Here’s a question worthy of serious reflection some wintry morning when you’ve thrown a log on the fire and want to do something better than watch a rerun of the worst sitcoms of the 70s:
Ask yourself, “If the Gospel of Jesus Christ is such good news, why aren’t people breaking the door down to get in?”
Images of Target or Macy’s on Black Friday come to mind, with crowds pressing against the door, eager for the management to open up so they can take advantage of the great buys inside.
One would think we would be just that intent on getting in on the blessings of Heaven Christ came to give us.
Instead, for the most part, people stay away in droves.
Why is that?
The angel told the shepherds in Bethlehem’s fields, “I bring you good news of great joy which shall be to all people.” (Luke 2)
Christians maintain that this was the best good-news ever delivered, that it was heaven’s greatest gift and humanity’s best night.
It’s for everyone, it’s free, and what it does is transform lives for now and forever. It signs you up for a Heavenly inheritance that cannot be taken away (see I Peter 1:4) and assures you of a future beyond your fondest imagination (I Corinthians 2:9, among other places).
So, why aren’t they packing the pews of your church next Sunday and storming the altars at the invitation time.
We happen to know the answer to that question. Well, much of it. There may be aspects we haven’t found, but there is not a great deal of mystery to this.
One: we who are the “keepers of the flame,” so to speak, the ones entrusted with the message and sent as examples of the divine reality, have so watered it down and messed it up as to make it meaningless.
An article in the December 12, 2009, Times-Picayune, our New Orleans paper, tells of virtual churches existing on-line that offer everything normal churches do without the “member” ever having to walk outside the house. At communion time, the individual can go in the kitchen and find some bread or wine–or even water, the article says–and participate. He can even baptize himself.
Give me a break.
“Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together.” (Hebrews 10:25) Any believer with even a few scriptures under his belt can shoot this down in a minute.
Easy believism is rampant. “Pray this prayer and you go to heaven.” It’s all around us. Nothing is said about becoming a disciple of Jesus and living for Him. It’s just “say these magic words.”
A child asked a Sunday School teacher, “Do you think Hitler went to Heaven or hell?” The woman said, “Well, darling, we can only hope that when he was a little boy he prayed to receive Jesus as his Savior.”
No wonder people stay away in droves. I would too. Who wants such a gospel? In fact, why would that even be considered a gospel, offering nothing but pie-in-the-sky by-and-by and no transformation or reconciliation in this life?
That’s the first reason you’ll not find crowds waiting for the custodian to unlock your door this Sunday. The issue has been so confused people today don’t even know what the gospel is.
Here are our other reasons. (You can find most of these in Matthew 22:1-14.