What Are We Selling?

Posted by Stacy Lewis on July 22, 2014 @ 9:57 PM

Post by: Craig Waddell, elder at the church that meets at Center, KY

The Center congregation of the Lord’s church is currently planning to operate a booth at each of our two local harvest celebrations, the Seven Springs Sorghum Festival and the Metcalfe County Pumpkin Festival. When we signed up for both festivities, we were asked, “What will you be selling?” Each representative naturally assumed that the church will be using the booths for fundraising since most of the other individuals, organizations, companies, and clubs will be doing so. We explained that we do not plan to sell anything, but that everything visitors will receive from us will be totally free of charge, and we will simply be trying to give the people of the community a chance to meet the members of the church and the members of the church a chance to build relationships with the people of the community. Although we won’t be selling anything, the question has made me wonder, metaphorically speaking, on an every day basis, as we try to convince others of their need to accept the saving grace of God, what do christians think they are “selling”?

In our first planning meeting for these festivals, several things were suggested as props for the booth itself and as give-away drawing cards: a banner with the church name, refrigerator magnets with worship service times and contact information, literature and Bible correspondence courses, shopping bags imprinted with the church name and information, bottles of water, matching tee shirts, a group picture of the whole congregation, etc. At first glance, the majority of these suggestions seem to indicate that we believe that we are advertising and “selling” the church, and in particular our congregation. If that is the case, then we are failing at our attempt to carry out the great commission, which states that we are to make disciples of Jesus by preaching the gospel and baptizing those who believe that gospel. (Mt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15-16) However, a closer examination of the Bible’s teachings concerning the relationship of the church and Jesus Christ prove that to promote the church is to promote Christ, and to offer Jesus’ saving blood to someone is to offer that person a membership into His church.

Jesus and the church which He bought with His blood (Acts 20:28) are inseparable. Every person who is saved by the blood of Christ is added to the church. (Acts 2:47) Why? Because Jesus is both the Savior and Head of the body, the church (Eph. 5:22-33) Whatever one does to the church, one does to Christ; if one persecutes the church, he persecutes Christ (Acts 8:1-4; 9:1-5); if one tries to divide the church, he tries to divide Christ (1 Cor. 1:10-13); if one preaches Christ, he preaches the things concerning the church (Acts 8:5-12; Mt. 16:13-19). One cannot preach Jesus without preaching His church, and one cannot uphold the church without upholding Jesus.

A christian’s life is to be devoted to convincing other people of their need for the saving grace of God. In some cases, one may be able to accomplish this task without building a relationship with the hearers; they may respond when a stranger lifts up Jesus before their truth-seeking eyes. In other cases, those needing salvation may need to witness the positive, life-altering changes a relationship with Jesus has produced in someone else, they may need to be taught about the church which they will be added to and the work in which Jesus will expect them to be engaged, and they may need to develop a relationship with those whom they will continually fellowship should they decide to answer the call of the cross. In either case, Christians are not “selling” anything, but they are giving away the greatest gift man has ever known – God’s amazing grace. When we offer salvation through Jesus, we offer a free membership into his body; to teach how to enter the church is to teach how to accept salvation. It is impossible to enter the blood without entering the blood-bought body.

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