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“But I can’t tell anybody!”

By Larry West

“The church in America is shrinking.

“The number of men, women and children in the pews has dipped to the lowest level since a comprehensive effort to count members began in 1980, according to the 2009 edition of Churches of Christ in the United States.

“In the newly released directory, 21st Century Christian identifies 12,629 a cappella Churches of Christ with 1,578,281 adherents nationwide.

“Those figures represent 526 fewer churches and 78,436 fewer people in the pews than just six years ago.”


So says, Bobby Ross Jr. of “The Christian Chronicle,” (February issue 2009).


And what is the source of the problem?  We are plagued with the disease, “But I can’t tell anybody!” 


“Not personally.”  “Not me!”  “Not in my home town!”  “Not to my friends!”  “If it’s at home I have something to lose!”



1.      “Not to my family!  Why, oh, that’s my family!”

2.      “Not to my friends!  Why, oh, they’re my friends!”

3.      “Not to my acquaintances!  Why, I hardly know them!”

4.      And, “Not to strangers!  I don’t know them at all!”


And we must ask, “Who’s left?”


Now, surely, the Lord must be looking down, saying to the American Christian, “Okay, allow me to please understand.  I have cleansed all your sins away in the blood of my Son.  I have, thus, added your name … your very name … to the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27).  I have chosen you in Him before the foundation of the world, that you should be holy and without blame before Him in love.  I have adopted you, yes you, as my child by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of My will.  I have redeemed you through Jesus’ blood.  I have given you forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of My grace which I have made to abound toward you (Ephesians 1:4-7) …

            … But you can’t tell anybody?


“I have made known to you the mystery of the Gospel (Ephesians 1:9) those before you never knew.  Yet, living in darkness, in ignorance of the Gospel’s coming events, they through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.  Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.  They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.  And yet, all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise (Hebrews 11:33-39).  That is, they lived in darkness.  They never knew the mystery of the Gospel of Jesus. 


“But you!  Why, to YOU I have made it known!  You know Jesus is My Son.  He is God in the flesh!  And as a human He died to take away your own human sin problem (Ephesians 1:7).  He raised up bodily from that buried grave to remove your own grave problem (I Corinthians 15).  That mystery I made known to you!

            … But you can’t tell anybody?


“Because I see you from eternity’s side, I already see you yourself raised up and sitting together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6)!  Already there!  With Me!  In Glory!

            … But you can’t tell anybody?


“And when your day comes, your day controlled by time and not eternity, why, in that great getting’ up mornin’ I will raise your body up in incorruption, in glory, in power, a spiritual body (I Corinthians 15: 42-44), glorified beyond your wildest imagination!

            … But you can’t tell anybody?


“You are going to allow the church in America shrink?  You are going to allow it to go the way of the Ephesian church when I removed its lamp stand from its place (Revelation 2:5).  And why?  Why are you going to do it?

            … Because you can’t tell anybody.


“I gave my life for you!  And I’ve given you all these Spiritual blessings. And more!


But you can’t go …


1.      “Not to your family!  Why?  Because oh, “that’s your family?”

2.      “Not to your friends!  Why?  Because, oh, “they’re your friends?”

3.      “Not to your acquaintances!  Why? Because, you “hardly know them!”

4.      “Not to strangers!  Why?   Because you “don’t know them at all!”


“And who’s left?  Look around the planet!  Who’s left?


“I pray, my child, please excuse me.  I’m so hurt, so disappointed, I’m afraid I’m losing my lunch.  Pardon me while I go vomit up the contents of my stomach (Revelation 3:16). 


“I see you a rich church.  You, My child, have become such a wealthy America, and have need of nothing, and you do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked (Revelation 3:17).


“I just wish you could see the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1:18).  It is an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you (I Peter 1:4).


“Did you hear Me?  It’s for YOU!


“I’ve already told you about it.  You know of it.  But what do I hear?  I hear


… But I can’t tell anybody.


And, then, it is Jesus, that sacrificial Lamb, who must turn and promise, “All I can say, my child, is that it is only to him who overcomes will I grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 3:21-22).