This Sunday, I got to preach on freedom. Freedom is the Student Ministry theme for this school year. I guess God wanted to give me a chance to speak on something that has bothered me for quite some time now. The final point of my sermon was based on the state of the church in America. The point I was making was simply this: Freedom in Christ does not give us the right to do as we please, but the liberty to do as we ought. So, I decided that this Mindful Minute was going to be devoted to the topic of the American Church. These are my observations and my observations alone. I am not singling out any church or any denomination- we are in this together. So here are my thoughts on where I see our churches heading and where we may be making mistakes.
The thing I want to focus on tonight is the fact that the American church has seemingly taken for granted the freedom we have to worship & do His work. We have the greatest opportunity to do the most good for the Kingdom of God right here in the United States, yet countries where it is illegal to preach the gospel are making more strides to reach the lost than we do here at home. This blows my mind. I don’t say that with a light heart and I don’t have numbers to back it up, in fact the numbers may not back up the statement, but numbers are not the reason I make that claim. I’m talking about seeking, fulfilling our God given mission to reach the lost. Yes, I realize that the people saving the lost in these countries are missionaries. Yes, I realize that it is their job to do so, but is it not ours as well? If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times, you are either a missionary or a mission field. There is no in between. We take for granted the freedom that we have to speak the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people. We take for granted the freedom that we have to worship openly the name of Jesus. We have millions and millions of lost people in our country. We have an estimated 3.6 million lost people in the sate of Tennessee. That is HALF THE STATE!!!! What I see, is a lot of work to do.
So, what happened? Why have we become so complacent? When I was thinking through my sermon, a few things came to mind. The first mistake that we make is we assume. We assume that since Christianity is the biggest religion in America that everyone is saved. We make ourselves believe that since our neighbors look like us, that they are saved. Think about this- How many people live around you that you have simply assumed were saved? What about their eternities? Remember the estimated stat for Tennessee? That means that every other person in the state is LOST! This is dangerous thinking. It is this type of thinking that gives the church today a bad name. Secondly, we procrastinate. This is also a dangerous path of thinking. We put it off and put it off until it is eventually too late. No one is guaranteed another second. How many people have suddenly died and we were shocked to hear of their passing? What if God had placed it on our hearts to share the gospel and we had put it off? Thirdly, we simply take for granted that we will always have the freedom to do this. Let this serve as a wake up call to all Christians reading this- there is more opposition to Christians openly proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ than there has been in the history of this country.
Simply put, it is time for the church to reclaim our first love. Much like the church at Ephesus, Christ had this against them in Revelation 2:4.
“But I have this against you: You have abandoned your first love.”
This is the love for Jesus Christ. Now before you send me hate mail telling me how much you love Jesus, that is not what I am getting at. What I am getting at is that we have lost the passion and the desire to share Christ with others. We have lost the urgency to share the gospel with the lost of our community, our town, our state, and our country. We must end the complacency that has a strangle hold on our outreach. If sharing the gospel is no longer an urgent matter to us, then Hell has ceased to be real to us. We can not allow this feeling to take place. We were given freedom not to do as we please for our own pleasure and desires, we were given the liberty to do as we ought to do- to do what Christ has commissioned us to do. Church- let’s take back our country and seek the lost for Christ, our first love.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach