Sunday, October 6, 2013

What's wrong with the church? Me!

The problem is not evil people acting like evil people; the problem is righteous people not acting like righteous people. - Tony Evans, Pastor, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Dallas, TX

Our pastor, J.P. Jones, quoted Tony Evans this morning as he was sharing in his series on how to work out what God has worked in (Phil 2:13). J.P. is leading us in a study of how to live out our faith in a real, authentic way as disciples of Christ, so that we might glorify God. And this quote, along with the worship song that lead into the service, “Jesus, Friend of Sinners,” really struck me in view of what I’ve been struggling with the past few days.

A few days ago I learned that a Christian sister had spread some “news” about another Christian friend that was devastating. It was the truth - but not the truth told in love. It wasn’t even disguised as a prayer request, but as “righteous” outrage. I was so upset that I could not sleep that night, because I was so busy judging the one who judged the other!! Do you see a problem here? Ye gads! The Church is just a place filled with sinners saved by grace, and made righteous by Christ. Yet, we are so busy judging everyone else, that we cannot be a light to the rest of the world!

So, when we sang the song by Casting Crowns, “Jesus, Friend of Sinners,” at the opening of the service, the LORD perfectly prepared my heart to hear the message and repent. Here are the lyrics: 

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away 
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing 
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see 
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me
 Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded 
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided 

 Oh Jesus, friend of sinners 
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers 
Let our hearts be led by mercy 
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors 
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours 

 Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who's writing in the sand 
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands 
Help us to remember we are all the least of these 
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees 
Nobody knows what we're for, only what we're against when we judge the wounded 
What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines and loved like You did 

 You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast 
For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came 
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast 
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet 

 'Cause You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever... 

That song just broke my heart over my own sin. But along with Tony Evans’ quote, it speaks of the biggest problem in the church. People are dying to get to the Savior, but they are tripping over us! May we see with the eyes of Jesus when we find a brother or sister caught in sin, because we are all plank-eyed sinners! I was the lost cause He died for. So how can I not be broken-hearted when I see another “lost cause.” Shouldn’t our response be love - and truth spoken in love? If we know we need to correct another, let’s do it directly and prayerfully, with restoration, not destruction, in mind. 

Paul said it well: 

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.  Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2 ESV) 

I needed to hear this message today, so I’m passing it on to you, in case you also needed to hear it. If you want to repent in tears, click here to hear the YouTube version of Casting Crowns singing this amazing song!