Thursday, March 5, 2015
The Intoxicated Church
The Word says, "Now large crowds were traveling with Him, and He turned to them and said..." (Luke 14:25) What is amazing is that so many came to listen. What is even more amazing is that they stayed after He spoke. Today we must tickle ears and push a watered-down version of the gospel to appeal to the crowds. Today we preach, but we do so gingerly, leaving out what might be deemed offensive and hard to hear. Today we measure our words making sure they have been sanitized to reflect the consensus determined standards of the culture. We do it because we want them to come and to stay.
Jesus did not care about the crowds. We do. He did not count heads and find Himself disappointed that the next gathering was smaller in number. This is not to say He did not care about the hurts and needs of the many who followed Him. After all, when the 5000 turned into the hungry ones, He fed them and saved the leftovers. No, He really did care for each one. He loved every single person, but He was not seduced by the whole of them. Not like us. Not like now.
Ours is an ecclesiastical world where bigger is always better and whatever price must be paid for bigger is not too high a price to pay. Surely, it is better to get folks inside the building and in the pews instead of not having the opportunity for them to hear the gospel. The painful truth is that getting them there is so intoxicating that what is gospel truth is often watered-down, or some of it left out lest we be left with a few instead of a room full. On the way to the cross Jesus preached, "...none of you can become my disciples if you do not give up all your possessions." (Luke 14:33) Today's church proclaims a weaker version.