Thursday, March 14, 2013

What Am I Doing?

I listened to a sermon a few weeks ago in which my pastor talked about our church's food ministry, specifically, what it means to be a part of it, and it occurred to me that although my particular church is relatively small, its endeavors to feed the hungry are mighty. From providing help to the congregation and local townspeople each week to a group of young adults who take food to the Santa Ana homeless every Saturday night, Grace Harbor Church of Tustin, CA ( ) doesn't just talk the talk, it walks the walk.  However, as I examined my own shortcomings, I realized that while it's appropriate to consider the collective church's ways, especially when looking to get involved, the more pressing issue is not - what is the church doing to help others in need, but what are YOU doing and what am I doing?  After all, what is the church if not a body of people (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) made up of flawed and imperfect individuals just like you and me? Or, better stated by John MacArthur in Ashamed of the Gospel: "The church is not the brick and mortar assembly in which the assembly meets; it is God's people in whom He dwells," but never forget that those dwelling places are also the home of our own inner sinful man. And yet remembering this, we're still content to point fingers from the comfort of our living rooms and sneer at all the hypocrisy in the church, but until we're willing to get out there in the middle of it and be the change we wish to see in the church, our mouths speak wiser words when they say nothing at all (Job 13:5).  Instead of asking what the church is doing, ask yourself - What am I doing?

 I'm weary from listening to all the criticism of God's church and His people.  The common excuse for avoiding the church, and one I also used to use, is "well, I don't like all the hypocrisy," but what people fail to realize is that they would fit right in with the best of hypocrites because according to Isaiah 9:17, we are "all wicked hypocrites (NLT)."  As MacArthur states, "The objection (to going) itself is hypocritical.  Of course there are hypocrites in the church...the church is not perfect and never has been," and if you read the fifth chapter in the book of Acts you'll see that satan has been infiltrating God's church since way back then. It's no secret and it certainly isn't breaking news.  Hypocrisy is something God warns us about through His Word so that we can know how to get in and fight it, and as MacArthur states "God could have given us a soft-focus picture of the early church with all the imperfections hidden.  But Scripture never leaves the truth out - even when it is painful and ugly (p. 64).  The question is - what are you doing with that truth of hypocrisy?  What am I doing?

I remember a time in my own life when I turned my nose up at the idea of going to church, not only because I frowned upon organized religion, but also because of the rampant in-house hypocrisy, so I know a little something about being the captious finger pointer along the sidelines.  Yet, looking back, I know I would have been right at home in any worship center because the church is full of fellow sinners who fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23) on a daily basis.  Jesus said in Mark 2:17 - "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." God isn't looking for perfect people, but those who know they can never measure up and still muster the courage to show up.  I'm no less imperfect today just because I go to church and I can still be a self-righteous, prideful, hypocritical sinner, but the difference between now and my yesterdays is that I show up.  I don't just spout faultfinding accusations about the hypocrisy in the church from the outside; I try, and, admittedly not always successfully, to honor what the Lord commands in Hebrews 10:25 when He says "And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do," because as we know from Matthew 18:20, God says "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." So what are you doing with that truth? What am I doing?
God doesn't flippantly suggest that we attend church, but He insists on it.  Knowing this, do you really think your reasons for not going are better than His reasons for commanding that you do go, hypocrisy and all?  If you answer yes, then your problems far exceed Sunday church attendance and you might want to learn what the Bible says about pride! And yes, I know there are people all over the world who actually don't have the ability to attend a church anywhere, but if you're one of those people, then take comfort in Matthew 18:20 (See below) as you find even just one more person with whom to worship God - because there He'll be and He will honor your efforts.  Get off the sidelines and get into the church.  See what's really going on instead of just reacting to everything you hear.  Don't just talk about how it needs to change, and in fact, speak nothing of it until you're out there making that change yourself.  Until you're in the church, you really have no idea what's going on, so quit being a spectator and become a participator.  Put your hotdog down and get on the church field.  You might just find that those hypocrites you speak of are people just like you and me, but even more than that you might find yourself abundantly blessed on a level you can't even imagine.  So, the next time your tongue is tempted to taste the fruit of judgment and condemnation over God's church and His people, ask yourself - What am I doing?

YouTube video credits:

Image is of Grace Harbor Church in Tustin, CA


1 Corinthians 12:12-27
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Job 13:5
If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom!

Isaiah 9:17 
That is why the Lord has no joy in the young men and no mercy on even the widows and orphans. For they are all hypocrites, speaking wickedness with lies. But even then the LORD's anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike.  

Romans 3:23
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Mark 2:17 
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Hebrews 10:25
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Matthew 18:20
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them 


1 comment:

  1. Heather, you are so gifted in presenting the Truth. Makes us take a look at the reflection of our souls.
    Not what others can do, but what can I do.
    Thank you for inspiring us. You speak the Truth from love and it is felt!xxooD