But then, praise God, I was reborn.
I loved the atmosphere of church. I loved the people. The adults. The teens. The kids. Their potential for impacting the world was limitless. God had given them something that I longed for and I was proud to join their ranks.
A good rally or campmeeting would revive my soul with an atmosphere of worship and a message straight from the throne of heaven.
Over the years, I heard some pretty amazing sermons. They all had one of two messages.
- Go to work.
God would miraculous poor out his spirit and empower his people. He forgave us of our transgressions and called us to “go unto all the world and preach the gospel.” We would hear, get excited and promise to do something for the Lord.
Afterward when we realized that He called us to the Samaritans and the sinners our enthusiasm waned. We don’t mind helping saints, but we can’t associate with “those half-breeds” or those “uncircumcised gentiles”.
We don’t mind singing in church, teaching a Sunday school class or preaching a sermon to good people. But we turn our nose up to the prostitute that is looking for a love that only our Savior can give. What about the addict that’s a slave to their addiction? Or the homeless man lost in a bottle?
Who are we to choose who hears the gospel?
At one of the churches mentioned above, I caught a child breaking the rules, when I confronted them I was shocked at their answer.
“I’m a preacher’s kid. I can do whatever I want.”
Most church goers have a similar mentality. “My grandfather started our church.” “My mom is the song leader.” My grandmother was a great prayer warrior.”
But can we really do whatever we want? At the end of this life and we will stand before God, alone. Our grandparents will not stand with us. Our parents, our children, our spouse, the preacher? None of them will answer for us. We will be judged by our own obedience to God.
What will he say when our excuses are null and void?
I recently had a vision from God. I was standing alone, in front of God’s throne waiting for him to say “well done.”
Instead an awkward silence fell and conviction gripped my soul.
Then God asked, “Why didn’t you do what I told you to do?”
I replied, “Someone told me that I couldn’t.”
Silence reigned and God opened my eyes.
I had no excuse. God is the ultimate authority in my life and when he says “Go unto all the world and preach the gospel.” He means it.
At the end of this life, I will have no excuse.
All through history, when someone stood for God and began calling in sinners, the church didn’t like it. Why? Because they didn’t want their holy ranks polluted? Because seeing someone work for God convicted their own lack of obedience? Or because it made them look bad in comparison?
Opposition will come. Satan will remind us of all the souls we failed to harvest. Some good-intended person will point out our mistakes. Church leaders may believe the great commission is only for them. But when we stand before God, these excuses aren’t going to fly. God has called us and there is a dying world out there waiting for someone to bring them Jesus.
So we have two choices.
- Recline on a pew while the harvest rots off the vine. Or,
- Save those that we can.
We need church. We need the forgiveness in the blood of Jesus. We need an atmosphere of worship where we can bask in God’s presence and be filled with His power. But then, we need to take that power into the rotting fields and save those souls that would be saved. We need to give them Jesus.