Easter Sell-Outs: How Compromise Has Ruined Resurrection Sunday
In ancient Judaism, if Gentiles wanted to convert to the faith of our fathers, it was required that they first be denied three times (We see this same resistance in Jesus’ ministry.). If these potential converts returned after three denials, they would be told about the enormous personal, physical, and financial costs required. Most Gentiles would be unwilling to pay such a steep price; therefore, unqualified candidates were easily weeded out. This was a way of preserving the strength and integrity of the house of God by trying the heart of the aspirant.
Today, Kingdom citizenship is sidelined and replaced with church membership. Instead of helping people become good citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, we encourage them to be church members. This membership, we offer for free, as we pander to the unimpassioned masses that are longing for something real, something powerful, something supernatural. This diseased desire on part of the American church to be accepted, liked, understood and even admired is never more on display than on Resurrection weekend. Besides, “if we could just get them in and show them that we’re not as weird as they think we are, then they may want to give their lives to Jesus or even better… our church!”
On Easter weekend the church begs, pleads, borrows, and who knows what else, to pack its houses of worship with people who are more interested in the free X-Box giveaway or the annual Easter Eggstravaganza than they are with eternal truth. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with these things in and of themselves, but I’ve always wondered why we celebrate one of the holiest occasions of the year by inviting people who have shown our Savior the least amount of respect throughout the year to come to our services. The idea of designing a “worship” service for unbelievers is a paradox that will baffle theologians for eternity.
I know that we’re supposed to “go out into the highways and compel them to come,” but He didn’t tell us to bribe, boot-lick, and cajole them in. There’s nothing unscriptural about designing a service to reach the unsaved, but there are laws against false advertising. In fact, state and federal laws are in place to protect Americans from false or misleading advertising about the products they are being offered or that product’s price. If we were to take a look at the “advertising” that the body of Christ has been taking part in, is it truthful, factual, and real, or are we pretending to be something we’re not?
The truth is that the bulk of our evangelism should be done outside the four walls of the church building so that we can effectively train believers in our services to be evangelists. Instead, we let the average church-goer vicariously live their evangelistic lives through their pastor. When we constantly pander to the shallow/entertaining messages that are propagated in our society, we do a disservice to God’s children by keeping them on an all milk diet.
Hebrews 5:13-14 says, “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (KJV).
We need more than the cliche three-point messages that have been spoken from our pulpits for ages. The body of Christ needs meat, and they won’t get it unless they decide for themselves to open their Bibles, read the Word of God, and stop relying on their pastor to give them a word they can stand on until next Sunday. Certainly, one who can find a pastor who hears from the Lord on a normal basis and follows the leading of the Holy Spirit is a blessing, but those are hard to find in the modernized world we live in.
Resurrection Sunday services are about more than giving kids some Easter candy and telling their parents to “Come back next time.” When Easter egg hunts, great music, and freebies replace the power of the Gospel, water down the fear of God, and misrepresent the character of the King, they stop being tools for advancing the Gospel and end up hurting the very people we intend to bring into the Kingdom.
So, commence with the Resurrection celebrations! Let’s open up our churches and invite the world in, but let’s be honest with them when they get there. No more caricatures of Christianity, and no more compromise. The truth is that Jesus is alive. He offers life today, but it comes at a steep price. You don’t get to have it your way. If you want to be free, you’ll need to let Him free you from some things that you want to hang on to.
When it comes to the church, we’re unusual. We lay hands on people, and occasionally they fall to the floor. We speak in tongues. We shout, dance, and sometimes we run. We’ve also discovered the truth, and it has made us free. If you’re willing to give your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, then He can free you from the chains by which you have been bound. Let all who are hungry come, but it’s time we stop making our services a place for people to be entertained. Jesus suffered for me, died for me, rose for me, and that is what I want the world to know on Easter Sunday morning. He gave His best for me. Why should I not give my best for Him?
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