We have built for ourselves big beautiful buildings, with cool clear acoustics and colorful carpets, where as cozy Christians we sit on padded pews, living in luxury while sinners sink into hell. We say that we are rich, but we are poor, blind, wretched, miserable and naked. I thank God for comfortable pews and quality sound systems, but not at the cost of neglecting the lost. We have lavished luxury on the lifeboat, while people drown en masse around us.
I have watched vast multitudes crowd around ministries of “power,” “healing” and “faith,” and prayed that what I suspect is untrue. I have listened to the message that these men and women bring and hoped that I was mistaken in my thought that there was something radically wrong. I’m not bothered by what they say, but by what is left unsaid. There is healing in the atonement (who doesn’t pray that God would heal a sick loved one?); we need to have faith in God’s promises; and historically God does bless His people and lift them out of poverty, hunger and suffering. But why don’t these ministers preach Christ crucified for the sins of the world? They consistently leave the cross out of their message, other than to mention it as the means of purchasing healing and prosperity for God’s people. Why is there no preaching against sin and exalting God’s righteousness?
I look at the vast seas of people before them and think that there must be many who don’t know God’s mercy in Christ, yet they are not warned to flee from the wrath to come. Judgement Day isn’t mentioned, neither is hell, nor is there a call to repentance. I try to be gracious and excuse them by thinking that perhaps these are “teachers” within the Body of Christ, whose particular gifting is to exhort and encourage rather than to seek to save what is lost. However, the most gifted of teachers cannot be excused for not caring about the fate of the ungodly. The apostle Paul was the greatest of teachers, yet he pleaded for prayer that he would share the Gospel with boldness as he “ought to speak.” He said, “Woe is me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16). What are the ethical implications of a fire captain who is preoccupied with making sure that his firemen are well-dressed, while people he is supposed to be saving burn to death?
If the Prodigal Son had returned to his father before he realized that his desires were base, he may have come to him with a different attitude. Instead of seeing that his desires were for pig food and saying, “Father I have sinned … make me like one of your hired servants,” he may have said, “Father, I have run out of money.” Rather than saying, “Make me,” he would say, “Give me.” Instead of wanting to serve his father, his father would become his servant. That is the category of many who sit in the midst of the Body of Christ. The Law has not been used to show them that their sinful desires are exceedingly sinful. God is merely a means to further their own ends.
Few see how great a sin it is to neglect evangelism, because so few have any concern for the lost. Many within the Church think we are here to worship the Lord, and evangelism is for the few who have that gift. Their call to worship is a higher calling.
There was once a respectable captain of a ship whose crew spoke highly of him. They said they esteemed him to a point where everyone knew of their professed love for him.
One day, however, the captain saw to his horror that an ocean liner had struck an iceberg and people were drowning in the freezing water ahead of his ship. He quickly directed his vessel to the area, stood on the bridge, and made an impassioned plea to his crew to throw out the life preservers. But instead of obeying his charge, the crew lifted their hands and said, “Praise the captain … praise you … we love you! You are worthy of our praise.”
Can you see that the reality of their adoration should have been seen by their obedience to his command? Their “admiration” was nothing but empty words.
If we worship in Spirit, we will also worship in truth. To lift our hands in adoration to God, yet refuse to reach out our hands in evangelism for God is nothing but empty hypocrisy. “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve,” (Matthew 4:10, emphasis added) is more than a mere satanic rebuke. If the average church made as much noise about God on Monday as it does to God on Sunday, we would have revival.
Yet, in his book The Coming Revival, Bill Bright reports that, “only two percent of believers in America regularly share their faith in Christ with others” (NewLife Publications, p. 65).
– The preceding text was copied from Ray Comfort’s book, Revival’s Golden Key (Bridge-Logos Publishers, © 2002, pp. 179-181).