Why is the Church in the Situation it is Today?
Another great question. But the answer is also quite simple.
We have allowed the church to become what it is, or isn’t, today. The fault and blame for the carnality of the church belongs to each of us. We, as those who make up the Church, His Body, of which He is the Head, the Preeminent (Col. 1:18), have allowed it to be hijacked by those seeking entertainment and the glorification of the flesh and not the moving of the Spirit.
We have enjoyed church services that seem like family-friendly rock concerts and not worship times designed to bring us closer to the Lord we love. We have supported and promoted pastors and sermons that feed our feelings of self-importance rather than exalting and glorifying Christ. We want to have our egos stroked, our selfish wants fulfilled, and our lives uninterrupted by a God we claim to know— but truly don’t.
And we’ve done this to ourselves. The blood is on our own hands.
We smugly cherry pick the Scriptures we like, those we agree with, the non-convicting ones, and reject the others as the words of mere men and not the very words of God. We turn Jesus in to our personal Savior, our personal God, with our personal understanding of who He is and what He requires of each of us based on our own personal feelings or agenda.
We pepper our conversations with phrases like this:
“My Jesus would never want me to do anything I don’t want to do.”
Or, “My Jesus only wants me to be happy and I’m not happy with my wife right now. I’m going to call my lawyer tomorrow. It’s what my Jesus would want me to do.”
Or, “My Jesus doesn’t expect me to follow or obey Him it makes me feel uncomfortable around my friends. My Jesus loves me and is all about me.”
No doubt. I bet your Jesus is all about you. But that’s not Jesus. There is no “My Jesus”— there’s only Jesus as revealed in His Word. “My Jesus” is just an image of Jesus you have created yourself, one created in your own image, one you feel comfortable to worship, someone who thinks just like you. In reality, your “my Jesus” is an idol that looks and feels and thinks just like you do. So when you come to church and worship “my Jesus“— you’re worshipping yourself.
Let me give you one last example before we call it a day.
Let’s look at what some in the church, maybe even you, call salvation.
Same Great Taste, But Less Filling
Without a doubt, the church languishes as it does today because many, if not most, of professing believers in America are not even saved. Does that sound harsh? Well, consider this: many today have bought into a mindset that claims to allow them to live anyway they want and still claim to “belong to Jesus.” But John said:
“If we claim to have fellowship with the light (to be a believer, a follower of Jesus, a Christian), and yet walk in darkness (to live like the world), we lie (in claiming to have fellowship with the light) and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:6).
Also, many today flat out refuse conformity to the image of Christ. They desire to model their life after the world and all its lusts and have a “form” of godliness but not power (2 Tim. 3:5). Why? Simply because they have been told that salvation consists of nothing more than coming to church on Sunday, praying the “sinner’s prayer” years ago in VBS, or being baptized, and have no clue as to the radical change that takes place when regeneration occurs in a person.
To illustrate this point, the following is from Rick Warren’s book, the Purpose Driven Life (arguably one of the most popular Christian books in the last 40 years). After spending two paragraphs condensing the Gospel into a simple “Believe and Receive” formula, the Purpose Driven Gospel Presentation moves to the closing prayer of repentance and faith.
From the pen of Rick Warren:
“Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: ‘Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.’ Go ahead.
If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God! You are now ready to discover and start living God’s purpose in your life.”
From there, the reader is instructed to email Rick and receive a free booklet from his ministry.
No repentance. No recognition of the Lordship of Christ. Nothing. For me, it’s Gospel Lite. “Same great taste, but less filling.”
Can you see the difference? Do you see why not all professing Believers will suffer persecution but only those who “desire to live Godly in Christ” (2 Tim. 3:12), those who enter the narrow gate by the standards, the completed work of Christ (Matt. 7:13) and not by any other way? (John 10:1)
Some will suffer for refusing to compromise their faith or the integrity of the Lord and His Word while others, maybe you, will pretend everything is OK. “Hey, everything’s fine. No problems here. Me and my Jesus, we’re doing all right.”
But are you really? It’s time for some self-examination to see if we are truly in the faith, don’t you think?
Then join with me, will you?
For Part 1: Not Every Christian Will Suffer Persecution. Will You?