Breaking the church growth rules, the Bible works once again!
How would the seeker-sensitive, church growth experts and the leaders of the emergent church movement answer this question:
What passages would you not preach on when you have the most first time guests at your church?
Certainly, on that short list would be Revelation 17—The Great Whore of Babylon! Save that one for much later.
Staying in his series on prophecy, Pastor Chappell preached this week on “The False Church or the True Saviour.” His message to a room of first time guests was from Revelation 17—the coming one world church. As we prayed before the service, we even marvelled a bit that the Lord would lead him to such a weighty approach to the gospel on this day.
I learned three lessons from Pastor Chappell’s message at this week’s Open House Sunday:
1. The Holy Spirit Must Be Obeyed—weeks before the first guest was invited to Open House, Pastor Chappell felt the Lord leading him to this passage and this topic for his gospel message on Open House Sunday. I love being a part of a church where the Holy Spirit’s agenda comes first. The Holy Spirit always trumps surveys, statistics, church growth experts, and human logic.
2. People Need Truth, Not Merely Wit—As the message unfolded, the first two points were literally about mystery Babylon. Amazing! Dr. Chappell did a great job of explaining and teaching through the text, and the crowd was listening intently and following their notes carefully. Sure he could have kept it light and pithy—but people were responsive to the preached truth.
3. Hard Truth Can Be Preached with Love—the tone of the whole message was positive and compassionate. The final point was simply—The Invitation of the True Saviour! While the first two points set up a dire picture of one-world compromise and deception (the wide road that leads to destruction), the final point shared the one way of salvation (the narrow path.)
The aisles were backed up with people responding to the gospel during the closing invitation. It was a great lesson and reminder that God’s ways are not our ways! He still does His best work when we step out of the way and let Him be God.