Two items were sent to me last week pertaining to the church. One is a dead-serious observation about preaching, while the other is a quit-witted antidote about a dead church. Both have a certain “hit you in the solar plexus” truth to them.
John MacArthur writes,
When a man steps into the pulpit more interested in telling us about his week so that he can “relate” to his people – he is not preaching the Word. When a man seeks to be funny behind the sacred desk rather than faithful with the text – he is not preaching the Word. When a man claims to have a “word from the Lord” a part from the divine revelation of Scripture – he is deceived and is not preaching the Word. When a man designs his sermons to attract a target audience, appeal to the culture, and has as its primary goal a thirst to be relevent – he is not preaching the Word. When a man strives to change the world through politics, representing America as the new Israel, seeking to bring a societal morality through legislation, and honors the flag equally with the cross – he is not preaching the Word. When a man fails to tremble at God’s Word privately before ever preaching it publicly – he is not preaching the Word. And when a man treats the pages of holy writ with a cavalier, seeker-friendly, watered down, cream of wheat irrevernce – he is not preaching the Word.
Better for that man to become a game show host, than represent himself as a “servant of Christ and a steward of the mysteries God.”
Someone else quipped,
A new Pastor in a small town spent the first four days making personal visits to each of the members, inviting them to come to his first services.
The following Sabbath the church was all but empty.
Accordingly, the Pastor placed a notice in the local newspapers, stating that, because the church was dead, it was everyone’s duty to give it a decent Christian burial.
The funeral would be held the following Sabbath afternoon, the notice said.
Morbidly curious, a large crowd turned out for the “funeral.” In front of the pulpit, they saw a closed coffin, smothered in flowers. After the Pastor delivered the eulogy, he opened the coffin and invited his congregation to come forward and pay their final respects to their dead church.
Filled with curiosity as to what would represent the corpse of a “dead church” all the people eagerly lined up to look in the coffin.
Each “mourner” peeped into the coffin then quickly turned away with a guilty, sheepish look. In the coffin, tilted at the correct angle, was a large mirror.