John 14:15 NIV
15 “If you love me, keep my commands.
1 John 1:5-7 NIV
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[a] sin.
In a Christian’s life, we are led and guided by the Holy Spirit. In a teacher’s life, they are guided and directed by the same Spirit. Sometimes, being led away from a topic or lesson. Sometimes trying to get away from a topic and the Spirit keeps returning them to it. Other times, the Spirit’s leading is so strong that they know they must follow and obey.
This lesson is one that could not be ignored and therefore must be published.
It will not go over well with many, however it will also be “seconded” by many. Yes, it is one of those issues.
Remember the scripture where God said “I will never leave you or forsake you?” In other words, God will never abandon one of His children. It doesn’t say however, that a child of God cannot abandon Him. In fact, Paul teaches in scripture that the Jews who abandon Christ and return to the law will have fallen from grace. If the Jews can fall from grace, it is only logical that Christians who abandon Christ and return to a life of sin have also fallen from grace.
WHAT IS THE CHURCH?
First of all, the “CHURCH” is the body of Christ. EVERY believer makes up the living Church.
The Church isn’t the building, even though we call it that. It isn’t a denomination, even though some refer to it as such. It is simply you and I and all other believers. WE are the Church. God could not care less about the building or denomination. What He cares about is the heart and lives of His children.
IF we believers are the church, then our attitudes and beliefs should be exactly what Jesus and His disciples demonstrated and taught. WE, as the Church must live each day as Christ taught. WE as the Church must glorify and magnify His name in all of our contacts and dealings. THIS is a must.
With Christ being the head of the Church (all believers), then the Church must demonstrate what Jesus taught, in His word.
From here on, it gets sticky.
WHAT IS HAPPENING?
From what others tell me and from what I read, hear and see, the Church has lost it’s way. I believe that God is pleading with those He calls "MY PEOPLE and CALLED BY MY NAME."
A large portion of the Church has apparently forgot what the “red letters” in the Bible say and teach along with what the disciples and Paul wrote.
If you keep reading, I will tell you why and what I think.
- Many members of the Church, have devoted their money to building and maintaining huge beautiful buildings rather than spending their resources on the poor, needy and afflicted.
- Far too many members of the Church show disdain and outright hatred for homosexuals, yet welcomes adulterers into the fold and positions of authority. Sexual immorality in any form is equally sinful in God's eyes. Read the Apostle Paul's teaching on this in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Christ taught us that we are to love the sinner, while hating the sin. We will never reach those living in sin if we show disdain or outright hatred toward them. Christ taught us, His Church, how we are to treat all people.
- Further, far too much sexual immorality, exploitation and abuse of children and women has come to light in mainstream denominations…having been covered up by members of the Church for decades...more sexual immorality in the very place that teaches and preaches against it. God cannot be pleased.
- Far too many members of the Church show disdain and outright hatred for immigrants and people who do not look like they do. Where, we ask, is the teaching of Christ in this attitude? Growing rapidly is a white Christian nationalistic movement among members of the Church. They call it White Christian Nationalism. These folks certainly wouldn’t have been in the multitude listening to a Middle Eastern man give His sermon on the mount.
Regarding homosexuals, transgenders, immigrants and people who don’t look like us, we must remember that we are all created by God and equal in His sight. There is absolutely no room in His Church for anger, resentment, disdain or hatred towards any person. No room or place at all.
- Far too many members of the Church have a thirst for political power and place politics above or equal to their being one of God’s children. They place belonging to a political tribe right up there at the top of priorities.
- Far too many members of the Church, follow and support openly anti-Christ politicians whose lives have been a billboard advertisement for sin. News flash for these folks; God doesn’t choose sinful & evil men to lead. He allows it to happen, but He doesn’t choose them.
- Far too many members of the Church vow to fight one sin, namely abortion, with “religious” and political clout. Yet they feel it is OK to tolerate a multitude of other sins.
- The Christian Nationalists, primarily made up of "Evangelicals", (some add "White" before the name) want all laws to be Biblically based and conform to their specific beliefs. Further, reports say they are excited about the possibility of using violence in their quest for dominance.
In other words, they want to change the Constitution which says there shall be no establishment of religion or State religion in our Country. They want their religious beliefs to rule, similar to what we see in Sharia Law and the Taliban.
As a response to this, we must remember that God did not "legislate" morality. God did not create us as robots, made to worship Him. No, he gave humankind "free will" to make the decision to worship and obey Him, or not. Along with our free will comes the knowledge from God as to the reward and penalty that comes with our choice.
A further response to Christian Nationalists and their goal is this; You might get your way at this point in time, but if the Constitution is changed or made irrelevant in the separation of Church and State, you may be very unhappy down the road when another religious body (Muslim, Jew, Mormon, etc) has the political clout to make their religious views the law of the land. This friends, is a very slippery slope.
The list of ways that the current Church is abandoning God, numbers even more than we have outlined, but we must be brief.
However, what permeates the air is the self-righteousness and self-centeredness of the "Pharisaic Attitude" that Christ warned so explicitly about. Read Matthew 23 for Christ's teachings on this subject. Also read "The Pharisaic Attitude" lesson found under the Spiritual Growth tab.
THE CHURCH IS SHRINKING--WHY?
I’m not talking about the building with the sign “Church” on it. I’m not talking about a denomination, as God doesn’t care about denominations. I’m talking about the “REAL CHURCH”, which is every believing Christian who has for one reason or another abandoned their beliefs and accepted the attitude of condoning sin.
Years ago, one excuse for people not going to Church was “I don’t want to go and worship with hypocrites.” Now, it is the primary and most given excuse.
Church members will tell you that it is a “falling away” from the Word of God that has caused Church membership to decline to record lows over the years.
I will tell you that I believe it is the attitude and actions of “Church members”, the CHURCH itself, who have driven people away and have caused people not to want any part of it.
And, I don’t blame them.
You might ask or suspect that I have lost confidence and respect for what is called “organized religion.” The answer is simple. Yes, I have.
We don’t like what we see, when compared to God’s Word.
Obviously, it isn’t for us to judge the condition of anyone's soul. Only God can judge this, and He is the ultimate judge. We can however take notice of what we see and compare it to the teachings of Jesus and make determinations as to how it stacks up.
It is imperative that we judge and compare the actions, words and deeds of others with the teachings of Jesus. Otherwise, we can be drawn into associations, words, actions and deeds that are not pleasing to God.
God will judge, while others must warn.
Christ had severe warnings in the book of Revelation for the Churches of Asia. Those warnings were specific then and applicable now, to ALL who call themselves Christians.
Let us pray that eyes will be opened, their hearts softened. Let us pray that great amounts of serious consideration, meditation and prayer will help those who have lost their way to have their souls restored and find the paths of righteousness again.
May the members of Christ's body be the light of the world, which Jesus teaches and instructs us to be.
Psalm 23:3 KJV
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
1 John 5:2-5 NIV
2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Matthew 5:14-16 NIV
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.