Recently I wrote a blog regarding Jesus’ parable of the mustard turning into a tree as found in Matthew 13:31-32. In that I shared how the parable represented what the church looked like in the first 300+ years, and how it transformed into something far different than what it originally was, something where Satan and his emissaries would feel safe and at home within. I presented just two of many ways in which this transformation came about, as well as the effects they have made on modern Christendom. As for the teachings we now hear and read about that support this transformation, I even questioned those as to whether they could be considered as what the Apostle Paul referred to in 1 Timothy 4:1, as doctrines or teachings inspired and promoted by demons. In this blog I want to clarify something from that blog, as well as to make an additional point to be considered.
After posting my last blog, it came to my attention that some of the readers might misunderstand something I was saying, namely thinking that I was against charitable acts or community service of sorts. I want to make it very clear that I am not in any way opposed to these. In fact, the Bible is very clear that these need to a part of a Christians life, as well as within the life of a church. In Luke 10:25-37, we read of Jesus telling a certain lawyer a story we’ve come to know as the Good Samaritan. In Matthew 25:33-40, Jesus tells us that when we help those in need we’ve done those things as unto Him. In James 1:27, we read of the characteristics of a pure and undefiled religion, which included visiting orphan’s and widows in their troubles. These are just some of the passages that indicate charitable acts and community service of sorts are to be a part of a Christians life. What I was addressing was an issue where those things have become more of a priority than fulfilling the great commission to reach the lost for salvation and to teach them to observe and obey all that He had commanded us, which includes the teachings of the Apostles as they were merely relating to us that which Jesus had communicated and taught to them.
Over the years, I have been in churches where most of their focus was on how many people they fed, how many people attended this or that event, or how many members or volunteers were a part of their church, just to name a few examples. While it is true that these things are important, I’ve also observed how so little, if any at all, is said or done in the pursuit of reaching lost souls for Christ. It’s like they are more concerned about establishing a good reputation within the community through which people will be drawn to visit and become a part of their church. The only thing the early church really got excited about, and for that matter even provided any kind of records of, were how many people came to salvation through Christ. They told us how many got saved and became followers of Jesus, but no where do we find numerical records like what some churches brag about now days. I’ve heard some indicate the reason they are going to this church or another is because it made them feel good and not challenged in their relationship with Christ, that they liked what the church was doing in the community, or they agreed with their political views in varying areas of society. What ends up happening is that people are becoming a part of a church not so much because of their relationship with Christ, or that they even believe and agree with what that church is teaching, but because the church is saying or doing something that is important to them. It’s like those who become a part of other non-Christian charitable organizations, where they become a part simply because they like what they are doing, paying little heed to what that organization believes or stands for just so long as they can join with them in a common activity of charitable acts. For churches to become like this, it’s like a doctor who gives a patient a shot with only a few drops of medicine in the syringe instead of the 100ml dose that is required to help them get well. They give enough to say they are promoting Jesus, thus easing their own conscience, but it is so little and watered down that it has little to no effect on the person except to make them more resistant to the necessary dose to help them become spiritually well. This is not what the gospel is all about, and it’s not what we see from the early church. Oh, there were some false doctrine and false prophets in their day that they had to contend with, and there were times that the Apostles had to give some correction to churches and those who called themselves followers of Christ, but when it was all said and done their focus was on preaching and sharing Jesus, and Him crucified for their sins, and their need for salvation from sin through Him. It was not done through fancy or eloquent words, or through this program or event, but through sincere preaching with the demonstration of the power of God.
In John 12:32, Jesus tells us that if He be lifted up, He will draw all people to Himself, yet it seems as though some churches are resorting to ways of gaining attendees and members through earthly means and a watered-down presentation of the gospel. Those who teach one of the different “flavors” of Kingdom Now theology focus more on conquering the world, starting with their community and working outward through what some call the “seven mountains of influence”. They are more focused and concerned about building and expanding the Kingdom of God here on earth than they are in reaching the lost with the gospel and pointing people to a heavenly realm that awaits those who are followers of Jesus.
Then there are those that could be categorized as being part of the “emergent church”, or some who are seeker-sensitive in nature. They will go to great lengths to avoid saying or doing anything that might offend or cause someone to stay away from their church. They will avoid preaching about sin, preaching about the cross and how that salvation from sin is only obtained through Jesus’ sacrifice on that same cross, and how that we need to live lives both separated unto Him and free of sin. Many will avoid having even the traditional symbols of Christianity displayed anywhere on the premises, yet they will have no problem allowing activities or displays of symbols and other paraphernalia relating to Satan that blatantly oppose Christianity and the One Whom we claim we follow and serve. All of this with the hopes of drawing more people to become a part of that church.
I know of a large church that is involved in helping the community in various ways, one that also has large events throughout the year, yet there is no doubt that their ultimate goal is reaching the lost with the unadulterated gospel of Jesus. Anything they do is for gaining a platform to clearly articulate and present the true and full gospel of Christ to reach the lost. They are focused on eternity and changing the eternal destination of unsaved souls through salvation. They are an example of a church that is both eternity and heavenly focused in their dealings with the lost in their community.
As the ever-imminent return of Christ for His bride draws ever closer, those whose heart and focus is to reach souls with the eternal, heavenly, and full unadulterated gospel of Christ will become more and more a minority within Christendom. This is reflective of the great apostasy that is to be present in the last days leading up to the return of Jesus, where many will, as the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 4:1, fall away to follow deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. Are you ready when Christ returns? If not, now is the best time to get ready. If you need to repent of unconfessed sin in your life, or of what I call “stink’n think’n”, now is the time to do that. Don’t delay! The fulfillment of Biblical end-time signs before our eyes on a global scale only reinforce the fact that Jesus’ return is at any time. Don’t be caught off guard and unprepared for Him!