one tiny soapbox: on finding a good church...Part 2
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Tuesday, October 23

on finding a good church...Part 2

I couldn't resist posting this "addendum" to my earlier post. It's an excerpt from another related sermon, in which the pastor further describes what a solid church looks like. I admit that at one point, I nearly cried.

The Truth is so beautiful to those who - by God's Power - love and embrace it...
Some people today think the church is a...is a place for unbelievers to come. I don’t believe that. There’s not one word in the New Testament that says a church service is to be designed for an unbeliever...not one word. That’s right. We don’t design church services for unbelievers. We don’t gather together for evangelism, we gather together for edification and worship and we scatter for evangelism. We don’t collect to preach over and over and over and over the simple gospel to figure out a way how to entertain unbelievers. That is not the purpose of the church gathering. The church gathers in order that it might corporately worship God and stimulate each other to love and good works. And it might be edified and accountable for the truth that it’s hearing and then it scatters to touch the world.

In 1 Corinthians there’s a very interesting comment the Apostle Paul says. And I think most people don’t even know it’s in there, you just kind of look past it. He’s looking at the Corinthian church which is just total chaos. He says, “Look...verse 23...if you’re whole church gets together and everybody speaks in tongues, what will happen if an unbeliever comes in?” Now isn’t that an interesting statement? He says, look...if you’re having church and everybody is speaking in tongues, what’s going to happen if an unbeliever comes in? You know what first hits me about that? The whole point of church isn’t for unbelievers. But imagine, one of them might even come...an unbeliever might come. It’s possible. I mean, it’s not as if it was the plan, right? You say, “What are you going to do if an unbeliever shows up?” Like what an odd thing, but it might happen. We don’t meet for unbelievers. If the unbeliever comes in and you’re all doing that, he’s going to say the people are out of their minds, everybody speaking in tongues. But if all are prophesying... What does that mean? That doesn’t mean some esoteric ecstatic experience, that means if you are declaring the truth of God, if they come in and someone is teaching the Word and declaring the Word, then an unbeliever is going to come in and he’s going to be convicted by the devotion of everybody to the Word of God and he’s going to be called to account by everybody, the secrets of his heart are disclosed and he falls on his face and worships God and says, “Wow, God is here.” You don’t...you don’t have to create some kind of a comfort zone for unbelievers and try to attract them to the church. But if they come and they eavesdrop on your worship, and they eavesdrop and they hear the Word being powerfully taught and there’s no power like the Word, sharper than any two-edged sword, and they see that you all submit to the Word and you’re all worshiping God, he’s going to fall on his face and say, “God is here. This is incredible.”

A few Sundays ago, some of you were there on Sunday night, I think it was before school started, a young man came into the baptistry, he was homosexual, dying of AIDS and said, “I wandered in the back of this church all alone.” And he said, “John, the first thing you did was stand up and you read the Psalm...a Psalm I never heard in my life.” And then he rattled off ten verses verbatim which he had memorized out of that Psalm. And it was about the chains being broken and the prisoners being set free and those who are on the edge of death being given new life. And he said the tears began to race down my face and I sat through that service and I watched a people who worshiped God and I heard that God was a delivering, healing, restoring, freeing God. And at the end of that service I gave my life to Jesus Christ. Three weeks ago. He said, “I not only have not had a homosexual encounter,” and they have sometimes as many as five a day, “but I have no desire for that and never had since the moment I gave my life to Christ.” We didn’t create a service for homosexuals to make homosexuals feel loved and comfortable. A homosexual eavesdropped on the power of the Word of God and the corporate worship of God’s people and he fell on his face to worship God.
(Click here for the entire sermon.)
~ ~ ~
ibcarlos, Reformed thinker

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