Bible Lesson 231

2ND IN SERIES ON THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

THE CHURCH, THE TEMPLE OF TRUTH WILL NOT BE DAMAGED SO MUCH BY WOODPECKERS ON THE OUTSIDE AS BY TERMITES ON THE INSIDE. ANY RELIGIOUS GROUP THAT BOASTS ROOM FOR ALL SHADES OF DOCTRINE IS LIKE A MAN SAYING?WE HAVE ROOM IN OUR HOUSE FOR TERMITES, ALL ARE WELCOME. THAT CHURCH WILL SOON BE GONE. Vance Havner

“AND TO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH AT SARDIS WRITE,” THESE THINGS SAYS HE WHO HAS THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD AND THE SEVEN STARS:” I KNOW YOUR WORKS, THAT YOU HAVE A NAME THAT YOU ARE ALIVE, BUT YOU ARE DEAD.” JESUS CHRIST. Revelation 3:1

The pronouncement by Christ against the Church at Sardis was written sometime around 90 years after the cross, which points us to the fact that Churches are, and have been the target for Satan and his people from the very beginning. Here in Sardis we find a church building, with many people in attendance. They were prosperous, in the ways of the world; however, God said that they were dead. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” We can never be what the Church should be according to God, unless and until we measure up to the standards that Jesus Christ set in the Sermon on the Mount.

This month we will continue our review of the Gospel on the Mount, and we will point out the weakness of some churches that have lost track of the main thing, which are the Truths of God and His Gospel. Looking at the church of Sardis, should give us the idea, that if a church established, possibly by Paul, can so quickly die, what caused its death, and why do we have so many dead churches in our time. I firmly believe that there are dead churches all over the world. Luckily not all, but sadly a good many are sick.

We have churches that do not know the Gospel of God, some do not want to know the gospel, because if they did; and began to preach it, and apply it, to those who sit in their pews, it would not take long to lose the majority of their congregation. What I would like to see us do as human beings, is open our eyes and ears and begin the work of ministering to some of the sickness, and open sin in many churches. What happened is, we adopted the devil’s way of having church.

I am personally aware of many churches that operate like a candy store. If you like chocolate, they start making chocolate; and if you want your kids to be entertained, they hire a youth minister, whose job it is to keep the kids out of everyone’s way.

If you want to play around, they will play around with you. Now, we have to realize that the church is inanimate, it has no life outside the life of its members, so if there is a problem, it is not the church parsec, but the members of the church.

That is you and I, ladies and gentlemen, we are the problem and the best thing that we can do as members of a church that is not preaching the truth?..or preaching like Jesus Christ when He left heaven and came to this sin sick world.

The first message that He preached was Repent, and He preached that to Jews who had a religion that was well set in written form, and had a beautiful Temple to hold their meetings. However, Jesus’ first word to them was, Repent! When you hear that word in the church today it is usually soft pedaled, even whispered, instead of trumped to be heard and complied with by all who hear it. Most today explain it as, turning away from sin, and turning to follow Jesus. The Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, told one group to either repent or perish, and we should hear Him calling for us today, telling us we are on the wrong road, heading to hell instead 0f heaven (Luke 13:30).

I’m sure that about all I will get from some who read this message is a stunned look; because a large number of people in church congregations today are unaware of their surroundings. Oh, they know where the choir sits, and where the pulpit is, and even where the coffee and donuts are kept, but they are unaware of the lives of those who sit around them. They perform their duty to come to church, and sit and listen to a lecture, that always takes the same form’. You know what I mean, the service starts at 10 o’clock sharp and ends at 12 o’clock dull. There is the opening prayer, the reading of the bulletin, some songs and then the preacher gives a sermon that has three points and a poem, then the collection is taken. Sometime, I wonder if anyone really understands what the message was about; and at times, I wonder if the preacher even knew. I know this, there is not a great deal of the Gospel message that hits the hearts and lives of those who listen.

It seems that Pastors, and I mean most pastors today, do not seem to be concerned with the condition of the lives of their congregation; because they never really get to the problem that every one of us is born with, and that is a sin nature. Most begin in the back of the book by putting the cart before the horse. We emphasize the Love of God for sinners, when the Bible makes it clear that all of us are born into this world under the wrath of God. God does not love us the way we are born, He will have nothing to do with us unless and until He begins to extend His grace to us. Ephesians 2:1-10. Remember these people that Jesus Christ, warned to repent back there in the fourth chapter of Matthew, or those in Luke 13:1-5, where apparently one set of people wanted to mediate their sin by pointing out the sin of others; but Jesus told them that unless they repented, they would likewise perish.

There is that same kind of finger pointing in many churches; and that indicates to a serious Christian that those pointing the finger could be sinners also. For you who want to deny Biblical knowledge, and always sing that song that says, “We are all sinners, and we all sin all the time”, you go right ahead and sing; but when you get some time, try to find anywhere in the Bible, where there will be any sinner allowed into heaven. The church is in bad shape and God must be grieved with us all about it; because it has come about by the church wanting to be worldly. We don’t want to be separate, we all want to be in the same boat; only thing is that the boat we all get into is a show boat, that will sink in the Judgment. The boat we need to be in is the life boat, that God sent us named Jesus Christ.

The visible church, slowly but surely, bought into the idea that the church could save men’s souls, and they set their sails to add numbers (Nickels and Noses) to the church. They found out that God does not work on our schedule, and God grants salvation to, only those whom He will. That didn’t fit the churches time line, or its desire to show movement, and so we don’t check with God much anymore, all we ask is, that a person walk the aisle, shake a preacher’s hand and join the congregation. In this neo-religion, we have gone down and dirty, and we have forgotten that Truth is found only in the Bible, so we dropped stressing Bible Study. We deleted several Biblical words, words like Sovereign, repent, obey, and the great commission.

We prefer to just wing it, and I have heard preachers say, let’s forget about doctrine, let’s just love Jesus and just float into heaven. It appears, that what we need to do is stop the merry-go-round, get alone with God and His Inspired Word the Bible, and get on our faces before God, and ask Him to right this train wreck that we have forgotten God in, and made it a place that has the face of man on it.

We have work to do before we get right before God! He is not interested in Preaching that sounds good to sinners, God wants preaching to be “The Word of God’ and nothing else. He wants the Word of God and the God of the Word, lifted up with all of the commandments to be obeyed. We have no warrant to skip over the hard parts, and pander to sinners in our congregations. The Bible has Good News, and Bad News, and the Bad news must be preached in order to reach men’s souls. We should know that it is useless to throw a life line to a person who doesn’t think they are drowning, and it doesn’t make any sense to prostitute the truth in order to please sinners. There is not one person who has ever been born in this world with the exception of Adam and Jesus, who did not need to be told that God did not love them, and that they were under the wrath of God. Ephesians 2:1-10.

Jesus, in the Sermon on the mount left us a road map, that we must follow in order to find the truth, and follow it to heaven. We cannot find the truth that sets us free, anywhere but in the Bible. I would advise preachers who are not preaching the truth of the Word of God: to repent, and learn the truth of the Word of God, which is that every person who has not received Christ, as the only remedy for their sin, is not loved by God or Christ; but are instead under the Wrath of God, without help or hope. That is what it takes to show sinners their need. Stop preaching little sermonettes in which just the promise verses of scripture are used, to make sinners in your congregation sit still. Remember all of us who take the responsibility for teaching the Bible, will receive twice the Judgment of God for our errors. Look around you at your congregation and ask yourself; how many of these are poor in spirit, or how many have mourned over their sins’

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob