How Beautiful Are the Feet of Those That Preach the Gospel of Peace

new officeby Chaplain Tommy Davis

I was invited to participate in a community prayer walk in an effort to show some form of support in the protest against violence within the community.  Our city had just experienced six homicides in a two week period.  Having never partaken in a prayer walk I decided to go along.  The experience was a great one.  In fact, one resident rededicated his life to Christ as a result of an encounter with us.  This was not an isolated event.  Many other cities held prayer walks for the same reasons.

While these struggles are honorable, we must examine the spiritual aspect and intended outcomes if we are serious about making change.   It seems that our modern day church is fervent at responding to politicians’ calls to partake in crime fighting initiatives such as gun buyback programs, prayer walks, press conferences, and the like.  But there is a serious problem:  we are reactive rather than proactive.  Are we being led by statesmen or Christ?

The apostle John wrote to the seven churches in Asia Minor (which is modern-day Turkey) in the first century and revealed some interesting truths.  The book of Revelation chapters two and three contain seven messages from the Lord to seven churches in Asia, each message beginning with the phrase, “I know thy works” and ending with, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

I am particularly reminded of the church at Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7).  It wasn’t a lukewarm church like Laodicea (see Rev. 3:14-22) but it had heart disease.  If we judge from the externals this local body of believers served as a model of what a local church should exhibit in the world.  They were busy, separated, and sacrificial.  They didn’t tolerate false prophets.  But what God noticed was their “heart problem.”  They had lost their first love—a sincere devotion to Christ.  They were no longer enthused by the Savior, and yet they continued in great works.chaplain shaking hands

What is the motivation behind our abundant works?  Are we driven by candidates for public office?  Are we in the business of adding people to OUR church or Christ’s church? Are we responding to politicians or Christ?  The Ephesians displayed “works…labor…and patience” (Rev. 2:2), but these qualities were not motivated by a love for Christ.

As we observe the circumstances in impoverished communities, both the spiritual and economic conditions are salvageable. It is only when we have a sincere love for Christ that we will have an authentic love for people.  This produces an authentic and habitual outreach.  Do we apply Band-Aids to wounds for naught?  God is not interested in patchwork.  He intends healing.  Nowhere in the Bible does our Lord tell sinners to go to church.  Rather, He instructs the church to go to the sinner.

Between Jesus’ resurrection and His ascension back to heaven, He gave His disciples very important instructions regarding the ministry they were to carry on after His ascension, including: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.  Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).

If we are to see real change in our communities we have to put in the work and make it a custom of telling people about Jesus while meeting their needs.  Economic conditions and violence in our neighborhoods are direct reflections of what goes on in the heart.  Soulwinning is bringing the sinner and Christ together.  The Bible says,  “…How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! . . .  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:15, 17).

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