The Problem of Atheism in the Church

20th century French playwright, Samuel Beckett, wrote a play in which the curtain opens to show a stage littered with junk. And for 30 long seconds, the audience sits and stares at that junk. And then the curtain closes. That’s it. Beckett was saying that our lives are like that. We are surrounded by junk; garbage. And that’s all we can hope for. And that’s what the world is like if there is no God. We are surrounded by ugliness. Life is a constant struggle. It is sad, hopeless, and empty.

But in our passage today, Paul is going to take a good look at the church and say: “That’s how some of you are living.” Paul’s going to say: “There are people in the church who live as if they are surrounded by ugliness; they live without hope in their hearts; they live as if they are alone.” They profess a relationship with Jesus but they live like atheists, they don’t really love Jesus. And because of this, they’re cursed. They’re separated from the complete sufficiency, the overwhelming goodness, the abundance of love and joy that is available in God.

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Are You Growing?

It’s easy to sit and listen. But if that’s all we do, we’ll never grow. What’s hard is getting out there and doing what God has told us to do. It’s easy to hear about spiritual gifts, but it’s hard to get out there and use them. That’s scary! That’s outside of my comfort zone! But that’s the only way we grow. And a faith that requires no courageous action, a faith that never requires you to step out of your comfort zone is not a faith that opens the door to the kingdom of God; it’s a faith that closes the door to the kingdom of God.

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Are You Growing?

It’s easy to sit and listen. But if that’s all we do, we’ll never grow. What’s hard is getting out there and doing what God has told us to do. It’s easy to hear about spiritual gifts, but it’s hard to get out there and use them. That’s scary! That’s outside of my comfort zone! But that’s the only way we grow. And a faith that requires no courageous action, a faith that never requires you to step out of your comfort zone is not a faith that opens the door to the kingdom of God; it’s a faith that closes the door to the kingdom of God.

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Your Hidden Glory

In our passage today, Paul says that we are like little seeds. We’re pretty small. We don’t look all that impressive. This little seed doesn’t appear glorious at all. That is, unless you bury it in the ground. Bury this tiny seed in the dirt and what is it that soon bursts forth? A plant thousands of times the size of that seed, full of flowers with breathtaking color, beauty, and glory.

And that is a tiny picture of what soon will happen when our bodies are buried in the ground if we are in Christ. Just as you can’t see the full glory of what is contained in this seed until it is buried in the ground, you can’t see our full glory now. But once we are buried, the glory of who we really are through Jesus will be revealed. A glory thousands of times greater than what you can see right now; full of breathtaking beauty, power, and light.

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