Before I came to Thailand, I was a social worker in a special school in Singapore. It was a secular school. I knew that I had to be a light for Jesus at my workplace but because it was a government school, I could not share openly about Jesus to the students.
However, I felt like I was shining for Jesus as I served children with special needs, particularly those from low-income families. Jesus especially looked out for the poor and marginalised, and if He was in Singapore, these families would probably be the first few groups of people He would serve. Yet, I hardly spoke a word about Jesus, not even with my colleagues. After all, people could see Christ through my life, right?
Fast forward a few years later, I came to Thailand to serve as a cross cultural missionary. I finally had the opportunity to share openly about Christ with people. After all, that was what I was here for.
I have observed several missionaries in Thailand, and one thing a lot of them have in common is their passion for proclaiming the good news and reaching the Thai people for Christ. They have gospel tracts in their bags and are always ready to share Christ with Thai people they meet whether on song thaew or at the market. I found myself learning to speak of Christ a lot, but I didn’t involve myself in the community as much as I did when I was in Singapore, trying to make a difference in society and advocating for the marginalized.
Jesus is our Savior, and His sacrifice and resurrection is of utmost importance. Therefore, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ is very important. But, if we focus simply on the individual finding salvation, we lose sight of God’s purposes for the world and how He wants His glory to be displayed through our lives that have been changed by Jesus Christ. If we only proclaim the message of good news, there will be much confusion if our behavior does not match the message.
On the other hand, living out the example of Jesus by serving the needs of the community and advocating for the marginalized is important. But, without proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, there will be even more confusion. People will think that all our good works are done to gain salvation (WHICH IS NOT TRUE!!!!!!!!)
Here, we see two groups of believers. Group A correctly argue that the gospel is the good news that God is using the atoning death of Jesus to bring about reconciliation between sinners and Himself. Group B correctly argue that the gospel is the good news that God is going to transform and renew the world through Jesus Christ. Group A thinks that Group B are lacking the cross. Group B thinks that Group A is too focused on the self, too individualistic.
However, the truth is, both groups are not wrong. What we need to do is connect these two themes.
There is only ONE gospel, and that gospel involves Jesus Christ dying on the cross to bring sinners to God AND in response, true believers repent and produce the fruit of good works.
The kingdom of God has arrived, and before it is made complete when Christ comes again, believers are to live out the kingdom values right here on this very earth.
While I was working in the special school, I was doing many good works, but I also could have kept going back to the cross and been more intentional in having spiritual conversations if not with students then with my colleagues and other staff in the school.
While I am a missionary in Thailand, I do not want to focus only on evangelism and seeing individuals come to know Jesus Christ. I need to live out the message of Jesus Christ and allow Him to use me to build God’s kingdom here on earth.
“Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
How can God use us to make the city you live in look more like God’s Kingdom?
There is only one gospel. In discipleship, we need to teach new believers that salvation is not just about their individual souls being saved. Take time for discipleship or we will see a diluted gospel being spread.
The gospel is found in the Bible, and throughout the Bible we see God’s story unfold, how He re-establishes His rule that brings life, salvation, peace and justice. Yes, God loves us and sacrificed His Son to save our souls from condemnation. Our souls rest in our identity in Christ and be His beloved child.
But, ultimately, it’s not about us at all, the goal is about God’s glory being displayed, God is all in all.
The kingdom of God is beyond my personal concerns; it brings about the renewal of all things. There is a message of hope for those suffering injustice, facing oppression, unfairness and abuse. One day, God will renew all things and establish His Kingdom in full. As people in His kingdom, we live out His values right here right now. If Christ is our King and our Lord, then He is centre in all parts of our lives, He affects all our attitudes — attitudes concerning money, time, social issues, politics, business, relationships are ALL submitted to Him. That means we keep proclaiming Christ. It also means we stand up against injustice. We reach out to the poor and oppressed. We advocate for change in society when we see inequality and unfairness.
Call to action:
· Think: What is one change your city needs to look more like God’s Kingdom?
· What is a baby step you can take this week towards being a part of that change?
· How can Christ be proclaimed through that step?
· Read more about this in “Crown of Thorns — Connecting Kingdom and Cross” by Tim Chester (I got many ideas for this post from this book)