“At the end we may not remember the actions of our foes but we will always remember the silence of our friends” – Martin Luther King Jr
On this 89th birthday anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr we are reminded that the true test of friendship which resonates with true friends of Jesus is to stick up for the truth and gospel of “Come and See” especially when the going gets tough and when it is not politically advantageous. If the church go silent in such a times as this then we become friends of the world rather than lovers of God’s Word. In an age of Trumpocracy, increased religious and national fanaticism, media and journalistic antipathy towards Christianity, and corresponding religious indifference, the question is ‘Is anything good going on in the church today? Our answers could vary but the truth is that in many churches around the world, people are catching and praying for a new vision of “Come and See” revival and renewal, and they’re engaging the world in new and transforming ways. At the bottom of the reality of what God is doing in our churches and nations is the spirit of change, evangelism, and conversion that empowers people to recapture the original spirit of Jesus: his love for others, his compassion and commitment. The truth is that anybody or groups can give food and perform other social responsibilities. Social action is not exclusive of Christianity. Satan even try to be generous and supply Jesus’ needs. Vision of “Come and See”sign of a spiritually healthy church looks beyond themselves like a healthy people reproduce themselves by producing congregations. They find joy in birthing new congregations. In the beginning Wesleyan Methodism was a vision of “Come and See” Movement with the DNA of reproduction in house fellowship, class meetings that will reproduce more fellowships.
Vision of “Come and See” sign of a spiritually healthy church is about sharing the Good News, the gift of Jesus Christ to the world. When we remember the light of Jesus Christ which came into the world at Christmas and was revealed to the nations at Epiphany, a sign of spiritually healthy church is to continue in the footsteps of the apostles. The sign of a spiritually healthy church is about the invitation to change, conversion of people who are then empowered and discipled to share the good things that happen to them and turn them into gifts and goods for others. When Philip was invited by Jesus to follow him, ‘he must have felt that this news was much too good to keep for himself, so he shared the gift of Jesus with Nathaniel.’ The sign of a spiritually healthy is church is about people with the gift of Jesus in their lives like Philip before saying to others,’Come and see’ in kind and spirit.
Vision of “Come and See” sign of a spiritually healthy church is shaped by the primal joy of our existence in Jesus Christ and when we let the flow of grace- God’s Redemption At Christ’s Expense comes into us gratefully and move out through us generously. This reminds us about the idea and promise of “prevenient” grace of God – the grace that “precedes” us from the beginning of the world in Jesus Christ. The sign of a spiritually healthy church points to constant proclamation and prayers in the name of Jesus Christ who go before us wherever he invites us to go in the world as our parish hence, we are not alone. Let the church arise and speak out, we are not alone. It is when intentional prayer meetings and dynamic evangelism stops that the church becomes lonely, worldly, unhealthy, and decline just as ‘it is when our blood stops circulating that our bodies get sick; it is when money is hoarded and does not move through the economy that a financial depression sets in; and it is when bodies of water are stagnant that they cannot sustain much life.’ The reflection is that, prayerful evangelism is the vein that circulate the life of Christ that gives health to the church. A church may be rich in money and be unhealthy but a church cannot be be rich in prayerful evangelism and be unhealthy.
We could sense Philip’s spirit of evangelism that empowered and led him to share his good news with Nathaniel who was initially sceptical by saying to Philip, a true friend of Jesus “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” The lesson for us through Philip’s response warns us, we cannot give what we don’t have. Philip’s wise and mature ways of evangelism goes beyond arguing with Nathaniel. Beloved, we cannot argue people into the kingdom of God, nor can we ‘make people into converts through intellectual debate, because that usually evokes resistance or defensiveness.’ Philip’s testimony summons us as true friends, followers and Jesus’ students to speak and be open to learning from Jesus and the Word of God, the Bible, the best way to handle situations with all the Nathaniel that comes our ways. Just as Philip told Nathaniel the very same thing that Jesus said to two disciples of John the Baptist, which was, “Come and See,” we need to humbly invite people to experience Jesus for themselves, loving them as Jesus would do. Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32).
Vision of “Come and See” sign of a spiritually healthy church is about membership and leadership who love, pray, and often thinks of one another (Phil 1:3). “Come and See’ sign of a Spiritually healthy church includes commitment not only God’s will, but God’s way, the acceptance of the Great Commission, to make disciples as the reason for our existence for the extension of God’s kingdom under a climate where everyone/culture is useful in God’s mission and evangelism. Beyond a survival mentality or a service mentality, vision of “Come and See” sign of a spiritually healthy church is Jesus’ focus holding high the holiness standard of God and seeking to live by them not supporting ‘wilful, flagrant, unrepentant sin to continue.’