... he said this to his disciples: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Act 1:8)
What does it mean to us (the Church) to be his witness?
The former President of Westminster Theological Seminary and author of several books, Edmund Clowney (1917-2005) expounded consistently the necessary role of the Church in the world today. In his book, The Church, he begins by defining the Church from a biblical perspective, thereby countering prevailing misconceptions, and setting forth the great hope that is present for the people of God.
To be sure, if the church rather than Christ becomes the center of our devotion, spiritual decay has begun. A doctrine of the church that does not center on Christ is self-defeating and false. But Jesus said to the disciples who confessed him, ‘I will build my church.’ To ignore his purpose is to deny his lordship.
The very threats to the existence of the church in the twenty-first century show again our need of the church. The courage to stand apart, to be unashamed of Christ’s claims, is nurtured in the community of those who are baptized into his name. The church may not apply for a union card in a pluralistic establishment by signing away its right to proclaim the only Savior of the world. Together we must make clear that it is to Christ and not to ourselves that we witness. In that witness we are not only individual points of light in the world, but a city set on a hill.
In the face of indifference, opposition, and sometime outright hostility, the church must show the bond of Christ’s love that unites enemies as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Only so can the church be a sign of his kingdom: the kingdom that will come when Christ comes, and that is already present through his Spirit.
On a personal level, we need to be mindful of our role of as witnesses—daily. Let it be a faithful one.
Pastor Robert Chew
(excerpted from Kairos Journal)