Thursday, March 01, 2012

Jesus Has Left the Building
The average western Christian is interested in politics for one overt and subliminal reason. He or she wants his earthly life to be better. And when I say better I mean primarily in the economic sense. The church and its members has morphed into a narcissistic entity that demands it rights with a ballot in one hand and the constitution in the other. And President Obama is very unpopular among the evangelical right wing because the economy has suffered under his administration.
God gave the church a glorious opportunity to rise above earthly circumstances and show the world the light of Christ and His gospel. The darkness could have watched as believers eschewed complaining or worry or condemnation. And while everyone else was exhibiting those things, many people would be almost forced to ask us about the hope that lies within us. But instead of joining the Jesus wing of our faith, many joined the Huckabee, Focus on the Family, and the founding fathers expressions of our faith.
Believers by the millions exchange political notes and bemoan the present moral climate as well as the economic “hardships” we all are enduring. Around the dinner table and in church and on the phone and at work, believers share their observations and complaints with any ear which will listen. Even the pulpits breathe political fire and rail against that socialist Obama who if re-elected will ruin what our forefathers fought for.
And now they warn us of $5.00 a gallon gas this summer? This just may be the second half of the tribulation period. And of course God must work most effectively through the political process which He Himself instituted. With all this hand wringing and Glenn Beck’s doom pronunciations, the church houses are lit during the week well into the night with followers of Jesus on their face before God repenting and beseeching His intervention. I think not.
True Christianity is no longer in vogue in the west. What is called Christianity today is an amalgam of moral convictions, patriotism, evangelical voting blocks, massive building programs, information about the Bible, and the traditional to and from on Sundays. But while we spend much energy making money and complaining that we do not get to keep enough of it, there are all kinds of desperate situations around the world. And there are literally thousands and thousands of dedicated believers who have left this disgusting compromise and now are being a living sacrifice for the cause of Christ in places where not only are there no western comforts, but where their lives are in mortal danger.
We complain about rising gas prices while millions upon millions of children are blessed if they eat one small meal a day. Believers rot in prisons, and families are broken up, not by divorce which is a rich man’s game, but by having their father hauled off to prison or their parents die of Aids. Hundreds of millions of people do not own a pair of shoes, while our closets burst at the seams. Believers all over the world actually pray for their daily bread while we complain about the service at the local steakhouse. And while western believers are inundated with how to overcome stress, millions try and overcome hungry bellies.
The evangelical worth his salt speaks out against socialism and foreign aid, but they see nothing wrong with massive building debt, exorbitant staff salary packages, a lifestyle known for entertainment, self gratification, and the conscience salve crumbs we call missions, all while millions are without "common necessaries". This election year is not only unseemly because it exhibits with stark clarity the hollow redundancy of politics, but it has completely uncovered the unpleasant underbelly of the western church. The demonic Pied Piper plays, and the church dances with enthusiasm.
Jesus has left the building. Deceived people claim that unless America repents God will judge her. Well, America is a country not a person or a church. God isn’t dealing with countries as He did in the Old Testament. God deals with His church and with each individual believer. And this just in: We as believers are in the midst of the judgment of God and we don’t even know it. God has given the church over to a reprobate mind and believers now practice a self serving religion which mirrors anything but the life and teachings of the Lord Jesus.
And the people love to have it so. It is true that we do not go hungry, and we do not fear for our lives, and we have medicine and doctors. And because of our wealth we say we are blessed. That is all true. But the situation we live in is desperate. The faith once delivered to the saints is in a freefall meltdown. World mission is like a hobby, and judging by the financial discrepancy between what is spent on us and what is spent on reaching people with the gospel, the meltdown is in full force. We do not need a little tweaking or some minor adjustments of a week long missions emphasis that comes and goes.
We need a massive revival that forces us to gaze deeply into the mirror of God’s Word and see how far we have strayed. We need to once again refuse to be a friend to this world’s systems and once again be a friend to sinners. Perhaps the Spirit could change our hearts so we would hate politics and love gay people. Maybe we could hate war and love prisoners. How about hating patriotic compromise and love the Muslims? We should hate our own moral pride and embrace fully the grace of God which should break us and clothe us with humility.
I mentioned the word “meltdown”. It would be good if we had an ecclesiastical meltdown which burned away the carnal dross from the institutional church. This melt down would toss everything into the fire and allow only that which was of God to survive. And if it was not uncomfortable, or if nothing that God burned up surprised us, then the fire is not hot enough. And if the church house remained dark and empty during the week nights, then we would just be playing another spiritual game.
We need a meltdown. The power the church operates in now comes from a reactor empowered by the flesh. It is a gargantuan task that can only be accomplished by God’s Spirit. But like the swine farmers in Mark chapter five, many believers are in love with their pigs. Those farmers saw that the man had been delivered of demons, and instead of rejoicing, they begged Jesus to depart from their city. The true ministry of Jesus is often unappreciated by the masses, especially by the entrenched religious crowd within the church. And if Jesus has a negative affect upon our finances, well many will wish He would leave their midst.
If true revival ever breaks out among us evangelicals, there will be many who will long for the old days when their pigs were well fed.

