Jean Larroux, the pastor of Lagniappe Presbyterian Church in Bay St. Louis, preached a sermon last year called “Bad People Make Good Missionaries.” In it he describes how much he dislikes the signs that you sometimes see leaving church parking lots which read ”You are now entering the mission field.” He would rather have signs hanging over the mirrors in church bathrooms that read “You are now looking at the mission field.” What does he mean?
He means that all of us need to realize our own continuing need of the gospel before we can be effective in reaching others with it. “How can we assure others that Jesus really is for sinners,” he asks, “if all they know about us is good things?” We are not offering a self-help program, we are presenting the good news that Jesus saves sinners. We are most effective in declaring the gospel when we become living demonstrations of it.
As I said during last week’s sermon, the Bible makes it clear that the Gospel is not for the strong and mighty. It’s not for all-stars; it’s not for overcomers. Rather, it’s for people who recognize that they are deficient but that God alone is sufficient. It’s for people who realize their inability to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. It’s for those who know they’re not gods. It’s for people who understand the bankruptcy of life without God. It’s not for the dominant; it’s for the defeated.
This is precisely what Jesus meant when he said, “those who are well have no need for a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.” This is what Paul meant when he said that “God chooses the weak things of the world to shame the strong; the foolish things to confound the wise.”
After all, it’s not our strength but God’s strength that this world needs to see and Paul tells us that God flaunts his strength through our weakness.
Thank God for Jesus–the only winner who has ever lived!
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