Wouldn’t it be great if the only thing people didn’t like about today’s church was our radical commitment and our fanatical, on-fire loyal devotion for Jesus? And, in spite of that, they still wanted us to be their bosses, their friends and would want their sons and daughters to marry ours? Unfortunately that is definitely not the reason they don’t like the church!
Why do people resist the church?
The main reason people resist the church is that we are no different than the world. We lie, deceive and cheat just like the world. We don’t have integrity in our word and we hold unforgiveness and hatred in our hearts for one another… just like the world. At the end of the day, our approach to Christianity is about ME. It is self-centered and has little to do with others. We say things like:
“I need to get my life in order, so I better start going to church on a regular basis.”
Or “I need to go to church so I can receive answers to my prayers.”
Or “I better give so I can get blessed.”
The focus is on “ME” and making sure that I please God so He will bless ME. We create a lifestyle of hypocrisy that causes the people in our sphere of influence to resist church. But, Jesus came to teach us a completely different model of what His church is to be.
The price of love
Jesus’ church is all about others and how we can love them. It’s about focusing on the other person, not you. Following Jesus means leaving everything that’s all about you and focusing on what’s all about others! He invites us to love people the way our heavenly Father loves them–by laying down our lives. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Jesus’ model is a lot simpler (but more costly) than today’s religious model with all its conditions that are necessary to please God. The price we pay is to love our enemies and do good to those that hate and persecute us.
To love us, it cost our heavenly Father the sacrifice of His Son. It cost Jesus His life. So what will it cost you to be a disciple of Jesus and follow him? Everything!
Jesus showed us His model of church when He not only laid down His life on the cross for us but also when He took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist and washed His disciples’ feet. He told His disciples that if He did it, they should also do it. Matthew 10:25 says that a disciple is just like his master. In John 13:34, Jesus said we will be known as His disciples if we love others as He has loved us.
Christian or disciple?
It pleases God when you love others the way He loves you. Christianity has a bad name because it presents such a broad definition of what a true follower of Jesus really looks like. You can be a liar and still be called a Christian. You could backbite and sow seeds of discord and still be called a Christian. The world sees you on the job and hears how you talk and treat others. No wonder when you invite them to church they don’t want to come!
The first followers of Jesus weren’t even called Christians; they were called Disciples. A disciple is like his master and the definition of the word disciple offers a narrower description of what a true follower of Jesus should look like.
The question is: Which one are you? Look at all the empty seats in the church and ask yourself, “How many people want to come to church because of me? Am I a Christian or am I a disciple?