Come one come all – the real thing
Let me explain a couple of things about Jesus that it seems a lot of us don’t get in our church. Especially in relation to young people.
More important let me build you a picture of the kind of needs or the reality that a lot of young people face
Many young people today don’t have a safe environment to go to after school. A place where its ok to be yourself and a place where they are accepted. Many young people don’t have a loving environment to call home. Home for many young these is actually the last place they wanna go back to. Why? Parents are either fighting or splitting up. Their neighbourhoods are dangerous or the home is dangerous because their parent or parents have some form of addictive or abusive behaviour. The young person wants to believe in themselves but is constantly either being shot down in terms of their dreams or lonely cause no one cares to listen. Life is tough out there and this sad dark scenery I’m painting is the majority.
Christians. Saints. Even you with your mistakes and weaknesses, sins and dirty laundry and all. You’ve got it a lot better most of the time than most. I’ve been to churches in other parts of Joburg and Durban where just 50 meters down the street is a brothel or drug house. The church itself is always full. But less than 10% of the people in the pews and seats are from the streets the church is built on. The truth. I’ve seen it with my eyes. That’s our reality. 90% of the people in our pews and seats, especially young people are IN school and at minimum at least average if not very good schools. They either have access at night to come home, in our churches that is the young people, access to come home in the afternoon or evening to someone who CAN help them with their homework let alone cares. Or worst case scenario are at a school that provides extra lessons or live in a home where their parent(s) can provide the money needed to HIRE a tutor for extra lessons. These are the homes we Christian church goers come home to. Especially our young people.
But WE are NOT the majority. Most kids from grade school and up to 1st year varisty live very different lives from us. Some, in fact, many may come from well to do families who are not Christian and don’t do the whole “god-thing” at all. Many come from homes where their parents have never prayed at the dinner table. Who have parents that have never used the phrase “bless you” unless you sneezed let alone even know what it means.
Come one come all is very simple. Lets focus on 2 scriptures
Matthew 11:15-19Matthew 11:15-19
English: World English Bible - WEB
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15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
16 “But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, 17 and saying:
‘ We played the flute for you,
And you did not dance;
We mourned to you,
And you did not lament.’
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”
Jesus Christ made Himself available to the people who needed Him most. Sinners, needy, poor, sick, the lame, the ignorant and the possessed of demons. Jesus was concerned more about how to minister and who to minister to, rather than what people would say about His ministry. I believe today most of our churches are too concerned about what people will say about us. Individuals are concerned about what people will say to us.
The lost. The ignorant of salvation.
Those who are not close in relationship with Jesus. Those who don’t have loving environments to live in. Those who live in dangerous neighbourhoods. Young people who need examples of success and wisdom. Boys who need to see what real men act talk think dress and behave like. Girls who need to see what real women act, talk behave and carry themselves like. Confused young people. Stressed young people. Abused young people. Beaten battered and bruised young people. Foolish youth who need to learn wisdom lol like I did when I was younger. Kids and young people who arent getting along with their families and parents, need a place where they can hear that that is wrong and how to get out of that cycle and what the benefits are of honouring your father and mother regardless of whether you get along or not. Youth who need to know what love is verses what lust is. Young people who’ve made the mistake of being addicted to substances or addicted to their senses need a place to be exposed to other young folk who are addicted to the presence, the glory, the wisdom, the majesty, the holiness of Christ.
Come one come all means, we don’t care who you are, what you’ve done, where you come from or what you believe. We DON’T believe anything and everything. We DON’T condone and supportive any and all and every doctrine. I mean who in their right mind would even think that from the phrase “come one come all”. The phrase just says come! Its people who are mostly driven by fears who are afraid of simly being welcoming to anyone regardless of race or creeed or gender to come to your house. Fear drives such a person. They are afraid of what these people will bring because they know they arent as solid as they should be. They are afraid of what these people will say because they wont know how to relate. They are afraid of contimination of belief because they arent so sure what they believe in the first place. Harsh. But its true. People who have no story to tell are afraid to listen to people with powerful wrong stories. In other words, people who have no powerful testimony, are afraid to testify in front of people who are mistakenly passionate about the wrong things. We shall not be shaken nor shall we be moved. Should be our motto. But we’re motivated very deeply by fear. Not wisdom or caution. I said fear. I’m not saying GO ANYWHERE and GO AND BE WITH ANYONE. I’m saying anyone who wants to come into the presense and the house of God is welcome to come.
