Bible Lesson 220

“For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged” 1st Corinthians 11:31

“THERE IS A CONFORTABLE ATTITUDE ABOUT JESUS CHRIST IN OUR CHURCHES TODAY, AND IT IS A GREATEST PERIL. AFTER ALL, WE ARE NOT JUDGED SO MUCH BY HOW MANY SINS WE HAVE COMMITTED BUT BY HOW MUCH LIGHT WE HAVE REJECTED.”

VANCE HAVNER.

In our lesson for this month we will look at ourselves and see how closely we have aligned ourselves with the Word of God and the God of the Word. You may be surprised to find that these buildings, where those who have been called should meet, have devolved from places where the truth is being preached and studied and lived out; are actually places that have the flavor of the world, because we have not been careful to confront the sins of those who apply for membership.

It is evident in many ministries and churches, that the voice of those who are divisive and do not want to hear that they are sinner, have muffled the sound that comes from some pulpits. It is sad but true that a congregation of sheep mixed with wolves, soon becomes a church where the wolf rules.

The major problem is that our seminaries do not seem to be sending out young preachers who have a backbone. They just seem to know how to create some kind of unity in this mess where they take over as pastor. The new pastor comes in and instead of relying on the Bible and the Truth, he must deal with stiff necks and pushy charter members, who will not tolerate anything but tolerance for sin. Now, this man has a choice, he can either preach their way or look for another job.

It is obvious that what we have done to draw memberships to our churches is to showcase our facilities, our programs that are designed for child care, adolescence programs like baseball, football and in some cases and all kinds of entertainment. We modify our meeting times and do all sorts of things in an attempt to draw members; however, all we have to offer, Biblically, is Christ, and Him crucified.

I don’t think that we should bring families into our arena promising to separate the family by sending the babies to the nursery, the toddlers to another place and the teens to another.

The Church should be in the business of following the Bible, and the Bible shows that God gave children to Adult parents, and parents and their broods should not be separated in order to relieve them of that responsibility.

Children should sit with their parents in the worship service, and we should teach parents to train their children to be respectful in the house of the Lord. Ball games and skating and the like should not be used to attract children to the church. If Christ, and Him crucified isn’t enough, then we have a problem. Don’t tell me that won’t work; because it did for almost 2000 years; and I went to church, sat with my parents and didn’t dare create any distraction, because my parents were the boss.

What the church should do is to go back to what we know works, and that is having the church for the meeting place of those who are the born again and obedient children of God. The church’s job is to lead the saved into worship of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, by reproving sin, rebuking sinners and exhorting Saints to holiness (2nd Timothy 4:1-5). Preachers should neglect what the Supreme Court decrees, when any of their laws violate the Christian conscience. We have our paths laid out by God and we should keep our feet on that path as we obey all that Christ has commanded us. We need to back out of the business of acting like God. We can save exactly no one, that can only be done by God. We need to stop pronouncing sinners saved, based on weak professions.

First and foremost, we need to understand that we are not going to church to be entertained or to be lectured. We go to church, or should go to church, to meet with our Creator, Sustainer, Savior, Father and Friend. We need to wake up and understand that we do not need to simply go to church, we should go with something to offer, and expecting God to show us new things from His Word the Bible. I don’t find anywhere in the Bible where church attendance alone will gain us anything. Understand now, I am not against going to church, if that means fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ, and follow-ship of Christ. We have got to come back to where what we do is the main thing, rather than going just going to church. If you go to Church and miss God, then you have been a hindrance, rather than a Child of God.

Let me ask you, have you ever attended one of those church lectures, and left the service wondering what was said’ Do you always understand the principles and precepts of the message’ Why wasn’t there time for questions, to make sure everyone understood the message’ The reason that some are confused is, because questions are not on the Church bulletin. Next time you attend, make sure you read the bulletin, every minute normally is frozen in a time slot. Was there any time slot for the Holy Spirit to work’ We have a dynamite message about a God who loved a people so much that He sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ from heaven to earth, to live a perfect life, and finally be nailed to a cross where you and I deserved to be nailed, to bleed and die to pay our sin debt. Christ did not have a sin debt, for He had never sinned. He died in my place and yours, if you are obedient. Yes, we have a dynamiter Savior; but we are living fire-cracker lives.

I spent a career in the military, so I know something about unity and order and how it affects everyone in every unit. We marched almost every place we went, and we followed a cadence. The church should move that same way, and if we are all following the Bible’s cadence, and heading toward the same goal, we move smoothly until we arrive there. Apparently, there are multitudes today who have never learned to march. Pastors should be calling cadence directly from the Bible; and we should all block out any other cadence, as we move out to obey God. So many groups and congregations today are as someone has said, “We are a generation of cheap Christians going to heaven as inexpensively as possible; religious hobos and spiritual deadbeats living on milk instead of meat, crusts of bread instead of manna, as though we were on a cut-rate excursion.”

