MODERN CHURCH and GODLY SORROW
Have you experienced heartache in this life, perhaps, sadness and grief? Have there been experiences in your life that have caused you to feel broken? Have you tasted of accomplishment, success, pleasure, and many other fun and exciting things, and yet you still feel an emptiness inside? Believe it or not there is a church out there waiting to fill your void; a church that has amazing music that will touch your spirit, sermons that will inspire and help wipe away your guilt, youth groups that have integrated into the modern culture, and small groups that are designed to meet your personal needs. You will be able to meet other people just like you with the same struggles and desires that will be able to encourage you and motivate you. There is just one important thing lacking… godly sorrow.
The Bibles says, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” 2 Corinthians 7:10. By reading this passage, written by Paul, we know that not all sorrow or grief is godly. So the question becomes, “what kind of sorrow have you experienced: the kind that leads to salvation or the kind that leads to death?”
In some churches today, the belief is that when people experience sorrows of this world they need a church that is understanding, accepting, non-confrontational, and not too preachy. The hip music, entertaining sermon, programs, small groups, youth ministry, and so on, will move these people to get plugged in and maybe even start helping out. Then, because of hanging out with other “Christians” (who don’t talk about sin, judgment, and righteousness) they will start to consider a relationship with Jesus Christ. “After all,” they figure, “Christians aren’t really all that different from me, they seem happy, and they know how to have fun.” So the person prays a prayer and asks Jesus into their heart to be Lord and Savior. Again, there is just one thing lacking… godly sorrow.
You see, the modern message preached focuses on man, rather than God. It’s what is known as a humanistic gospel. The focus is on how sin has created hardship or trouble in life for us. The person experiencing hardship (sadness, guilt, emptiness, depression, worry) is merely broken over how their sin and choices in life have affected them personally. They are not told to consider how their sin has offended God, made Him angry, and has separated them from Him because of their wickedness. So instead of Jesus being our savior from sin, death, and hell; He has become the savior of our problems in life. If we consider it honestly we would have to say Jesus has pretty much become a genie in a bottle. People think God is there to get involved in what they are doing and help them out with their wonderful plans in life. They have not experienced godly sorrow, but rather sorrow of the world. And this kind of sorrow leads to death.
So where does godly sorrow fit into the whole equation above? It doesn’t. Contrary to a man centered gospel, godly sorrow is directed toward God. It is to understand you are wicked and that your wickedness has made God angry. It is to understand that you deserve punishment and that God will be just to cast you into the lake of fire. It is to understand that you need your sins washed away, so that you can be righteous. It is to understand that Jesus alone can make you clean and save your soul. It produces repentance: turning from sin and toward God for salvation. It produces someone who is born again and who has been given a new heart and desires. It produces someone who is filled with God’s Holy Spirit, who will empower us to walk in holiness.
I know you may be offended. Especially, if you hold to this modern message of “worldy sorrow” leading to salvation. You may say that you have seen countless lives changed by the method your church uses. Listen, countless lives have been changed by other false religions too. Maybe you argue, “but my pastor is a good person.” Not all false prophets look like Hitler or Jim Jones. Many are kind, respectable citizens in your community. They are deceivers, whether willingly or because they themselves are deceived. Either way, if they are not preaching the truth they are false prophets.
So now some of you are at a crossroads: do you continue to believe in what you want to believe in or do you believe in what the Bible teaches. We all have opinions, but the only ones that are worth anything are the ones based on the Bible, God’s Word, not our own. And the Bible says, “godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but sorrow of the world leads to death” 2 Corinthians 7:10