Our Gospel Meeting
We are blessed to have Jeremy Koontz with us this week for a series of gospel lessons. Sarah and their three children also made the trip with Jeremy. Jeremy and Sarah were members of the Grissom Road Congregation until they moved for Jeremy to begin full time work as an evangelist. He is also the author of the following article.
That’s right, Crispy Rice. If you take a stroll down the cereal aisle at the local grocery store, you’re likely to come across this option right next to the Rice Krispies. You may also find Crisp Rice, Krispy Rice Treats, and Ricey Krisps. A little confusing, right? Well, Kellogg, the company behind the famous brand name Rice Krispies, may not be so happy about all the imitators, but the confusion works out pretty well for those selling the imitation brands! Why pay $4 for the box of Rice Krispies when the box of Crisp Rice only cost $3?
Every budget-conscious shopper has had the experience of reaching for the popular name brand product, then noticing a similar product with almost the same ingredients, appearance, and/or taste. The keyword is almost. And this sneaky, yet effective strategy of selling off-brand products is effective not just in selling cereal, but clothing, footwear, toys, etc. Why by a pair of $100 Nike shoes when you can get the Sikes that look almost the same with a similar logo for $50? So what if the heel falls off after a month of wear?
Now, there is nothing wrong with saving a little cash and not reaching for the popular name brand product every time, but what about when searching for a local church with which to worship and labor? If we know what the Lord has authorized for the worship and work of the local congregation, is it okay to settle for anything short of that, even if it saves us a little effort, a little time, even a little bit of self?
Here is one church that we know is striving to do everything the Lord has authorized. It’s the real deal, the “name brand” where the NAME or authority is Christ (Colossians 3:17). They are diligent in speaking and adhering to those “things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). But, one may have to travel a little further to worship and labor with this church. One may be called on a little more often to serve in different capacities. One may have to stand with the local congregation in truth on challenging or controversial issues (I Timothy 3:12). The cost, what is required from the individual, is greater.
However, on the way to worship with this sound congregation, not far from home, one notices another local church that at least has the name of Christ on the sign. This church has most of the same practices as the sound church, except they tolerate homosexual relationships among the members. This similar church preaches mostly the doctrine of Christ, except they do not adhere to what Christ taught regarding water baptism (Mark 16:16). They are a larger church, so one can slip in and out of services unnoticed without having to get too involved with the work or the members (maybe one won’t even have to make a regular contribution!). It is almost a church that strives to please the Lord in every possible way. Almost, like the Ricey Krisps.
The imitators of name brand products know that people will see the cheaper option and, at least, give some thought to giving up the premium goods because the imitation costs them less. Those who offer gospels and doctrines that are perversions of what the Bible teaches may not be doing so maliciously. They may not be intentionally trying to trick people into thinking they are getting a better deal by not strictly adhering to Truth, but people can be confused nonetheless. The world is full of watered-down versions of the Lord’s church that teach a cheap, watered-down gospel of Christ that is tastier and easier to swallow, that have a watered-down service, in the end, all of whom the Lord will reject. To these, the Lord might be heard to say, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish that you were cold or hot. Therefore, because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you from my mouth.” (Revelation 3:16)
As advocates of the Truth, we must teach and remind the world that the Lord only accepts complete submission (Deuteronomy 10:12). Yes, in order to do all that the Lord requires, it is likely going to cost us quite a bit more…but what we have to pay is a guaranteed sound investment in the health and security of our souls.