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4 Warnings Jesus Gives to Churchgoers

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Church Door. (4 Warnings Jesus Gives to Churchgoers)

Jesus Talked to Churchgoers

If you are not more spiritual than those who are teaching you how to be spiritual, you will be one of those who will one day call out to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and I will say to your face—I never knew you.

Scary? It should be, especially since the above paraphrase is a synopsis of Jesus speaking to the Church at that time. The quote is a connecting of the dots from Jesus’ teaching at the Sermon on the Mount. Do you remember as a child getting one of those books full of all types of fun exercises, games, and puzzles? A favorite of mine was taking pencil in hand and moving carefully from one dot to another until a picture appeared. In this case, our doodle pad, would reveal an elephant. Read slowly and carefully this familiar and famous sermon and you will find that the major problem that the people of God had back then—the elephant in the room that everyone was afraid to talk about—was the preachers and teachers.

Poor Teaching

Jesus said to the group of churchgoers sitting in front of Him: “They have been teaching you for years, for generations, error. You, your parents and your grandparents have been subject to bad information for a long time” (Matthew 5:21a—paraphrase mine).

What is not at issue here is sincerity or love. Pastors, Sunday school teachers, seminary professors, discipleship coordinators, all might be operating from good intention. Not every ministering person is a scallywag. But Jesus makes no distinction as He speaks with authority in telling His disciples and allowing the multitude around them to hear, that the well has been poisoned and that the result of wacked out instruction has been wacked out living. Those who minister are responsible.

The Good Samaritan

Case in point. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? Jesus, when teaching about loving the Lord our God and loving our neighbor with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, is asked the question: “Who is my neighbor?”

Does anyone besides me think that question is bizarre? Well it sounds crazy but not when you realize the quandary that the church was in at the time. Bad teaching had led them to believe that as long as they didn’t do anything bad to someone, they had kept the law. The teaching had made their action toward others passive instead of active.

In the story, a priest and a Levite pass by the injured man—their neighbor. They regulate his dilemma to hard providence and because of their practical application of sermons and lectures that they had been taught, they both, as representative of the most spiritual people in church, walk on by. Then Jesus uses the worst possible outcast of the day, a Samaritan, to show all those “good Christian people” how far away from keeping the Bible they were.

This was the nature of everything Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount. It was all Bible but radically opposed to their understanding because their understanding had been wrongly calibrated for years. Seriously. Read it for yourself.

4 Warnings to Churchgoers

Jesus ends his teaching with four solemn warnings to all churchgoers.

First, the way is narrow (Matthew 7:13–14). Therefore, you should be checking out how your church defines a good Christian.

Second, what are your spiritual leaders like? (Matthew 7:15–20). Does their life match biblically-based spirituality? Are they taking advantage of the congregation?

Third, being active in church is not the same as being a true believer. Note carefully that Jesus does not validate what “they say that they did” (Matthew 7:21–23). There are a whole lot of people claiming to be Christians who have no other proof than their own personal profession. I know some of them. You know some of them.

Fourthly, and this is the culmination and conclusion of Jesus’ sermon, the sandy foundation that is unstable and disastrous (Matthew 7:26–27) is the bad information coming out of the pulpit and it is the weak and deficient Sunday school lessons that have been taught for years. Again, as stated by the Lord Jesus Christ: for generations church people have built their lives out of inferior and dangerous material. And their lack of direction, their sad and problem-laden lives, their lonely existence devoid of peace, are horribly apparent in the fallen and falling homes of fellow parishioners around us.

Make no mistake, Jesus is talking to churchgoers. He is not dealing with Christians who are turning to Eastern cults or atheism. He is talking to Bible-believing folks who would never think of missing church on Sunday morning. And He is warning them.

A Warning & a Rescue

We must see this as a kindness from God. Jesus is not only warning us, He is also rescuing us by saying:

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

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