The Church is at a crossroads. The Church can stand upon the supremacy of God’s Word, therefore against the politically correct yet sin-sanctioning inclusionary movement from society, and face declining members, absent visitors or open persecution – or the Church can cave.
Caving means the Church bowing to political and societal pressure and allowing out-and-proud practicing homosexuals to invade pulpits. It means not standing up for the least among us – our children – and allowing satan-confused boys to declare they’re girls and vice versa. Caving means making the solid decision that society is a bigger god than the Holy God Whom the Church used to worship.
The Church is at a crossroads in other ways. We allow pride in buildings, programs, events, and styles of worship to get in the way of true worship. As though the Church has become a country club from 1955, we make the unconscious – or worse, the conscious – decision of who is worthy to obtain salvation. No? When is the last time a women’s event was opened up to non-members of the Church? When is the last time homeless feet were washed? When was the last time the residents of a battered women’s shelter were invited to church, and the church bus sent to gather them? When was the last time you shared the Gospel to someone who did not look like you?
The Church has become too comfortable. In the United States, church attendance and membership are rapidly declining. We sit in cushy pews and soak in perhaps solid preaching, but we only allow it to go skin-deep; we don’t allow the preached Word of God to invade the very marrow of our bones. We’ve gone from a “Here I am, Lord, send me” Bride of Christ to a pack of Pharisees – wearing our Sunday best with hollow hearts and looking down on anyone praising God in denim capris.
We’re comfortable in teaching Bible studies that encourage us but don’t challenge us. Encouraging studies have their place but if we’re going out into the workforce and schools without a solid Scriptural knowledge of how to defend the faith, we’ve done ourselves a grave disservice. Would you know how to respond to someone who believed Jesus was just an incarnation of God on the same level as Mohammad or Bahá'u'lláh? Would you know how to respond to someone who believed the Messiah was a woman? Listen, Church: we must teach Christian apologetics in order to equip us all with the tools needed to defend our faith and share the Gospel.
We can become so comfortable in our faith that we don’t grow in it. In John 3:1-21 we read that Nicodemus came to Jesus in the dead of night with a statement: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him,” [verse 2]. Jesus challenged him with a comment: “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again,” [verse 3].
Nicodemus could have either left Christ’s presence, remaining comfortable in what he knew, or he could have explored this topic. He chose the latter, receiving from Jesus an explanation of His mission on earth: to save the world from sin and offering new life to all who believed. This was certainly uncomfortable to Nicodemus, but he stuck with it – and grew in his own faith, as evidenced by his questioning the clandestine legal motives of his own Pharisees: “Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?” [John 7:50-51].
Nicodemus grew out of his comfort zone, and closer to the cross, even bringing aloe and myrrh for the burial of Jesus. “Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs,” [John 19:38-40].
Had Nicodemus decided to close his heart towards Jesus, he would have remained a comfortable Pharisee, full of power and prestige. Instead, he risked everything to stand up for Jesus. He made the conscious decision to believe in the truth of Jesus Christ, even to the point of being uncomfortable and losing his place within Jewish religious leadership.
God uses situations that are most uncomfortable to grow us as Christians. I was once a member of a church whose pastor retired, and we gained an interim pastor who introduced many non-biblical doctrines into his preaching, and therefore, into the congregation. satan was having a field day. As the congregation was cascading further down a slippery slope, there were a great many people who were swept along the tide. The preaching was easy living but no one was growing in their faith – except a small handful, myself included, who opened our Bibles and began to compare what was being said in the pulpit and practiced in the hallways to Scripture.
We did not gain any popularity points when we called it out as false teaching. The environment became antagonistic and God called us elsewhere: my husband and I literally removed our shoes in the parking lot and dusted the metaphorical sand off them on our last day there.. The majority of the handful that left now worship together at a different church, one in which the Word of God is preached soundly. What had happened at our former church? We became comfortable. We had so much pride in the building, the numbers, programs and activities that when the pastor retired, we thought we could keep going status quo – and that is putting out the welcome mat for satan.
Church, we must turn back to God. We must daily suit up in the armor of God. We must allow God to call us out of our comfort zones into real, uninhibited worship to Him. We must not allow the scourge of the devil’s schemes to infest the Church. We must share the Gospel without fear of what man can do.
Listen: Christianity is growing all over the world where it is being persecuted, but it is declining in the United States. Why? Because the Church in the U.S. has allowed the fear of being socially unacceptable to take precedence over the fear of the Holy God. Like the church in Ephesus in Revelation, the Church in the U.S. has lost its first love – Christ. 2 Timothy 3:12 states, "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Conversely, people who don't want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will not be persecuted. Think on that.
We have become a pack of sissies. So afraid of offending someone’s orientation, religious preference, gender identity, etc that we welcome all without the key to the door – repentance. And again, satan is having a field day – convincing all, believers and non, that because God is love you don’t need to repent.
Church, satan knows the Scriptures better than you. It takes a very good singer to pretend like she cannot sing. satan uses every opportunity to twist the Scriptures to make you believe what he wants you to believe. If he gets you to believe that God is love, which He is, but to the point that you don’t have to call upon Jesus’ name to be saved, repenting of your sin, then satan has won you.
One of the ways satan wins is making Christianity so comfortable that it’s not even Christianity any more. Jesus never said following Him was going to be a cakewalk. Matthew 7:13-14 states, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” The way of satan is wide and broad; Christ’s way is narrow and difficult. It is meant to be uncomfortable.
Church: we must get out of our comfort zones and preach the Word without fear. We have all of heaven to gain, and the world all of hell. Jesus called us to carry our uncomfortable crosses, get out of the cushy pews, and reach the world for Him, while not becoming of the world ourselves. John wrote, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever,” [1 John 2:15-17].
We’re in a spiritual battle, my friends. There is so much more at stake than being politically correct.
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