The Way things Were; the way they are now
There was a time the Church was strong and willing to stand against the world’s influences, against those who spoke contrary to the word of God, and speak the truth motivated by love.
Never in the last 2,000 years has the Church been challenged in so many ways on so many fronts by the culture, and by other religious views. Are we staying strong or caving? We already see the direction we are going in. The pressures will only increase as we move toward the final chapter.
So many opinions about life, about God, can this be sorted out without the Bible? This is the churches mission. It has stood against tyrannical leaders like Caesar, Domitian, Constantine and survived. it has been through so many attacks by heretics and it is still standing, and the remnant will continue to stand. As the days get darker the remnant will be more evident because their light will be seen in contrast to the darkness.
Jesus warned deception would be the norm in the latter days. He warned of this more than any other one thing. Amazingly there are those who think its inconsequential for the church to be on guard and awake in the way He described.
Rev. 3:2 "Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.’
We are in flux, a continuum of change that has the goal of bringing us further away from absolute truth, not toward it. And even those who speak of it we find not upholding it when it involves them personally.
We are told “Brother would betray brother.” Honesty will be as rare as loyalty to the truth.
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”
The doctrine of Christ is in the Word of God. When doctrine is diminished or put aside one cannot abide.
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:14-16)
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17)
If the word is not our source to trust in for matters of life then one does not have faith, but some other type of belief.
Herein is the spiritual shift that is taking place all over the world. To be called Christian without adhering to its main components. To claim one lives a spiritual life without the word of God. To be free to choose to live life to whatever customized concept of God they have made for themselves.
The Church is spiritually lazy to move on to maturity. While there are churches teaching the ABC’s (the basics are good; that is the milk of the word). There is a whole alphabet to learn, meat is need for the mature. There is a depth to the word and its teachings, so that we can put what is necessary into practice. It takes a lifetime of learning but unless we want to pursue this we will be learning our ABC’s as adults (like being in high School and still learning what we did in 3rd grade).
"For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him” (Matt 13:12). We are to pursue spiritual growth in the word otherwise the lord says we lose it. Like a muscle that goes atrophied. If one stops exercising they will have what they gained taken away from them. God wants us to actively have faith, faithfulness, for endurance continual growth so that our influence grows to others. Like a tree that bears more and more fruit.
This can only come by the leaders (and us) dedicating ourselves to hear from God in His word.
People believe but their practice of their belief never goes beyond “belief” itself. In other words there is no significant action. James describes faith as something that springs into action when there is a need. Like the saying goes, if someone followed you for the day would they have enough evidence that you are a Christian, following Christ means doing something, it is not just believing.
The accountability is so low and there are those who refuse to hold leaders to a standard, even pastors are not accountable, and they become part of the problem, not the solution. In fact one can say that the main problem we see escalating in the world is no accountability, from this corruption spreads. It’s no different in the church. In fact we can say the reason the world is being corrupted is because the church is not being salt. Whatever the Bible says of perilous taking place in the world will be worse for the church
Your pastor is not be the solution - you are.
The neglect we see comes from apathy, a cold heart. Which the Scripture does predict will become the norm.
Christianity has become so shallow. Go to church, sing songs, give money, listen to Christian radio and TV through the week maybe go to a fellowship once week, and don’t forget your Christian T-shirt and bumper sticker. These are acceptable and good, however, when a opportunity presents itself to witness, to help someone not in your church, or to speak up for Jesus against someone who is railing against God the majority of these same people are silent, they cannot be found to make a move. Why is that? Because they don’t want anything to interfere with their schedule of being comfortable.
Christians are to see the world the way it really is - fallen, rocked by the repercussions of sin. But if we don’t live by the solution we have nothing to offer. Matt 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”
Are you salt? FOLLOWING JESUS IS TO MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE IN THE WORLD. The early church grew by conflicts, persecution, trials and tribulations. Today we want success, control, peace and prosperity; to be left to our own devices. God may have been put out in the schools by not allowing audible prayer; how much has the church put God out in its inactions to do his will? How much actual genuine prayer do we do as groups or as individuals for others? I’m speaking to myself as well; I’m not talking about spending hours in prayer but praying when a situation comes up. Take it to the Lord.
The world may have changed but the word of God has not, the nature of man is still the same, the problems are the same though they have different names and may even be more complicated. The solution is till the same
The early church didn’t tolerate what we do today, they exposed false gospels.They did all they could for the furtherance of the gospel, we who live in the end need to do the same. Many of us know the gospel personally but are not willing to defend it when it is challenged (Eph.4:5; 6:20; Phili. 1:14).
The Word gets in the way when one decides to live by the ways of the world. So it is forgotten for convenience.
