DRAWING NEAR – PART 16
CHILDREN LOVE CANDY
Remnant disciples are definitely looking for the return of Christ and doing much study concerning end time events. There are many things we do not understand but God has been gracious to allow us to see the mysteries of how to live and prepare in the time we have left. Many will talk about how important it is to go to church and I am not saying this is entirely wrong but it is much more essential for us to spend quality time with God. To be honest, it can be distracting to go to church because many have substituted church – for God. We are the church and Christ is our head! In today’s churchianity, people are not generally friendly and in most cases we also are not really interested neither do we have the time or desire to become connected with others. Again, I am not saying this is good but just being truthful. I believe there are a few saints in the churches that are sincere about God and Jesus will lead them to discover the “truth.” What do you mean – don’t they already know the truth? The more a person learns about WHY they do the things they do, the more our eyes will be open to what He desires. There is a world of “facts” that explain all of our precious traditions that are very dear to our heart but actually they are very offensive to God. If we want to find out what they are, there is certainly not anything preventing us from knowing. The truth is, many really do not want to know WHY they believe the way we do – we just want to “manage” our life around what feels good to us.
I am sad to say that the majority of religious gatherings have become “artificial.” What am I saying? There is a plague of insincerity from love and concern to prayers and relationships. The only way I know how to explain it is to say that many are NOT walking in the presence of the Holy Spirit and this lukewarmness has caused many assemblies to become spiritually cold and uncaring. Are there saved people in these places? Yes, but I believe the true born-again followers of Christ are realizing the church is NOT their source for spiritual living and the only real lifeline to heaven is between them and Jesus. There are more and more churches being established where the leadership is embarrassed to preach against sin and are establishing the professional, technical “Hollywood” personality of political and social correctness as a new and improved identity so that everyone can be happy and comfortable. I personally do not want to go to a church where there is no conviction of sin or reverential fear for God because when the Bible is watered down it has no power to change anything or anyone. I want to be able to sense that God is leading the service and we are not just going through the motions of a dead program. What many do not realize is that when boards and committees begin to micro-manage the church and follow their own agenda instead of the urging of the Holy Spirit, that God slips out the back door and removes His presence. It is HIS church and He longs to be given the liberty to minister in POWER and anointing according to HIS will. When leaders are convinced their speeches and building programs are more important than Gods plans, we are allowed to witness the dark influencing spirits of religion that causes more harm than good. I have said many times before, there is NO substitute for developing an awareness of His presence and nothing (including going to church) is more important than spending quality time alone with Him.
We have been given a wonderful opportunity to have as much of God as we want and to draw as near to Him as we desire and yet along with all of this we also need to plan to have hardships and times of disappointment. This is not a negative confession but rather facing a reality that comes with standing for God’s truth. The world hates God and His Word and the Lord has promised that if we love Him and stand for Him, the world will also hate us. This is where many are deceived. The masses within the religious system observe the world and realize that lost sinners do not want anything to do with Christianity (and this is true). However, they fail to discern that most church members feel the same way! The congregations of today consist of multitudes of individuals that have already set limits to how much of Jesus they will endure. They do not mind to attend church but want everyone to stay out of their business when it comes to everyday life. They will listen to lectures about God’s grace and mercy but have already decided that other issues such as holiness and sanctification are not for them. They LOVE their sin and have no intention of sacrificing their life in order to be “filled” with God’s Spirit. If we want to see how serious people are about God, we can watch what a congregation will do when a pastor receives the revelation of what a remnant disciple has been called to be – and how they react when faced with dealing about God’s refining fire! Will the people stay and submit to the Spirits call to self-discipline or will they drift away and join another church where they tell humorous stories and talk about sports? One side of the gospel is preaching to the lost about what Jesus has done – the other side is preaching to the saints about what God is requiring from them! If we do not have a balance of the two-edged sword of God’s truth, we will end up with a carnal social club that focuses on eating and being entertained. Those who love God desire to hear truth no matter how excruciating. Those who are playing games will NOT endure sound doctrine and will turn away from the engrafted Word that is able to save their souls! Jesus said in John 15:18-19, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” People are like little babies that want to be fed and changed so they can rest in comfort and peace. When we teach about growing up and manifesting our faith by our works, we notice the “day care” crowd becomes disgruntled and drifts away. It reminds me of the mother who calls out to her children, “who wants Brussels sprouts?” and the children run and hide. Then when bags of chocolate candy are brought in, the children seem to be mesmerized by dreams of being satisfied with delicious treats. May we keep pastors on our prayer list and remember they have been called to lead people TO God – not to imply that the church IS God. It is time for pastors to teach people how to find God on their own because one day we may not have a church to go to. May we pray for them to have strength and a willingness to fall on their face to the Lord and listen intently to the instructions from heaven.
Yielding our lives to our heavenly Father is a step toward being spiritually empowered and being determined to control our carnality is the path toward holiness. There are many purposes for the church and one is to help lead people into spiritual maturity but when it is converted into a candy store – everyone loses. Immature Christian leaders cause much discouragement and certainly do not lead anyone to Christ. When pastors become satisfied with just keeping people comfortable by serving cupcakes instead of “balanced” nutrition, the message becomes unhealthy and unable to sustain life. I am not saying that trying to manage a church is easy – because it is not! It is very difficult to keep everyone enthused and supportive no matter what you are doing but the more carnal the people are in their everyday life, the more static and heaviness the atmosphere of the church will have. The pastor may be trying to do everything he can but it is the attitude of the congregation that can be a positive force or become guilty of ruining a church! When the Bible speaks of how influential leaven is to the entire lump, we think of how a small hidden sin can affect the individual and hinder their relationship with the Lord. However, we can also realize that when church members bring sin into the camp, they contaminate the environment with dark lustful influences that are cleverly deceiving. I have personally witnessed this in a church and know how powerful this seduction can be. At first it was an attitude that presented itself as innocent and harmless but beneath the mask, the spirit was planting seeds of corruption for the purpose of changing the personality of the church into a sickening arrogance. The original vision was turned from those who needed Christ – to the glamor of egotism and wealth. These fruits of carnality grew strong until it choked out the original purpose of the assembly and replaced it with a hellish agenda of selfishness, lust, covetousness and pride. As the leadership (and pastor) imploded with greed, competition and arrogance along with instances of adultery and eventually the pastor divorcing his wife to marry the worship leader, the congregation dispersed and the building was sold. We do not need any more churches because the ones we have are filled with controlling spirits. What good would more churches do if the people are not responding to the voice of God? The great falling away is happening before our eyes. Let us seek out our own salvation with fear and trembling in order to anchor us from being swept out to sea. Amen.