Why? Because I believe that we have something powerful, immovable, unshakable, exciting, eternal, divine, heavenly, full of truth and full of fruit. It has become a sad day, when the deepest sinners are afraid to come to church. Or it is an indictment/ a judgement/ a condemnation on us, if a non-believer cannot come amoung us because he or she feels its the last place they wanna be.
I would rather an aetheist or agnostic come amoung us, skeptical and unbelieving, come amoung us, simply because they are drawn by what we have even if they don’t agree. Why, because the word of God is alive and sharper than any of your inadequacies or inability to quote scripture properly or than any double-edged sword. The best minds in the world of skeptics, should be able to walk into our church and at a minimum be atracted by what they see even if they don’t agree. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is the one who converts, we are CONDUITS. To be afraid of people who seem to know more than you should be an indicator to you that you’re trying to do this Christianity thing in your own strength, forgetting the work of the Holy Spirit which is to convict and convert the soul. Youre job is to be the mouthpiece and the repository of His presence.
Did you know, just by sitting next to you as you worship, a non-believer should walk away with their hearts at a minimum curious about our experience. You didn’t say a thing to them. They should be drawn. Intrigued. Attracted. Curious. Caught by you. I mean we dress up thinking that by our looks alone from across the room someone might be attracted to us so we look our best and yet we disrepect the power and ability of the Holy Spirit to rub off on someone just cause they sit in our building?!
We must be insane. Our minds are sincerely and sadly misguided. We often quench the spirit not knowing it, by our attitudes.
So to conclude, come one come all is not ecumenism nor is it anything goes.
Here is the conclusion. It simply means…anyone can come, because anyone can be converted.
I hope that makes it very clear what that means.
In fact, because Jesus had a habit of meeting people in their point of need and in their current mindset and then setting them free, we are obligated to meet people. Let at least have the home ground advantage and meet people in the sanctuary of God! Lets be the kind of churches where even the “vilest offender” like we sing, can say….”I know this bunch of young people, these MAD people, they don’t care who you are, they love you because they believe in the love of God, maybe we can go there and get some help”. People shouldn’t be afraid to come to our church.
Do you know how wrong that it? How deeply sinful it is, to have created a culture of such apparent exclusivity and separation that the people who need us most are afraid to come. We are like the Jews who have decided that the gentiles are not even allowed in the building, they must worship outside in the outer court. Then! We go and turn the outer court into a marketplace. So that even the greek or the ethiopian, who is truly searching isnt even within EYESHOT of the pulpit let alone earshot. See at least if we let sinners come to our churches but sit outside they might catch a few words. But to bar our gates to “the world” as we are so fond of saying, I tell you the truth we are heaping many coals on our heads. Because its the same thing as hoarding food and locking our gates, not allowing people dying of hunger outside to come in and eat and live. Yet in our comfortable carpeted buildings with nice ornate poews and chairs and wonderful puplits we preach sermons on stewardship and charity and use words like love-offering and sacrifice.
John 13:13-17John 13:13-17
English: World English Bible - WEB
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13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
We are obligated to do what Jesus did.
Come one come all = anyone can come and anyone WILL be converted.
Here’s the kicker though. The more excellent way. The better way. I pray we go to the first level but that we at a minimum aspire to the second. Jesus could GO ANYWHERE and SPEAK TO ANYONE and CONVERT ANYONE.
And He says very clearly “I have gien you an example. You should do as I have done to you”.
And the first thing Jesus did is He went out and found each one of these 12 men, in the lives they were living and places they were at. Lost or not. Good or not. Some fishermen, some thugs and tax collectors, some just regular people. Jesus went anywhere and everywhere.
That’s the greatest example of a person who knows what their faith is about.
All I’m asking as that we at least invite anyone in. And we’re afraid of that! Imagine if I asked you to go with me anywhere. WOW that would cause some real trouble.
This piece was inspired by a conversation with a friend I was discussing Christian youth movements with and I said come one come all should be one of the foundational principles of any evangelistic youth movement and they said and I quote “that’s dangerous, arent you preaching ecumenism, arent you afraid that false doctrines might creep in? You cant do that cause young people might be exposed to dangerous ideas, no brother that’s dangerous!”
Well sufficing to say, whats in the this email, dealt with that response. I did also caution that evangelism is a second or later stage for a youth group that is going through an incubation period of first getting to know Christ for themselves. But they cant fill themselves up forever. We are called to go preaching this gospel to every nation kindred and taking making disciples and baptising in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. You cant do that if you never go out! I’m being nice, I’m teaching them to invite people IN! Im easy. God said GO OUT!
This is a hard teaching. If you are able to receive it.
May God give us all solid faith so we can be disciple-makers and true gospel workers. Anything else, is simply sin.