Since the inception of Christianity as a religion, God in His own wisdom has prescribed certain decrees, laws and scriptural principles to guide and direct the life pattern of every Christian. Our conformity or deviation from these set standards and expectations enable God and other Christians to conclude as to whether we are indeed true children of God, or just church goers! As God rightly said, “one cannot serve two masters at the same time; it is either you submit to one or frown upon the commandants of the other.
It’s worth mentioning that everything every Christian needs to survive, plan his life, become the best Christian in the sight of God, resolve his marital challenges and succeed holistically in life, has been granted unto us in the Bible. That is why God has cautioned and challenged us to read and seek for knowledge, wisdom and understanding. These key variables will not only make us wise, but will also always sustain our relationship with Him, keep us focused and ginger us to perform our respective roles as children of God, and impact society in a more effective manner.
The 1st Century Church did exceptionally in the Christendom, regardless of the numerous challenges and persecutions they were confronted with. Their lifestyle alone blew a whistle in the minds of the people in Antioch, which in turn gave them the brand name, “Christians”. They were accorded that name because the people saw Christ in them, and their overall living patterns were a complete reflection of Christ’s life.
However, there has been a paradigm shift with regards to the rate at which 21st Century Christians respond to the Word of God, perform their roles and direct their lifestyles. Most of us now cling to our own ways and fleshy desires. Lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life have been the aspirational target of most of us. The actual works of which we were called to labour for and become stewards of, have been put aside, for our personal aggrandizement’s subscription! Even thou we live in a crooked and perverse generation; we must strive at all cost to become an empowering city for the world.
In the succeeding paragraphs, we are going have a detailed discussion on the expected roles and impact of a 21st Century Christian. Three major works have been explicitly outlined in the scripture for every Christian; these are: Evangelism, Benevolence and Edification. All the Church’s financial resources must be effectively geared towards dispensing these duties. One thing we must always to notice of is that, even though there have several transformational developments in the world, the Word of God never changes! We must rather make maximum utilization of the technological inputs we have today, to advance the works of the Church.
One major role expected of every Christian today, is to preach or proclaim the Gospel to outsiders; in season and out of season. As ambassadors of Christ, we must be zealous and passionate about the Word of God. Some time ago, we were all sinners, but through the proclamation of the Gospel by someone, we are now thriving gleefully in the Church. Just as the early Christians did, Jesus Christ has commanded us in Matthew 28:18-20, to also do same. We must show our love to our friends, neighbours, colleagues at work, enemies, parents, wives and any other person within and outside the circle of our lives. A typical recounting event is what happened to Jonah after his refusal to preach the Word to the people of Nenevi. Several passages in the New Testament echo the punishments associated with one’s reluctance to spread the Gospel.
We are very fortunate to be endowed with powerful technological resources such as internet, YouTube, Facebook, print media, TV and Radio stations, PA Systems, among others. All these are driving tool that can help us to drive and spread the Gospel to wide range of people around the globe. In our quest of preaching the Gospel, we must also strive to preserve it so that it does not become corrupted or lose its value.
Also, every Christian is expected to disciple other church members. As a baptized Christian and ordinary member of a church, are responsible for protecting the gospel and the gospel’s ministry in your church by discipling other church members. Remember Ephesians 4:15-16: the church builds itself up in love as each part does its work. You have work to do to build up the church. And part of that includes the ministry of words. A few verses later, Paul says, “Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another” (v. 25). Speak truth to them, and help them to grow. Our words should be “good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29. Also, make yourself available to be spoken to. The critical question is, are you willing to listen? Basic Christianity involves building up other believers. It is a part of fulfilling the Great Commission.
Most Churches today have lost the “brotherhood love” strongly held by the 1st Century Church. Individualism and hedonistic aspirations have dismantled that great love. Better benevolent policies must be implemented by the Church to cater for the needs of the frail and old people, widows, orphans, disabled and other vulnerable groups; it should also be extended to other people in the society. More so, Christians must work diligently to gather enough funds to support those who are in need in the church at all times. Praying for those in critical health situations or crisis and the nation is also way of impacting the world.
Moreover, if we are to live according to 1 Peter 2:17, then we must live with love and in harmony with God’s children. There is nothing wrong with having your own group of friends with whom you would rather spend time, you should be in love with everyone in the church. Begin with the people in your own congregation. Learn to love them for who they are in Christ. Extend that out to other Christians who may not dress like you do or listen to the same music.
This does not mean you blindly accept everything that comes along and claims the name of Christ. We should be wise in what we accept (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1-5). But we also should not push genuine Christians away just because they part their hair differently. Separation is necessary due to doctrinal differences, not because of petty preferences.
Additionally, every Christian must lead/live an exemplary life. Abraham was, and is still regarded as the father of faith because of his consistency in the practice and obedience of God’s word. This presupposes that the light of a Christian must forever shine to everyone in the world. He must portray all the moral principles stipulated in the Bible. Your stock of faith must be evident at your work place, family, community, school and other facet of life. Whilst we are living a good life, others automatically emulate our lifestyle and in turn give their lives to Christ. Actions speak louder than words!
We must also vehemently stand up for the truth, no matter the circumstance we find ourselves. If majority of us cling fervently onto moral uprightness, corrupt practices and lascivious activities in the society will subside twinklingly. It is our responsibility to become a lightening image that will redeem the world from darkness. We can become counsellors, mediators, teachers, problem-solvers, conflict managers, philanthropists in wherever we find ourselves, while pursuing righteousness through faith.
Furthermore, every Christian must attend church regularly. Enough though every Church as its meeting schedules, members must always be present and activity participate in church activities. The Hebrew writer makes it even clearer: “And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Heb. 10:24-25). As we meet and see one another, we psychologically and emotionally resolve our inherent/internal issues that may otherwise be disastrous in our later lives. The bond among us serves as a tool for unification, solidarity, association and medicinal instrument.
Finally, Christians must also honour, obey and respect authority: “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king” (1 Peter 2:17). When we obey authority, we are living in a pleasing way toward God. He established the authorities around us (Romans 13). We should live with respect and obedience to their laws and regulations. As long as God has not expressly said otherwise (Acts 5:29), we should live in obedience to the authority that God has placed around us. Why? It goes back to verse 12 where Peter tells us that living in such a way will bring glory to God and point more people to Him.
Obviously, there have been bad governments throughout history, yet the principle still applies that we should obey and honor the government whenever possible (Acts 4:16-18).
Have you ever heard of a young person who says that they want to join the military because they are tired of their parents’ rules? They want to go from one authority to another. They think that the rules will be different and therefore easier to obey. What they fail to understand is that obedience is a matter of respect and attitude, it rarely has to do with how easy or hard a set of rules are. How will these young people (or you) respond when God asks them to obey Him? If they will not honor the authority that He has placed over them, then they probably would not obey Him either.
It is either you become an asset or a liability to yourself, God and the world. The fact is explicit enough. Make your choice!