Forefront, the church we started in Virginia Beach, is filled with people who were far from God when they first showed up. It was also filled with people who were/are struggling with all kinds of sins. At one point a few years ago I was feeling really bad about that. Like, if I was a better pastor, these people would all be living more holy lives. I thought of churches I had attended in the past, and how they didn’t seem to have so much sin in them.
Then one day I read Romans 13 (which is today’s reading), and noticed the last few verses, where the people in the church at Rome are asked to stop having orgies and getting drunk and living in debauchery and dissension. What the crap? Someone writing to the churches I attended in the past would never need to write such a thing. Those churches were filled with mature believers who were above such flagrant sins.
And that’s when I realized: If a church is reaching people who are far from God (the kind of people Jesus asked us to reach) it will have all kinds of sin problems. It will be a mess. Now the people who attend the church should become increasingly mature, more obedient to God, and less messy. But the church will always be reaching people who are not mature, not obedient, and very messy. And so, really, the pastor who should be concerned about the job he’s doing is the one who isn’t having to deal with all kinds of sin problems in his church. In fact, we could easily make the case that it’s that church that isn’t very biblical.