Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Atkinson: church focus

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
    [Jesus:] “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
    —Mark 8:36-38 (ESV)
    The Gospel commission is the key to all problems of church history, large or small. It is the key to the success or failure of the many organisations built up to form the channels of witness to the world. Churches, societies, individuals, ... have concerned themselves with this or that theological problem. They have made worship central instead of the Gospel commission. They have concerned themselves with their relations with the State. They have concentrated on philanthropy and social service. Wherever they have done this and have forgotten the purpose for which the Master has placed them in the world, wherever they have lost the Master’s vision of a perishing humanity, wherever they have become inattentive to the cry of spiritual anguish, the Spirit has passed them by, and when they have persisted He has extinguished the light of their witness. And the pages of church history are strewn with their wreckage. They may have shouted their loyal ty to Christ, they may even have suffered for Him. But if once they have forgotten that our Lord combined in a single phrase “for My sake and the Gospel’s,” devotion to Himself and loyalty to His commission, they have lost their influence and sunk into spiritual death.
    ... B. F. C. Atkinson (1895-1971), Valiant in Fight, London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship of Evangelical Unions, 1937, p. 10 (see the book)
    See also Mark 8:35-38; Matt. 5:10-12; 19:29; Luke 6:22-23; Acts 9:15-16; 1 Cor. 9:23; 2 Tim. 1:8-11
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, grant an opening to share the Gospel with _____ and _____.
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