Sunday, March 10, 2019

Rest in Jesus, Not in the Pew

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, 
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  Romans 12:2

A Canadian blogger, a life-long Seventh Day Adventist, told of  two older people who were brought up in the church, one who was still faithful to the denomination, one who left.  The latter said, We are happy with our decision to leave; we find great blessing in attending the Anglican Church.  The other responded, You are happy belonging to the Anglican Church because it doesn't demand anything of you-- it's a comfortable pew.

The phrase "a comfortable pew" suggests that some people want the benefits of belonging to a church body, but do not want to be inconvenienced with any requirements, any restrictions that might become onerous in any way.

I grew up in a church that imposed rules for living on its membership.  Some of those regulations perhaps more restrictive than even Jesus himself would have asked.  (Or perhaps not:  He asks our all.)  But the point is that in following the guidelines we were reminded that sailing too close to the world entailed the danger of capsizing in the sea of sin and degradation, resulting ultimately in the loss of our souls.

I believe that in its attempt to reach out to the lost the church today in its effort to be "seeker friendly" is in danger of capsizing herself, for we are taught in scripture that we are to come out of the world and be separate from it (2 Corinthians 6:17); to be not conformed to the world but to be transformed (Romans 12:2)

To seek salvation is a good thing.  Jesus himself said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you."  (Matthew 6:33)  This suggests that it is not a comfortable pew we should seek, but rather the Kingdom of heaven and all that that entails.  A comfortable pew does not give spiritual rest, Jesus does.  "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)  It's in The Book.

Besides, Jesus said all who labor, not all who sit in a comfortable pew.


Vee said...

Great sermon. Just today at lunch I was reminding Hubby of the biology lesson about the cold-blooded frog that adapts to every temperature, hence, not noticing that he is in water being heated to the point that he will die. Our discussion related to the loose interpretation of scripture to support a psychological approach to Christian living.

vanilla said...

Vee, the minister this morning hit the watering-down of the message; said the message is hard stuff, yet people were attracted to him. He indicated the church has disguised Jesus to the point that people are sick of the representation we have created.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

No meaningful comments to make. We have gone over to all grace and no truth. Won't work, but few agree.

vanilla said...

Sharkey, too right. Bible says the gate is a tight squeeze and the pathway is narrow. And it says, few will find it.