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"Did God really say that??"


As you might have guessed, I LOVE learning from the Word of God.  I LOVE how a new insight can pop out at me even if I've read that verse many times before.  I LOVE how the Lord speaks to me through His Word - ministering to me, calming me, directing me, instructing me, healing me...

My ultimate healing came through the Word.  Although I was introduced to Christ Jesus by a new friend who led me in a study of the Scriptures, it was through my subsequent personal time spent studying His Word that the Holy Spirit quietly brought me into a true knowledge of  what Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross truly meant - when I first believed and accepted that He indeed died for me!

The Scriptures then came alive for me!  I craved studying and learning all about my Savior.  I believed His promises, and I believed His Word would never come back void!  As I've shared with you before, when I would pray scripture verses back to Him, I saw miraculous answers to prayer.   And I can't adequately describe the profound peace I have found in the midst of trials when spending time in His Word and believing His promises.

But what I like the most about soaking in God's Word, which may seem unusual, is when the Bible verses convict me.  When I study the Scriptures, I hope to learn and to grow in my walk.  With conviction comes growth.

Sadly, many of the modern day churches, and specifically some of the more popular mega-churches, don't seem to feel this way anymore...  "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate teachers to suit their own passions". 
2 Timothy 4:3

Recent trends have shown more and more Pastors who would rather shy away from delivering sermons from God's Word that convict or speak against sin, than risk offending seekers, and dare I say, effect their growth in numbers...

The contemporary church is not "guarding the deposit entrusted to them", but is instead "selling themselves out", to attract more and more people.

One such mega-church pastor was quoted as saying, "Atlanta doesn't need another church.  What Atlanta does need is a safe environment where the unchurched can come and hear the life-changing truth that Jesus Christ cares for them and died for their sins."  Yet this Pastor is known for the controversial by-laws of his church where he is not addressing sinful behaviors, but is essentially encouraging them.

In the book of Galations, Paul reminds us that the Law came to be a "tutor" and a "guardian". It teaches us how to walk in obedience.  Indeed we are saved by faith and faith alone, but the Law also shows us that we can't possibly keep the whole Law perfectly and as such, points to our desperate need of a Savior.  Yes, as the Pastor I quoted stated, we are called to share the love of Christ, but if the church is going to avoid talking about sin, then what will the unchurched feel they need a Savior for?

"So why would the rescued just hold out hot-cross buns, pop psychology and pop-tarts to the drowning all around them -- when they could humbly hold out the actual life-line of the Cross that literally saves."  Ann Voskamp

Does a parent raise a child never setting boundaries or disciplining for fear their child won't love them?  Of course not!  The most loving thing we do as parents, is to train up our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord so that they will walk in obedience.  When we walk in obedience, as Jesus promises, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls."  Matthew 11:29,  our lives go a lot smoother.  The bottom line is, children ultimately feel the most safe and secure when parents show care and concern by directing them in obedience.

How much more should a Pastor who is responsible before God for His flock lead them in obedience.  "Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching." 1 Timothy 4:13

The most disheartening statement made by the mega-church Pastor was his implication that churches are "unsafe".

I am a sinner.  Actually, I can feel like the "chief of sinners" at times!   But I can tell you I have never gone into a church feeling "unsafe".   Instead, when I am convicted during a sermon, I feel loved and cared for by my Lord and Savior. "For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives."  Hebrews 12:6  

I happened to see another quote today that was grievous to me and this by another popular mega-church Pastor who said when addressing gay relationships, "I think the culture is already there, and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2000 years ago as their best defense..."  (emphasis mine)

"The church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2000 years ago as their best defense."?!?!  I am appalled!!  He is speaking about the Word of God!

But God says...

All Scripture is breathed out and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for corrections and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.  
Timothy 3:16-17

But He answered, it is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'."  
Matthew 4:4

This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. "  
Joshua 1:8

I read the following passage this morning that reminded me of the trend of the contemporary church.

"About that time, there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way.  For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen.  These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, 'Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth.  And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods.  And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.  When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, 'Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!'  So the city was filled with the confusion."  
Acts 19:23-27 

The contemporary church may not be "making gods out of silver with their hands", but it would appear that they are making a god out of  "unity", avoiding church discipline and talk of sin, in order to attract the unchurched and populate their mega-churches.  An ideal that is appealing to more and more of the smaller churches as they are seeking to implement this model and "grow" their own churches.  I know, as I've experienced it at the local level.

But God says:

"You shall be Holy to me, for I the Lord am Holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine."  
Leviticus 20:26

If the contemporary church doesn't start trusting the Word of God to do what the Lord promises it will do,  "It is the same with my Word.  I send it out, and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.  Isaiah 55:11 NLT, and continues to, in essence, say as the serpent said to Eve, "Did God really say that??", not only will the world continue to be filled with chaos, but so will our churches...  The end result, unbelievers will not sense their need for a Savior, and the church will look exactly like the world.

I recognize there are still many churches who faithfully preach with conviction from the Word of God, holding the Word in high esteem, and I thank God and Praise Him for those churches.  I myself attend a "mega-church" in its own right for the area we live in which is centered upon God's Word where brothers and sisters in the Lord are grounded in the Scriptures, full of discernment with incredible servant's hearts to reach the unchurched WITHOUT feeling a need to compromise the Word of God.

I pray the contemporary church stops "believing the lie" and starts trusting in the Word of God once again.

"Do not try to make the Gospel tasteful to carnal minds. Do not hide the offense of the Cross, lest you make it of no affect."  Charles Spurgeon

"Avoid a sugar-coated Gospel.   Seek the Truth that rips up, wounds and even kills, for that is the Gospel that makes alive again."  Charles Spurgeon

Otherwise, as God said to the church in Laodicea, "So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth."  Revelation 3:16

It has been almost a week since the martyrdom of 21 Coptic Christians, who stood firm in their faith, invoking the name of Jesus in full joy as they were beheaded for the Cross.  In light of this, it makes me heartsick to see more and more churches "becoming like the world and standing for nothing."

Thank you for allowing me to share what has been on my heart.  I wanted to honor God by defending EVERY Word that proceeds from the mouth of God in His Holy Word.

You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-up, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, Titus 2 Tuesday Link-up



 


Comments

  1. so well written - because it is from your heart! My wife stopped attending a women's bible study because they refused to study the book of Revelations, "it is so negative to the message of God" it is sad but the world is beginning to choose only what sounds the best on stage and what will draw more people. It is even more sad that God's word is no longer enough to draw people to him. Very good read! God bless

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