A place to help people to find understanding why church tradition and experience is often quite different from the simplicity of the New Testament.
Is the phrase "go to church" ever stated in scripture?
What about Titles and building-centered assembly?
What is a 501c3 church?
These are examples of practices needing examination and we hope will provoke thought and prayer among those the Lord is stirring and calling to a deeper consecration, and we want to encourage you to "hear ye HIM".
Search This Blog
Sunday, March 4, 2012
The Worldly Church?
Just like the World??
You are watching TV and a big "Crusade" featuring a famous evangelist is giving an "invitation" to"come forward" and or "make a decision" for Christ". You then see streams of people move toward an area in front of the stage. Or perhaps you have been in a church service where the minister says something like "with every eye closed and every head bowed, if you want to be saved, ask Jesus into your heart (no one looking now, to give everyone privacy), indicate yes by raising your hand".
This action may be followed by asking them to "come forward so we can pray with you",or from the pulpit pronouncing the hand-raisers "saved". Others may include baptisimal salvation.
Having watched this scene or a variation played out countless times over the years, I suppose we just ignored the still small voice inside that softly nagged at us with doubt because we had never read of these methods or statements in the Bible.
But we trusted our leaders as we thought they knew what they were saying was true...
Still, questions flitted through our minds like "did they repent? what about being baptized? Are they really "born again" like Jesus said?
We were part of a 150+ member assembly, regular church attendees, tithers, and read the Bible and there was much exhortation to "be faithful". (attendance, participation in programs, and of course, "giving" in the form of tithes and offerings...)
We followed our leaders and were busy doing church "stuff", but in looking back, I wonder how many of the "brethren" were really even "born again"?
If "accept Christ", "going forward", or "ask Jesus into your heart" was how you get saved, then WHY wasn't that in the Bible?
Those last couple of years "in church", as we considered our own lives and those in our assembly, it became painfully clear we were all a pretty worldly bunch, -all the while we played the church routine.
What do I mean by "worldly"?
We talked about the things in the world,
we borrowed and charged to finance our wants just like the world,
we pursued financial gain and security like the world.
we saw church people divorced and young people pregnant without marriage like the world,
we listened to worldly music and even had a dance or two in the church just like the world.
we watched the same movies and entertainment produced by the world...
we followed sports and news just like the world. we broke traffic and other laws just like the world.
We coveted wealth just like the world,
we over ate and indulged in fleshly appetites like the world,
we accepted blatant sin among us just like the world,
we fund-raised and sold merchandise for profit just like the world...
we avoided taking loving responsibility for others just like the world,
we looked down our self-righteous noses at those we disagreed with just like the world,
we held grudges just like the world,
we got political just like the world,
we pledged allegiance to a worldly kingdom, we got angry and resentful just like the world, we murmured and complained just like the world.
we told a few risque jokes like the world.
We sought help from lawyers, tax specialists, psychologists, and doctors just like the world without seeking the Lord's help first.. We substituted church attendance and membership for discipleship,
we substituted "seeker sensitivity" for repentance,
we substituted tithes for giving to the needy,
we substituted a few catchy songs for real worship,
we traded fellowship in a building for reaching out to the lost,
we traded holiness of character for the comforting acceptance from a pastor or the group. ......... and we justified every bit of it just like the world.
The main difference was that we called ourselves "Christian"and a lot of our time was centered around church activities.
If we believed the preachers on TV or behind the pulpit we could convince ourselves it was so, but when we dared to compare the gospel and message of Scripture with what the religious leaders said, and we gave attention to that "something is missing" sense inside, then we might have cause to rethink the smooth and easily acceptable "salvation". Let me ask you, is "going to church",
living a moral life,
being a nice guy and
a "good" person,
taking communion or the mass,
listening to Christian radio or watching Christian TV, but still doing the things listed in the blue paragraph above, evidence of a disciple of Jesus Christ?
It might ease our conscience to put a church-patch over a gaping wound, but it truly grieves me to say much of the church-world has lost its salt.
Some might want to do what Paul told the church in 2nd Corinthians 13:5
Examine your own selves, whether ye are in the faith; prove your own selves. Or know ye not as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you? unless indeed ye be reprobate. Reprobate means: unapproved, that is, rejected; by implication worthless (literally or morally): - castaway, rejected, reprobate.
You see, it is easy to build an assembly if you water down the gospel by offering a pleasant sounding, comfortable, easy-to-accept message.
What we have done is removed our cross from the gospel; by this we have walked away from the gospel of scripture. I realize most of the readers of this are no longer "in church" and many of you have walked away from the hollow shell of church services. Some of you are trying to make sense between the conflicts of scripture and the Christianity that is mostly represented by traditional church.
You may find you really don't know much about your walk with God
until you walk away from a church building
And if you are reading this and wondering if you have obeyed the gospel, there is GOOD NEWS for you. Salvation is free,
but God requires faith in Jesus Christ, rrepentance from dead works of sin, and for a life of obedience where Jesus Christ is Lord.
Those who are "born from above" will produce the fruit of the nature, character, and authority of Christ as evidence of a truly transformed life. The works Christ did, we shall do also.
Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby.
Luke 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but,except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 14:33 ..whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
to the church, Jesus said: Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from where you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place,except you repent.
Repentance is a change of mind and heart that brings forgiveness and was never a one-time response to the gospel.
8 And he entered into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, reasoning and persuading as to the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, (from among the unconverted Jews at the synagogue)
reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.
That friends, is how several dozen new believers were added to the church. And not a word about:
Is there any wonder when we shuffle people through the wrong door into Christianity that we get an altogether different looking Christian from those in the Bible? -And this is why Jesus Christ is once again calling His people to come out from the religious institutions of man.