Sermon Transcript/Article: Complacency in the Church - Are We Too Self-Centered?
I’m going to spend a few minutes talking about complacency in the church. Now, lately, I’ve been praying for boldness, so this might just ruffle some feathers. I think that we’re living in a time when a lot of Christians don’t give a dog gone about ministry, outreach, or growing spiritually. However, a lot us sure want God to bless us with financial prosperity and material success. Some of the largest churches out there are using TV to suck in people through the promise of health, wealth, and happiness. But, this isn’t what Jesus preached when He walked the earth. Jesus preached giving not getting, generosity not stinginess. You can find that in Mark chapter 4. But I think that the Christian church, as a whole, is failing in this area.
For example: soup kitchens remain open only a few days out of the week because there aren’t enough volunteers. Christian summer camps are dwindling in attendance and many are scrambling to find staff. Only a few people show up to the occasional prayer meeting. 400,000 children are still in foster care in the United States. We still have human trafficking, even in the US – slavery has grown since the 1800s, not decreased. We still have child abuse and domestic violence. People are hurting.People are suffering.
People desperately need the Lord. But how much do we really care? It appears that we don’t act like our Christian faith is a priority in our lives. Work. Entertainment and eating out. TV and Internet. Soccer and basketball practice – it seems that they rank higher than Christian ministry and outreach for many of us. According to a Barna poll, only 5% of all Christians in the United States actually tithe 10% of their income. That means we’re missing out on 139 billion dollars that could be used to fund churches and ministries.
Now if all of this doesn’t apply to you – then great. But it applies to a lot us. It applies to me. Either we appreciate our Christian faith and the salvation that we have through Jesus or we don’t. We can’t just say a special prayer, show up to church and think that we have our eternity secured. The Bible says that a true follower of Jesus will be willing to sacrifice home, spouse, brothers and sisters, parents, children, whatever for the sake of the kingdom of God. This is what Jesus told a local wealthy official in Luke chapter 18 when he was inquiring about how to get eternal life.
Solomon said in Proverbs 1:32 that the complacency of fools will destroy them. The Message version of Jeremiah 6: 14 sounds way too familiar: My people are broken, shattered, and they put on band aids saying: It’s not so bad. You’ll be just fine. But things are not just fine. John warns us in Revelation 3 not to be like the Laodicean church who professed to know Christ but didn’t really belong to Him or dedicate their lives to serving Him. In Hebrews 6:12 we are told to not be lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience - inherit what has been promised. This writer was speaking to Christians who weren’t maturing quickly enough. Yes. The Christian walk is a growth process that needs developing. But do we need to move a little bit quicker? If these really are the last days, then we need to feel some urgency and get moving.
I’m disappointed in myself. I grew up in a Christian home and at 45 years old, I should be much more spiritually mature. I haven’t been motivated like this for very long. So, let’s challenge ourselves and let’s challenge each other. Being a representative of Jesus is serious business.
Brother Andrew risked his life smuggling Bibles into China. William Wilberforce risked his political career trying to put an end to the slave trade in the British Empire. Elizabeth Fry dedicated her life to social reform in London – ministering to prisoners and setting up homeless shelters. William Hunter at only 19 years old was imprisoned for reading his Bible and burned at the stake for refusing to deny his spiritual beliefs. And Amy Carmichael went to India to rescue girls forced into prostitution in Hindu temples. These people did more.
As a fellow believer in Christ I want to challenge you to do more. I need to do more. But it’s easy for us to become complacent and selfish when everyone else is doing it. We need to give and sacrifice until it’s uncomfortable. We need to stop being satisfied with minor achievements. We need to stop making excuses for ourselves and for others. So let’s find ways to boldly speak out and let’s find ways to motivate each other. Let’s get leading by example. Our kids and friends need to see us funding the next ministry opportunity. They need to see us reading our Bibles. They need to see us serving God in the community. They need to see us praying and worshiping God. Because - being a follower of Jesus is serious business.