The "Uncomfortable" Position
Timothy L. Dooley
Questions are often asked by the concerned and faithful among us with regard to the state of the church today. Why is the church not growing as it once did? Why are so many Christians falling away? Why is it that a considerable number of preachers, elders, and whole congregations are going off into liberalism? Why is it that some brethren are taking extreme positions and causing so much division?
While talking to a fellow preacher, recently, concerning the things we often see and deal with, I told him that the problem was simple. We, for far too long, have allowed society to influence the church for evil and have failed to be the influence, the city set on a hill, that Jesus told us to be. Matthew 5:14-16 Our conclusion was that in order for the church to move forward it was necessary to go back first – back to the basics; back to the first principles – so that we might be able to go on to maturity.
Is there something, then, we can put our fingers on that would serve as the basis for our resurgence? Is there a central point on which we can focus to achieve our purpose? I was sure that there was. I was sure that, as had gone society and so the church, there had to be a theme. What could it be? Then it hit me. I guess it was something I knew all along, something that faithful preachers, elders, and Christians have said for years. It is not new, but it is a fundamental truth that we seem to have forgotten or simply ignored. I think it was best stated with regard to society by Benjamin Franklin who said, “Anyone who cares about the poor should help them feel uncomfortable in their poverty.” That is it! Those who feel comfortable with being poor will do nothing to change their situation. We have a society that is made to feel comfortable: all have to feel good about themselves. Nobody is allowed to have his or her fragile ego bruised. Sadly, this attitude has permeated the church.
The attitude of so many is that we need “feel good” preaching, dynamic speakers, and we should be made to feel good about ourselves. “Do not make me uncomfortable.” I had a brother tell me once after a morning service, “Boy, you sure have a way of making a guy feel guilty when he does not have anything to be guilty of.” What? A sister once told me, “I feel worse after worship than I did before I got here!” Amazing, is it not?
The ONLY way we are going to get folks to recognize sin in their lives and do something about it is to make them feel uncomfortable in their sin. The only way for the church to grow is to make folks uncomfortable. Why do so few actually come forward at the invitation of Christ? It is because they are comfortable with their lives.
Did Christ make folks uncomfortable with His teaching? Consider the woman at the well (John 4) and the woman taken in adultery (John 8). Were they made to feel uncomfortable? What of those mentioned in John 6:66 who “went back, and walked no more with him”? Were they made to feel uncomfortable? Was Peter uncomfortable when Christ looked upon him? “Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” Luke 22:61. Certainly he was, since the next verse says, “And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (vs. 62).
We have other examples: On the Day of Pentecost those gathered there were “pricked in their heart” (Acts 2:37). In Acts seven, the men were so uncomfortable with Stephen’s preaching that they “were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth” (vs. 54) and then they “cast him out of the city, and stoned him” (vs. 58). Paul made Felix so uncomfortable that he “trembled.” Acts 24:25 Paul made the Corinthians uncomfortable when writing to them. Paul told Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” 2 Timothy 4:2
Friends, this is what we need to do today. Stop making people feel comfortable in their sin and complacent with their lives. Obedience and faithfulness to Christ – not flowers, bunnies, and rainbows – will bring to our hearts “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Be Faithful! -355 Klingler Road, Paulding, Ohio 45879-9274. (419) 399-4761. firstname.lastname@example.org Website - http://www.pauldingcoc.com
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