Everyone has their likes and dislikes. I happen to like good design and a good latte. On the other hand, I don’t like cell phones and bad drivers.
But here is something I really like. In fact, it’s something I love.
Oh, I know that it’s considered quite cool today to knock the church. Some Christians don’t even want to go anymore, deciding instead to go their local espresso joint and talk about all the things that are wrong with the Evangelical Church. They can drink coffee and discuss the latest films, tunes, or the spiritual journey of Bono, Lady Gaga, and Justin Beiber, and drink a little more coffee.
As much as I like the music of all of the above, I would rather go to church, worship God, and hear the Word of God taught, thank you very much, on Sunday.
When Jesus walked this Earth, he only started one organization, and it’s called the church. Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matthew 16:18 nlt).
Some might protest, “But there are hypocrites in the church!” Yes, there are, and there were hypocrites in the first-century church too. They had rivalries, heresies, and some pretty radical immorality. There was even a hypocrite among Jesus’ handpicked disciples (Judas Iscariot), so this is not unique to our time.
Jesus told a parable about tares and wheat that grow side by side (Matthew 13:1-9). A farmer planted his crop of wheat, but his enemy came at night and planted weeds among the wheat. These weeds, or tares (what is known as the “darnel seed”), look exactly like wheat for most of the growing process until the end, when they literally uproot the wheat.
Jesus said this to point out that Satan has his “tares,” or fakes, out there, so just be aware of it. It is not for us to go out and uproot the tares; that is for God to do. We just want to make sure we are the “wheat,” or the genuine article.
I believe there will be three surprises when we get to heaven.
- A lot of the people we thought would be there, won’t be.
- A lot of the people we never thought would be there, will be.
- We will be there!
Now, I am joking, because if you are a believer in Jesus, you can be confident you will be in heaven one day.
But know this: wherever there is the genuine, there will be the counterfeit. Satan would love you to see a few of those counterfeits and say, “That’s it, I’m not going to church anymore. There are just too many hypocrites!” My response is this: “Hey, don’t let that keep you away. There’s always room for one more!”
Listen, all of us have been hypocrites at times. What is the definition of the word “hypocrite,” as used in Scripture? It is an actor, someone who pretends to be something they really are not.
We have all pretended to be more spiritual at times than we really are. I know I have. This is not an excuse for hypocrisy, just an explanation. We all want to pray that God helps us to be the “real thing” as we follow Christ.
It really comes down to this: Jesus was committed to the Church, and we should be too! There is just nothing this world offers that is like the Church. The Church may have many critics, but no rivals!And I’m proud to be a Christian and a member of the body of Christ, the Church.
Out of their long and painful journey has come a really helpful survival guide, so to speak. It’s a book called Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything by Redefining Everything. It’s not just an inspiring story of triumph through trials but a how-to book for accepting God’s plan and recognizing His providence even when it feels like your world is shattered.