Our lives can be proof both of God’s existence and his relevance. We we can make the good news about God attractive to the people around us (Titus 2:9). God intends you and I to be living proof. Our lives – and our lifestyles – are meant to be attractive. We are the clickbait. We are the draw. We are the five-star ratings on God’s Amazon page.
But isn’t that is a lot of pressure to put on ourselves? What if I mess up … again? I’ve done it before and I’m sure to do it again, so how can I talk to others about Christ and the Way? They’d see right through me. Besides that, there are things in my life that still haven’t been straightened out: relationships, past mistakes, current habits. What if people knew about these things? Better to keep quiet.
That is wrong thinking. God wants to use our lives not because they’re perfect but because they’re his. He doesn’t want us to shut up in shame or cover up in hypocrisy but to be ourselves; or, rather, to becomes our truest selves in full view of family, co-workers, and friends. It is not the perfection but the direction of our lives that draws people on to Christ.
Maybe you are deeply spiritual, morally superior, emotionally balanced, and genuinely loving – not to mention good looking. Your life is so far beyond the lives of your neighbors that the possibility of being like you doesn’t even occur to them. But the guy who isn’t all that different from them but is headed in your direction – they’ll follow that guy.
Here is what we need to understand today. We don’t do this alone. We’re not on our own. Drawing people to Christ and his kingdom is a shared task. We accomplish it as part of a group of people who are all going in the same direction. The people in that group are all imperfect and incomplete, but together they picture a better way to live and a better God to serve. Isolated, their lives are not convincing, even if they are appealing. But together they provide a compelling picture of life under God’s rule.
Let’s say you are that deeply spiritual, morally superior, emotionally balanced, and genuinely loving (not to mention good looking) Christian. People think of you as incredibly special – one in a million. But they think of themselves as one of the million. The idea of being like you won’t even cross their minds.
But if they see a group of people, including some who look a lot like them, living a different and better way, the idea will cross their minds. They won’t say, “That kind of thing is not for me,” because they’ll be wondering if it could be for them—especially if we invite them to see for themselves.
If this sermon were an essay, this would be the thesis statement: The church, not the individual, is the primary lure God uses to entice people into his kingdom. The church is uniquely important to God’s overall purpose and is irreplaceable. Deeply spiritual, morally superior, emotionally balanced, and genuinely loving – not to mention good looking – individuals are no substitute for the church. There is a dynamic present when the church is together that is missing when the church is disconnected (which is why the racially segregated church in America is so regrettable).