Summary: Take significant steps to eradicate poverty and injustice. This is done when people come into a relationship with The Living Saviour and when they are impacted for life change by the Holy Spirit. This is for The Whole Body of Christ not just one denomina
Last week here at Sydenham the Salvation Army launched it’s document with the cunning title of ‘Stalled’ which for the Salvation Army is it’s annual ‘State of the Nation Report.’ This is produced by our Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit. The report looks into things such as our children, crime and punishment, work and incomes, social hazards and housing, in reality, it is an honest appraisal of the state of our nation. Without getting into the nitty gritty, New Zealand is stalled.
As an army we have four goals within our territorial Strategic Mission Plan the third being to, “Take significant steps to eradicate poverty and injustice.”
The pillar in our corps, our church that this relates to is ‘Mission’ which is about faith in action, it’s about getting involved in our society in a way in which peoples lives are changed for the good and that people are introduced to the love of God through our actions.
Poverty what is it, and injustice where does that originate. Now there’s a couple of gnarly questions. Because once we are able to get our heads around those two questions we are well on our way to being able to battle them. That’s what armies do, they do battle.
The scripture reading that we have for this pillar is: Matthew 28:19-20. Read.
So from this we are left with two things to consider, and these will help us to answer our questions.
Jesus gives the disciples an assignment, which is to go and make disciples of all nations, or go into all the world, and make disciples, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. A theological question arises here about baptism it always does because Salvationist don’t baptise with water. I will leave off answering that today. But leave you with the thoughts of the baptism of The Holy Spirit and that new disciples are to be identified with a local body of believers.
So Jesus gives his disciples the command here to “make disciples”, It takes gutsy action to do this, to bring people to Jesus you have to tell them about him. This can be scary; some will say “no go away, I’m not interested”, and the ways that this can be said can be very creative.
The other thing that comes out of this passage is that Jesus gives the assurance that he will always be with is followers, what a promise great because he has all authority in Heaven and on Earth; all authority!
So our mission is one of outreach, I read an environmentalists saying the other day which is “think globally, act locally” this can be just as relevant to the church, wherever we are is our mission field, it could be Captain Pauline who in the next week fly’s off to Africa for eight weeks of ‘mission work’, or it could be the on the bus on the way home from the service today, wherever we are is a mission field. School or office desk, work; play [wherever you are, reach out to the whosoever.] Why because we are in a battle to overcome, those two things poverty and injustice. Quoting Major Campbell Roberts when he spoke at the launch of this TSMP goal,
“Two hungers are emerging, a hunger for - Spirituality and a hunger for – Justice. If we can live out and help another find a relationship with Jesus that energises them to live and act justly then we are going to sow the seeds of revolutionary change that’s never been seen, are we going to do it? It has to start with me and it has to start with you.”
Back to my gnarly questions, Poverty what is it and injustice where does that originate.
1) When we think of poverty often we think of where there is a lack of something, food, water, clothing…but I would challenge you to consider that the main cause of poverty is spiritual and that spiritual poverty often, if not always results in physical poverty. If all were living as Jesus commanded loving God as instructed and loving their neighbour as themselves I don’t believe there be either spiritual or physical poverty? This from James 2:8-9 “If you keep the royal law found in scripture, “Love your neighbour as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favouritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.”
2) I would also like to go on record as saying that injustice is a direct result of spiritual poverty. The person who is living and acting within the will of God will not be able to act unjustly. If we are remaining justified with Christ we cannot act unjustly. This from Romans 13:10 “Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.”