Who wants to go to church with a bunch of holy fakers? Everyone knows what they are doing, then they show up on Sunday morning like they are all saints.
Well, yes, I have to admit we do, fortunately, have hypocrites in my church. We also adulterers, homosexuals, drinkers, smokers, fornicators, liars, cheaters, drug dealers and a whole long list of other sins. In fact, the group that I meet with looks an awful lot like the church at Corinth that Paul writes about in 1 Cor 6:9-11.
Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
The beautiful part of that picture is the cleansed part. We used to be all of those vile things. We used to be people who “Christians” would turn their noses up at. But praise be to God that, while the holy fakers turned away, Jesus received us with open arms. Today we have the privilege to stand before God washed and holy. It is not because of anything that we have done- really! If I or any single member of my church stood on their own merits, we’d all be miserably lost.
The only reason that my son went to lunch yesterday with a man who used to run drugs from Arizona to Ohio, is because that man was washed by the blood of Jesus. The only way that a former drug addict is teaching children’s bible classes is because she was given new life in Jesus. The only reason that a prideful, lust-filled man can now proclaim the gospel of Jesus to our flock is because he was sanctified. The only way that a rebellious fornicator can now lead children’s groups, teach women, and raise a heritage for God is because Jesus told me He believed in me when no body else did.
To my Christian friends reading this today, this is one of the most important reasons for taking off your masks. You can check out last weeks, post on Taking off Your Mask if you want read more. If we keep it real we can’t be accused of faking it. We can’t be a stumbling block to non-believers if we point out our weaknesses and sins first.
In fact, Paul used his sin as credibility for the very work he was doing in the Kingdom.
This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 1 Tim.1:15-16
Friends, the first step in “being the church” is giving full credit to the savior of the church (Eph. 5:23). Remember that without Him you would be nothing. Remember the same message that was given to the church at Corinth, “You who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.”
Tomorrow I’ll be writing about how each member of Christ’s church can use their gifts to His glory. Til then…