Summary: This sermon is about the way we as Christians sometimes act just like the rest of the world despite who we claim to follow
The Simpsons Go To Church
According to a recent Neilsen’s Rating Poll, it is the number one watched show among young people between the ages of 13 and 25. The same poll shows that it is also cthe most hated show of their parents. It has been called “A Modern Masterpiece,” “Great Family Fun,” and “A Perfect Satire of Family Life.” It’s also been called “Irreverent,” “Socially Unacceptable,” and “A Mockery of Christianity and All It Stands For.” I’m not talking about Desperate Housewives, Survivor, Dawson’s Creek, CSI, or even MTV’s Road Rules. Surprisingly the show I’m talking about is a cartoon that is aired multiple times each day and too many times to count throughout the week. It’s called The Simpsons and I’m sure most of you have passed by it while channel surfing for something worth watching. Unfortunately, a sad reality is this show is teaching a new generation the lessons of life.
The days of Leave It To Beaver, My Three Sons, and Little House on the Prairie have come to an end. Worse still, even if those shows were still being produced today no one would watch them.
According to Dr. Anna Swern, a noted Sociologist studying early childhood development, an odd change has overcome the American people in the last 50 years. She says that “By the age of 11 an American child is able to tell the difference between right and wrong, recognize themes on television and in movies, and put those ideas into their view of the world.” By the age of eleven.
I don’t know about you, but at the age of eleven I was still playing games of hide- and-go-seek and kick-the-can. I wasn’t aware of the world around me. Or at least I doubt I was as aware as children today have become. There were forts to be built and trees to be climbed. Unfortunately those days are over.
Now I have to worry about the world. My children have to worry about the world. And like a number of people we look to the church for the answer. But the answer is no longer there.
The message I have for you today isn’t a happy one. Many will leave here with a bit of dread filling their heart. I’m not here to give you warm fuzzies. This message does not 26 "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. come lightly. It has come with prayer, worry, reading, and tears. I face a crisis. In fact the church faces a crisis like none it has faced before.
I’d like you to turn in your Bibles with me to James chapter one. If you’re using a pew Bible you’ll find it on page 1072. Beginning with verse 21.
21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
So often I feel we as Christians are missing something these days. We come to church wanting to feel good about ourselves when we walk out the door. We want to believe that God loves us. We want to know that our happy world is still shiny and untarnished.
But it isn’t. We live in a world that is full of sin and corruption. And it carries over into the church because of our very nature. We come through the doors with our worldviews; with our idea of how the world should be. Then we look around and realize the church around us is dying. It’s not that the members are getting older. There are just less people.