If you have a job you are expected to work when you come to work. If you are on a sports team you are expected to show up for practice, and play hard. If you are a parent you are expected to take care of your kids. If you live in a house you are expected to pay your bills. If you are in school you are expected to study. The list could go on and on, but I find it fascinating that church is the only place we seem to not expect anything. Church seems to be a place you can say what you want, do what you want, or simply take up space without doing anything, and nobody will say a word. We have become so afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, that we have forgotten the truth of the gospel. We allow people to slip in and out of our church doors for years without really knowing them, or seeking to know them. God has called us to be engaged, to be active. We excuse the action of not knowing these people because they are not involved, but have we sincerely made a personal effort to encourage them to be involved. We have created in our churches the attitude of hoping people are present, not concerned if they are active. Church is about community and relationships. Sometimes Jesus was probably inconvenienced but because he loved, he made the time.
What is the church today? What is our message? My Evangelism seminary professor always use to say. “the delivery of the message always has to change, but the message always stays the same.” The church is the body of Christ no matter where we are. When someone comes to church we have a responsibility to that individual. If the church is afraid to tell the truth, then who will be willing to proclaim the whole gospel? Have you looked around lately at what the world thinks is acceptable? We as Christians believe we shouldn’t get involved in people’s personal business. Have you read the Bible lately? Jesus called out a woman that had been married five times, he dared those to cast the first stone who had not sinned, he turned over the tables in the Temple, he called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers”. He was definitely in people’s personal space. The difference was he was not like the Pharisees; he did it out of love and out of obedience to his Father. Yet we sit back as Christians and watch millions of unborn babies die, children abused, people having affairs, people living together out of marriage, homosexuality, and we are silent. Going to church every Sunday and sitting in a pew is NOT all that is required of a Christian. The Bible has some really tough verses that we would like to skip over at times.
James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
John 2:3-4 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.
Luke 14:33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
The Great Commission states, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
There are very important words in this verse “teach” and “observe all commandments”. If we truly love God we will not only obey his commandments our self, but will teach others so they can obey as well. How are people to improve if no one holds them accountable? I of all people realize there is a balance between what you want to say sometimes, and what is actually said. However, if there is an injustice and I do nothing, I am just as guilty because I did not speak God’s truth. In Acts we read about Paul boldly proclaiming the word of God, even in chains. He states he wanted to claim it “boldly and fearlessly” Ephesians 6
Don’t misunderstand this devotion. It is not a rant; there has been nothing that has happened to me personally, it is just watching the world around me, and trying to understand why the church is so quite. Why we sit on a pew week after week if we are not willing to change the way we deliver the message of Christ in our own lives. Are we really seeking God, or are we checking the list? Just this past week Chad had to take a child from their parent. Basically she was being used as a bargaining chip in a divorce. Are we to the point that we are sacrificing our own children in games of revenge?
I believe it is time for the church as a whole to start proclaiming the whole gospel, even the hard parts. We have churches that are simply buildings and walls but lack the Holy Spirit. We have closed the door and instead use our own thoughts, beliefs, and agendas. So what do we have to do to have the Holy Spirit dwell among his people? What do we have to do to allow us to boldly proclaim the scripture?
Revelation 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
The process is simple. All we have to do is be willing to open the door. But in opening the door, we give up all of our rights, and agendas. I love the church that is why I am devoting my life to it. I am not downing it because I don’t believe in it. I am saying these things because I love it, and we could do so much better. I am simply disgusted how we as Christians have forgotten the purpose of what the true church should look like. We get so caught up in who we should make happy that God is simply shoved to the side, in the very building that was built just for Him. It doesn’t matter the size, the denomination, the social status, all churches have the same mission. We should proclaim the entire gospel even when it’s not popular. We should be engaged in each other’s lives. We should seek to build relationships in order to mentor. We should ultimately be willing to be in someone’s personal space, not to judge them, but because we want to “love our neighbor as our self.
God has called us to live outside the box. Jesus was definitely a radical in his day. Will we be one in ours?