:
The primary task of the Church is to evangelize and to preach the gospel. Look at it like this. If the Christian Church today spends most of her time in denouncing communism, it seems to me that the main result will be that communists will not be likely to listen to the preaching of the gospel. If the Church is always denouncing one particular section of society, she is shutting the evangelistic door upon that section. If we take the New Testament view of these matters we must believe that the communist has a soul to be saved in exactly the same way as everybody else. It is my business as a preacher of the gospel, and a representative of the Church, to evangelize all kinds and conditions and classes of men and women. The moment the Church begins to intervene in these political, social and economic matters, therefore, she is hampering and hindering herself in her God-appointed task of evangelism. She can no longer say that she "knows no man after the flesh", and thereby she is sinning. Let the individual play his part as a citizen, and belong to any political party that he may choose. That is something for the individual to decide. The Church is not concerned as a Church about these things. Our business is to preach the gospel and to bring this message of salvation to all. And, thank God, communists [or any other evil corrupt society, including western society that worships sex, pleasure and materialism] can be converted and can be saved. The Church is to be concerned about sin in all its manifestations, and sin can be as terrible in a capitalist as in a communist; it can be as terrible in a rich man as in a poor man; it can manifest itself in all classes and in all types and in all groups. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1988) Studies in the Sermon on the Mount Chapter 14 The Salt of the Earth, Inter-Varsity Press, England)
In this context we can replace ‘communism’ with every other evil that besets our society – divorce, domestic violence, abortion, same-sex marriage and all other sexual immoral activities men and women practice. Thus one can see it is the individual whose morality is guided by the Holy Spirit in recognition of the Holiness of God that is the instrument that effects change – the Church is the encourager (Hebrews 10:250, the group, or body (not organisation – see Romans 12:4, 1 Corinthians 12:12-12, Ephesians 5:30 etc.) of praying Christians (Ephesians 6:18, Jude 1:20) that preaches the gospel upon which the Holy Spirit can provoke the ‘grass-roots’ repentance and thus freeing men and women from sin that leads to violence or abortions etc.
Thus for the individual, it is what we say and do and the way we respond to every event in our life that speaks to society – and furthermore we need to understand our society has always been blind and deaf to the prattle of churches concerned with social issues rather than God’s command of delivering the good news of Jesus Christ dying for our sins.