ReThinking Church, Part 6 – God Uses the Wrong People

As we continue investigating the New Testament model of ‘church,’ the next thing which stands out is how the Lord uses all the ‘wrong people.’ Of course, I say this tongue in cheek as only the Lord can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. However, when we compare the members of the early church to the our middle and upper class fellowships, we see a stark contrast.

We leaders hate to admit it…but we target the ‘money people.’ They can fund our projects, support our needs and put our church finances at ease as they immediately come with a dividend. This stings, but time and time again I have seen fellow Pastors ‘suck up’ to those in the community who have financial success, while ignoring and even standing aloof from those who were in real need. To appease our conscience we send outreach into the poor neighborhoods and projects, but we dare not have these poor little unkept families come and smudge up our nice rooms and sanctuary. So we use a place out side our facilities to minister to them. God help us! We are hypocrites.

Therefore, we have the middle and upper class snobbery and statistics show a steady decline of membership among mainline churches over the past couple of decades. The NT church had the lowly, the poor, the outcasts and they turned the world upside down with the gospel. They shook the Roman Empire in a matter of 30 years! What’s the difference between them and our modern church age?

They genuinely offered the gospel to all men… not just the socially desirable ones. Our failure to do the same reveals our lack of understanding what the gospel is. All men fell in Adam. (Rom.5:12,18) All have sinned and come short of God’s glory. (Rom.3:23) God is not willing that any would perish but that all would repent. (2Pet.3:9) God wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. (1Tim.2:4) Therefore, we are to proclaim the gospel and reach out to all. (Matt.28:19, Mk.16:15, Lk.24:47)

What did the NT church get for proclaiming the gospel to all? They got all the wrong people.

The Down and Outers: Outcasts of society who needed salvation.

  • Murderer and Blasphemer – Paul (1Tim.1:13, 1Cor.15:9, Acts 8:1, Acts 9:1)
  • Fornicators – Cretans (Tit.3:3, 1Cor.6:18)
  • Incestuous – Corinthians (1Cor.5:1)
  • Liars – Cretans (Tit.1:12)
  • Drunkards – Corinthians (1Cor.11:21)
  • Idolaters – Corinthians (1Cor.6:9)
  • Foolish – Cretans (Tit.3:3)
  • Adulterers – Corinthians (1Cor.6:9)
  • Effeminate – Corinthians (1Cor.6:9)
  • Envious – Cretans (Tit.3:3)
  • Lustful – Cretans, Corinthians (Tit.3;3) 
  • Haters – Cretans (Tit.3:3)
  • Slaves – Onesimus (Phil.16)

The Up and Outers: The respected of society who also needed salvation.

  • Privileged and Religious – Paul, he is on both lists. (Phil.3:5-6)
  • Roman Soldiers – (Phil.4:22 – “Caesar’s Household”)
  • Doctors – Luke (Col.4:14)
  • Merchants – Lydia (Acts 16:14)
  • Lawyers – Zenas (Tit. 3:13)
  • Business Families – Aquila, Priscilla (Acts 18:2-3)
  • Chamberlains (City Treasurer) – Erastus (Rom.16:23)

We need the ‘wrong people’ in our churches again. Those who have been forgiven much will love much (Lk. 7:47) and move out to others with a passion and desire to see their friends and family come to Christ. Let us look around in our churches…do you see any down and outers? Any up and outers? Or just middle class lukewarmers? All men, regardless of social class need the new birth in Christ…not just the ones which make us look good.

Let us go out to ALL and compel them to come to God’s marvelous supper of truth, repentance, forgiveness and life. (Lk. 14:15-24) God has always used the wrong people. After all, He uses you and me!

Related topics:
ReThinking Church Series
Can I know I’m Saved for Sure?
Mississippi Burning – Not Any More!

6 thoughts on “ReThinking Church, Part 6 – God Uses the Wrong People

  1. (via FB)

    Cindy E. Robinson wrote:
    Amen! I’m there….and I thank God every day the forgiveness that only comes from the acceptance of Jesus as my Christ, Lord, and Savior.

    Dewayne Buckman wrote:
    Nice blog – seen so much of that through the years. Really turned me off from many “churches” so to speak.

    Terry Ivy wrote:
    Dewayne, You, me and multitudes of others have experienced the ‘turn off’ due to hypocrisy. Gandhi (a Hindu) said, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” Of course, he didn’t really like Christ or he would have surrendered to Jesus for redemption for his sins, but I’m making a point. The greatest hurdle for many (myself included) from coming to Christ is the lukewarm, worldly, hypocritical and phony lifestyles of those claiming to be Christians. “Christian” means to “be like Christ.” I want to be more like Him and give those searching for truth a place they can go and find answers…the answers that only Jesus and Scriptures can give. Billy Graham once preached that 80% of those claiming to be Christians are not genuinely saved. I think he is correct on this and that means there are grave warnings needed to be given to those who take a flippant attitude toward Truth, Grace and biblical Holiness. Let us offer the difference between the genuine and the false, the humble and the arrogant, the surrendered and the self-centered. And I pray…Lord, begin with me!

  2. Great post brother. A story to illustrate your point.

    One year in my church planting class, one of the students really took hold of this vision. He began to go out on the streets and love people and preach the gospel. Within a very short time, dozens of people were following him to church, where they were coming forward and laying guns and drugs on the communion table, confessing Christ and leaving behind a life of prostitution, drugs, alcohol, abuse, thievery. As he the weeks of the class went by, he told me the stories and i rejoiced with him.

    Then he told me “the rest of the story.” The pastors and deacons of the church told him that they were “uncomfortable” with the type of people that he was bringing to the church! Basically the message was that he needed to “clean them up” before they came to Sunday worship.

    Instead of rejoicing in the converted and transforming lives in their midst, instead of celebrating the power of the gospel, instead of giving glory to God for giving the grace that led to repentance, they confronted the servant of Christ for his audacity in bringing “the unwashed” to church!

    Sad. Grievously, shamefully sad.

    1. Oh Marty, that is shamefully sad indeed. A demonstration which clearly reveals that the pastors and deacons do not understand the gospel. I pray this former student is still fervently sharing Jesus.

  3. American Christians wake up on Sunday morning in their beautiful homes,put on their best clothes and drive across town in their expensive car. Along the way they pass up the sick,the lonely,the poor and homeless,widowed,orphaned,addicted,abused and hurting people on their way to “worship” God…

    Forgive us indeed!

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