Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Comfortable Church

The time has passed when the western church can simply be comfortable in the world. And perhaps this was never totally a good thing. It is easy for the Christian church to become slowly conformed to the culture it has become comfortable in (1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4; Romans 12:1,2). And the Christian message, when clear, can produce the exact opposite reaction (John 15:18-21; 16:1-4; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25). But sometimes in spite of this, we can raise comfortableness almost to a principle to be defended. And we can make it our our chief selling point.

Now do not get me wrong; I love good Christian fellowship. Singing, worship choruses around a campfire. Meeting together as friends to fellowship and study the Bible. But when we make this our main goal, we miss something. This world is a battlefield (Ephesians 6:10-20; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1 Peter 5:8,9). It requires us to be constantly vigilant and on our guard to live for God (1 Peter 1:13-16; Matthew 16:24-26; Romans 6:12-14). This does not mean that we do not need one another. Quite the contrary, we need  other believers to build us up, to fight the battle together with us (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 4:11-16). We need people who have our backs. And we each individually need to do our part in the battle.

But we are still sinners (Philippians 3:12-16; Romans 7:14; 1 John 8-10). We will disappoint one another and fail one another. Therefore we must be willing to bear with one another and forgive one another (1 Peter 4:8; Colossians 3:12-14; Ephesians 4:31,32). And when we correct people, and correct them we must, we should do it with gentleness and firmness (Galatians 6:1; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; 1 Thessalonians 3:14,15). We also are required to reach out to those who need a Savior but may not live up to our idea of respectable people (Matthew 9:9-13; Luke 7:36-50; 19:1-10). This will not always be comfortable or always be safe. It is so much easier to try to build a comfortable church around like-minded people and to try to keep everyone else at arm's length. But this is not the biblical pattern. And I question if our culture will let us get away much longer with doing that. Perhaps this is God's wakeup call to get us to take His purposes seriously. There is part of me that feels uncomfortable writing this post. It desires a nice comfortable church with comfortable people, that presents no real challenges, But I am convinced this is an illusion.

No comments:

Post a Comment