My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? James 2:1 (NLT)

A poignant scene in the Jesus Revolution Movie was when Chuck Smith (portrayed by Kelsey Grammar) was at the church’s front door, washing the feet of the hippies who had come. Earlier, his elders had issued him an ultimatum. They did not want to see “this kind” in their comfortable little church. Chuck Smith stood his ground and said this to those who had come:

“This place, it is yours. I don’t care if anybody else thinks so. If you feel like you are an outcast, then join us here. If you feel like you’re misunderstood and judged, if you feel ashamed or trapped in something you have done or are doing. You will find forgiveness and freedom right here…”

We would like to think that the leadership of this church and their reaction to having “their church” invaded by people for which they had no love and compassion was an anomaly. However, I think that we all know better. Sadly, this scenario has been repeated in many places, denominational and nondenominational alike.

This movie moved me to tears at times, and it only strengthened my desire to see a move of God in my life and my church. God alone can bring about revival, but we can prepare our hearts to anticipate a new Jesus Revolution or whatever he pleases to do among us. Or we can be resistant, satisfied with where we are, and miss out on what God wants to do in our day.

Getting Out of Our Comfort Zone

I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:33 (NLT)

How many Christians have left churches because they didn’t like change? More than a few, I suspect. It is understandable if we go because of false teaching or immorality in leadership. But to leave, or to emotionally withdraw, because styles of music, or even fashion, will, in my estimation, be judged by God someday.

Everything eventually changes, except God’s word. The fact that things change can be a painful reminder that we are growing older. We forget that, in many cases, the music we liked and the fashions we wore were not always met with approval by our parents. We are afraid that we will no longer be relevant, but we forget that it is not about us. It is about Jesus. It is about seeing as many people as possible being reconciled to God.

The songs that I sing in the shower, or the car, maybe from a bygone era, but when I am in the church, I will set an example by being enthusiastic in worship. No one can stop me from singing hymns when I am alone, and no one can stop me from praising God and rejoicing when the latest contemporary music is played. If Paul and Silas can sing in prison, should anything stop us from praising God?

The Main Thing

I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 1 Corinthians 9:23 (NIV)

Stephen Covey, the author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, coined the phrase, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Its message is timeless – keeping your focus and efforts on the most important goals will help you accomplish them.

In Christ, we have freedom. Paul wrote: “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:23–24 (NIV). The main thing is bringing people to Jesus.

In the movie, it was clear that the church was not growing, but the elders seemed less concerned about that than they were about keeping things “respectable.” The main thing is doing what Christ commanded us to do: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19–20 (NIV)

Our personal preferences must always come secondary to the mission and Jesus. John the Baptist understood this truth. John received acclaim and success, but ultimately, he said: He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. John 3:30 (NLT)

Jesus and Torn Jeans

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:2 (NLT)

What bothers us about church? We are missing the point if we are more concerned about what people are wearing or the music volume than we are about whether people are getting saved. A church may be large or small, but if new people are not being introduced to Jesus, none of our other concerns matter.

It is never about doing everything right. We all make mistakes. It is about keeping “the main thing, the main thing.” If the sight of torn jeans on the platform bothers us more than an absence of salvations, we need a heart adjustment. Fashions and styles will come and go, but our mission is still the same.

Finally, let’s talk about voluntary slavery. We know that Paul often referred to himself as a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. But what about being a slave to everyone? Does it sound ridiculous? Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 1 Corinthians 9:19 (NIV).

A slave surrenders his right to complain. What are we willing to do to “win as many as possible?” Lord Jesus, visit us with a fresh outpouring of revival. It’s all about you.

Steve Ekeroth

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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