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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. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name? And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].
(Mat 7:21-23 AMP)
SEEING A TREND
I correspond with Christians all around the world. While revival is happening all around the world, something else is happening here. Many of my American friends are telling me they are leaving their churches. In the last two weeks, I have had no less than 5 individuals tell me this. Many of these people are leaders in the Faith. Some of these people young Christians like me look up to. Last week, I was talking to my neighbors; A husband and wife, about my age. Known for their long relationship with their church, I have pictured them as being steady and steadfast rocks. Their love for Christ and devotion to His call is strong in them. This couple told me they are leaving their church, after being faithful to their church for decades.
Two people I look up to as Spiritual elders in my life told me the same thing.
The reasons others are giving me for leaving their churches are starting out to sound like the reasons Sandy and I don’t really want to join a church. We are not alone. Not by any stretch of the imagination. The trend is this: People who are genuinely interested in a relationship with Jesus Christ are starting to be excluded by churches who are more interested in marketing their church, and sacrificing their relationship with the living God for the idea of what God stands for.
WAIT A MINUTE, DAVE! WHAT ARE YOU SAYING???
I am saying this, and I am not the only one saying this. The new social experiment in American Christianity is to be so inclusive that we exclude why we are even calling ourselves Christians. We have traded our relationship with Jesus Christ for a cheap backdrop with a picture of Jesus hanging on it. American Churches are more interested in marketing their churches than in living the life of Christ. We have a business plan; we have a committee for entertainment, and publicity. We have become so relevant to everyone that we are becoming irrelevant to those who follow Jesus and to those who genuinely seek the Lord our God.
I have met many imitators. I once was one. I know what I am seeing when I see it. We, as individuals, and as a congregation, have become more concerned with being liked, and with being popular. We mistakenly believe that the more people that come to our building every Sunday is an indicator of our doing the right thing. Being popular is not our call. Behaving in a way that makes us popular, just to pack the pews will make us irrelevant to Christ.
I have met Church leaders all over America who have no knowledge of the scripture, but they know how to make you feel good and comfortable with your own ignorance. I have seen for myself that the minute you start asking the hard questions of the Bible, that you suddenly become less welcome in that church. After all, we are here to have fun, and fellowship, not to learn the deeper things of Christ.
We have all become salesmen of the Gospel. We have turned Jesus into a marketable commodity.
THAT WASN’T VERY NICE, DAVE. WHERE’S THE GRACE IN THAT?
This isn’t nice or comfortable either: The genuine Children of God are not a club that includes everyone BUT genuine believers. We do not have something to sell. We have a relationship with Christ. We are being made into the image of Christ. We are not salesmen of the idea of Christ, just so you can be comfortable knowing about Him without the conviction it takes to follow him.
Paul was the Apostle of God’s Grace. PAUL SAID IT BEST: 2Co 2:17 For we are not, like so many, [like hucksters making a trade of] peddling God’s Word [shortchanging and adulterating the divine message]; but like [men] of sincerity and the purest motive, as [commissioned and sent] by God, we speak [His message] in Christ (the Messiah), in the [very] sight and presence of God.
Here is the Grace: In His patience with all of us, God desires that we KNOW Him and His ways. Being this full of Love for us all, God applies His mercy toward us, and by the power of His grace, delays the final day of reckoning so that all peoples will come to know Him through Jesus Christ.
YOU ROB HUMANITY WHEN YOU EXCLUDE THE TRUTH
Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it. But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it. [Deut. 30:19; Jer. 21:8.] Beware of false prophets, who come to you dressed as sheep, but inside they are devouring wolves. [Ezek. 22:27.] You will fully recognize them by their fruits. Do people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every healthy (sound) tree bears good fruit [worthy of admiration], but the sickly (decaying, worthless) tree bears bad (worthless) fruit. A good (healthy) tree cannot bear bad (worthless) fruit, nor can a bad (diseased) tree bear excellent fruit [worthy of admiration]. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. Therefore, you will fully know them by their fruits. (Mat 7:13-20 AMP)
Just because it looks like a Church, just because there is a fabulous floor show before the preacher comes out, just because the preacher woos you with his glib wit, and humility, does not mean you have gone to a building whose interests are that you know Jesus personally.
