Jesus told his disciples that the world is a harvest field and that they are the laborers (Luke 10:1-3). We understand Jesus to mean that the church is to pray and go into the world with the gospel of the kingdom of God and call people to respond in repentance and faith.
To some, talk of the church and the world sounds elitist. They hear in this language that church people see themselves as superior to the rest of the world. They perceive that Christians view them as needing to change, and that if they don’t, Christians will remain separate from them.
When Christians feel pushback because of this perception, they pull back with doubt and timidity. The result is that Christians keep their faith in the church and the harvest fields of the world remain without laborers to bring the good news.
The gospel gives us an entirely different understanding of church and world language. According to the gospel, the church is made up of Christians who are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. There is nothing special about these people in themselves. They are in no way superior to others. They deserve the same fate as everyone, because they are sinners like everyone. The fact that they are forgiven of sin and granted life with God is a gift given to them, not something they have earned.
Jesus tells us that once forgiven and reconciled to God, Christians are given a ministry, which is a service they render to God and people. They are to live in the world as “sent” people with a message from God. The message is the same one they heard and responded to by faith. This message is not about their superior character or way of living, but about the grace of God in Christ. God called the church from the world, and from the church he continues to call the church. The people who receive salvation by grace share that grace with others, and more people are saved. Grace comes full circle. This is not elitism, this is evangelism.
Evangelism is not a superior person telling an inferior person how to take a step up. It is a humble, forgiven sinner telling another sinner that there is a Savior. Evangelism flows from the realization that the Superior One saves all sinners the same way. Saved sinners are just sharing the good news.
As Christians, you and I live in a world that is a harvest field. Let’s pray confidently for laborers to enter the harvest, and let’s become those laborers.
I am praying with you this weekend as we anticipate worshiping together on Sunday.