Evangelism Not Marketing

Sermon notes from November 2002 – Luke 8:26-39    The Gerasene Demoniac

Did the people in today’S Gospel lesson fear demons, or did they actually fear power which they could not control?

Membership in the Body of Christ should be the principle source of one’s own identity.

We assemble here both as and to be with brothers and sisters in Christ, to learn from Christ what it means to treat others as brothers and sisters rather than as distant strangers, to practice the teachings of Jesus to love one another. Unfortunately, our thinking is sometimes so shaped by the consumer culture all around us that sometimes we come here and continue to see ourselves merely as consumers to see if there is anything we want, anything we can take away for ourselves. When we do that we forget that Christ called us here to be his disciples, to be brothers and sisters in Christ, to live in love with one another. We need to let our minds receive the grace of the Gospel, and let down our defensive posturing to set aside the question “What am I going to get out of this?” Here is a place where we can practice true love and look around and see those who like ourselves love Christ, who want to serve God, and we can look and see how can we help others attain the same goal that we have – to reach the Kingdom of God?

We come to church to learn the Christ taught discipline of loving one another. Our Society shapes our thinking so that usually we are focusing on getting something for ourselves. But here in the Church we can set aside personal profit as a motive for everything we do, and we actually can be freed from our selfish limitations and aspire to God, eternity and the true love which Christ offers us.

The Church really is not engaged in marketing. The Church exists for evangelism and for the salvation of the world. In today’s Gospel lesson, did Jesus do market research and see what the demon possessed man thought was his greatest desire? Did Jesus poll the local population and determine what the local reaction would be to his performing an exorcism? Did Jesus test the waters and see how healing someone would effect his popularity in the polls?

Marketers people might conclude from today’s Gospel, that Jesus’ ministry was neither wanted nor needed. The miracle which Jesus did today neither increased his popularity nor did it win him any converts from the masses.

The kingdom of God is not based upon popularity, on the polls, nor even on the declared wants and needs of the local population.

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