The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians that they were now washed, clean, and made new. Sounds like a pretty good church doesn't it? But how many of us would feel comfortable around the type of people Paul was writing to? There were mended people. But to be mended you first had to broken.
First Corinthians 6:11 ¶ And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
We are all praying for our church to grow. We will accept everyone that the Lord brings and adds to our church. We do however particularly want to see Kingdom growth as well which means we are praying for people to be saved and set free. But consider what we are praying for. We are praying for people to be saved andset free. Saved and set free from what? According to the latest data, increasing numbers of Australians are now growing up in broken homes. If they are married, chances are it is their second marriage. If they are in a relationship, chances are they fear it won't last - which causes them to keep their relationship options open even if it means painful destruction of existing relationships. Statistically, the people we are going to reach out to with the Gospel are also going to be people who have been sexually abused. They need to be saved. They need to be set free. Consider who Paul was writing to-
First Corinthians 6:9-11 ...sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
How are we going to respond, as a church, as God increasingly answers our prayers? As we ponder this, consider this. We are praying for God to save and set free. We are praying for God to deliver, heal, and restore people. Chances are that God will answer our prayers. We can expect that people who need saving, setting-free, delivering, healing and restoring will be drawn to us -- but we should also expect that God will answer all of our prayers by actually saving, setting-free, delivering, healing and restoring lost, bound, oppressed, sick, and broken people.
As God grows His Church through mending broken people we will not compromise His Gospel. This Gospel declares that sexual activity outside of marriage is sin that risks eternal damnation. This is actually where Paul starts his current thought-
First Corinthians 6:9 ¶ Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,
After all, unless we are able to show people that they are lost, bound, oppressed, sick, and broken through holding up the mirror of the Gospel, we will not be able to minister God's desperately needed grace to them.