Hey, Calvary Fremont –
Though chemotherapy is very relevant for cancer patients, some cancer patients would rather just go ahead and die than do another round of chemo because the side effects are so unpleasant and unattractive. There are millions who desperately need the message of salvation in Jesus but are put off by how unattractive the Church is – like chemo, they want no part of it. The other day I gave my reasons for why I think the Church still has relevance for today’s culture. I don’t think the Church is irrelevant, but the Church is unattractive. I’ll highlight just two areas where the Church is unattractive. What follows doesn’t apply to the Church in total. Though I paint with a broad brush, I’m not painting with a roller.
The Church is Unholy…
Every week there is a fresh exposé of some pastor, evangelist, missionary, church school worker, or even whole denominations acting badly. From nationally known names to virtual unknowns to international ministries – sex, money, and power have corrupted so many men and women in ministry. The book of Proverbs has Solomon warning his sons against the corrupting influence of sex, money, and power. Soap operas are all about sex, money, and power. For some, ministry has turned into a soap opera. The world looks at the corrupted Church and says, “No thank you.” There’s no difference between the Church and the World except the message we preach. And because of the life we live, the message we preach falls on deaf ears.
Many are attempting to cover up the sins of the Church, but God is pulling the covers off. I believe that God warns a person privately time after time, but if that individual doesn’t repent, God will expose them publicly. Jesus said that if you fall on the Rock, you’ll be shattered. But if the Rock falls on you, you’ll be crushed. Better a shattering than a crushing. We are in a season where God is cleaning house. We are in a time of crushing.
The Church is Loveless…
My greatest disappointment through the COVID season is seeing the division of the Church along ideological lines. Whether politics, philosophy, health protocols, or social causes and issues – a fissure in the Church has opened wide bringing rancor and division. And it’s not just disagreement over these things – we all have brains and we all think and are entitled to the positions we take. It’s not the disagreement, but the hostility and enmity between brothers and sisters in Christ that has truly grieved me. Vilification has led to alienation which has fostered division. Christ is no longer the Rock on which we stand; Christ is no longer the Name that binds us together. Common ground has shifted to the cultural causes we champion and the political positions we have taken. Ideology has crowded Christ out of His Church. Who we voted for in the last election is more important that being elect in Christ.
The Church’s Hypocrisy…
An Unholy Church and a Loveless Church only serves to highlight the hypocrisy of the Church. A hypocrite isn’t someone who acts out of sync with their feelings, but out of sync with their values. The world sees a Church that doesn’t believe what She preaches. This is like Governor Newsom mandating mask wearing even in private gatherings and then being photographed not wearing a mask in a private gathering. The Church has been caught Unmasked.
If you met a 300 pound man singing the praises of a diet plan that he is on and then learned that he has lost only ten pounds in ten years, you would be underwhelmed, to say the least. The message he is preaching has been rendered pointless by the miniscule impact it has had on his life. The Church is called to walk in holiness and to walk in love. The truth is an unattractive thing in the mouth of an Unholy and Loveless Church. It’s not that people don’t believe the gospel, it’s that they don’t believe the Church.
The apostle John cried out, “Little children, love one another.” That voice rings out today. Regardless of what political party you belong to, who you voted for, whether you champion masks or despise them, whether you promote vaccinations or think them deplorable – I love you. I will not allow the choices you’ve made cripple my love for you. I will not allow the choices you’ve made make me turn away from you. I will not allow the choices you’ve made to overshadow the knowledge that Christ died for you and delights in you. I am to delight in who and what Christ delights in – and He delights in you!
The author of Hebrews exhorts us to follow after holiness without which no one will see the Lord. There’s only one thing stronger than the power of sex – and that’s the power of the Holy Spirit. May you be filled with the Holy Spirit and stand against the corrupting spirit of the age. I’ll often ask my pastor friends, “Are you touching any woman not your wife? Are you touching the money? Are you striving after power?” If we’re going to be Christians, let’s do it right! I don’t want to be a half-way Christian – I want to be full-bore. It’s so much harder following Jesus half-way than it is to follow Him fully – no holds barred. I’ve been asked a few times in my life, “Are you a Jesus freak?” My answer, “Absolutely.” I have decided to follow Jesus – no turning back. Let’s follow Jesus together in holiness and love. That’s when the Church is attractive.
Be blessed and stay healthy and follow Jesus – Pastor Tim