Hide! It’s a Visitor

Though we’re illegal and all that, it’s surprising how seldom we’re reminded of that. It doesn’t feel all that dangerous. Only occasionally does something happen that shakes us up a bit and reminds us that there’s some very real adversaries in our area. Maybe we’re being a little loud in the building, or the doorbell rings really late into a service, or we’re recognized by students on our college campus do we get jolted into the reality of the potentially volatile situation.  

Last night was our normal Sunday evening worship service. For the record, when I say students come to our services, I should specify that ALL who come to our services are students! So last night when some nearing-middle-aged dude shows up at the door about half an hour before service starts, it just tripped us up a bit. My wife comes and tells me someone’s at the door. So me and St. head into the hallway and walk, with what must have been concerned looks on our faces, right up to this guy who looks at us and asks somewhat sheepishly, “Is this a church?” Depends… these Bibles might all be paperweights. 

Turns out the guy is from some other church in town. Nice church people – there’s a couple students that come every once in a while from over there for some mutual encouragement. Scared us for a second, though. We really have to chill out, though. Or we’re gonna accidentally chuck a first-time visitor out the window or something! Honestly, there’s no way that we’re going to impact this city and stay under the radar of the adversaries! Even if we wear dark sunglasses and speak like ninja-spies. And I hope that if it comes to choosing, we’ve got enough love for Jesus to choose the former (impacting the city, not the sunglasses)!  

Last night we hit on Luke 7, with Jesus eating at Simon the Pharisee’s house. A story that I love more and more – as a young bunch of believers it has such huge importance. Jesus’ story is so great – there’s a creditor and two debtors. Which though I’d always noticed that, obviously, the sinful woman with the alabaster box of ointment is supposed to represent the one who was forgiven much. But I’d never paid much attention to the fact that Simon is the other creditor! And though the degree of their sin was different, their sinful condition was the same – both unable to pay! The big point of the story, according to Jesus, is that the people with great loads of sinfulness tend to love Him a lot, and the ones with overlookable-in-human-eyes sins aren’t all that crazy about Him. Contrary to the popular notion that it’s good people that make good Christians! 

Simon and the woman were both sinners – but their love of Jesus sprang from their view of their own sinfulness! Simon obviously thought he was anything but a sinner – easy to do when you’re just disgusted with the sinful woman. So he loved little. The woman, like the Apostle Paul who reckoned himself as ringleader of the worldwide sinner club, loved much because she was broken over her own sin. And brokenness of our own sin will drive us to worship at the feet of the Savior. 

I don’t know what is in the future of this extremely young church, but I know that if we find ourselves just sitting at the table with Jesus rather than pouring ourselves out at His feet, scorning the many sinners of the city without weeping over our own sin, than we’ll never be more than Pharisees.

One Comment on “Hide! It’s a Visitor”

  1. Anja L January 29, 2008 at 7:37 am #

    Hi,

    I haven’t commented before here I believe, so let me first say that I enjoy reading about what you’re doing and learning as a church-planter in China. I study Chinese in The Netherlands, originally to become a missionary in China but I don’t know how I’ll end up :).

    But I just wanted to let you know that I just heard that Monergism.com, a website you might know, now also has a website that sells christian books in Chinese. Maybe it could be of help to you and the people at your church. This is the address: sinimbooks.com

    By the way, do can your posts still be delivered by e-mail? For a while I received them by e-mail but the last two posts didn’t arrive. Is that still possible, or not anymore? If not, that’s okay, but I was just wondering.

    Greetings!
    Anja

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