The Lost Church
As turmoil sweeps through the earth it is needful of someone to hold up a standard, a city on a hill that can show the way to go and give hope. That is exactly what the Puritans who help found this country hoped and prayed it would become, but they knew it would need a Church that would be salt to preserve and light to show the path.
The American Church has lost its way and it needs to repent and return to its original calling, which is not to build big edifices, big organizations, or big ministries. The Church is not to be a ‘big business’. Jesus said His house would be a ‘house of prayer’ – one that hears from God and talks to God and does God’s will on the earth. In other words, the Church is made up of those who are filled with the Holy Spirit and operate with His direction. The Church is to be a family more than an organization and the family is to be more important than most other things the Church is occupied with.
This creates a problem for most denominational and organizational leaders because, they will not be in control – the Holy Spirit will be the One controlling. After all, there may not be a pastoral message one Sunday or worst of all; they may not take an offering that Sunday. They may have communion instead. They may have a worship session that is not directed by the worship leader but by the Holy Spirit with His gifts displayed. After all, Scripture instructs,
“How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine (a teaching), hath a tongue, hath a revelation, or hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.” – 1 Cor. 14:26.
This sure doesn’t sound like the typical American church of performers and spectators. Most church services are more like attending a concert than like Paul’s description. Paul’s type of Church life is suited more too small settings than to big congregations. Those who believe in big organizational churches will no doubt say, “But, look at how much we do for the kingdom of God!” After all, they say, the work of the ministry needs money and the bigger the church the more the money. But, that overlooks the statement of Jesus, “I will build My church.” The issue is one of control – who is in control? God is not against something being big, He is against the Pharisees’ mentality that puts man in charge instead of God.
The Church is also to be light and salt to the world but it cannot be either without a firm commitment to the truth of God’s Word – all of it. Not just those truths that we like or make us feel good, but all God’s truth. Before the Hebrew Priests could enter the Holy Place, they had to look into the Laver where the water acted like a mirror showing them every unclean spot. Then the same water was used to cleanse them making them fit to go into God’s presence. This is a picture of the way God’s Word is to us today, but if it isn’t applied in totality, we are not going to be prepared to be cleansed in repentance so we can go into God’s presence. No sinner (one who is actively sinning) should be comfortable in church until they have repented. Yet the churches are filled every Sunday with people living in adultery, divorce, lying and stealing, gossips, lacking in prayer, unfilled with the Holy Spirit, etc… Evangelism was never meant for the Church but for the world however, today the American Church has invited the world into the church and they need an evangelist to reach them.
The American Church, every branch of it, seems to have lost its way. They need prophets instead of pastors; men that will point out the sin in the church and call for turning back to God in repentance. They need to hear the truth that their Christian faith is to permeate every part of their life; such as work, politics, entertainment, and family. One cannot be a Christian in Church and not one on the job, nor in their politics, and I’m not talking just about talking their Christianity but also living it. They are the Church and they are to be the Church in every part of their lives! For example, how you vote is as important as how you worship and how you live in your family as important as how you act in church. You cannot knowingly vote for those who support the murder of the unborn and confess to follow Jesus, who said, “Suffer the children to come unto Me.” You cannot support divorce and re-marriage in the church and confess to honor the God who said, “I hate divorce.” You cannot accept the homosexual-lesbian lifestyle yet claim to follow the One who called it “an abomination”!
America prides itself in being the land of freedom, but if you are a slave to sin, you are not free. Only the truth will set you free and God’s Word is the source of all truth.
The Apostle Peter reveals how God’s judgment will begin on any nation and it applies to us as well.
“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” – 1 Pet. 4:17
“The time” certainly has come for us and I believe it has begun. God will dry up finances, take away members, and remove pastors of those churches that have committed adultery with the world. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is also raising up those who will obey Him. He is pruning them to bear much more fruit, preparing them for the great harvest that is coming in our day. Preparing us for the coming of the Lord.
I pray you are in such a church, it may be big or small for God is not so much interested in numbers as in faithfulness.