Summary: The church can become just another club – an elite society that has all the right externals but has forgotten what its true purpose is. Principles taken from the call of Levi (Matt).

A Study of the Book of Luke

Sermon # 10


Luke 5:27-39

“It was a beautiful Sunday morning. People were filling the church to its fullest capacity. As they entered, each were given a bulletin filled with announcements, topic of today’s sermon, what songs they would sing and who to pray for. At the end of the line stood an older man. His clothes were filthy and you could tell that he had not bathed in days. His face was covered in whiskers where he had not shaved for a very long time.

When he reached the usher, he removed his tattered old brown hat in respect. His hair was long, dirty and tangled mess. He had no shoes on his feet, and wore only soiled, black socks.

The usher put his fingers to his nose and glared at the old man and said, ‘Uh. I’m sorry sir, but I’m afraid we can’t let you in. You will distract the congregation and we don’t allow anyone to disrupt our service. I’m afraid you’ll have to leave.’

The old man looked down at himself and with a puzzled look on his face, he placed his old brown hat back on his head and turned to leave. He was sad as he loved to hear the choir sing praises to the Lord. He loved to watch the little children get up in the front of the church to sing their little songs. He carried in his pocket a small worn out Bible and love to see if the minister preached a passage from the Bible that the old man had underlined. He was respectful enough and didn’t want to cause any commotion, so he hung down his head and walked back down the steps of the big brick church. He sat down on the brick wall near the edge of the church yare and strained to listen through the closed doors and windows to the singing going on in the church. Oh how he wished he could be inside with all the others. A few minutes had passed by when all of a sudden a younger man came up behind him and sat down near him. He asked the old man what he was doing2.

He answered, ‘I was going to go to church today, but they thought I was filthy and my clothes are old and worn and they were afraid I would disrupt their service. Sorry I didn’t introduce myself. My name is George.

The two gentlemen shook hands and George couldn’t help but notice that this man had long hair like his. He wore a piece of cloth draped over his body tied with a royal purple sash. He had sandals on his feet, now covered with dust and dirt.

The stranger reached to touch George’s shoulder and said, ‘Hello, George, don’t feel bad because they would not let you in. My name is Jesus and I’ve been trying to get into this same church for years, and they won’t let me in either. “ {Source Unknown.]

It is possible to get so busy doing churchy things that we forget our purpose for existence. The church can become just another club – an elite society that has all the right externals but has forgotten what its true purpose is. In the eighteenth century the Church of England had become so elitist and inhospitable to the common man that in 1739 John Wesley had to take to the graveyards and fields in order to preach the gospel.

Yet Jesus met unbelievers where they were. He realized what many Christians today never seem to. According to one count, the gospel records 132 contacts that Jesus had with people. Six were in the Temple, four in the synagogue and 122 were out with people in the mainstream of life. [J.K. Johnston. Why Christians Sin. (Discovery House, 1992) p. 142]

“…Christians … sometimes become adept at maintaining a façade of spirituality that does not necessarily match what is going on within them. No one swears [at least publicly]. Everyone is well-mannered. Biblical metaphors effortlessly flow through conversations. Being good, externally, becomes second nature. Everyone seems so “together.” There are few evident needs, and those that do exist are skillfully disguised. But underneath…

It is too easy for Christian believers to forget that they are sinners- yes forgiven, but still, in themselves, weak and vulnerable. Church becomes an elite club that few on the outside want to join even if the could.

The radical regenerating work of Christ sours when redeemed people lose sight of their continuing need – when they forget that though their eternal future is secure, in their daily walk they are frail and needy. The church can easily become a self-righteous subculture with no room or sympathy for “sinners.”[R. Kent Hughes. Luke: That You May Know the Truth. Volume one. (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1998) p. 182]

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