The Emergency Room is a great image of the church! People have many different ideas about what the church is supposed to be. Some people think of it like a library, a place to be quiet and study. Some people think of it like a museum, where you can see how things used to be and recapture all the memories of the past. Some people see the church like an exclusive club that you can join if you meet the membership requirements and pay the membership dues.
The Church is not a Hangout for the Saved; the Church is a Hospital for Sinners!
If the Church is a hospital, then The Connection Church is an E.R.
One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, 19 but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. 20 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”
21 But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does he think he is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” 22 Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 23 Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? 24 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”25 And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God.” Luke 5:17-25
These friends were willing to do whatever it takes to bring their friend to Jesus because they knew that Jesus could heal their sick friend! There are some people in life that you have to team tackle to get them to Jesus.
Like those friends, we want to bring people into an environment where they have the best chance to connect with Jesus!
There was a crowd of people around Jesus. When you look at Jesus in the Gospels, many times there were crowds around him. The more we are like Jesus, the more people will be attracted to our church.
The crowd in this passage meant well, but they were keeping someone away from Jesus. We have to make room for the people who need Jesus the most.
At the hospital, the door to the E.R. is always open! That’s one way the church is like an E.R.
The Church is 24/7.
The church isn’t a building. The church is the people. We’re never closed because we have people at all times of the day and night being the church by serving, loving, helping, counseling, and reaching people.
The Church is Intense.
When these friends brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus, it was the scene of a dramatic rescue.
We also experience dramatic rescues like that in the church each and every week. Many people know what that’s like because they would say, “That was me!” Sometimes, the church is like a trauma center.
The Church is Risky.
Some people think about church as a boring place where you go to catch up on your sleep. But when you look at Jesus, his disciples, and the early church, it’s clear there was nothing boring about it. They laid their lives on the line.
Waiting rooms in hospitals are not usually clean. They’re messy places full of hurting people. When I go to the E.R., I hope I don’t get sick too.
In the church, there are people who are spiritually sick. The church is a place where it’s ok to not be ok.
Jesus loves messy, messed up people.
We are a church where there are No Perfect People Allowed. We are works in progress who haven’t reached perfection.
The Church is Exciting.
At The Connection Church, we are a family expecting guests.
We worship passionately. We preach God’s word passionately. We live passionate lives.
I think it’s a sin to bore people with the most exciting message on the planet!
The Church is Life-Changing.
The greatest thing about the Emergency Room is that people go in one way, and they come out another. They come in sick, but they leave well.
That’s what happens in the church too. People walk in broken, they walk out better. They walk in sick, they walk out saved!
Don’t wait until it’s too late to come to Jesus! If you are sick and you wait to go to the E.R. you might not make it! And if you need Jesus, and you wait too long to come to Jesus, you might not make it.
If you still have a pulse, you still have a purpose!
But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?” Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” Luke 5:31-32
You can move from being a patient in the E.R. to joining the E.R. staff. Where you ask God to use your hands to bring life, hope and healing to people in Jesus’ name.
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, Luke 4:18