A Cake Half Turned

Scripture: Hosea 7:8-10, NLT

8“The people of Ephraim mingle with godless foreigners, making themselves as worthless as a half-baked cake!
9 Worshiping foreign gods has sapped their strength, but they don’t even know it. Their hair is gray, but they don’t realize they’re old and weak.
10 Their arrogance testifies against them, yet they don’t return to the LORD their God or even try to find him.
I want to talk to you tonight about a problem that I see in the present day church and I see this problem here at Danville and everywhere I go. We have become, over time, an introverted church. We are preoccupied with our self. We are selfish and we seek our own personal agendas. We are more concerned with our comfort than we are the conversion of the lost. We are more concerned with by-laws than we are God’s law with is to love Him with all our heart and our neighbor as our self.

Once a church becomes so consumed with its own personal interest to the neglect of a lost and hurting world, that church begins to die. That church may continue to meet and have services but for all practical intents and purposes, it is dead.

Let me illustrate: The church has six basic functions–

  1. Worship
  2. Proclamation of the word–bibile study, preaching
  3. Fellowship
  4. Evangelism
  5. Missions
  6. Ministry

We excel in three of these: Worship, Bible Study and Fellowship. We do not do well in Evangelism, Missions and Ministry.

In other words: we do well on the introverted functions. We are good at GATHERING. We attend Sunday services and call that church but really we are only a cake half turned. There is more than gathering for Sunday School, Preaching and then have pot luck after church on Sunday night.

The unfortunate think is that our churches are filled with people who think that Gathering and looking to our own spiritual growth is all there is to church. In reality, it is only one side of church.
Jesus commanded us to GO.
  • Matthew 28:19–Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
  • Luke 9:60–But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead, your duty is to GO and preach about the Kingdom of God.”
  • Luke 10:3–Now GO, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.

The word “Go” is used 85 times in the four gospels and most of those were by Jesus. You can’t spell God without spelling go. But we don’t want to go: we want to sit. The problem with sitting is that we sit, soak and sour unless we do some going.

Lets face the facts, we have become an introverted church, a lazy church: we gather for worship but we don’t scatter to witness. We are a cake half turned. Done on one side and raw on the other.

I’m going to tell two stories to illustrate my point. There is more to church than gathering for Sunday School and worship.

Story One

Thirty four years ago, I came to know a man by the name of Tyler Short but he was anything but short. Tyler stood 6’8″ and weighted over 300 pounds. He was so big that his mother never recovered after his birth and he was raised from pillar to post. After becoming an adult, Tyler got a job working at a steel mill in Bessemer, Alabama. He worked at the mill in the day and was a bouncer at a bar at night. He was an intimidating figure and I can see where he would have made a good bouncer.

Tyler got saved through the Gideon Ministry and began attending a Church of God some where in Bessemer. After six months are so of going to church Sunday morning, night and Wednesday night, he became disenchanted with his new faith. He went to his pastor and confessed. I thought there would be more to Christianity than this; I feel like something is missing. Is there more than just coming to church? The pastor smiled with delight and said “Yes, Tyler, there is much more.” He took him aside and gave him a crash course in evangelism and then told Tyler. You practice in front of the mirror when you shave and then begin sharing with your friends at work.

Tyler practiced on the mirror a few times and then he began sharing Jesus at the mill. He lead several of his friends to faith in Christ. Tyler became such a fireball for Jesus that churches began inviting him to come and share his testimony. Our oldest daughter Hannah was saved at one such meeting.

Story Two

This is a George W. Truett story. Dr. Truett pastored the first Baptist Church of Dallas Texas for 50 years. Dr. Truett had a young bussinessman get saved and his story is much like Tylers. He came to church faithfully for more than a year but after that he came into Dr. Truett’s office and said, “Dr. Truett, I made myself a promise before I joined this church. I said, “I am not going to be a hypocrite. If I can’t live it, I am going to admit it. I am not excited about being a Christian. I don’t know what it is but something is not right. I have come to ask you to remove my name from your church roll.”

Dr. Truett was lost for words: he was taken back to say the least but he glanced down at his desk and saw a name that his secretary had given him earlier. It was the name and address of a woman who had an alcoholic husband who had not provided for his family [this was early 1900’s, before welfare]. Dr. Truett got a brilliant idea. He said, “Son, I respect your honesty but would you do me one favor before I remove your name from the roll?” The young man was a bit unconfortable with the question but he reluctantly agreed. Dr. Truell handed him the name and address of the woman and told him their needs. “Would you go but this family some groceries and deliver to this address?” Dr. Truett asked. Again the young man reluctantly agreed. He was single and was a man of means so the money was no problem. He went to the market and got several bags of groceries and carried them to the address. He intended to sit them on the porch and knock on the door and then leave before anyone could see him. But before he could get all the food on the porch, the lady heard him and out she came followed by the children. They thanked him again and again as he tried to leave. But they would not allow him to get away. They invited him in. The kids got as close to him as they could. The young man said, “I really must go…” “No, no” said the kids. The mother then told him. “We prayed all night for God to send someone and he sent you; we have to celebrate His goodness. We want you to lead us in a prayer before you go.” No maam, I am sorry but I can’t pray out loud,” said the young man. “Sure you can,” she said, and all the kids gathered round. It took him a few moments to muster up a prayer but he did much better than he expected. These kids didn’t want him to leave. They followed him to the car thanking him over and over.

When he got back to Dr. Truett’s office, he simple said, “Dr. Truett, give me another name.”

The reason we have so many disgruntled and unhappy church members is because we are not being obedient. Joy is the fruit of obedience.


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