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The Cross: The Church's Challenge and Compass

In the dimly lit corners of today's lukewarm churches, a haunting truth lingers: we have forsaken the calling to challenge our members. We have forgotten the piercing words of our Lord, “Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). The Church, when it ceases to challenge, ceases to serve. It becomes a mere social club, a comfortable gathering of pew-warmers, bereft of conviction and burdened by compromise. This is not the Church as Christ intended.

From the hallowed pulpits to the sacred pews, we must revive the clarion call to the Cross. It is the Cross that challenges, the Cross that convicts, the Cross that crucifies our fleshly desires. For it is written, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20). We must lead our members to confront their sinful nature, to deny themselves, to pick up their crosses, and to follow the Savior through the narrow gate that leads to life.

But let us not delude ourselves, dear brethren, for there are wolves among us, false shepherds who lead the flock astray. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:13). They preach a diluted gospel that tickles itching ears, encouraging a gospel of earthly comfort and success without the weight of the Cross. We must be vigilant against these false ministers, for they endanger the souls entrusted to our care.

The Church, as the bride of Christ, is called to be a beacon of truth and a wellspring of conviction. It is not a place for spiritual comfort alone but a furnace where faith is refined, where the crucible of sanctification purifies our hearts. We must, like the Apostle Paul, “preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2).

The Church, my brethren, must rediscover its sacred duty to challenge its members and lead them to the Cross. It must stand as a bastion of truth, a lighthouse in the tempest of this world, and a refuge for the weary soul seeking redemption. For as it is written, “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Let us rekindle the fire of conviction, for the Cross is the only way to salvation, and the Church must be the guide along that narrow path.