Sunday, December 3rd,
rights reserved © message by Kris Jackson
SHOULD WE JUST LOCK THE DOORS?
to find one priest among you who would shut the doors and refuse this kind of
sacrifice..." (Malachi 1:1 TLB)
Malachi, or God speaking through the prophet
Malachi, was so fed up with the insincerity and half-heartedness of the
people's worship that he wished some priest would stand up with enough gall to
just shut the whole business down till somebody tried to make it right again.
Close the church down? That's what was being implied. We have churches opening right
and left in America today and as a general rule we should be thrilled at the
potential growth of the kingdom but Malachi would have applauded, just as much,
shutting those churches down. A church isn't a center for religion; it's a
center for relation and for redemption. It is supposed to be the amplifier of
God's voice. Preachers are supposed to thunder "thus saith the Lord" not give
book reviews and pithy sermonettes for Christianettes smoking cigarettes and
driving Corvettes. A church is supposed to be a hub of prayer power not a
referral center directing the needy to licensed professionals in the Yellow
Pages. It is supposed to be a fire station sending brave men into a world
burning out of control but has degenerated instead into a low-temperature bakery
specializing more in pie than in piety. Woe to the church that has more fire on
its fellowship hall stove than in its pulpits and altars! Should we just lock
Malachi was begging just "one priest among you"
who would rattle the system. Revival never once came via committee. Paul shook Rome, Savanarola shook France, Luther the Catholic papal system, Wesley, England,
Edwards, New England and Billy Sunday, the cities of America. It only takes one
matchstick to burn down a forest but that match has to strike sandpaper to
ignite. We preachers must be the first to feel the friction, the rub, the
displeasure between heaven and earth. Yes, God is love, but is not the greatest
love the first to grieve when things are wrong? Don't forget that heaven went
silent in Malachi's generation and didn't give mankind a single peep for the
next four-hundred years.
That's right, four centuries of silence then
the brass heavens melted and the silent treatment broke when Jesus was baptized
by John and a voice came from the cloud saying, "This is my beloved Son, in
whom I am well-pleased..." The amazing thing is that priests still dressed up in
lavish red and purple robes and church members donned their pews and flipped
through hymnbooks as if nothing even happened. Were they unaware that the
Presence had departed? Suppose some priest was to shut the doors one Sunday and
demand, "I'm not letting anyone in here till I know you mean business with
God!" Would there be a collective sigh of relief? "Ah, we get to beat the
Baptists today to Golden Corral..." "Goodie, we get to sleep in this morning..." Or
would there be a beating of the breast, repentance and a prayer meeting out on
the church lawn that not only reopened the church doors but ripped open the
veil to the heavenlies? The true Bride can't survive on church bells, choir
ensembles and paper bulletins. She demands God's presence; His intervention.
That is revival; and if shutting doors will open hearts then give me the
padlock key. That is all metaphorical of course but it might be good to try
some Sunday. How 'bout at your church?