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And when He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was
heard that He was at home.  And many were gathered together, so that
there was no longer room, even near the door; and He was speaking the word
to them.  And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four
men.  And being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed
the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the
pallet on which the paralytic was lying.  And Jesus seeing their faith
said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven."  But there
were some of the scribes sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 
"Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins
but God alone?"  And immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they
were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, "Why are you reasoning
about these things in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
'Your sins are forgiven'; or to say, 'Arise, and take up your pallet and
walk'?  "But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority
on earth to forgive sins"-- He said to the paralytic--  "I say to you,
rise, take up your pallet and go home."  And he rose and immediately
took up the pallet and went out in the sight of all; so that they were
all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, "We have never seen anything
According to George Barna, not much changed with the "state of the church" over the last five years. There were only two only noticeable differences. One was a five percent increase of those who say they are "absolutely committed to the Christian faith." Good for us, right?
Not exactly. The other difference was a five percent decrease in the number of people who attended church in the last week. (Fresh Illustrations http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
Why do people stay away from church?
In an article for On Mission Magazine, Dianne Butts, gave the top ten reasons she's heard why people skip church. Here's what she wrote,
10. I've been thinking I'd like to go to church. But I don't know anyone. And I don't know what to do, where to go, what to expect when I get there.
9. I don't believe in God. Christians are dangerous fanatics, politically unpopular and always trying to shove their beliefs on others.
8. There are so many denominations. . . even Christians can't agree among themselves what the Bible means.
7. There are so many churches . . . I don't know which one to go to. Why should I come to yours?
6. Church is for "good" people who haven't messed up. You don't know where I've been or what I've done.
5. Church is not important.
4. I don't need to go to church. I can worship God, even when I'm fishing.
3. I don't have nice clothes to wear to church.
2. I don't have time. Sunday morning is the only day I can sleep late.
1. People in churches are hypocrites.(Fresh Illustrations http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
I've certainly heard the
same things from people that Butts has as to why they don't come to church,
and frankly some of the reasons are legitimate. But my questions isn't
why don't people come to church, but rather, why don't people come to Christ?
NOT EVERYONE HAS FRIENDS
THAT WILL HELP THEM COME TO CHRIST. This was a fortunate man with friends
that were on a mission and wouldn't let any obstacle stop them. They wouldn't
let the crowd stop them. Look at verses 2-4. "And
many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, even near
the door; and He was speaking the word to them.  And they came, bringing
to Him a paralytic, carried by four men.  And being unable to get to
Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they
had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was