That is outrageous, but close to truth. When the visible churches began to receive anybody, and everybody, that will walk an aisle and shake a preacher’s hand, be voted into fellowship and allowed to believe that they were saved, the church has had what we could call a heart attack. That hurt the church, and it now must suffer worldliness and sin, without even a whimper. When was the last time that you saw, anyone walk an aisle and shake a preacher’s hand, and then be denied church-membership’ You probably have never seen it; because the church is not nearly as thorough as God. We welcome all comers and there is no question that there are many tares in the church field, that were planted by the church itself.

We soft pedal, or many churches do, those who come forward, because we want to show signs of life to the society. We have offered seekers popularity and prosperity among other benefits in becoming a Christian. We give the idea that being a Christian will make them popular in the community and give them standing before God ‘. neither of which is correct. We are to teach what Jesus said, and Jesus Christ, the Only Savior of man, said that once a person becomes a Christian, and walks like, and talks like, and lives like Him, that they will be hated by the world. Christ said in effect, that they hated Him before they hated us, so we can expect to be persecuted and hated by the world because we are different from them, (John 15:18-20). What we should do to make sure that the person who seeks fellowship in the church is at least knowledgeable, is to make sure that they have a testimony. That they understand the depth of their sin, and show works meet for repentance.

We need to see that they are hungry and thirsty for the knowledge of God. We know that in true salvation, there is a dying ‘. a dying to self and all of self’s plans and programs in favor of living for and by Jesus Christ. When we fail to do that, we make ‘ship-wreck’, and almost Christians. They are neither hot nor cold and are unacceptable to God. (Revelation 3:15-16).

We at the least should be as honest with seekers as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was when He walked here on the earth. If you have read and studied your Bible, you must know that Jesus always laid out the harsh circumstances of being a Christian. He never told anyone that they would be prosperous, or popular, in fact, He was brutally open about what life with Him would be like. Many like to use the woman taken in adultery, and they seem to insinuate that Christ went easy on her, but if you read that scripture, Christ gave her a hard command. Christ told the woman to “Go and sin no more.” (John 8:3-11). P.S. Christ challenged the Scribes and Pharisees by saying to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone.”

If there had been one in their midst, that was prayed up and had good standing before God, Jesus would have sanctioned that stoning. He had not come to do away with the law, He came to fulfill it. In another instance a Scribe came to Jesus Christ and said “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go”. Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head: Then another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:19-22).

That should demonstrate to many of us that we are far from being what and where we need to be to please God in our Christian walk. We have grown careless and fat and flabby as Christians and we need to get up and toughen up and begin to follow our Lord and Savior. We have allowed the society that we live in to rob us of the True Church’s authority, we have let its mad rush to go nowhere fast, to rob us of Bible Study, meditation, devotion and time with God alone. We spend precious time watching ball games instead of feasting upon the Word of God and drawing near to Him.

We have become guilty of wanting to worship God with our pocket change and spare time. How many of you who read this Lesson, tithe the way you should’ We should tithe at least 10% of our total gain, but that is a beginning point. We should tithe at the level of God’s blessings for us. We run away from personal service in ministry. Everyone who is truly saved should have a ministry. You don’t have to preach or teach but you should and will, when you draw near to God, devise a ministry.

Think about a ministry of being an encourager, or a person who visits the sick or sends little notes that will pick up the spirits of someone who is dealing with a serious problem in their life, or the life of a loved one. Now, let me say this; the average church-member is not prepared to be a good minister. First you must learn the Word of God, by study of the Bible. When you read the bible, you must not read it to edit it, or to fact check it. Every word and thought, is from the Inspiration of God and you must either believe it all, or dispense with it all. With our Lord and Savior there are no fence setters. With Christ, it is one way, and that is His way, that is set down by His Word. You are either in for the whole truth or no truth at all, and He says that you are either with Him or you are scattering. Where are you at with God’ Have you joined His army and put on all His armor, or will you just be an observer’

It should be evident that there is much that we have missed, and we have adopted many programs that do not glorify our Great God. We have a problem, so what must we do. The first thing is that we must agree that we do have a problem. Then instead of whining and trying to make it go away by denying its existence. It’s time we fish or cut-bait. Until next time, think on what you have read, then begin to follow what is preached by reading the Word for yourself, then begin to point out the error, not in anger, but in the love of God that requires you to act. Go quietly to the person who is guilty and point out their error in your copy of God’s Word, if that does not work you might think about finding a church that is preaching the truth.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob