Summary: Some people get excited about Jesus at Christmas or other special occasions, but He is much more than a holiday.
Jesus is Not A Holiday December 27, 2007
(For Better or Worse: I died at church!)
1 Cor. 11:17 (NLT) But now when I mention this next issue, I cannot praise you. For it sounds as if more harm than good is done when you meet together.
Do you think it is possible that church can do more harm than good? Can we be worse off than before we came? You might think your church has problems. At this particular church, people were dying after communion. That would be a huge lawsuit today!
Can church make you sick? Could you die from going to church? Can you imagine standing in heaven (or hell) and someone asks, “How did you get here?” and your answer was “I died at church.” Imagine a church ad that said, “Come die at our church.”
This is not a laughing matter in the days we live in. People have been killed at church. People have died at church, some for their faith in Christ. But in the Corinthian church, people were dying for other reasons. There were no guns, there were no terrorist attacks, and there was not a civil war. People were dying for the wrong motives in worship.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary says, ”In fact an experience meant to build up the church was actually having the opposite effect: your meetings do more harm than good.”
The holidays are amazing. People get nice (except at the mall). People remember Jesus. They even ”remember” to go to church. When a family goes to church at Christmas but not the rest of the year, what message have they just taught their children? Jesus is like a holiday. On certain occasions, we use Him to make us feel good all over – just like a warm fire and a cup of coffee.
Matthew Henry wrote, “The ordinances of Christ, if they do not make us better, will be very apt to make us worse; if they do not do our souls good, they do us harm; if they do not melt and mend, they will harden. Corruptions will be confirmed in us, if the proper means do not work a cure of them.”
1 Cor. 11:27 (NLT) So if anyone eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily, that person is guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord.
EXAMINE OURSELVES: HOW DOES THE CHURCH RESPOND?
1 Cor. 11:28 (NLT) That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking from the cup.
The uproar about taking Jesus out of Christmas has an interesting tilt. Some people really get mad that a store calls a tree a holiday tree instead of a Christmas tree. Truthfully, it is a pine tree all year long. Calling a pine tree a Christmas tree probably will not save anyone. But perhaps we think if we can keep Jesus in our holiday, everything will be okay.
But, the opposite may be true: the more we emphasize that Jesus is about a holiday, a tradition, a ceremony, the more some people will accept that as the full extent of their relationship with God. Keeping the tradition of the Christmas story of the birth of Christ is important, but Jesus is more than a store policy. The sin of the Corinthians was treating the Lord’s Supper as a common meal. We do the same thing when we equate Jesus as no more than a Christmas advertisement.
For the church, we attempt to show people the love of Jesus, at least once or twice a year at Christmas or Easter. We go out of our way to bring someone to Christ. Frankly, the frustrating thing is that it rarely happens (at least in my own experience). I have spent hours crafting a message that seems powerful – that would make the hardest sinner repent in sackcloth and ashes. But year after year, no one responds.
Just like the “CE Christians” (“Christmas Easter Christians”) there are those who are part of the church and come to church when they have time and it is convenient and does not interrupt their schedule. Some are on the three week plan (church every three weeks) or three month plan. Again, the question is what message does this send? Jesus is a “holiday” that we celebrate, but you can’t have holidays all of the time. After all, we all have to get back to “reality” (like those “reality” shows do!).
Of course someone says, “Church attendance is not a reflection of my relationship with Jesus.” Take that statement to a judge and jury and see what they say. It is more than circumstantial evidence. It is easy to tell who does the Jesus holiday thing. People can tell who has a deep, abiding relationship with God.