This is the second in a series of posts about focusing on the Kingdom of God rather than just on the local church.
When we focus on our church we tend to set faith against culture. When we focus on the kingdom we live our faith out in the culture.
When our focus is on ourselves, we don’t see our church in the context of the culture and community surrounding us. We build “sanctuaries” where we can come and hide from the world. Jesus did not live his faith in a sanctuary, but out in the streets. Remember the crazy man Jesus healed of demon possession in the land of the Gadarenes? Jesus did not remove him from his culture, he sent him back in:
The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. Luke 8.38-39
Many young Christians these days are finding ways to live their faith “out there” rather than just “in here”. They realize that we will never touch the lives of people far from God by waiting for them to come into our buildings. To do this well, we need to adjust the way we think about the culture outside of the church. Culture is not evil – it is neutral. Culture can be very good or very bad. There is a lot of beauty and truth in culture that is not inherently Christian. It is perfectly alright to embrace the good in non-Christian culture, while at the same time trying to redeem the bad. Once we understand culture in this way, we realize that Christians can partner with people outside of the church to improve the world around us.
It is not “us against them”. People far from God are not the enemy – they are prisoners of the enemy!