Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

How Did They Do It?

On Sunday mornings, our little church is working on Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church of God (the one called First Corinthians in the New Testament). We are in chapter six…and I found myself wondering how the church in Corinth would market itself to its community. If they took out an add in the Corinthian Column Newspaper what would it say? Would they say, “Come and visit us. Surely you would find one of our small groups to your liking. We have one group that follows Paul…another that follows Peter…one that follows Apollos…and even one that follows Jesus Christ. So come and support your favorite preacher!” Do you think that would get it done? Or maybe they would say, “Welcome to a church that not only accepts sinners but also accepts the kind of sin that even pagans won’t commit!” How would that go over? Perhaps they could print a flyer that would appeal to lawyers…something like this: “Are you an attorney? Come to our church and find plenty of work. Our members are looking for good legal representation as we take one another to court.”
As you read through this letter, you see that the problem-laden church at Corinth, who, Paul said, did not lack any spiritual gift, made it pretty difficult, by their poor behavior, to market themselves in any way to their fellow Corinthians.
Paul puts forward the answer to all their deficiencies Jesus Christ and Him crucified! Corinth would be hard-pressed to put themselves forward. But they were the perfect ones to put forward Jesus Christ and Him crucified. “See!” they could have said, “If Jesus Christ can save us, He can save anyone!” Now, of course, their sincere putting of the crucified Lord forward would have to arise out of sincere hearts that refused to accept the sin in their church. Their vision and their commitment to Jesus Christ and Him crucified would necessitate their swearing themselves to unending conflict with the sins in their own hearts as well as the sins in their church family.
Now…how do you think our churches today should market themselves?

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6 thoughts on “How Did They Do It?

  1. Hmmm…I wonder how many churches today could actually use those ads since such behavior isn’t far from modern-day reality. Sad…there go I, but for the grace of God! Good thoughts, Doug.

  2. Kathy Rand on said:

    On call till 0300, here I sit , on the computer …..ok, I’ll try this one. How’s this………Like To Fish? “Follow Me & I will make you fishers of men”,said Jesus in Matthew 4:19. LABORERS are needed in the Lord’s service ! Interested in meeting people who strive to look to a higher purpose & calling? This church embodies many people who’ve accepted Jesus’ invitation to come & follow Him. He has fortunately chosen “imperfect” people tocarry out His mission & His work! If you fit in that category, we’d love to meet you! Come visit us!

  3. Great thoughts to consider. The bride would not be all that much to look at in this case…except for the fact that she was chosen by the best of all bride grooms. To ever shy away from holding forth the vision of the bride groom as the chief sales pitch is to have, I think, a pretty misguided marketing campaign. Yet we do it all the time, don’t we?

  4. You know I read this (what you said about the Corinth church) and know the trouble we have in the churches today and I wonder how do we ever learn to do it right in the Church of Jesus Christ. We can hardly accept someone who is very different that walks in the church to visit, such as a sinner with all kinds of wordly things they have got into. I could list them but we know what they are. And having the patience to accept them where they are and love them and have patience to let them stay and learn. We just don’t do this very good, maybe some places but we cannot hardly deal with this. We size people up (sinners) and don’t make them feel wanted to even begin to stay to begin the journey to learn about Our God and His Love. And have lots, lots of patience and give them a chance. We do need His Mercy but need to learn to be better at this, so very much better. This would be what would Please God w/his church that Jesus died for and was around all the sinners and tried to work with them. We will ever get this? I wonder.

  5. Kathy Rand on said:

    This is so true Gail. Attitudes & behaviors within a church that are unbecoming of those who profess christianity will stifle its growth. Eph5:1 says we are to “Be imitators of God” as His children. Anything short of that may potentially drive away new members, the occassional visitor & may eventually even discourage established individual members of the church. Eph5:8 says we are to “walk as children of light”,we should be nurturing people who seem interested in what God has to offer. We should not be fault finding, critical & judgemental. Time will reveal whether or not these individuals sincerely desire to be a part of God’s family. We should remember where we all came from,we are all sinners , I John1:8. But, thank Godwe have “The bood of JesusChrist” to cleanse us from all sin I John1:7. In the meantime…we should be excitedfor every opportunity that comes our way, whether it’s an individual struggling within the church or someone who may come to us from the outside. We should “redeem the time”….make the most of every opportunity Eph 5:16,Coloss.4:5

  6. Wayne Hunter on said:

    It’s interesting how Paul did not “pull any punches” in laying out the problems (sins) in the Corinthian church and yet in Romans he explained the doctrine of grace so clearly. In Romans 7 he even layed out his own struggle with weaknesses (sins). There is always going to be that “tension” — that delicate balance — between being clear about what sin is and at the same time being clear that Jesus came to take care of our sin problem by His grace. I think we do not do anyone any favors by sugarcoating sin; but I honestly don’t think that was our problem in years gone by in the church. I think our problem was being afraid of the doctrine of grace. We were afraid that we would somehow be perceived as granting “license” (sadly our mis-guidedness kept a lot of people away). I think it is possible that today the situation is reversed — not so much in conservative religious bodies — but in some groups there is no clarity about what is sin. People are confused — especially young people in the area of sexual sin. I agree with you Doug — if we are really focused on lifting up Christ and being submissive to Him — we will confront our own sin — and in lifting up Christ we will be presenting the antidote. I believe it is entirely possible to do both effectively. Churches that are “recovery based” are very open about the fact that they are fallen people in need of God’s grace. I want to share the grace of God through Christ to everyone — it is much easier to reach someone “broken” by their sin than someone who is “thumbing their nose” at God — angry (I believe) because in their heart of hearts they know they are not being self honest.

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