6 comments:

kelli said...

Is there any among us asking us for the hope that is in us? 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give and answer to every man that asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Or are those among us asking us to put our hope in the next president?
We have false teachers motivating believers to transform the world and take it for Christ as if that is OUR job. We have been called out from the world and we are to be separate. That is the testimony to the unsaved. There are those who are saved but being deceived and gathering and yoking together with the non-believers and showing the non-believers that they are putting their hopes in a better candidate to make this world a better place, instead of sharing with the non believer that our hope is not in this world.
Matthew 4:8-10
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
And saith unto him, All these things will I give to thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Now do we not see this temptation today? 1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the
pride of life, is NOT of the Father, but is of the world.

Anonymous said...

Ouch. This sermon hits a vital spot! I long to be a witness by not having the usual reactions to things that the world has. Christlikeness is noticeable and remarkable and people will ask you why you are not angry, why you are happy, why you don't have your strings pulled by the things of this world like everyone else does.

I fear the price sometimes. Just like Jesus I will have to mortify my flesh and its desires. I will be noticeable. I will get a strong reaction: either some who are touched by the Spirit will obey the gospel or come to a revelation about the nature of Christ's Kingdom, but many will be angry and reject me and accuse me and persecute me. Jesus is an offense. I will not fit in.

Used to be that rejection and misunderstanding would come only from the outside, so it wasn't as costly. But now it comes from the visible "church", so it is scarier to risk their misunderstanding and anger.

In the last two years, I have come out of politics and all the opining and demagoguery that goes with it. When others with whom I used to have political discussions, which really were just complaining or trash-talking someone, I can't participate. I think of it as fasting from talk that betrays Christ and His Church.

See Isaiah 58 for the Lord's definition of acceptable fasts. Israel had done the religious observances and prayed hard, but it had no merit with the Lord. He says to remove the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and to give ourselves to the poor, hungry, oppressed, afflicted.

I've been honored to work among some of the world's most desperate people in northern Uganda. It has helped me to see in truer perspective, and to attempt to prioritze according to His will.

I appreciate you, Brother, and your sermons.

Victoria

Anonymous said...

Amen and Amen!!

Rick Frueh said...

From Bob:

Oh, This needs to be heard by the "MANY". The visible church buildings are filled with these deceived dominionists and kingdomizers. They are frantically 'rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic'.

Ah! If only they would "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH". 2 Timothy 2:15.

If a person makes the claim to be a Christian and studies the Word, then they should be "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ". Titus 2:13

Our time on this Earth is coming to a close very quickly. We need to be about OUR Fathers business, NOT the WORLD's fathers business.

Very good Rick!

Bob

Ken said...

Rick, I just read this 'Screwtape' like letter.
http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/civil-religion/
It's very good. Thanks, Ken

Shannon said...

Jeremiah 2:13 For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

When believers join with non-believers to 'fix' the world by replacing those in positions of authority, they are committing the sin of idolatry, looking to sinful man to somehow fix the world.
They are putting God's Word aside, putting confidence and hope in sinful flesh.
Since many false teachers are in the 'church' today, they are deceptively leading the sheep astray and moving them to put their trust in man. Luke 6:39
Do they truly have His Spirit? John 15:4.
The Faithful and True Shepherd will lead His sheep out from under these false teachers. John 10:27