Wake-up: We Are At A Crossroads for Contemporary Church
There is a shift in the Church of America today. We stand at a crossroad of Truth and tradition.
I wonder how many have considered what a Preacher does. The modern Preacher, like the prophet, has been called by God and indwelt with a Gift for the spoken word. Called to be an obedient mouthpiece for Gods will, even if and especially when it is difficult. It is a commission to preach God’s Truth that has been revealed to them - unabashedly and unashamedly.
Like a parent running to push a child over - who would otherwise be running into into traffic – the preacher at times must aggressively, and always with love, push others out of peril - that they often do not see coming. This reckless love has historically been met with resistance by those unwilling to grow, rather than being seen as the unsacrificial cry that it is by a burdened steward.
From Isaiah to John those who are burdened with such a responsibility – know firsthand that eagles fly alone and not in the flock. The world first hated Jesus as well, and alienation and isolation are no strangers to Truth bearers. After all - even when Truth comes from a place of love, God’s word warns that it is as sharp as a two-edged sword. Billy Graham has said it this way - Truth, rightly heard, will bring comfort to the broken – and at the same time it’s sting will break those who have become comfortable.
When a message causes us to be uncomfortable in our flesh – its reciprocal leads to an exaltation of Christ. It is when we get the end of ourselves, and a repenting understanding of a need for more of Him, rather than more of what he can do, that we receive more of Christ. The Epistles to Timothy remind us to be on the watch for quarreling over differences of geologies, or traditions and instead focus on the centrality of the works of Jesus Christ.
A healthy church as some define - is a stark contrast to words of Jesus, our Lord. Jesus defines his church, the body of believers coming together as a:
- is a “House of Prayer” (John4),
- that makes “Disciples-making disciples” (Math 28),
- teaches believers to how study the doctrine daily (Acts 17),
- baptizing new believers (Rom6),
- who regularly partakes in the Eucharist,
- and building each other up so that each may use his gift to go back into the world and raise new believers.
How are we doing with this….With meaningful prayer meetings, regular baptisms and communion, teaching of sound doctrine, entering back into a broken world to raise new believers, and making disciples?
If we are honest we should be heart broken at how we have allowed the distractions of “the deceiver” keeping us from a Biblical standard.
Some may disagree and say that we should quietly sit idle in the name of peace. They warn that division of the devil and they say that “A House divided cannot stand against itself” (Gospel of Mark). But a closer look at this teaching in (both Mark and Matthew) – reveals that Jesus was discussing the two kingdoms of light and darkness – of heaven and hell. We can’t serve both – we will grow to hate one or despise the other.
When it comes to division – What Jesus specifically said, read Matt 10 is “I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set[a] a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’
Jesus tore down the zealots, flipped over the tables, and divided homes over Truth.
Even further – in this discourse we see the pharisees questioning the Truth of His power. We learn of the eternal penalty- in hell, when one commits the “unpardonable sin” – which is the eternal separation of unbelief that comes in blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit specifically is attributing the works of God to Satan, or the inverse – and denying the divine power of the Holy Spirit.
This warning must be taken very seriously – because souls are at stake, and in times of emotional exuberance – the power of persuasion can quench the indwelling, regenerative presence of the Holy Spirit. Revivals are one such period, that can be especially abusive and misunderstood. Leonard Ravenhill – A Father of Contemporary Revival has said – “Revival is when God gets so sick and tired of being misrepresented that He shows up Himself.”
Revival is a time to repent and seek life giving forgiveness – not material improvement of heal or wealth. Revival is a time to pray earnestly as a church for awakening of the spirit not an energizing of the flesh. The “Word of Faith” Charismatic presentation of Revival or even the Gospel, from charlatans like Hinn, Hagin and Copeland have been deemed by leading theologians, from multiple denominations, as the “Sin of the Galatians.” We read in Galatians 3 the warning where man “completes in the flesh – the power that God had begun in the Spirit.” God can and does miracles every day. But Hope through Chris is not the same as Hype through man.
