Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Who’s Coming to Your Church?
Tim Keller in his book The Prodigal God says that about a year into planting Redeemer Church in New York City someone asked him who was coming to his church? He said, it was about one third non-believers, one third believers and one third “recovering believers.” (Prodigal God, p. 68)
As I reflected on that I realized that God is bringing many of the same kinds of people to Journey. People who are believers, non-believers and what Tim Keller calls “recovering believers.” Using the story of the prodigal son he describes “recovering believers” as the “younger brothers” who had been hurt and offended by the self-righteous “older brothers.”
Amazingly the “older brothers in this story are a picture of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law that were in the audience on the day that Jesus taught this parable, Luke 15:1. They were as lost as the tax collectors and sinners who were depicted by the “younger brother.” Sadly they were even more lost, because they were blinded or deceived and thus unable to see their true condition.
Tim Keller goes on to say, “elder brothers divide the world in two “The good people, like us are in and the bad people who are the real problem with the world are out. But Jesus says: “The humble are in and the proud are out. Luke 18:14. The people who confess they aren’t particularly good or open-minded are moving toward God, because the prerequisite for receiving the grace of God is to know you need it. The people who think they are just fine, thank you, are moving away from God.”
In the end the question is which brother are you? Both of them were lost and both of them needed Jesus. And both were invited by the Father to fellowship with him but sadly only the “younger brother” the one who realized his lostness accepted the Father’s invitation. The older brother, though invited by the Father, “became angry and refused to go in.” Don’t let your pride keep you from coming to Jesus.