Friday, January 28, 2011

The Sermon on the Mount

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

God is jealous of His glory and He has said in several places that He will not share His glory with another. Compromise is a cancer that is most effective when the compromise is not only practiced, but embraced, by believers. There is much compromise within the church today. Some began as small compromises and with practice they grew into larger compromises until it could well be described as apostasy. Men like Rick Warren began with a measure of compromise until their ministries have evolved into full blown falsehoods. It is a very sad spectacle indeed.
The emergent church was birthed out of a compromised gestation period that began decades ago until men like Rob Bell and Brian McClaren could teach all sorts of nefarious doctrines that are nothing more than mental musings of the flesh, and yet be followed by many thousands of professing believers. Compromise is not stagnant and is willing to await the next generation in order to move significantly forward. It is cloaked in religious words and even incorporates Biblical verbiage in order to remain shrouded as it pursues a course of deception.
Today’s western ecclesiastical construct is permeated with compromise on every level. We have preachers living in extravagant houses and driving luxury automobile. We see teachings of greed and avarice, as well as rampant immorality within the pulpit. Thousands of believers go on Christian cruises and costly retreats while the world dies without the Savior. Millionaire Christian singers abound, and much budget money is spent to keep the youth entertained. Millions upon millions of dollars are spent every month on mortgage interest for large religious edifices. The walls have been broken down and our reproach continues with little tears and almost no call for revival except for some manipulated dog and pony shows.
Yes, the Spirit calls out to those attempting to worship God with the ways of Babylon. But just as the Jews who lived in Babylon, our ears have become deaf and our hearts hardened through the love of this world. Only a remnant left Babylon in order to rebuild Jerusalem because most had carved out a comfortable lifestyle in Babylon. Their power was gone and they were not worshiping God anymore, and like Samson, they knew it not. But take another step into this vision and direct your eyes to a sin that is almost beyond imagination.
Picture the Jews in Babylon pledging their allegiance to that Babylon and in fact professing their love for such a place. A place of idolatry and hedonism that was a fallen culture of excess and paganism, and yet God’s people pledging their hearts to such a place?! Do not be deceived, brothers and sisters, it is easy to confront the false teachings of men like Warren, Osteen, and Bell. But while some make loud consternations about those and other false teachings, they themselves remain enveloped in a strong deception. The light of the church has been extinguished under a bushel called nationalism.
God continues to call His bride out from among the heathen so that the light of the gospel can reach their hearts, but as long as our light is diffused by a misguided patriotism we will continue today as we have yesterday and as we will tomorrow. Unless there is a sweeping move of the Spirit that rescues believers from the clutches of nationalism there can be no real divine power shining through His body. The western church remains unremarkable among its cultural peers as we refuse to fast and pray about issues that just might be hindering the light that should be shining through us.
Deception of all kinds flourishes here, and with one absolutely astonishing feature. Many who see and confront major deceptions in others are themselves enveloped in a major league deception. Picture a Babylonian Jew pledging allegiance to Babylon and also criticizing other Jews for their liberal view of the Passover. What a contradiction! And yet patriotism and nationalism are incredibly vicious strongholds that when confronted many times respond in a decidedly unchristian way.
In order for His light to shine through us we must be seen as exclusively His and His alone. So often we are seen as Americans or conservatives or even moral crusaders. That is very unfortunate and blocks the crystal clear light of Jesus Christ. God will not share a platform with all kinds of other causes, and the Spirit is jealous over God’s born again children. What kind of deception are we living in? The number of professing believers in America numbers in the tens of millions and yet with very little affect. And the church is constantly being affected by the culture with many incremental changes, some overt and some imperceptible, but whose effect dilutes our witness and extinguishes our light.
And still we trudge on without any concern or call for something - anything! Pastors and congregation alike are comfortable in Babylon and assuage their conscience by whipping the gays, liberals, Muslims, and a host of other targets which usually does not include the church itself. And the founding fathers have become nothing less than idols set up in the high places. And in direct opposition to Scripture, those founding fathers who were believers, surely not evangelical, joined hands with pagans, deists, and men who practiced debauchery. Thousands upon thousands of men died in the Revolutionary War and entered a Christless eternity so we might have lower taxes. And that is supposed to be God’s way? America was birthed upon the principles of monetary gain and political self government, both of which are not part of a believer’s calling.
If we are to experience any semblance of the power exhibited in the Book of Acts, we must cast off the grave clothes of divided loyalties which consider some men better than others based upon their ethnicity, their nationality, and their financial status. We are not of this world even while we are in it. Sadly, the church has become a willing part of this world in almost everything. Are we satisfied with being a voting block, or are we thirsty for the living water that can only flow through a clean and separated vessel?

Time marks its territory every single day.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Amen, brother ! Nationalism is one of the greatest "doctrines of demons" abroad in the Church. How many, even "good," "believing" congregations, have an American flag up there behind the pastor ?

Amen also to this thought:

"Compromise is not stagnant." How very true. The Spirit of Life is growing in us...or the spirit of death. No one is spiritually standing still.

In Jesus, Blessings, Steve