Tuesday, October 6, 2015

OCTOBER 6 "EVERYONE IS NOT WELCOME!"

The Church's mantra is always, "Everyone Welcome!", but do we really mean that? Is everyone really welcome? One preacher coined the term "religious devils", are religious devils really welcome into your church? Are people who sow and spread false teachings and doctrines in your church, really welcome? Are those that cause divisions and strife really welcome in your church? Is the couple that caused a rebellion and church split, in their last church, really welcome? Is everyone really welcome? And I think, if we would be honest, the answer would be "no", not everyone is welcome, after all. Paul is writing the this letter to the house Church at Colosse. The house church that is meeting there of course has "everyone welcome" on their door and on their flyers. And guess what, everyone is walking in and causing major confusion and discord. People promoting the worship of Angels, pious self-denials (sounds like Lent for the Catholics). Trying to convince these converts that Grace isn't good enough, there's rules, "don't touch, don't handle, don't taste".  Paul goes on to write, "these rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person's evil desires."
If only we had an usher at the front door, that he could waive over those coming in on Sunday Mornings, and just like at the airport, the wand would beep if those people were trying to carry in any false doctrines, malicious intents or were simply carrying a spirit of rebellion, strife & divisions. The wand would beep and the usher would have the pleasant duty of saying, "sorry, you can't come in with that!".  "But I thought everyone was welcome?".  "No, we took down that sign last month, we don't have an everyone welcome policy, here anymore!".  After all, if we are willing to take those measures to protect an aircraft, how much more so should we take those measures to protect God's Church? On an aircraft you have a bunch of disconnected strangers in a Church we have families, people that have served God for years together and then one religious devil comes in and begins to sow seeds of discord, mistrust and everything is turned upside down. I remember a situation where a church counsel actually did meet to discuss letting a particular individual in the church. He had been kicked out of his previous church for having sex with a minor in that congregation. This had been almost a year prior, he seemed repentant and so he was let in and ended up taking advantage of a girl in our congregation. Is the policy "everyone welcome" really Christian? Is that really love that we would let just anyone walk in and trample over the people we love? Would a loving father, let just let every bum that comes by take advantage of his daughter?  After all, we're good nice Christian people here! Unfortunately, and I do mean "unfortunately" we cannot stand at the door and interrogate people as they come in and unfortunately no wand has yet been invented that we can waive over people to detect impure motives and/or agendas. So in a sense, I guess everyone can come, but not everyone will stay! God does prune His Church, I do know that. There are some people that are no longer coming that need to be chased down and try to talk some sense into and there are others that have left, that we need to simply "let be".   Many times good Christians find themselves chasing after people, begging them to return, that God himself has purged from the Church. We may not have a wand to pass over people Sunday after Sunday, but we can contend for the Holy Spirits presence and we can contend for the Holy Spirit to have right away in the Church and to help us, with what we often are not discerning or seeing in the visible realm. Every Church has witnessed the phenomena of someone or a couple leaving, was disheartened by that, but then the church grew afterwards and everyone sits and scratches their head and wonders, "how odd is that?".  We know that God was very displeased with Miriam and Aaron speaking behind Moses' back. Moses had no knowledge, Moses had not wand to waive over them, but yet God was faithful to look after Moses and his congregation (so to speak). If we speak against our Church, against our Pastor and we do not eventually get our hearts right, God will eventually judge us and purge us. Everyone will wonder, "what happened to so and so" and often nobody knows, but God what really went down. Just remember this, not everyone one in your Church was sent there by God, as you would like to believe. There are people in every Church, in every city, across America, that God has not placed there.  They are there to sow discord, mistrust, create divisions and strife and once the damage is done, then they will leave, go on their merry way and bad mouth the Church afterwards, to add insult to injury and the quicker they leave, the better. And wise is the Church, the man or the women, who can discern who God has purged and whom the devil has purged. How do we know and can we make a great mistake in trying to discern which is which? Perhaps, but Jesus said, "by their fruits you will know them". Look at the fruit, what kind of fruit did their life produce while in the church and what was the result of the church once they were gone? I would say always error on the side of caution, by and large, if someone leaves, we go after them and it is in the going "after them" often that we begin to discern, "leave them alone, let them be". Love those that come, love those that leave, go after those that leave, but also be sensitive to God's still small voice when sometimes, to our confusion, we hear, "just let things be as they are, stop trying to force this" and then we must trust and let go, even though, we don't understand. God loves them more, than we will ever love or understand and we must simply trust that Jesus is still Head of his Church and He is still a God that prunes His church in ways we often will never understand, on this side of eternity.