For those of you who don’t know me well, I sometimes get into a real funk. This weekend has been one of those times. The whole weekend so far has been a strange and somewhat bizarre place in time. The sinfulness of mankind is bearing down on me and is making my chest let out heavy sighs. My eyes have been moist on more than one occasion as I have been simply observing what has been going on around me and what people are saying, whether they are aware of my presence or not.
Finding out about marital indiscretions, reading about yet another separation and pending divorce between two believers, overhearing someone who goes to our church using “Jesus Christ” in a manner that was not worshipful, but instead loud and augmented by “f” this and “sh” that, the list was already full.
But then today, the coup de grâce for feeling like Satan is ahead: speaking to another person, who also attends our church and learning that she and her family have been starting to go to another church (okay), where she feels warm and welcome (okay), yet when I asked “is the Gospel preached there?”, she answered “No.” (Not okay). She continued, “But they sometimes do Bible readings.” (Making me get very guarded.) She then proceeded to tell me that she believes all people are children of God (not okay, all people live in rebellion to God until they are reconciled to God through His Son Jesus Christ), the Bible is God-inspired, but men wrote it (not okay, because while true, what she meant is we can’t trust it), and that there is more than one way to God.
WAAAAAAAAAAAAIT just a minute. More than one way to God? I don’t THINK so. (Definitely not okay.) John 14:6 ring a bell? “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” That one? How about Acts 4:12: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Seems pretty locked down and clear to me!
So what is going on? I have been pondering this all weekend. Our churches do not encourage Bible reading anymore. On Sunday mornings, we hear a cheery “See you next Sunday!”, instead of proactively inviting the congregation by telling them about equipping courses happening right after service. How about on a Community Sunday, when everyone hangs out and eats donuts and sips coffee, individuals approach others and invite them directly and show them how to sign up or where the course is. How about they invite them to their small group?
Ignorance of the Bible is rampant. No one can lead a holy life when they have not been told what that means – and what tells them but the holy and inerrant Word of God itself. It tells them that the Christian life takes discipline, Scripture reading, prayer, meditation, and resisting Satan. It’s what God has called us to do. He says, “Be holy for I am holy.” (Peter 1:16, quoting Leviticus 11:44)
Isaiah writes down God’s words for us:
“This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”
For real, People. Snap out of it. Do you really think that God honors your worship if all you bring him is dried-up old sentiments on a Sunday morning? God demands your all. Not some. Your all. Paul writes in Romans 12:1-2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
When I was driving tonight, I heard a song: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Father, help me forgive them.” I’ll add to that, “Father, let me not become righteous in my own eyes, but let me rather feel righteous anger when the Cross is trampled through the carelessness with which so many walk.” You are holy – and to You alone belongs all honor and glory and praise.