Church this week was a test. It was a test of my ability to keep my mouth shut and to keep my butt planted firmly in the seat. I wanted to get up and walk out.
The atmosphere felt different. Not different in a good way but not really in a bad way just different. I am sure that it wasn’t just because they had a lot more of the florescent lights on or because the music was incredibly somber this week. For me it was because it is not the place for me. The people are still wonderfully nice. Multiple people introduced themselves and said welcome. People from BIble study were happy to see me and made sure to tell me so.
All the nice people in the world can’t make you believe when you don’t.
The talk was based around this scripture
“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” John 6:66
They only wanted Jesus to fill their bellies and not their hearts. When Jesus was no longer offering bread to satisfy their physical needs but only their spiritual needs they turned away from him and left. They were only in it for the free dinner. The minister said that people have a “God-shaped hole in their heart” and only Jesus can fill it. That people who don’t have Jesus in their lives do strange things because they are looking to fill that hole. Maybe they do drugs, maybe they worship things that have inexplicably fallen from the sky, join gangs, or maybe they just fill that hole with hate and disbelief. The premise was if you found Jesus then you wouldn’t need those other things because God would be filling the hole in your heart.
There was more discussion that when you don’t follow Jesus and you don’t know him then he does not know you. When you die and your soul arrives in Heaven he will claim to not know you and I guess off to Hell you go. It was never explicitly said “You will go to hell for not believing” but the bible verses that were used and the talk that was given kept implying that was the case. The people who are “fans” and who go to church and follow some rules but do not truly follow Christ would also be told by Jesus that he did not know them.
I cannot wrap my mind around the idea of a merciful God and a loving Christ that would not listen to reasons or even give you a second chance. If you thought you were doing the right thing but it really wasn’t (aka being a fan and not a completely committed follower) then that has no bearing? If you don’t have faith to believe in this outrageous story about a man and a woman created from his rib, and a snake and a virgin birth and a dead man coming to life and floating up into the clouds above where an invisible man rules over everything then you don’t get a chance to apologize later for using the free-will that this God gave you to be able to not believe then you are just out of luck? There is no gray area.
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Luke 11:23
“Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Matthew 12:32