Feb 16

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I had a call early one Sunday morning and the person asked, “How long will your services last and do you serve the Lord’s Supper first or last?” They were probably traveling and wanted their crackers and grape juice to go. Many are demanding today that we be quick and convenient. It seems that many religious leaders are taking the Burger King approach, “Have it your way,” but we’re not a hamburger stand. We’re the body of Christ. It is tempting today to apply the fast food approach but it will be deadly to the church. One church in California already has drive-in services. You simply put the speaker in you car, listen to a brief message, hang it up and get on your way. Will some offer a drive-in window where one can get the Lord’s Supper and go fishing or hunting? Will we eventually have home delivery? Yes, the hamburger people say, “We can hold the lettuce. We can hold the pickle. We can hold the onion.” It seems that some even hold the patty. The same cry has come to church: Hold the water. Hold the works. We want a grace-only salvation. Hold the preaching. Hold the doctrine. Hold the singing. We are not at liberty to hold anything that God’s word specifies. Many in our great brotherhood today cry change, adapt and conform or die. We must not panic because we’re not growing like the hamburger stands. We must not let the liberals exploit our frustration by saying, “You would grow if you were more liberal.” The Catholic church has tried to accommodate their people for years and every year their numbers shrink.
We’re not in the growth business. At least this is not our priority. We are to sow, plant and water. God will give the increase. Paul saw this day and said, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” Another version says, “When people won’t tolerate sound doctrine but after their own lust, appetites and fancies they will have it their own way” (2 Tim. 4:2-3). And what was Paul’s recommendation? Preach the word not relevance, not mere peace and harmony, not “the end justifies the means.” Nor are we in the people pleasing business. Paul said, “If I were still pleasing men I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10). His business and ours is to please Christ.
Maybe the church is like a hospital emergency room where men and women from all walks of life come in sick, hurt, bleeding, and dying. Yet they all ask for the same thing–please help me. They don’t ask how soft are the mattresses. They don’t ask the temperature of the room. They don’t notice whether the carpet and curtains match. They don’t walk out because there is someone in the next bed they don’t like. They don’t go back home because no one spoke to them. They don’t leave because the doctor has on a green jacket instead of a white one.
Until we can convince the world of its sick, lost and dying condition and lift Jesus up as the great physician and the only hope in this world, men will continue to be picky. The prodigal was picky until he was destitute. Then he said, “Make me a servant.” The church is facing a spoiled, pampered, indulged generation and we must not give in.

Bob Plunket

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