Friday, May 18, 2007

The Local Bar or The Local Church?

The Local Bar or the Local Church?

In which place do people feel more welcomed?
In which place do people think they are less likely to be judged?
In which place are they more likely to find a listening ear?
In which place can they really be themselves?
In which place will they be able to find hope?
In which place will they find more hypocrites?
In which place will they find their needs met?

Just recently we went through a study on the second birth. Regeneration. We were reminded of the words of Jesus, "You MUST be born again." I think this is the difference in the local bar and the local church. The local bar says you can remain in your sins, we'll love you anyways. The local church says, we'll love you by showing you that Christ can lift you out of your sins.

This is such a fine line. We must be accepting of sinners (we are still sinners) and yet we must push away from the sin. How can we foster an environment at our place of worship among our churches that welcomes the sinner, that doesn't judge them, but offers them real hope? How can we create a place where they will find a listening ear and have their needs met? How can we build a place were they can see real people changed by their relationship with Christ?

Our message should say, "Come as you are." But our lives should say "Don't stay in your sins." The heart that has been regenerated has a love for the things of God. This heart begins loving what God loves and hating what He hates. Sometimes I wonder how many "unregenerate" hearts sit in pews week after week.

If all we ever do is allow people to come and feel comfortable wallowing in their sins, then we are no better than the local bar. But if all we ever do is judge and condemn people so they never make it into our lives then we will fail in our mission. Pray that we can find the balance and walk even as our Lord did.

A friend of sinners.

A lover of God.

No comments: