I am currently teaching through the Book of Acts, one of my favorite books of the bible. I love it because it speaks so clearly of what church is supposed to be. I find this particularly important in light of the various attempts today to make church everything but what God intended.
I particularly appreciate the first sermon that Peter gives, after the birth of the church. Peter speaks of the crucifixion of Jesus and the role the listeners played in approving of it. When they hear what he was saying, it says they were ‘cut to the heart’. With great concern, they ask Peter, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”, to which Peter replies, Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins: an you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” God sees it as a very good thing when we feel bad about our sin, our falling short of God’s best for our lives. A broken heart over sin is the very thing that God uses to draw us to, and keep us in Him.
The trouble with much of American Christianity today, is that there are far too many church leaders who are afraid to make people feel bad about their sin, by teaching the truth. I like what Andrew Murray said in his book, Waiting on God, “…because Christians do not know their relation to God of absolute poverty and helplessness, that they have no sense of the need of absolute and unceasing dependence, or the unspeakable blessedness of continual waiting on God.”
As long as people keep looking for a way to experience the ‘unspeakable blessedness’ of knowing God without the joy of being ‘cut to the heart’, they will never find it. To have one without the other is an impossibility.