I am enjoying reading David Murray’s The Happy Christian. I blogged from an early section here, but let me ponder another of David’s very helpful lists. What are the hindrances that prevent people in our churches from enjoying the fullness of “the Gospel of done”? These five hindrances get in the way of people in your church, and they probably get in your way too. Let’s pray about them for ourselves and preach to help people become aware of them too.
1. Accusing Conscience – The inner prosecutor can be most vehement! If we don’t confront this with the gospel, then we will be forever bound in a cycle of new resolutions and personal determinations. And guilt. Shame. Remorse. But the good news is that it is finished! And this is a cry our souls need to hear, and our churches need to ring with it lest the inner prosecutor crush the life of the Gospel.
2. A Demanding Church – This is one we definitely can influence through our preaching – but it won’t be easy. Traditionally people have heard “Duty, duty, duty,” as the main message, or perhaps “Disobedience, disobedience, disobedience.” Preaching in many churches is a never ending to do list. There is a place for clarification of what it will look like to have the Gospel working in a life, but let’s make sure we preach the Gospel so that it can work in lives!
3. Work-for-Wages Culture – We live in a culture that promotes a simply concept: work leads to reward. There is a strong case for a Christian work ethic in the Bible and we can make a case for its historical influence. But there is also a strong case for the Gospel to be a radically counter-cultural message, a counter-fallenness message that goes against the notion that we can make a name for ourselves and be somebody by our own efforts.
4. Unbelief – Murray points his reader to the ten most disbelieved letters in the Bible. What are they? N . . . O . . . T . . . O . . . F . . . W . . . O . . . R . . . K . . . S Our churches are full of people who still assume that we have to do our best and live like it. Read the Bible until you purge your own soul of this disease and then preach the truth loud and clear!
5. Christian Failure – Some of us are convinced that God let’s us in based on His Done, but we don’t believe we stay in by His Done. Too many churches preach the Gospel to unbelievers and an anti-Gospel to believers.
If you have read, or are reading The Happy Christian, what are you finding most helpful?