Not enough sinners in our church?

Roasted coffee beans Español: Granos de café t...

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I get to meet with people from our church over coffee. It’s one of the perks of the job (sorry, pun initially not intended). There’s something about a coffee shop that helps people to speak freely. I’ve met people in that setting in every church I’ve worked for. One of them came up with an interesting comment. This person said, “Our church doesn’t have enough sinners.”

You can take that one of several hundred different ways. I think that I know what this person meant, though, and it follows along the lines of one of my recent posts. A lot of times we miss out on healing from our struggles because we tend to deny that they exist. Our “success” as Christians becomes equated with the appearance of an  absence of turmoil in our lives.

Yet, Jesus hung out with “sinners”. I wonder if this means more than Jesus chillin’ with unbelievers.  What if it also means he gravitated towards believers who acknowledged that all human life comes with difficulties and bumps in their transformational roads. We still have issues with sin, just like the Apostle Paul did even after having written large chunks of the New Testament (1st Timothy 1:15; Romans 7:14-20 – notice the present tense).

Maybe Jesus hangs out with sinners because they know that they’re sinners. He didn’t have a good time around “righteous” people, like Pharisees, because they didn’t know how bad off they really were. So, they were unable to honestly interact with the Savior who wanted so much to free them from the suffering they were in denial about.

Same’s true today. If you think that you’re all that spiritually – you’re really not. And worse , you can’t get better until you humble yourself and let God do his thing in your life. Gossip, anger and other sins that churches gloss over act as defense mechanisms that allow us to put off dealing with the real issues of life. That’s why we need more sinners in our churches – people who Jesus is really among because they know how much they need him. And when you’re around people who recognize and deal with the junk in their lives, it breaks down a major barrier in your readiness to deal with your own. And, you’d naturally attract more people to Jesus in the process. Like I said, Jesus hung out with sinners . . . but they wanted to hang out with him too.

That’s how I understood this person’s comment, anyway. When you hear “There’s not enough sinners in our church,” what does is meant to you? Grab some coffee and think it over.


9 thoughts on “Not enough sinners in our church?

  1. The modern church is full of self-righteous religious people. That’s why it takes so much grace and forgiveness to remain a part of it. The true church learns to operate in the fruit of the Spirit *because of* these pretenders. (God used these very kind of people to bring about his ultimate plan of salvation, right?!)

    Weeds in the church will always be our thorns, but we must remember that God is using them to bring sanctification to his saints. Without them, we wouldn’t be tried, tempted, and proven as genuine.

    The bottom line is, until and unless we can confess and admit our own struggles and sin with one another, we will remain trapped in a delusion of works righteousness that saves no one. Lord, give us humility and honesty within the assembly.

    • “Trapped in a delusion of works righteousness.” I like it.

      I hear what you’re saying about God using the delusional people within the church to challenge us spiritually. But I wonder if he’d rather that we be challenged by people outside of the church. After all, the Temple system was cursed (like the fig tree) because it wasn’t bearing fruit. Our churches still can. Disunity is a major hindrance.

      • Well, they are outside the church… The real one anyway. Lol. But I believe that this country is going to come to a place where being a professing Christian will no longer be easy or without risk. Until then, if one professes, we must take him at his word and correct, rebuke, encourage, and admonish him according to the scriptures. This is where true believers often fail in their duties. It’s so much easier to ignore, avoid, and divide with those we perceive as pretenders and wolves. But is that what we’re called to do? I believe it is only after we’ve taken proper biblical steps to reconcile, correct and be unified. After biblical reproofs fail we have no choice but to disassociate from such ones…and as a whole body at that. (2cor5) but do we do that? Biblical church Discipline and eventual disassociation is difficult and costly. It steps on toes and it creates uncomfortable, awkward situations and relationships in our very own home towns. Bottom line, it’s much easier to overlook Pharisees than it is to deal with them biblically. Jesus never chases them or pleads with them to follow. He just spoke the truth and answered them with questions revealing their heart issues. Sorry I’m rambling…

      • Right on. I just read something last night about Jonathan Edwards. He took over as pastor of a rather large church in New England after his grandfather died while filling that role. Warren Wiersbe wrote that Jonathan was eventually let go by the church because he wanted accountability. They had been letting people take communion and become members of the church even though they admitted to not following Jesus as Savior.

        Wiersbe finished the chapter by pointing out that those churches in New England, even way back in the early 1700s, were the beginning of liberal churches that have no accountability and no spiritual vitality as a result. So, Lori, you’re right in line with Jonathan Edwards and Warren Wiersbe on this one (and me too)!

  2. Actually this is one of the most inaccurate statements I have read in a while. Wasn’t it Paul who said “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”, doesn’t that make us ALL sinners, so if we are in Church surely Church is full of sinners, or as some would have it imperfect saints?

  3. That’s the crux of the issue: no accountability. I could share story after story of how people who have no owning of their own sin have injured, divided, and wrecklessly destroyed numerous bodies of believers who do own their sin. This is to be expected, given Our Lord’s warnings, however, when leadership does not deal with ones such as these bibilically, their yeast will spoil the purity and honor of the church faster than you can say, “There’s no honor among thieves.” No one is perfect and no one is without sin. But those who refuse to own their sin end up owning their sin forever. Those who do own their sin have a Savior who has already removed it from them. Pride goeth before a fall.

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