TAKE THE ROOF OFF
T. PIERCE BROWN
In Mark 2:1-4 there is an interesting story with significant lessons for us. When Jesus is in a house, He cannot be hidden. When the multitude heard He was there, they gathered in such numbers that there was no room for them, even about the door. Is it possible that large numbers of persons would be attracted to us if they could really see Jesus in our lives? We often try to excuse the small numbers we have at church services by claiming that all those who do not come are indifferent, cold, worldly or selfish. There are millions who do not want God in their knowledge and have been given over to a reprobate mind (Romans1:28). It is possible that there are thousands of others who would flock to our church buildings if they could see any evidence that Jesus was in the house.
This man knew he was helpless and believed Jesus had the cure. He could not get there by himself, but had four friends who helped him. What powerful lessons for us! There are many that are paralyzed by sin, and would come to Jesus if they knew how. They need friends to help them. He was prevented from coming to Jesus by a crowd gathered around the door, some of whom may have been more interested in something else than in helping one who really needed the healing touch of Jesus.
As I have traveled over the country speaking in behalf of the ONE NATION UNDER GOD program, I have been impressed that this may be happening again. There are many persons who are gathered around the door, some professing to be devout followers of Jesus, who apparently are more interested in something else than they are in getting lost men to Christ.
Someone is standing in the door blocking the people who might come to Christ. Preachers and elders who are interested in saving souls make such statements as this: “The program was not successful or cost effective so we stopped supporting it.”
Surely such persons have not considered the facts properly. If one consistently reasoned that way, how, why and when would he ever preach the gospel to anyone? Of course some programs to carry out what Christ commanded will fail to accomplish what we hope. It has been so since the first century. People failed to respond to Christ and crucified Him. People went into apostasy then, and will continue to do so. But where did one ever hear of an Apostle who urged someone not to send or take the gospel message to the lost because some would fail to respond to a particular program or some would arise to lead away unstable souls? A successful program is one which does what Christ commanded, not necessarily one about which more people get excited. We do not know of any program that got the gospel message to more than 100,000,000 families for less than 10 cents each. Do you?
Is it not a tragedy beyond comprehension that many “sound” brethren are standing around the door so that those who are paralyzed can’t get in? If they did get in, sometimes the scathing statement of Jesus would apply, “Ye compass land and sea to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more a child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew23:15). One difference is, it appears that some of the present generation are not willing to compass land or sea to win anyone to Christ.
In the story of the paralyzed man, he was “borne of four” (Mark 2:3). The importance of a united, concentrated, concerned effort is suggested here. One man could not have handled the problem by himself. Can you imagine the impact it could have on the whole world if every newspaper, radio and television station in the nation carried the news that 10,000 churches of Christ were cooperating in sending a message of hope to a whole nation, either here or in Russia, or anywhere? The Lord would get more free publicity accidentally than we could pay for on purpose.
The greatest lesson in this story is that the primary effort was to get the man to contact Christ. They were not trying to give him a theological dissertation on the therapeutic values of some religious exercises. Nor did they feel responsible for making sure he was cured. Their job was to get him in contact with Jesus.
They were so concerned with getting the man to Christ that they broke up the roof to do so. This was not the “orthodox” or customary way, but it was the right way. Any time we are more concerned merely with being “orthodox” or doing things in the way we usually do them than we are with getting men to Christ, we do great disservice to God’s cause. Those who know me and have read my writings for the past 50 years know that I am not advocating doctrinal unsoundness or unscriptural teaching. I am advocating using whatever methods it takes that do not violate a scriptural principle to get a man in contact with Jesus.
There are all kinds of things that are causing souls to be lost because they cannot get through the door to Christ. Too many that are concerned with maintaining the status quo are blocking the entrance. We should be willing to “take the roof off” if necessary, to get people in contact with Christ.
Just suppose Christian mothers and fathers were willing to “take the roof off” by such an unorthodox practice as suggesting that their children go into some mission field, supporting themselves with the help of their parents, to teach the gospel instead of waiting to go to a Christian College where they could be prepared to be “The Minister” in some large congregation that would provide them the appropriate salary. Kennedy proposed a Peace Corps. What about a Prince of Peace Corps to carry the message of peace to a desperate world? The thought I want to leave with you is far broader and deeper than that. It is that we need those who are willing to “break the roof up” if necessary, to do that which Christ called us to do. Are you willing to try to do that to get the paralyzed men to Christ, while remaining doctrinally sound and steadfast in the faith? “Hold fast the traditions which ye have been taught” (2 Thessalonians2:15) without making “void the word of God by your traditions” (Mark7:13). If you have supported the ONE NATION UNDER GOD program in the past, we hope you will support it again. The amount of your support is not as significant as the fact that you will be encouraging an effort that is continuing to be effective in doing exactly what Jesus said do, and assisting in every other scriptural mission effort in the world. If you are doing mission work in other areas, you will not be hurting that, but helping it by supporting the ONE NATION UNDER GOD effort.