Summary: Followers: Some Staying; Some Leaving
Lesson 11 of the Follow Me Series
Followers: Some Staying; Some Leaving
Grady (Doc) Henley
1 Tim 3:14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
1 Tim 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
It is Sunday morning. You pull into the church parking lot, looking for a place to park, hoping that whoever parks beside you does not scratch your car with their car door. You survey the familiar sights and see that Bro. and Sis. Haven’t-Got-A-Clue are here along with their two sons, Nabal and Diotrephes, of whom you wonder which one will be the first to do jail time.
Over there in the same corner where they have parked, ere these many years, is Sis. Know-It-All and Bro. I-Told-You-So, two self-righteous pillars within the local assembly. As you watch them strut across the parking lot, you honestly believe you are seeing those scriptures in Matthew come to life where the Lord said Mat 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Mat 23:28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Seeing two vehicles you do not recognize, you think: “Ahhhh! Looks like we might have a couple of visiting families! That is good. We need some new blood around here.”
Gathering your family you proceed to enter the building and you note that the preacher’s wife has a new dress. “Hmmmm! That color on her does not go with her hair!” You consider saying how nice she looks, but you don’t want to lie. After all, some things are better left unsaid.
You take your children to their Sunday school classes and command them to get a drink of water and go to the restroom, BEFORE church starts, and if they embarrass you, they will live to regret it!
The general congregation has begun to assemble. Friends are chatting. Teens are trying to out talk the other. Evidently, their minds are racing faster than their tongues, for instead of speaking in semi-proper English, all you hear as you make your way to your favorite seat and find that the visitors are in YOUR PEW, are the words in the background of the future leaders of the church saying: “And then she goes, she goes, she goes!” and you are wondering where she went and what they are teaching in school these days!
Finding a less than favorable pew, you somehow feel out of place because you are not in your usual seat. Looking over at the visitors you give them your best ‘instamatic Polaroid smile’ and you are just about to go and welcome then when your best friend comes up to you and whispers in your ear, “Pssst! I need to tell you something! Come here!”
The first thoughts in your mind are: “Now what is it that I said and to whom or if my child was involved I will beat them within an inch of eternity!”
Pulling you to one side your best friend begins to fill you in on the latest happenings and the conversation goes something like this:
“Did you hear that the ___________ have left the church?”
“No! What happened?"
“I am not sure. I was told by someone in the know that…”
Has this ever happened to you? If you have been in church any time at all, you will say yes. You come to church, thinking that all things will be as they were, and lo and behold, you find that one of the steadfast and dependable church families have left.
What happened? Did someone offend them? Was church discipline about to be ministered? Did they move? Where they mad? A hundred questions race through your mind and you do not know whom to ask without sounding like a busy body to find satisfactory answers to the questions flooding your mind. Those who know are not talking.
When a situation as described above happens, how many times do we think the worst about that family? When someone leaves, those remaining behind, experience loss and often hurt. The same can be said for the departing family.
As you sit there waiting for the services to start, you search the deep recesses of you mind, trying to recall as many church services as possible to determine if something was said or done that would cause them or other families to leave. The church is growing. Souls are being saved and baptized, offerings are up, and now this!