|2011 A.D.: The Church's Very Greatest Present Day Failure?|
|Written by Dan Curry|
|Monday, 31 October 2011|
2011 A.D.: The Churches Greatest Present Day Failure?
The Apostle Paul to the young Christian church leader Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:13 :
"Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching." End Quote NIV
Jesus gave Christians their marching orders. Christians know it as the 'great commission', which was to take the good news of the Gospel and share Jesus teachings to all men in all places. Since new men are born in all places at all times, this commission will never be completed until Jesus returns to reign. From then on, we may have new marching orders. But at the present time, we are to honor God with all of our heart, our mind, our strength and our soul, and to love our neighbor as ourself. And we are to share the news of Jesus's sacrifice for the souls of sinful men, and share His teachings.
An hour or so attending church on Sunday is part of Christianity - we are not to foresake gathering together. But, that is not the great commission. Men and women, young, middle aged, and old, are to hear the Gospel. People everywhere are to hear the Gospel spoken out boldly though in a welcoming manner. They are to know that sinners are welcome to leave their sin and join with Jesus. And it is the Christian church that is to do this....people from the Christian church are fully and absolutely responsible for spreading the Gospel as if it was the Lord Himself who ordered them to do it....because it was!!
So, since most of the more urbanized humans on Earth have anywhere from several hundred to several thousand full length roughly 1 1/2 or 2 hour Hollywood movies embedded in their mind, let's pose this question: How many times have they heard a Gospel read from start to finish? How many times have they gone to the park, someones farm pasture, a rented auditorium, their local Christian school auditorium, etc., and heard a full reading of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John? Or the Book of Acts? Or a letter from the Apostles. Or Genesis?
Every town with a church in it should be able to organize a gospel reading, (many Gospel readings!) maybe with a barbeque, maybe with pauses for the drawing of free prizes for children, or maybe just the reading alone. Not sermons, really, but just the reading of the Gospels and other books from the Bible, but mostly the Gospels. They are the 'Words of Life' for all men. Churches could join together, because if it's just to be the reading of the word, then they won't have to have fights over doctrinal differences. Just start with one solid Bible - NIV, KING JAMES, NEW KING JAMES, etc, etc, etc, and read the Gospels, Letters, Acts, Genesis, etc., from that Bible over a period of days or weeks (not in a church necessarily, but ideally in some more public place that you gain the usage of) until you've read the books you choose.
Then, when you've finished going through one translation, meet together, get some feed back on what went poorly and what went well, and do it again, maybe with another translation, or maybe not. It may be better to switch to one of the other translations, perhaps, to prevent people (to the extent that it is possible) from taking offense to the translation first used. Draw lots for which translation to start with, draw lots for who does the out loud reading and in what order. Take all possible steps to avoid fights and disorder, and just read the Gospel out loud in places that non-believers will feel comfortable coming to. Make it fun for the family, give out toys, serve food, or don't. But read the Gospels out loud to the general public.
If the various church denominations in town don't do this...if they say "Let them come to our church building if they want to hear the Gospels", or "Let them read the Bible if they want to know the Gospels" then you are not taking the Gospels to the ends of the Earth...you are not even willing to take it to your fellow town's people. Are you afraid to be labelled as 'too Christian'? Do you not care? Is it too much work? We know that dying on the cross was a lot of work, and we know that for God the Father to watch what Jesus went through was a lot of work. So if carrying our own crosses is a lot of work, well...all the better! We'll be able to say we did our part willingly and with strength and vigor, right? At least some times!
Jesus held the words He spoke in high regard, saying that they were the very words the Father gave Him to speak. So, if He found the speaking of His words to be worth His suffering, and His torture, and His life, then why doesn't every town have a place to go, at least a few days of the week, to hear the Gospels spoken out loud? Not preaching interpretations of the Gospels...just reading them out loud in an atmosphere of love and community.
Mark takes about 2hrs or 2 hours 20 minutes. Luke is around 3 hrs, it's the longest. The average Hollywood movie, in which our Lord's name is nearly always featured as a curseword it seems, is shorter...but not too much shorter. And some people have absorbed several thousand movies into their mind.
So, read a half gospel one night and a half Gospel on another night (close together if possible) if you need to. But churches - church leaders - shouldn't we read the Gospels? Read them out loud. If the first cycle is a bust...not well attended...then just work at it. Use your inventiveness, your knowledge of the people in your area, inducements, food, fun, family, community. Don't fight with other denominations, work with them where you can. Read the Gospels out loud and you will please the Lord greatly...greatly! (I think.) Just as not everyone was willing to listen to Him, He will know that not everyone will want to listen to you...at first! But the Gospels, spoken aloud, have the power to draw the ones they were meant to draw.
The Lord sends His word out, and it does not come back to Him empty. Churches, you are that vehicle, the one that sends the Word out, in your home town as well as afar. Churches, preach the Gospel because our Lord did. And because He told you to. Preaching it only within the cozy safe walls of your own church just won't cut it as far as putting it into the ears of the ones that don't really know that they need it yet.
Get out into the 'pagan' or 'gentile' strongholds of your town and make your voice heard there. If you're not doing that, then what claim do you have on Christ, who gave you the 'great comission'? Have you noticed that in the Gospels, it is Jesus that took the word from place to place? And He was the Son of God. So, why did He not sit in a nice cozy building somewhere and preach only to those who came to Him?
The Gospel needs to be 'carried to men'. If that's only ten blocks from where your church is, or three blocks, then so be it! Souls are souls, and they don't need to be from the opposite side of the Earth. That Gospel is your cross, in part. So shouldn't we preach it in more publically accessible places within our communities? Toys for the kids, some food to share, but chiefly the Gospel?
A church that will not do this may be falling short. The Gospel is to be shouted from the roof tops! The roof tops on most churches are just too steep to stand on! It is up to church leaders to decide: is this something that the Lord would want our group of believers to do? You can't expect instant success - though it could happen - but what could excite the Lord more than hearing the Gospel spoken not just inside the church building walls, but outside as well?
Nothing to it but to do it! Christians who won't do as their Lord commanded are hypochrites, are they not? Why claim to be a follower of Christ if you will not follow him in full. We have the undeserved privelage and the unearned assignment of sharing that greatest of all teachings: Christ has come, taught, been crucified, and then rose again that men who put their faith in Him might avoid the deserved punishment of their sins, and might be restored to the family of God! All men face death one day. All deaths lead to Heaven of Hell, and there is one, and only one, path that leads to Heaven rather than Hell. That is the path that Jesus Christ gave us, and we Christians cannot hide that lit lamp under a bushel basket. We and only we are trusted to place this remarkable truth on a lampstand that it might shine before men.
Churches, the church building is a bushel basket of sorts. The people inside of that basket already know at least something about Jesus. The people outside of it do not know, or may not know. It is not the church's job to only preach the gospel in the safe, warm, welcoming place that is the Church and the church building. It is also the Church's job to preach the Gospel where Jesus taught it: everywhere! Where the evil dwell, in the marketplace, in the hospital and in the prison. Any Pastor, Priest, or Minister not doing that is on their own path, not the Lords! Any Priest, Pastor, or Minister not making sure that their flock also does not work to publicize Jesus' Gospel is cheating their flock out of the heart and soul of Christianity. Bearing light to a well lit room means little. Bearing light into the darkness means much.
Pastors, are you burying the talents that the Lord has trusted you with?
“It is impossible to enslave, mentally or socially, a bible-reading people. The principles of the bible are the groundwork of human freedom.” Horace Greeley
|Last Updated ( Friday, 22 March 2013 )|
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