"Why do you seek the living among the dead?" Luke 24:5
Two angelic messengers asked this powerful question to those fearful women who had made their way to the tomb on Sunday morning in order to insure that Jesus had a more proper burial. But the One they believed needed appropriate spices added to his grave clothes had already walked out of His borrowed tomb. The sting of death had been swallowed up in victory, and His glorious gospel was about to embark on a global tour that continues to change our world!
I remember several years ago, while traveling in itinerant ministry, how the Lord led me to only speak on the subjects of biblical revival, lifestyle repentance, personal brokenness, and the need to be emptied of self and filled with the Spirit. As I was obedient to what I believed was His will, I noticed how few church members wanted to hear these truths. Although God gave me great liberty and fresh anointing to preach His word, the responses during these meetings were always the same: personal indifference and corporate unconcern.
Knowing that I was doing what He required of me, I began asking for a demonstration of His mighty power at work in and among His people. There were times when I wept at how callous the hearts of church members were to God's truth. Easter season was approaching at this time, and I was re-reading the gospel accounts of this most blessed event, when I saw Luke 24:5 in a whole different light. As I had been burdened to pray for a work among God's people, desiring to see church members repent of their sin and renew their love for Jesus in order to experience abundant life in His grace, God seemed to ask me, "Charles, why do you seek the living among the dead?" In other words, why are you looking for a demonstration of the abiding life of Christ in those people who might be considered religious, and who proudly wear a Baptist label, yet are spiritually dead?
Alarming statistics are once again moving me when I read that we have some 15 million Southern Baptists on our church rolls, but on any given Sunday only about 5 million will be actively involved in the life of their church. This means that only about 30-35% of members actually attend, while the other 65-70% rarely see the need for worship, fellowship and discipleship. Even more heart breaking is the fact that our church is very much average in this statistical scenario. We have 463 total members, yet can only expect to have some 150 in attendance on Sunday mornings, even less on Sunday and Wednesday nights. Now I understand that some certainly have legitimate reasons for non-participation, but this would only represent a very small minority. Most are absent because of illegitimate excuses! They are not enthusiastically involved in the life of the church because they don't want to be. Which reminds me of another verse: "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that they were not of us." 1 John 2:19
Has agreed to allow Job2ten to pass along some of his words of wisdom. Be sure to go visit his blog to get to see all his content.