I've been thinking about this for several weeks, now…
How is it that sinners can stand in a church pew, some of them week after week, hear the Word of God proclaimed in power and clarity, and still not respond to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ?
~I know that it's not because they are not hearing the Gospel. It is preached every Sunday in my church.
~I know that it's not because it is too complicated. Our pastor and co-pastor explain, illustrate, expound, alliterate…they do everything in their power to make the way to Salvation as simple as possible. In fact, it is so simple that many a child has understood it.
~I know that it's not because our service is disruptive, unorganized or confusing. We use a traditional format that would make anyone feel at ease and comfortable.
~I know that it's not because our people are unfriendly. I watch every week as people greet and welcome, shake hands and show themselves to be friendly to everyone that comes in.
~I know that it's not because those who participate in the service are unprepared. I am involved in hours of practice each week with the music ministry. Our pianist, organist and orchestra members practice too; they are extremely professional and do a magnificent job each week.
~I know that it's not because our members are cold and uncaring about lost souls. We have multiple programs each week, reaching out to our community with the Gospel.
So…I have to wonder…
is it ME?
- Have I quenched the Holy Spirit's work today?
- Did I fail to greet someone?
- Was I a distraction to others around me during the service?
- When I spoke to a visitor, was I sincere?
- When I spoke to a friend, was I Christ-honoring in my conversation?
- Did I come to church to worship, or do I have some other agenda on my mind?
- Have I prepared this past week to do my part in this service to the best of my ability?
- Have I prayed for this service? Did I spend any part of last week, begging for God's presence, power and convicting Spirit to be hindered in no way during this Sunday's meeting?
- Did I smile? Did I look like I meant what I was singing in the choir special?
- Could others look at me and know that I was a Christ-follower – even in my church's worship service?
- Did I allow the Holy Spirit to work in my heart during the service?
- Have I responded to His convicting Voice during the invitation?
I had part of this conversation with my husband today. He agreed as I went through my list of reasons, and my thoughts about the subject.
I though about the visitors that I saw today in the service…those who were obviously miserable during invitation time, shifting back and forth, whispering to those around them, drumming their fingers on the pew, obviously biding their time until we were dismissed.
I said to Doug, "I just don't understand why someone would not want to become a Christian, after having heard it explained so clearly and so simply today…and it really bothers me!!!"
To which my wise husband replied, "And…it should."