12 11 2014

I can’t tell you how many times that I have heard this excuse when it comes to going to church. They say to me with a serious look on their face, “I would come but you know that the place is filled with hypocrites!” To which I quickly reply, “So we always have room for one more!” Hey, all human beings are hypocrites in one way or another! We have all been guilty of putting on a façade that didn’t quite accurately portray the genuine article playing in our heart! People don’t always keep their promises. People don’t always tell the truth. People will say one thing and then act another. But here is the good news: that doesn’t mean God does!

God is the real deal! Jesus is a promise keeper! What the Lord says he is- he is! And while human beings will let you down- our Lord never does! He didn’t bring us this far to leave us. He didn’t teach us to swim to let us drown. He didn’t build his home in us to move away and He didn’t lift us up to let us down! The gospel group The Imperials used to sing that one but the lyrics still ring true today and every day. I am not a Christian because of Christians! I am a Christian because of Christ!

I know many of you are fanatical when it comes to your sports teams! You go out of your way to let it be known that you are true to your ball club! Now let me ask you a simple question. Would you let the apathy of another so called fan affect the rabid way you follow? I was going to talk about the Mets here but let me find some common ground. I have always cheered for the Eagles in football. Roman Gabriel is my all-time favorite quarterback and he was the comeback player of the year with Philadelphia back in 1973! I know that because I love my team. But yet on any given Sunday, there will be many at Lincoln Financial Field who could care less that Merrill Reese is the greatest broadcaster of all time. They don’t know who Dick Vermeil is. They never even heard of Tommy McDonald. They came because they were given the tickets. They came because they had nothing else better to do. They came because they were actually going to have the nerve to root for the opposition! But none of the reasons they come have anything to do with why I come and will still come! I love my Eagles. I bleed green! No matter what anybody else in the stadium feels- I come because I am a sold out follower!

Now if I may simply bring that illustration into the light, I go to church for the same reason. I know the place is filled with phonies! Hey, I know that even I have let the Lord down every now and then. One of the most famous followers of Jesus denied him publicly three times when the Lord really needed him. But it all comes down to the fact that when push came to shove- Peter loved Jesus! I don’t go Sundays based on the people there but I am hopelessly devoted to the power that has transformed my life! I love the one I am going to worship. I am not afraid to admit that I am bananas for Jesus! I have given my heart and soul to God and have decided to radically and passionately live for him no matter what others may say or do. How about you? And why would you or I allow what the crowds does matter so much to us anyway? Make up your own mind and then do it!

One of my heroes of the faith, the Apostle Paul, knew perfectly well what it was like to be the only genuine believer in a crowd of hot air! Many times, he stays committed to Christ even though it meant the hypocrites would be out in force to take him down. Nobody likes a guy who shines the light bright when deeds are hoped to be done in the dark! Nobody appreciates the guy who ruins the grading curve just because he actually took studying seriously. And in the Book of Acts 23, when Paul is sitting in prison with the entire world seeming to be plotting against him- who shows up at just the right time to remind Paul that he is never alone? The Lord comes in the middle of the night to a lonely, forsaken, discouraged, despondent, sad apostle and cheers his heart. And just like he showed up for Paul- he will do the same for you. But will you boldly stand up for God where you are even if you are the only one! If the crowd has got it all mixed up- then make it less crowded! Stand up for Jesus and you can be sure he will never sit down on the job of walking with you!

So go to church! Don’t let the crowds sway you. The truth is the truth no matter what the surrounding environment and cultural circumstances may be. The last I checked is that I don’t go on Sundays to see who is there or not there but to be with the one I know will never leave me or forsake me! This is why we say at The Lighthouse Church, “No Perfect People Allowed.” It is because we need a Savior to make us what we could never become on our own. Religion can’t do what you need an eternal relationship with Jesus to pull off. So if you are a hypocrite or a hypochondriac- it doesn’t matter. I can assure you this: I will be cheering for Jesus no matter what you may or may not root for! But I do know this! Jesus is a winner when it all comes down to the final gun and last inning and I can definitely not say that about my Mets or the Eagles! Hope to see you this weekend!



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