“He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth...” Isaiah 25:8
What has happened to the spirit of the church that used to boldly confess the name of Jesus and the victory He grants His people over the grave and over the tragedies of this world? It seems we have lost the message of real hope amongst our busyness. We as a church spend more time devising well crafted sermons, writing and singing songs that move our hearts, conducting ministry meetings that plan events down to the tiniest detail within the church, and sell catchy Sunday school programs and promotional campaigns to get more people in our doors, but we fail to make the REAL message of Christ and the work of the Spirit the driving forces behind reaching out to save the lost.
Now I do realize that the above description does not depict every church, but unfortunately it does describe the majority of churches in our nation. Even most Christian book sellers, publishers, song writers and church support ministries cater to this type of mentality in the church. But again I ask, what has happened to the victory of Christ? Sadly, the message of the salvation of Christ has been lost in the attempt to “clean it up”. It seems we shy away from Jesus' bloody death on the cross and in promoting its message in our churches because we do not want to offend anyone or look foolish in what we claim our salvation in. But what are we thinking when the only One we should be concerned about offending is Jesus our Lord? And who do we think we are when we try to look wise to the world when we should know that the only true giver of wisdom is God alone?
In our human short-sidedness we fail to see the real mess that needs to be “cleaned up” - ours. And we fail to give credit to Jesus for the bloody mess that He allowed because of His great love for each of us. Read what the prophet Isaiah wrote about very fact:
“But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6
We also get so caught up in the foolish wisdom of the world by filling our minds with the ways of man above the ways of God that we eventually justify our need to “clean up” the gospel. But in doing so we take on the attitude of those who are perishing and soon it becomes a slippery road which can carry us too away from God and His real wisdom.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.' Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
As believers we need to stop and question everything we do in the church. We need to pray and then listen to God and what He desires to reveal about either our obedience in glorifying Jesus or in our tactics which are selling short His costly wise message. We do not need to fear that the message of Christ will be offensive to some because we already know it will be. What we really need to fear is what the Lord will have to say about the work we have done in His name when we stand before Him and have each and every one of our actions judged.
Stand up true believers and confess the cross of Christ because as the verse at the top of this blog states, “... the rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth”. And some day all that will be left for us to say is, “I am glad I was faithful to my Lord and King in everything I did and everything I said because now He has chastened all of the lies of the world and has proven all of my actions praiseworthy.”