Sermon delivered by David Hughes, pastor of First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., on October 11 2009.
Amos 3:3, 2 John 4-6
For a book that is no exercise manual, the Bible talks a lot about walking! The scriptures encourage us to walk in all God’s ways and hold fast to him (Deuteronomy 11:22). The Psalmist praises those who do not walk in the counsel of the wicked (1:1) but rather walk in the light of God’s presence (89:15). The prophet Micah says that true believers will walk humbly with their God (6:8).
We know that Enoch didn’t die but walked with God right up into heaven, and we know that Jesus, the Son of God, walked on water. Speaking of Jesus, he claimed to be the Light of the world, and said that those who followed him would never walk in darkness.
These last few weeks, we’ve been doing some walking of our own. Just Walk Across the Room hasn’t just been the tag line of a campaign, but a powerful metaphor that pushes us to move outside of our circles of comfort in order to reach others for Christ. Today, as we close out this evangelism campaign and celebrate communion, it seems like the perfect time to remember that as Christians in community, we are to walk across the room - together.
Interestingly, you don’t find that many references in scripture to walking together. Amos 3:3 is a well-known exception. Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? I have heard people use this verse to justify division in the body of Christ over doctrinal disagreements. But I don’t think that’s what Amos has in mind. I take his question to mean that people don’t naturally drift into walking together. Instead, they must intentionally decide that walking together is far better than walking apart, and agree that they will do what is necessary to make it happen.
In the New Testament, we find no explicit command for Christians to walk together. We do read, however, in the book of Acts that the early Christians were one in mind and heart. Consequently, there was no one among them that had any physical need, and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (2:47).
That sounds suspiciously like a community of people that were committed to walk together in the Spirit of God, come hell or high water. As a result, they changed the world.
The author of 2 John is expressing a similar sentiment when he advises Christians under his charge to walk in truth, walk in obedience to the Lord’s commands, and walk in love. Unless I’m mistaken, we cannot walk in obedience to the Lord’s commands, and we cannot walk in love without walking together.
Today, as we celebrate communion, we remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross that makes it possible for us to walk with faith, hope, and love in this life and the next. But that’s not all. We celebrate our community that has formed through the presence of the Risen Christ.
The early Christians did not turn this world upside because they were a loose-knit band of overachievers. No, it was the presence of Christ that turned them into bold and powerful witnesses. And it is that same presence that molded them and molds us into the church.
Today, we celebrate that we are more than just a group of individuals with shared goals. We are the church of Jesus Christ. And when we are together, we are at our best!
That means where evangelism is concerned, there is no substitute for a unified community of believers walking together in the light of God’s presence. No one of us has all the gifts molded to do what evangelism requires. But if we just walk across the room together, there is no limit to what God can accomplish through us.
Remember, we don’t win people to Christ. The Spirit of Christ does that. And the Spirit of Christ is never more evident, never more powerful than when the people of God walk together one in mind and heart.
So, what do you say we just walk across the room—together!