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Before You Talk About Jesus, You Must Have Jesus

Characteristics of the church of Antioch
Should we choose the greatest church among the early churches, it would be the Antioch church. The Antioch church was a church that was a bridge to spread the gospel to the Gentiles. Through Antioch church, the Jews and Gentiles became ‘one new man’ and worshiped together. At the time, the gospel was preached to the Jews only. However, Antioch deviated from this and preached to the Gentiles also; fulfilling the world mission. Thus, Antioch church could be considered as the best church that followed the Lord’s will in the first century.

A church where Jews and Gentiles are united
Antioch church differ from the other churches of that era in many aspects. First, the Antioch church was built by a small group of humble people that are not well-known. Nevertheless, they set up a church and preached the gospel. Second, the Antioch church members were those that had escaped to Antioch to avoid persecutions. The Antioch church members suffered tribulation because of their faith in Jesus, and they escaped to Antioch, where they preached Jesus and established a church. It is not easy to settled away from where you live. Nevertheless, they did more important things than eat and live, which was to preach Jesus Christ. It is a surprise to have established the Antioch church by spiritual sublimation of the tribulations that they have suffered and by preaching the gospel. The Antioch church was a ‘one new man’ church that Jews and Gentiles became one without discrimination in Jesus Christ. At that time, the Gentiles and the Jews were hostile to each other. However, a small number of obscure Christians crossed the barrier and preached the Gospel, establishing a united church of Jews and Gentiles. The barriers of the era collapsed by the challenge of a small number of unknown Christians. So why were a small number of unknown Christians preaching the gospel? They were the people to whom it was unbearable to go without preaching Jesus Christ. It was their identity to live by preaching Jesus wherever they go.

A person gives what he has
Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was a problem with West German and East German people. The townspeople in the eastern German provinces were constantly throwing away garbage in villages on the West German side. People in West Germany had protested a number of times about eastern Germans throwing garbage on their side, but the situation had not changed. In the end, the people of the West German village came to the end of their worries, bringing the necessities they needed to where the East German villagers would throw away the trash. They put the necessities and also put a sign that said, “A person gives what he has.” From then on, the East Germans no longer dumped the garbage there. This idea is the right one for Christians. A person gives what he has. A person can’t give what he does not have.

The fact that the people of Antioch preached Jesus to the Gentiles means that they had Jesus. Those who do not have Jesus can’t talk about Jesus. Peter speaks clearly of the identity of Christians. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9, NKJV). Peter divided the identity and role of Christians in the first half and the second half. In the first half, the Christians are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people.” In the second half, it is clear which role the identity is for, “that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” The identity of Christians is to proclaim Jesus. Therefore, Christians must balance these two things. It is a clear recognition of their identity and the action to do so, proclaiming Jesus Christ. However, many people emphasize identity, but do not emphasize the role of identity. There is a lot of worship, but it is not enough to “proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” This is a loss of balance as Christians. If we are not thoroughly armed with the truth of God’s word, we can’t preach Jesus correctly. Peter said “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15, NKJV). Only those who are thoroughly armed with the God’s word can preach the gospel properly and save the soul. Those who want to preach the gospel to others must first be armed with the gospel.

Photo: By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-88574-0004 / Stöhr / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5431798

 

Daniel Jaejin Kim is currently studying his MDiv at the Andrews University Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, MI. He currently serves as a collegiate pastor at Living Word Fellowship. In ministry, he is excited to learn about small groups and discipleship.


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