Sunday, October 17, 2021

Monkeys and The Church

 


"Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20

My pastor talked today about Stephen and his message to those that would eventually make him the first martyr of Christianity. Stephen was bold, but not abrasive.  When brought before the high priests and his adversaries and asked to give answer to what he had been preaching, he instead was teaching them.  He went through the history of their patriarch, Moses, Abraham, Joseph, Jacob, and David.  He showed them how Jesus Christ was promised long before He was born.  He showed them that Jesus was our Savior, sent from the very God they served.  He was bold – but not brazen.  He spoke the truth, but in love, not anger or condemnation. He showed them that if they reject Jesus, they reject God.

While my pastor was preaching, God not only convicted me, but also gave me a vision of the three monkeys that are infamous in trinket shops.  They are called the Three Wise Monkeys, and are labelled, “See no Evil”, “Hear no Evil”, and “Speak no Evil”.  They were created by Nippon, a brand of china from Japan.  When I was a little girl, I remember us talking about them in Sunday School.  The lesson was that we were to avoid all evil, which is a good lesson.  But the lesson God gave me with this vision is different.  And to the Church, my brothers and sisters in Christ, I ask you to please hear God’s lesson.

Today we, the Church, have closed our eyes, ears, and mouth.  We’re no longer bold like Stephen. We’ve closed our eyes to the lost, our ears to God’s word, and shut our mouth when we should be God’s mouthpiece to those that need Him.  We’ve allowed ourselves to be censored.  

Let’s get real.  When COVID shut down our churches, we didn’t all feel bad about it.  We didn’t fight it.  We lived in fear instead of faith and were happy to stay home, myself included.  We realized we could sleep in on Sunday’s and that was ok.  Some of us still haven’t gone back to church. 

We stopped even teaching our children the stories of the Bible.  We stop teaching them the controversial Ten Commandments.  Instead, we are letting the world teach them their morals and values.  I shudder to think what this generation will be like as adults.  Parents, I beg you, please don’t create a Godless life for your children!  Teach them about Jesus because no one else will!  Today, they need Him and His Holy Spirit within them more than ever to guide them.

But the church has not gone completely silent.  We’ve gotten up in arms without extending our arms. We’re quick to stand for what we don’t like!  We turn our backs on anyone with political beliefs different from our own. 

We talk and post about abortion being a sin – without considering the thousands of women who are still suffering from making that decision.  Is there not a Christian message to be delivered instead? 

We point our fingers at anyone that lives differently from us without once befriending them.  “But they live in outright sin!” News flash! Yes, and so do you!  Note that homosexuality is not one of the sins that are pointed out as one of the seven abominations to God - but lying tops the list.  Can you not show them the same love Jesus has shown to you? 

We are disobedient to the commandment we were given to love one another.  The drug addict, the murderers, the criminals with guns, we don’t reach out to any of them.  Where’s the fight FOR the addicts and deals, FOR those that don’t respect live, FOR those that will end up in jail?

I can’t think of a greater sin than robbing someone of the opportunity to know Jesus.  Brothers and Sister, if people turn away from Jesus because of our offensiveness or our political position, we have picked up a weapon we most likely never consciously intended to use. And it’s worse than deadly.  It has eternal weight.

Brothers and sisters, if you want to bring people to Jesus, you need to first show them His love through you.  Jesus did not call us to condemn, but to love one another even as He loves us – unto death.  We are all looking for unconditional love.

Even amid friends, we don’t bring up Jesus, our most prized possession, because we fear we’d be looked at as radicals, “crazy Christians”, or “weak minded people believing in the unknown”.  It’s not only our boldness that’s gone, but it’s our love for others.  We don’t want to feel “uncomfortable” in talking about Christ. 

When we become silent, we’re useless.  If you cannot stand for Jesus, how can you say you love God?  God provided Jesus for all people.  But He provides us with one commission: Go into all the world teaching them about Jesus, and baptizing them in the name of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. 

Friends, the Evil of this world is not just the devil’s doing.  We have not fought against it.  We’ve given up.  We’ve raised our hands over our ears, our mouths, and our eyes.  We’ve secluded ourselves from evil, and in doing so excluded all who need Jesus.

How can we change the world if we refuse to see those in need? How can we know what to speak to those who need comfort if we refuse to talk to them?  If you’re unwilling to hear the cries of those in pain, how can you love them? If you won’t even make eye contact with those that are suffering, how will they know you care?   Family of God, we can no longer be deaf, blind, and mute in this world. 

As my pastor said this morning, we should be the full display of Jesus to everyone we meet.  And if Jesus isn’t shining through, we need to get on our knees and get it right.  The clock is ticking.  And one day we will stand and give account for our actions, and our inactions.  I don’t know a lot about Judgement Day, but I pray we do not see those that are told “Depart from me, I never knew you” fall into Hell.  I fear the familiar faces that would condemn us.

 

Father God, I pray you let my words be soft on each heart that reads them.  I pray they cause hearts to turn to you.  I pray Father that you change me by what you’ve taught me this day and make me aware of those I don’t speak to that need you.  Use me in your service and give me second chances when I fail.  In Jesus name, Amen.

 

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