What can the church say to a world ruined by sin? There is only one answer to this question.
Peter did not tell the beggar at the gate to beg some more, for that would have benefitted him for a only short time. Neither did he tell him to ignore his situation and be content with his plight, for that would have filled him with crushing despair. Peter told him something that he wasn’t expecting: “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”
There are two great parts to Peter’s statement: one involved a correction. This beggar was expecting something to fix his temporal needs. But Peter spoke in such a way as to redirect him. When he said, “Silver and gold have I none,” he was making it clear that such things were not the most important things. His correction of the beggar was quickly followed by his counsel to the beggar, for Peter went on to say, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”
That was a Christ-centered word. It was a converting, transforming, and delivering message, and it was spoken with authority and accompanied with power. At once the lame man stood up and walked.
So back to my question, what can the church say to a world ruined by sin? We can tell a sin-ruined people of a Christ who is mighty to save. Preachers can tinker with the problems of society—politics, pastimes, pleasures, and philosophies—but to what avail? What would the church accomplish? Nothing!
We need to speak in the name of Christ and proclaim the great news that Jesus Christ alone can save from sin. Let us give ourselves to that work.