I truly hope this message will speak to you as it did me.
The great burden that Jesus carried with Him daily was His deep concern for people who have not come to trust in Him for the forgiveness of sin and eternal life.
"Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.'” Matthew 9:36-38 NASB
This problem is still huge today among Jesus' followers. Many attenders but few workers in the work of bringing others to Him for salvation. I read a great book many years ago titled, "What's Gone Wrong With The Harvest," by James Engel and H. Wilbert Norton. In it they say that today's church, and it was written in 1975, has more information, more equipment, more facilities etc. than at any time in church history, yet we are the most inefficient church at the same time. The church today makes 1975 look like the stone age in comparison when it comes to the machinery available to us. Fewer people are won to Christ and discipled today than ever before. They said that this is best illustrated by a harvesting machine that has the very latest in technology yet the cutting blades are missing.
Far too many pastors today are more interested in just having a big crowd than in the spiritual condition of their souls. This is demonstrated by the so-called Feel Good preaching that is so prevalent today, by this I mean, sermons and teaching on topics that never offend the listeners. The Bible mentions this very thing.
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths." (emphasis added) 2 Timothy 4:3-4 NASB
Did you note all the words that indicate self-absorption, ME? Today's catch phrase is, "I gotta do what's best for ME." The result of this kind of teaching is found in a Minor Prophet's words.
"Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord GOD, "When I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the LORD. People will stagger from sea to sea and from north even to the east; they will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, but they will not find it." (emphasis added) Amos 8:11-12 NASB
Why do so many pastors today avoid certain topics of the Word of God? Topics like eternal judgment in the Lake of Fire, accountability before a holy God, heaven, immorality, homosexuality, abortion, judgment, obedience, repentance and the plan of salvation? Some pastors in the so-called church growth movement have convinced them to avoid such subjects because these topics might offend the attenders. You see, this item of being offended is what the Bible teaches as CONVICTION. Without conviction, few sinners are brought to repentance. They have been told that many of these topics are POLITICAL issues and the church should avoid political issues altogether. There is a Greek word for this: BALONEY! It really boils down to possibly not having a big congregation if these things are mentioned. Do you remember what Jesus did when large crowds followed Him? He left the area because He knew that word had spread about His feeding and healing people and they come for this for themselves as well. "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10 His #1 priority!!!
Shouldn't the greatest burden of Jesus be our burden today? Shouldn't churches, pastors and teachers of the Word of God be equipping believers to do the work of an evangelist, leading lost people to the saving knowledge of Jesus, and then to train them in discipleship so that they can reach full maturity? Shouldn't this be the ultimate task of the church today, second only to the pure worship of our glorious God?
PS: For those who think that the early church in America was not political, you need to read the *ELECTION DAY SERMONS published by Liberty Fund. To them political issues were not dirty words but essential to their freedom to live and worship as they saw fit. These folks went to church on election day to hear their pastor speak on the candidates and issues on the ballot and then went to the ballot box to cast their vote based on a biblical world view. Also, look up Pastor Peter Muhlenberg and his role in the Revolutionary War.
*Political Sermons of the Founding Era Liberty Fund (Two Volumes)
In case you were wondering what the results of feel good preaching were...
"If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discernment, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it." ~ Rev. Charles Finney
Charles Finney was the prime instrument in God's hands during the 2nd Great Awakening in America ~ 1790-1840
Olive Leaf Publications
I am joining Stephanie over at The Enchanting Rose for her Roses of Inspiration Linkup Party #6. You can click the highlighted link or her button at the top right of my page.
Blessings & A Cup of Tea to Each of You Dear Ones,