Monday, January 17, 2011

The Pathetic Age of Might.

We live in a mighty time. A time of tolerance and enlightenment, a time when live and let live are the mantra of heretics abroad. A time when the World is changing at a pace far more rapidly than any of us are prepared to even begin to fathom. A time when the fool is suffered and folly is praised as wisdom. A time when ultimate truth is scoffed, and pluralism of truths is a comforting mantra to cling to.

Our church is disappearing, but not for the reasons we would like to believe (clearly the world has become so carnal that there is no possible hope – which seems to justify dwindling numbers on Sunday).

We live in a confused time. A time when the term fundamental has come to be associated with extremist factions that are bent on making everyone think like themselves. Often to the point of ending their own lives as well as those of others, simply to further their cause. A time when the church is confused about it's purpose and being relevant to the post modern individual has given rise to liberal, Christless gatherings of tolerance and open conversation. A time when "old fashioned Christianity" is the coloquial term for the stale legalism of the 20th century. A time when rich, Christian living has been replaced with bitter malcontent and petty quarreling over the ordinances of the church and the piety of following specific rules laid out by leadership of ages past. A time when the ultimate truth of Scripture has been all but forgotten, by both the hyper liberal and the hyper conservative.

We live in a selfish time. A time when we talk of Christianity in terms of what it can do for us, instead of what it really means to have a personal relationship with Christ. Oh, we say the right words, but it ends there. We tell people they can have a relationship with Christ, and proceed to hamper that whole idea by giving them a fresh, crisp copy of the Christianese dictionary and a playbook of do's and don'ts for our particular brand of Bible thumpering. Or, conversely, we give them nothing. Our entire focus is simply on having them in Church and hoping somehow that is enough – it's not very considerate to burden people with the idea that they may be bound for a Christless eternity in Hell.

Like the Roman church of the dark ages we prevent the truth of the gospel from permeating the hearts of those who would believe - if only they could actually know the truth of scripture, and not a stained transliteration of our own making. Unlike the church in the dark ages, we haven't issued an edict preventing the reading of scripture. We haven't hidden the Bible, or even prevented it from being translated into the tongue of the common man (mostly at least). In fact the Bible is more widely available now than it has ever been. What we have done is far worse. In our own pride and selfish ambition we have stolen the truth of scripture from the world. We have done so through our furtive liberalism and overly tolerant attitude. We have done so through our deeply pride saturated legalism which demands the strict adherence to church policies not found in scripture. We have done so through our bitter hypocrisy and self indulgence, we have made the Bible irrelavent to most (both within and beyond the doors of the church). WE, the Christian Church, have denied Christ in the worst possible way.

The message, the whole point of it all, the meaning of life, has been lost and all but forgotten. I can smell you now, boiling because you (certainly) know the meaning of life... why it's Jesus of course. Just as in Sunday School, when we teach our children that the correct answer to every question is Jesus. We've lost all sight of the real truth of that. What does it mean to know Christ? How have we been presenting Christ in our lives? As critical, petulant children who feel overly entitled to our own whims in a world that is going to Hell.

"sooner or later you're going to realize just as I did that there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path." ~ Morpheus

The problem with the modern (and Post Modern) church, the poison, the secret hand tool of satan... us. We, the Christians of the 21st century, are going to be the downfall of Christendom in our almighty Americas.

We have boiled down the entire Christian lifestyle to only one hour on Sunday mornings, and even that we have turned into a joke. Laced with entertaining tidbits and clever attempts to make comfortable those in attendance. Our goal now is numbers, our message prosperity. Most churches preach some form of the prosperity gospel. No you say – never – not us? Just look at how you present the gospel, or how you pray. The only time we acknowledge that God has answered prayer is if the outcome is favorable. That, my friend, is prosperity gospel worldview. The truth is that God is good and Holy and Awesome in even our deepest pain. We preach from our pulpits and soap boxes that "becoming" a Christian (as though it is an act of our own that saves us) will transfer people into a fabulous life of roses and chocolate cherries. Nowhere in scripture does becoming a follower of Christ promise you a better life. Yet most of us promote this lie and live it in our own lives and prayers. When did you last thank God for your suffering or for your pain? If we could manipulate God with our prayers and behavior why would Christ even need have died?

We go to church on Sunday mornings with the expectation of receiving some blessing to get us through the week. The church building has become a weekly Mecca for Christians instead of being the house of God it is intended to be. We go to church with no desire to be a part of the church body beyond that one hour we are there (to the minute, don't you dare have the audacity to stray beyond noon).

"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today are Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle, that is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." ~ Brennan Manning

We, the Christian Church, are meant to play a role in our communities, we are meant to reflect the glory of God to the world. Instead of doing this we have opted to quietly fiddle away our time as the landscapes of our countries change. We get angry about decisions that impact our social rights, and yet we've played no part in our communities beyond a dull roar whenever we feel slighted. We are meant to be serving our fellow man, living lives of sacrifice for the honor and glory of God. This is not social gospel, this is Christian Living.

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." ~ YouTube

We have forgotten what it means to seek the Lord in all things, to be disciples of Him and live lives of discernment, honoring and glorifying Him in all we are. Instead we have been distracted by any of the plethora of insidious entrapments and snares set out by the enemy. The beast has infiltrated the church and is tearing it apart from the inside. Meanwhile, we sleep. We sleep and we grow fat on our meals of misplaced sincerity.

It is time for the church wake up, get off it's lazy posterior and begin to fulfill it's role as God has intention. It is time to stop sitting in the back pew. It's time to mature out of legalism and stop trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit. Bring every issue of the day to the Lord and seek Him in all things. There is not good cause to following the 'rules' just because it's what we've always done. We MUST come before the Lord – and bare our souls. It's time to reject liberalism, cease simply spending days filling pews and entertaining people, it's time to stop ushering people into Hell with a Bible in their hands.

If you are seeking to be truly inspired at Church on Sunday morning, then you NEED to prepare your heart from Monday to Saturday. Seek Him in prayer, fervently. Seek Him in His Word, diligently. Church is not simply "the place you go to get spiritually recharged"... it is the place you go to fall on your face before a Holy God! We must prepare for Sunday as diligently as we expect of our pastors.

It's time to know the physical and spiritual needs of our world. It's time to serve. "And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." Mark 9:35

It's time to reflect the Love of God. "Jesus answered, "The most important is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:29-31

It's time to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. "And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20. The Bible offers a rival story for the World. It IS contrary to the World's philosophies and "wisdom". It is time to be a part of God's story, shed our pride and align our own view of the world with HIM. He doesn't need us to preserve His Word. He doesn't need us to protect His Name. He doesn't need us to convict others. He desires for us serve Him fully with our whole lives.

It's time to take a good hard look at ourselves (not the guy in the next pew or the guy down the street).

It is time to wake up. It is time for revival.

No comments: