Forgotten Word Ministries
By Paul Proctor
March 26, 2004
Driving across town the other day, I passed by a church that always displays an inspirational message on their sign out front. Such messages are very common these days and often quite thought provoking. The one I saw most recently had me thinking all the way home.
It read: "Churches are hospitals for sinners, not museums for saints."
How sad and true, I thought to myself. Churches have become hospitals for sinners, haven't they? They used to be spiritual fortresses built in enemy territory where soldiers for Christ were recruited, trained and equipped for doing battle against sin and evil in society with open bibles, convicted hearts and committed lives.
Today, they're largely filled with bedridden believers who pass the time in and out small group therapy, languishing over their ills and misfortunes – forever discussing their aches and pains with anyone who'll listen – lying around moaning and groaning about daily discomforts, inconveniences and "felt needs" while being coddled and cried over by other patients waiting for their turn to be coddled and cried over – each looking at the clock and growing increasingly impatient that their pastor/physician has yet to make his appointed rounds, hold their hand and tell them what a wonderful and courageous patient they've been.
You see, the last thing they want to hear him say is: "Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way…" because their hospital has become, for the most part, an eternal resting place and refuge from responsibility.
In Ephesians 6:11, Paul tells us to "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
Notice he didn't say: "Put on your hospital gown, lie down and wait quietly for your pastor to come by with his prognosis."
Unfortunately, many of us have been convinced by our seeker sensitive friends that struggling through the Christian life means shuffling up and down the hallways of our hospital from treatment to treatment, shaking hands and exchanging sympathies and smiles with others we pass along the way. These patient's greatest fear is separation from their lunch trays, bedpans and heart monitors and being sent back out onto the battlefield to face real opposition. If we could hear their thoughts, I’m sure they might sound something like:
"It's dangerous out there and we're just not up to it yet! Besides, we have our health, finances, self-esteem and social status to think of."
No, lets just raise more money, add on another wing and bring in more beds and TVs because the need is great and the world is a perilous place. And, let's remember: A full hospital is a happy hospital! We're much better off investing our time in learning how to get along with the enemy, keep the peace and avoid confrontation. Let's try to keep it positive, shall we, even if it means hiding the truth about sin and Hell. Because taking a public stand against unbiblical things in today's world might offend somebody and hurt our overall standing in the community, which of course, would be hard on the numbers and cost us valuable prospects. And, after all, we DO want our lovely hospital to continue growing and prospering in the community, don't we? So, let's make sure no one confuses it with a mighty fortress where, Heaven forbid, saints are seen bearing armor and swords and preparing for war.
That just wouldn't be very Christian, now would it?
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…" – Ephesians 6:12-17