We are in the dark ages again when we do not read our Bible to live by God’s way nor pursue to understand the word the correct way it was written. We wear sunglasses to keep out the light, the darker the glasses the less light shows through. Some are wearing sun glasses at night. The light of truth is barely penetrating, it is filtered to the bare minimum, that they no longer need the glasses; they are living in the dark.
The churches that claim to have purpose bring the raw milk of the word as pasteurized and homogenized. They have increased attendance at the cost of dedicated disciples, neglected growth that makes one mature so they can fill their gatherings. If they spoke the hard words needed to be heard many would leave just as in Jesus’ day. Maybe some would react as Peter Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. "Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (John 6:67-69) Notice that the two go together; if you truly believe him to be the Son of God, there is nowhere else to go, you follow Jesus.
Some say of others, well they say they are a Christian so I will take them at their word. Even with the evidence of consistent actions going against them… Yes Christians can and do wrong things, however a Christian will repent when confronted, as David did with Samuel. If they don’t repent, they are in sin. If they are a pastor, they should be removed from the pulpit until they do repent.
The refusal to live by the truth or stand for it is acting in old nature, it has us compromise to avoid being uncomfortable. The new nature loves the truth and is willing to submit to what the Spirit of truth says, to speak what needs to be said. Yet people would rather say nothing and keep their peace than have conflict for the truth.
If people would demand to have truth, instead accepting what people say as the truth they may certainly not get lied to as often.
When there is no discernment there is no real love, love has a commitment to the truth, (it rejoices in the truth) to be honest. Biblical discernment always pursues what is true and abandons error, lying and compromise.
Only a non sheep or an unhealthy sheep follows the voice of a stranger. False shepherds get the abundance of people, the majority following as the Laodicean church.
The message to the church of the Laodiceans is that they are comfortable in their lukewarmness, they have a false spiritual state of security. Their condition is undisturbed.You can’t identify what is corrupted if you do not know what is uncorrupted. If a pastor was to reveal to his congregation that they were in a state of lukewarmness his hope is that they would change.
Rev 3:14-16 "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot." So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
His emphatic statement: “I will;” “vomit you out of my mouth” is not a pleasant picture. This last days church finds itself in a state of lukewarmness, a state that is far more dangerous than coldness. Clearly, the state of lukewarmness is substitute term in the Bible for an apostasy. A utter rejection from the Lord.
V.17 "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'-- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”
Paul had a few similarities in his ministry but his attitude was different, he was dependent on the Lord.
1 Cor. 4:11-12 “To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure.”
When you enter to do ministry you are serving the lord, not trying to become rich. Like Paul you will abound and lack at times.
Prov. 14:25 “A true witness delivers souls, but a deceitful witness speaks lies.” Are the prosperity preachers delivering souls from judgment or just delivering money into their pockets for a comfortable life.
The Holy Spirit will have you question teaching to know the truth, it is man who stops you.
When a believer tells there friend that some of his beliefs and practices are wrong instead of them being grateful, willing to hear they immediately have tension and a fight. They are uncomfortable in the exchange, but if they see it through it yields good fruit. More often than not they are disconnected to the Spirit, they react fully in the flesh to anyone who disagrees with them and are excessively aggressive in their disagreement. They will not hesitate call you a Pharisee (one who for the most part does not believe in Jesus) or any other derogatory name. They intentionally hold onto what is false for whatever reason they have rationalized.
Prov. 29:12-13 “If a ruler pays attention to lies, all his servants become wicked. The poor man and the oppressor have this in common: the LORD gives light to the eyes of both.
Prov. 12:17 “He who speaks truth declares righteousness, but a false witness, deceit.”
We get lies in the place of truth, and what people believed to be true is found out not to be written in the Bible. So many lies, and so little truth.
Some pastors are forced to speak on the issues but their heart is not really convinced nor convicted. How do we know this? When these same issues enter their church they do nothing about it or they make only a small effort. Finally, there are some speaking out, but they have come too late to the party. Everyone has drank and eaten what they were serving.
We do no agree to disagree. This is an evasion to arrive at truth. Would you say this to your doctor if he told you that you were ill. No Doc, I’m feeling fine, you’re wrong. And have him agree with you! Would you say to a car mechanic who says that something is about to go wrong in the engine, it sounds fine to me, and he says you’re right, keep driving. We are not to agree to avoid conflict; there is the way some want things to be and then there is reality, the way things really are.
This can easily become the end of the evangelical movement in America and be spread abroad. A movement that once sent out missionaries to promote the gospel has come near its end. What will become of us when we have so very few teachers of the word, that are not bold, willing to stand with the truth in the face of lies?
Will we hear what Jeremiah had to say to Israel in their backslide, "So you shall say to them, 'This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the LORD their God nor receive correction. Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth.” (Jer. 7:28)