I think I’ve mentioned before that I have a booth in a farmers market in my hometown. The market is within a shopping area and they block off the streets so vendors can set up their tents to display their produce, crafts and products they sell. It’s a well balanced market with over 150 vendors.
Adjacent lies a park with a stage. It’s setup like an outdoor amphitheater. They usually have concerts there on Friday or Saturday nights. Sundays they usually have zumba classes and during market time. This past Sunday was different though.
This Sunday a church came to the amphitheater, presumably to preach and also to baptize. I know they believe they were baptizing in the Lord’s name, but I would not want to be apart of this display. I observed 4 horse tanks filled with water. Next to each horse tank was a microphone. During their services there was a band playing and of course a preacher preaching. And their baptisms took place. What was missing? Jesus.
While it is a glorious thing to preach the Gospel to the masses and baptize people in Christ Jesus. It is a blasphemous thing to make a show out of God’s assembly. Or showboat instead of remaining humble.
For Scripture says
Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth.
2 Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips. (Proverbs 27:1-2)
So then we should boast or brag in ourselves. When these churches are putting on these shows they do not mirror the example that Christ Jesus set forth. They mirror the ways of the world. There almost always a stage.
I am of course not discouraging the coming together of the saints to worship, pray or baptize. But we are to do it in a Holy and humble manner. Not to purposely draw attention in the manner of singers and actors. But in the manner of Christ.
So I have titled this post “Outside the Walls?”. It is interesting that if these were of Christ they would have listened to His still small voice who says:
4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. 7 In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ 8 Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. (Rev. 18:4-8)
This in reference to Babylon the Great. That whore who calls herself the church. The organization of men and women who claim the name of Christ. The same one whom Christ Jesus will say:
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Mat. 7:21-23)
These same people who are the event, even though it was outside, did not come outside the walls. They did not come into the market to preach the Gospel of Christ. They stayed in the confines and walls of the amphitheater. That place of “safety” so that they would not be persecuted or looked down upon for sharing the Truth of the Gospel for the remission of sins. In their mind that is the job of the pastor. That they are passive participants.
Christ Jesus did not call us to be passive participants. He called us to be disciples and to LIVE the Gospel.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (Rom. 12:1-8)
So then if we are many members and have different functions, we have a personal role to play in the assembly. And that’s not to sit in a pew looking at the back of someone’s head. If these people are of Christ they should be in the byways and highways, in the market, wherever God leads us to share the Gospel. For there is a warning to those who claim the name of Christ but do not follow His lead.
23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’(Mat. 7:23)