There are MANY Mega-Churches in the land. Not all are hucksters of the Gospel. But the ones who are all about marketing and being appealing to everyone, for all the wrong reasons are driving sincere believers away.
Jesus said that if He is high and lifted up, he will draw all humanity to himself. If what you are lifting up is the idea of Jesus, not the knowledge of Jesus, if what you propound is a sack full of sweets and goodies, you have taken people off the path of genuine knowledge of Christ.
Here is the hard truth. There is one God. He created us. We decided to break off our relationship with Him. In order to heal that relationship with Him, he sent Jesus, His only son, to take all of our sin, and all the consequences of sin, and become those things. That way, the judgment of God could be satisfied. God poured all his wrath on Jesus, and sent Him to Hell in our place. When we believe this with all our hearts, and confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, we become His adopted children.
From that point on, it is all about learning how to build a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. THAT is the truth.
KNOWING THE PATH IS NOT WALKING THE PATH
There will be millions of people headed to hell who know a LOT about Jesus, but never knew, or cared to know, that they could have had a real relationship with Jesus. Jesus became all our sin so we can become all of God’s children. God is calling us to a path that leads us to a sincere and real knowledge of Him. He is not interested in your marketing plan, or budget, or entertainment quotient. God is interested in YOU. God loves you. He is not in love with the idea of you, he loves YOU. He proved this when He sent Jesus to die in our places.
God is calling us to know Him through Jesus Christ. We are called to walk after Him. The more we identify with Jesus, and become just like Him, the more Holy Fruit we will produce. When we do that, more humans will be drawn to Jesus, and their salvation will be assured. You cannot do this with just a nodding glance a Christ. If your church is standing in the way of the real knowledge of Jesus Christ, then leave that place, it is not of God.
The worlds stated goal is to change the way everyone thinks so we can all be just alike. The world has openly stated that Christianity is one of the religions that they cannot include because it is “intolerant”. By intolerant, they mean we have the raw nerve to say that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ. This calls for a real relationship to Christ, not the idea of a relationship with Christ.
Churches all over the world are having real revival. They are having this revival in the very teeth of deadly opposition. The reason they are reviving from their slumber is because the uncompromising word of truth is being preached, taught and LIVED out in the individual lives of the revived.
It is better to not go along to get along if it means you have to give up a genuine relationship with Christ to get along. People the world over are being put to death for their faith. In the meantime, American Churches are no longer being a congregation of genuine believers.
It is time to put the toys away and start seeking the Lord, here in America. Don’t shut out real believers just because they do not fit into your marketing plan. If your plan is so important that you have to shut out genuine believers, then your plan is not of God. If the conversation of genuine believers makes you, O Church, UNCOMFORTABLE, chances are, you have not known Jesus Christ.
Seek the Lord while He may be found. But do NOT make the mistake many people have, and think that just because you go to a place that calls itself a church, that you are among believers. You do not become a believer OR saved just because you attend a church. That would be like saying you became a Cheese Burrito because you went to Taco Bell.
HERE”S THE GRACE
The sin is not that you are lost. The sin is not accepting the free gift of salvation. If you do that, you are still dead. The sin is not in going to church. The sin of the church is believing that it is the answer when Jesus alone is the real answer. The real church’s job is to uphold every believer, and lead others to Jesus.
Salvation is free. God loves you unconditionally. Jesus did not come here to establish a religion. Jesus came here to destroy all religion in exchange for a relationship with the Living and only God. Every religion on earth knows this, and despises Jesus for it.
God created you and loves you dearly. He is calling you back to His love. The way to get there is through Jesus Christ. There is no other way under heaven to know God.
Grace is why God has not already destroyed this planet. He is waiting for you to know Him through Jesus Christ. Stop being fooled by the joke “church” has become, and start knowing who Jesus Christ is. He is waiting to embrace you. Church is where real believers meet and share the love of the Lord. It is not about entertainment. It is about sharing the joy of the Grace of God through Jesus Christ. Church is about meeting the lost where they are, not where we say they have to be. You are the church, if you are a believer in Jesus. When two believers meet and share the joy of the Lord, there is church.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
If what you have is what church really is, then you can expect genuine revival in the land, and serious opposition to your meetings. This is being proven true all over this planet…except America.
Let’s Be About It.
I love you in the Name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.
David G. Perkins