Maybe the first lies we were ever told were told to us by our well-intentioned parents. Did you ever hear these untruths from your parents?
- “Don’t make that face; your face will freeze that way.”
- “Don’t crack your knuckles; it will give you arthritis.”
- “Put your hat on or you’ll catch a cold.”
While there was no intention to harm, the above examples are things we’ve all heard, but just aren’t true.
Likewise, there are some well-intentioned lies sometimes told, believed, and perpetuated by Christians. Consider the following:
- If you’re growing, you must be doing something right. I’ve heard well-meaning brethren suggest this over and over again. When a church is growing, Christians will look on and say something like, “I don’t know what they’re doing, but they must be doing something right.” While I hope that’s true, it may not be. In fact, numerical growth could just as well be the result of doing something wrong! I can think of dozens of extra-biblical activities and doctrines we could promote that would inflate our numbers. Numeric growth or the lack thereof has nothing to do with God’s favor being upon a church. Remember Noah? He found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Gen. 6:8), but how much numeric growth did he experience? Does the lack of growth mean he was doing something wrong? Or what about the great crowd who cried out for two hours saying “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” (Acts 19:34). Did the community impact of that mob of people mean that they were doing something right? Surely you see that growth or the lack there of is not the determiner of whether a church is doing something right or something wrong. Faithfulness to God and his word is a sign of doing something right, not growth!
- If you’re not growing, it’s because people are hard-hearted. While that may be the “easy” thing to believe, it’s frequently not the truth. You can’t always blame the lack of growth on the condition of the soil. However, the real reason may be that no one is scattering and watering the seed! One may say evangelism is a priority, but is it the truth? When’s the last time you studied the Bible with a friend or neighbor outside the assembly? I’m afraid we’ve convinced ourselves that being a “good example” and calling it “evangelism” is sufficient. However, if that is what we’re practicing and calling it evangelism, then answer this, “How many times in the course of a year has someone come to Jesus because of your “good example?” (or five years for that matter?) You see, if that’s our method of evangelism, it’s not very effective, and it certainly doesn’t demonstrate the urgency evangelism demands! I’m not discounting the need to be a good example, but I am saying that our good examples need to be coupled with teaching about Jesus! And if we’re not doing that, then I think I discovered the root of the problem, and it’s not the “soil,” it’s the one “scattering the seed.”
Friends, let’s be sure that we don’t believe or perpetuate lies. Give it some thought.