I am far less concerned about “keeping hypocrites out of the church” than I am “keeping the church itself from being hypocritical!” It can be “hard”, even for a Church, to actually put the teachings of Jesus Christ into action! It’s so easy to “preach” one thing and “do” another.
- It’s easy (and common) to preach about being generous– and then be stingy in the “business” of the church! (Why do you think businesses dread working with churches?)
- It’s easy to preach about serving others, especially those who can’t “help” you in any way- and then only “serve” those in the community that might potentially support or attend the church.
- It’s easy to preach that it’s not enough to pay just “pay your bills”, that members should give God the first of everything-and then as a church, only “meet the church budget” and “pay the bills” without giving to others in our community and world!
- It’s easy to preach about “walking by faith and not by sight”- and then refuse to “make a move” as a church without the approval of “feasibility committees“, “planning committees”, “suck-the-joy-out-of-living committees” and a majority vote of the congregation…
- It’s easy to preach and teach “the word”- and still not obey the teachings of Jesus.
- And finally, it’s easy to encourage everyone to be loving and kind to everyone…even their “enemies”- and then not show love to the “enemies” of the church…
God help us as church “body” to actually “live” what we teach. Help us to do the “hard” , “messy” things of faith, and not give in to the “easy” way of religiosity and legalism. amen