We know what we believe about God’s salvation work in Jesus. We ask for an increased faith to believe even more what we know is right and true about our Lord’s mission to save the world. But some of us have stopped talking about it. We haven’t stopped believing, we’ve just stopped talking. and in the Bible, believing is talking!
I wonder if there are things we need to stop believing. Are there things we hear every day and believe and pass on to others as truth that really are not true at all? And can those things we believe act in our heads and our hearts to shut down our Christian witness?
There are at least five things that a lot of Christians take for true these days that simply aren’t. We’ve already looked this week at The Church Is In Decline and The Church Is Irrelevant. Today, let’s consider the statement “People in our culture are not seeking God.”
It’s not true.
Yes, we do live in a pluralistic, post-modern, post-Christian society now and there’s no going back. Denominational loyalties are dissolving, Christianity is no longer viewed as the exclusive way to God, and truth is no longer an eternal reality as much as it is something each person determines for himself. There are more skeptics and agnostics and atheists in this country than there ever have been before. But that doesn’t mean they’re not searching. They’re all searching! Everybody’s seeking! And there’s tremendous potential here for God’s Church.
The research is beginning to show that we’re on the front edge of a backlash against all the pluralism and individualism in the U.S. We’re discovering, as a people, that living in a world without universal truth is a terrible way to live. We’re learning that addiction to our screens and ear buds isn’t healthy — it’s doing real damage to our relationships and communities. And people are looking for something else.
They’re searching for a meaning outside themselves. They’re seeking a purpose higher than their own careers and entertainment, they’re looking for something more important and longer lasting than their own posts and tweets. People today are starting to recognize the noise and the clutter for what it is and they’re looking for something real. They’re seeing the failures of our politicians and institutions and they’re looking for something genuine. Something they can trust. People are open to it. People are seeking. And that gives the Church an exciting opportunity.
What if we’re not on the wrong path? What if we’re just a little bit tired? What if we’re on the right track, we’re just a bit weary? What if the message of the Gospel — I’m stretching out on a limb here — and even the heart of our restoration ideals are actually gaining steam in this country?
Simple worship instead of a concert. Lots of local ministry in our own community. More frequent Lord’s Supper. Baptism by immersion. A return to the Bible. A depth of discipleship. You know, all of that is actually appealing now to folks who are burned out by all the pluralism and technology. An emphasis on the weightier matters of mercy and love, justice and forgiveness and grace — these are the very things that can inspire the world!
We must believe that people in our culture today are certainly seeking God. And, even if they weren’t, we know for a fact that our God is seeking them.