Churches must please God first, not people

Churches must please God first, not peopleFear is one of the most crippling emotions when we allow it to overcome us. It’s suffocating and debilitating. Fear of persecution, fear of loss, fear of hardship, fear of people. Fear of the unknown. For this blog I want to focus on the fear of people, as I think it significantly compromises the growth of the church today. And by growth I don’t primarily mean numerical, but rather spiritual. We live in a day where truth is relative and political correctness is continuously becoming more prominent. Sadly churches seem to be more concerned about pleasing people then pleasing God. We try to structure our services and sermons to primarily help people feel comfortable and welcome. We don’t want to offend people. We dare not tell someone or the world they are wrong! We think we are loving them if we do that, that we are respecting them. The irony is we are doing the very opposite!

For a while now I have felt that political correctness is becoming one of the major cancer’s of the modern church. We don’t want to offend or make people feel uncomfortable because it might scare them off. Society’s sense of what is right dictates how we run church and promote Christian living.  Our focus turns to how we please people and not how we please God. When our focus shifts to trying to hear what people think they need instead of teaching what the Bible says we need, we will slowly turn the church into a feel good social club instead of an environment where God can powerfully transform lives through His Word. We think we are loving them by sensitively tip toeing around massive life altering issues, yet what people need more then anything is to hear what God teaches in His Word. God knows what’s best, yet we continuously look to the world first for guidance. Of course how we teach God’s truth makes a massive difference, as it should always be done with a humble and gracious heart as it’s by God’s grace alone that we are made right with Him.

Deep down I think those who are sincere in their pursuit of God don’t want to be told just what makes them feel good. They want to be challenged and inspired to live a more godly life. They want to see our church leaders courageously standing up against the unrighteousness of this world and hit it head on with the truth of God! Courage seems to be sorely lacking in churches these days, but Proverbs 28:1 says that the righteous are as bold as lions. Not a righteousness we have through what we do, but rather a righteousness that has been placed over us through faith in Jesus alone. Through trusting in God with our lives, we have Him on our side. He (God) who is in us in more powerful then he (Satan) who is in the world (1 John 4:4). We will often experience fear in our lives, but courage is not the absence of fear, but persevering on despite it!

So let’s not let the fear of people or political correctness stifle our churches. Let’s be bold for God, trusting in Him to help us humbly and graciously, yet firmly teach His truth without compromising it to please others. May our focus and success be measured on seeing lives transformed to be more like Christ, not dictated primarily by making people feel good or on the accumulation of numbers. We will get opposition, we may even have people leave church as a result. But our churches need to be taught about the God of the Bible, not the god that people want to create for themselves to meet their own needs.

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4 responses to “Churches must please God first, not people

  1. From my observation, this is an incisive analysis. The picture presented reminds me of the Laodicean church referred to in Revelation 3, that Christ damns as being neither “hot nor cold”. In verse 19 of Rev. 3 it states that “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline”, which is the antithesis of our current cultural and church norms.

    • I often wonder what Christ would say about our churches today? In that reference you mentioned David to Jesus noting the Laodicean church being neither “hot nor cold”, Jesus goes on to say “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say , I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”

      They are strong words! It’s passages like these that sharply prompt us to critically assess how we conduct our churches and realign them where necessary to better honour God in what we say and do.

  2. In sharing my faith and the gospel with others in my circle who are outside of a personal relationship with Christ, it’s quite apparent in my experiences that there is a view that for all the talk there is little demonstration of Christ. Generally speaking most people I come across have great admiration for what Christ Jesus stood for but they struggle to see Christ in the majority of people who claim to belong to him….There may be an element of convenience in this outlook, i.e a cop-out so to speak to dig deeper and confront ones spiritual standing with God, but it would be very unwise for the true church to not take note of this and to reflect on it, to evaluate where we stand and what we can do to address this issue.

    • Thanks for your comments Eugene. Valid observations. It’s a challenge to all of us to demonstrate the work of Christ in our lives and not just talk about it. This is true not only in our own lives, but in the lives of the church. Yes this shouldn’t be an excuse for people learning more about Christ, however we as a Church need to acknowledge that how we present Christ in our lives and as a Church will influence how people view Him. We seem to try so hard to present ‘a Christ’ that we think people will like whereas we should be trying to present Jesus as is revealed in the Bible. We will be persecuted for doing so. Jesus said Himself we will be. If fact maybe we could go as far as saying that if we are not being persecuted to some degree, then maybe we are not be faithful in representing Christ. But in presenting Christ as faithfully as possible according to the Bible, God-willing people will understand more accurately who Jesus is, what He has done and what He stands for, thus more then likely leading to a more sincere and grounded faith.

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