“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:21 (NIV)
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” Titus 3:4-6 (NIV)
“Truth spoken without love is condemnation; love spoken without truth is compromise; but truth spoken in love is accountability.” Lloyd Ziegler
Post-Easter, many people are on their spiritual high. They’ve been to church, they’ve mixed their “Christ-cocktail” with worship, fellowship, and a sermon, filled it to the brim and now they can sip on it until it’s empty right around Christmas. It may empty before Christmas and they may or may not choose to come back and refill before then. Either way, you can pretty much count on them coming back around Christmas, other than that, don’t have high expectations.
As someone who works in ministry, this pisses me off. Not at the person. At the church. Why? Because we allow it to happen all too often. We allow people to think a lukewarm relationship with Christ is acceptable. We are scared to offend, to scare away people and their money. We are afraid that using a harsh tone might be misconstrued as “not being Christ-like”. Christ called us to love. He called us to be merciful and full of grace. He called us to be righteous through His redeeming blood. He called us to share all of these things with others too. But He also called us out to preach the gospel, His gospel, His truth. And it’s important that we remember that there is a difference between being a lover and being an enabler.
It’s should not be the church’s (we are the church) priority to focus on money, numbers, appearances, and enabling for the sake of these things. Yes, we need money, numbers, and appearance to operate as a business, but it should never be the focus. The church’s priority should be people and spreading the message of Christ.
People need Christ. Plain and simple. We all need Him. It’s literally the basis of our entire belief system, or it’s supposed to be at least. Without Him, we perish; with Him, we attain mercy, grace, and righteousness. And it’s the church’s job to see that connection made. We aren’t doing our job by bending over backwards to offer contentment and complacency with a water-downed gospel. Our message needs to be engaging and attractive but it must not become these things at the price of truth.
My challenge for you and myself is a renewed focus on spreading the message of Christ. We need to share it with those who don’t accept it and we need to encourage those who do accept it to keep their “Christ-cocktail” not just full but overflowing. Isn’t that our real job anyway?