For the record, there’s a hillside across the street from my house. No homes. But that thought popped into my head this morning when I began to think of the excuses I hear for why friends and family do not go to church. The one that grinds on my nerves the quickest is when names come into the equation.
“Well you know so and so who’s in church every Sunday, following a night at the bar on Saturday; I live better than they do.”
“Church sure does what’s his name a lot of good, have you heard his mouth on the job?”
Perhaps you could insert your own here, with or without a name attached, it doesn’t matter. It’s an excuse and it has absolutely nothing to do with why you’re not in church. I know… because 20 years ago, I was you. Measuring my life up to the so and so’s. And I could almost always find someone living worse. It wasn’t until February of 1996 that I had a huge revelation!
They and I were tools of Satan. If Satan could get my mind on them, and off of God, I could live without guilt when not attending church; even though I was brought up in church. And in so doing Satan had me right where he wanted me, living defeated, knowing that there was more to life than I was experiencing but never quite finding it. Church for me was a theatre of mistakes. In a small community I knew everyone, and much of what everyone did… and I’m pretty sure that God didn’t approve. So on the occasions I attended church I had a running tally in my head, line upon line, precept upon precept, pew upon pew… I knew their sins. Case in point, they likely knew mine! And Satan laughed all around the church house as he planted those thoughts and the seeds took root and the message of God was overshadowed by hypocritical lives.
And then it happened.
February 18th, 1996, the gospel pierced my heart and all of a sudden there was only one hypocrite in the church. Me! Because I knew that I had been playing church all along and that I never truly knew Christ as Lord, I only knew Him as Christ in the picture on the wall and the name in the Bible that I seldom read. He had never made me cry…until that day. And it wasn’t that He hurt me, it was that I realized I had hurt Him… He Who had done nothing but create and love me, and stood at the door waiting for me to let Him in.
And so I did! Glory Hallelujah!!!!
And from that day forward, I was no longer a hypocrite, or looking at hypocrites. Do I still sin? Yes, and likely will until Jesus returns, it’s our nature. Do I want to sin? No. And that is God’s nature living within me. That’s the difference between a Christian and hypocrite: Both are sinners, but the hypocrite, doesn’t care. The Christian is convicted by the sin and desires to right that relationship with God. God then forgives and child of God’s slate is wiped clean. The hypocrite, who may or may not know God, continues to stack sin upon sin, until the weight is more than they can bear until they get right with God; or they continue on in the world and ignore God until He no longer knocks upon their door.
That’s the scary part… when God stop’s knocking.
If you’re still making excuses, stop. God created, He loves you and He wants you in church so that He can speak to your soul and encourage you! Don’t miss that message. Services start at 10 and 11.
Apostle Paul put it like this in Romans 7:15
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
That is a sinner saved by Grace!