CHRIST AGAINST "THE WORLD"Nothing is worth preaching unless it is about God. The only God worth preaching about is the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. To preach about that God is to preach about a God who is the Creator and Father of the human family; a God who is what he chooses to be and has chosen to express his “Godhood” (and consequently to reveal) in creating humans to image him in their life and living.
The only God we know from Scripture is a God who did not choose to be God without us (Barth).
As the Bible tells it we humans refused to be content with being the image of God and chose to be gods, as wise as God and independent of God. God’s word to rebellious Israel speak the truth to the entire human family: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know...”
Because God chose to create us as he has done--humans and so interdependent two things happened, our corrupt rejection of God infected (and infects) the entire human family and the social structures by which humans live were corrupted and corrupting.
The “authorities” and “powers” that God created for the blessing and enrichment of human experience were shanghaied by the evil that we turned loose. Those structures—headed up by the rulers of the various human families--became powerful enemies of God’s holy and loving purpose. They became satanic and demonic and functioned to serve Satan.
Humans found themselves enslaved by something they let loose and were themselves corrupted and corrupted all around them. The (social and political) structures without which humans could not live were corrupted and they became powerful sources of corruption. The world became a planet in rebellion.
But God did not abandon his creation and he used the corrupt and corrupting powers to provide the creation goods that humanity must have to live. All this he did and does through “fallen” structures that remain corrupt (some more than others). Even corrupt governments must provide the needs of the governed or they perish—for, one way or another, with all the complexities that are involved in his work with humans who have the power of choice and the willingness to be violent, God brings them down. If they refuse to be “ministers of God for good” (Romans 13.4) he holds them accountable—they too reject their destiny and he holds them accountable.
Young men and women are corruptible and influence one another but schools, colleges, universities, financial institutions, forms of government, judicial systems, judges, presidents, prime ministers, kings and queens, teachers, military forces, police forces, senators, parliament members, capitalism and socialism and so forth compound the evils of human societies because they are more powerful than individuals. These life-shaping institutions and structures are themselves the agencies of invisible forces, satanic and demonic and people born into such a world are shaped by them.
These are what God seeks to rescue humans from; these are the forces Jesus met and defeated. Personal and individual sins matter of course—of course! But they are the outgrowth and visible expression of a vast “world” of evil that has enslaved us all.
But again, God did not abandon us nor has he abandoned us. In his own time (O God, how long?) he has worked with us and one of those ways is through a body of people called “the Church”—themselves sinners and with no claim to be superior to their fellow-humans--the Church that proclaims hope to the world; a living hope generated by God in and through Jesus Christ and his resurrection from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3-6. The offer of a new world and the joyful experience of that world is not for some elite—it’s God’s offer to the entire human family.
That is what Christians proclaim when they gather in repentance and commitment to God’s work in Jesus Christ in their Suppering with the living Lord Jesus on this coming Lord’s Day.
They proclaim a new world coming and invite all who long for that to join with them in a life of proclamation to the sad and hurting and desperate of the world!
They proclaim adventure to all those humans who find themselves bored with the tired sameness of a life without real war. How easy it is to jeer at the moral heroism of faith that defies cosmic evil via church attendance. But hear this: when men and women, girls and boys gather from here there and everywhere and eat a little bread and drink a little wine in honor of God and his Holy Son evil invisible powers take note and hear again the words of Jesus Christ about his death, “Now is the world judged!” (John 12:31) And at the Supper believers together say, “He’s returning and will right all wrongs.”