In the Gospels – Miracles were performed – and multitudes were added to the body. I have not witnessed any verifiable miracles – nor have I seen multitudes added because of them. This is not to see that God is not still in the Miracle business but consider this:
- Jesus condemned the Galatians for seeking signs saying “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders . . . you will never believe”
- Jesus – also condemns those that crave miracles rather than the miracle maker. IN Matt 12 - Jesus had been performing miracles for quite some time when a group of scribes and Pharisees came to Him with an insolent demand to see another sign. In response, Jesus condemned them as “wicked and adulterous.”
- Remember Jesus also said - A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." (meaning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ).
- Matt - 21 reminds us also that - “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;
Could this be wrong – Perhaps -
- If I am wrong – We would be guilty of caring enough to face persecution to protect the Truth that God has revealed.
- And if this is wrong – then any who are persecuted (un-Christianly) for this Truth – are at least correct theologically, if not also brotherly.
However – what if this is wright – as the scriptures have shown we read.
- I f I am right – we must act boldly – standing up to the institution and facing persecution of brothers – for your sake. No greater Love can one have than to lay done their life for another. Even the very ones who come against them.
- If I am right –forgive those who come against us in ignorance – for not everyone has the continence to stand against their tide. TO God be the Glory.
- If I am right – listen closely and remember - there is one error that the blood does not cover – and that is blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
- If I am right – Gods word teaches that all those who now given full revelation to the totality of Truth still seek after the miracles are blaspheming the Holy Spirit by attributing demonic influence on the Power of the Holy Ghost.
Sure, it is natural to emotionally defend what we have always done, or known – especially when influenced be peers or family, and many will.
Yet, Jerimiah reminds us that if - what we are doing is from man – we will not see it advance – and if what we are doing is of God – no one can stand in its way. Look around and ask yourself were multitudes added? Have they been?
So the question must become – Are we acting according to God’s will – or are we God’s people being distracted by false will?
A study of the Bible reveals that His will – is never for material things period. Yet – seeking healing for everything from headaches to bill paying - We keep asking for health or wealth (at least help to pay the bills) – this is just a miniature mirror of the heretical Prosperity Gospel.
These people think they can pray things into existence (including health) like God is a genie. Sure – We are called to pray – and yes God can, and does these miracles to, IF IT BE ACORDING TO HIS WILL. (1 John).
He says seek 1st the Kingdom of God (Matt 23) and to seek to do his will which God’s word says is to:
- Give Thanks in ALL circumstances – not pray them away (1 Thes 5:18
- Deny our self and pick up our cross – not seek gain for our self (Luke 9:23)
- Do make a public spectacle of your faith - rather than rolling around on the ground (Matt 16)
- It is HIS ULTIMATE WILL – to see people come to belief in Jesus and receive eternal life – which frenzy-faith Cleary had the opposite effect (1 John 6:40)
- I have no desire to cause division but to seek truth boldly, challenge the comfortable - for the sake of fulfilling God’s call to grow – to share – to reach the world – to baptize – to teach (really teach)– to pray – and to love and support and protect.
Discernment is needed here to defeat the spirit of chaos and confusion that has exhausted so many – hospitalized others, and squelched Kingdom advancement, by pushing people away, despite the huge hearts of such God seeking believers.
Look around – we are children who love God and are failing in execution because we have replaced discipline with excuses – and growth with fear and self-centeredness.
We have been led astray by the delusion that staying busy means we are staying close to God. Listen close – that is works based salvation – Heresy. We are not living by Grace or in Gods will.
Selfish Prayer, Works based salvation, and Charismatic Healing Circus’s aside – we must stop. Thankfully, we are seeing an awakening of those entrusted as stewards of Gods resources - embracing the Call to truly serve God – God’s way– rather than to continue serving ourselves - and calling it church. Praise The Lord.