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Monday
Feb052018

It is a Day of Warning

A pastor friend of mine posted this yesterday:

A major study released by George Barna a few months ago clearly showed that “success” is the predominant philosophy of America’s churches. And Barna’s research listed the five-fold criteria that determined “success” in the minds of most pastors and churches: 1) Attendance, 2) Offerings, 3) Number of programs, 4) Size of staff, and, 5) Square footage of facilities. In fact, Barna’s research showed that the vast majority of pastors will purposely NOT preach what they know is Biblical truth in order to accommodate the five-fold “success” goals listed. This has led to popularity-preaching; entertainment-oriented programs; soft, non-confrontational teaching; and an overall weak and compromising pulpit."

 

Someone asked me: “why are most of your postings dealing with messages like what is written above” and the answer is quite simple. The day in which we now live is not a day for a “prosperity message” in which we can live like kings and queens in the midst of a twisted world. Today is not a day of “dominion theology” where we as the church will take the culture captive and ready it for the coming of the Lord. Today is not a day of “self help” messages that try to get you to become a better person in your health and wealth, and keep you in step with our cultural norms. You can list another dozen things that the church favors in place of warning the church about our non-Biblical approach to living our faith. Someone has said that many churches take an NFL Super Bowl Sunday approach to their ministry, making everything about the environment and making church entertaining. The warning of the prophets apply to today’s church:

Jeremiah 6:13-14

For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is making profit dishonestly.
From prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely.
14 They have treated My people’s brokenness superficially, claiming, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.

The philosophy we have adapted in the church is not about surrender, emptying ourselves of the old man, and taking on the new man in Christ. It is about building our lives around making ourselves healthy in Christ. That is fine if the definition of being “healthy” is determined by surrender vs. my privileges. Privileges are realized only when the surrender is complete. What privileges are valid if we live in disobedience to His Word?

Disobedience is not a word that we hear much about in most churches. It is too negative of a word. It is a word of chastisement, but it is a condition of the Church that must be addressed.

Jeremiah 6:17-19 “I appointed watchmen over you and said,

‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’
18 Therefore hear, you nations; you who are witnesses, observe what will happen to them. 19 Hear, you earth I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law.

We often use Israel as an example of God’s unmerited favor by re-establishing them as a nation after 2000 years of exile. However, we often fail to remember that Israel is a prime example of what happens to a nation that disobeys God.

Today is a day of pruning, a day in which God is trimming His flock by what they believe and practice. They are disqualifying themselves like the prophets proclaimed by using God as a platform for success. I am convinced that this trimming is being done to those who are not willing to be obedient to the Biblical mandate of surrender, but rather pursue a relevance to culture.

Today, above everything else, is a day of warning. It is a day that asks you to focus on the message of the scripture, surrender yourself on God’s altar of self- denial, and pursue the image of Christ in everyday life. The world around us must be persuaded to ask, “why are Christians so different in nature and what makes them stand apart from the rest of us?”  That question can only be asked if we give them reason to ask it.

Today is a day of warning: are we living out the Christ of our imagination based upon a false narrative, or are we living out the Christ of the Bible?  The implications of how you answer that has eternal ramifications.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

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