By Pastor Scott Osenbaugh,
The Healing Place (Nashville Assembly of God)
Recently someone was lamenting the rise of Islam around the world and especially here on the home front.
The question was then about where was the Church, and why wasn’t the Body of Christ making a louder voice against such things as Sharia law and the terrorism that seems to accompany the spread of Islamic doctrine and practice.
It brought to mind something I read while in Bible college many, many years ago, in a class on ministry to youth. Douglas Hyde authored Dedication and Leadership, where he chronicles his previous association with the Communist Party of Great Britain as party secretary.
Hyde, now a Christian, noted the success of communism was owed to the whole-hearted dedication of the party members. He opined that the communists ask big things from their people, and their people respond with big results, whereas the Church, trying not to offend anyone, asks only for little things and gets only little results.
Whether the rise of Islam or the continuance of communism, or any blatantly anti-Christian ideology, the dynamic is the same: a silent Church stops nothing. When the Bolshevist revolution overthrew the czarist government in Russia, the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church were meeting in St. Petersburg, arguing over the proper length of candles for the altar, instead of making a courageous stand against the party of Lenin.
The Church is not called to perfect potlucks and programs. It is not called to hymn sings, special solo numbers, or craft fairs. Its mission has nothing to do with pageantry, pomp or posturing. In some places, those who identify with Christianity are quicker to chain themselves to trees to save them from loggers than they are to share the truth about Jesus Christ with those who are on their way to hell.
Jesus taught some things that, quite frankly, are tough things to hear, especially in this age of consumeristic over-indulgence. He talked about the true measure of a disciple being one who gives up all to follow Him; many are those in pews each week who give more energy to ensuring their own personal comfort than ever sharing the Gospel.
One statistic I read a couple of years ago said that 95% of those who call themselves Christians will never one time lead any one to Christ.
That means that only 5% of Christians are actually being obedient to the Lord, whose last command to the Church was to go out and make disciples.
In John 14:15, Jesus said the measure of whether one loves Him is doing what He commands. So…if He commanded us to share His Word with others, to seek to make disciples, and we aren’t obeying Him in that, how can we say we love Him?
Islam now and communism then enjoyed their successes because their adherents were willing to go big for the sake of their causes.
The Church is rapidly becoming irrelevant in the minds of many in this nation because what’s big — sharing the Gospel — winds up pushed aside in favor of what’s little — and sadly, comfortable.
Jesus said for us to pick up our crosses and follow Him.
What’s comfortable about a cross?
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