CONTINUES TO BE REJECTED
Matt.21: 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
It started one by one as local churches turned from Christ and unto fables. We called them liberal back then. Soon entire denominations fell into the deception. The Bible became a pleasant story but surely not God’s Word. They preached love and peace and receiving all humanity as God’s children and every religion as a path to God. Again, we called them liberals, not as political but as within the word “Christian”. We did not consider them brothers and sisters in Christ although there might have been some born again still clinging in those churches and denominations.
But then it expanded little by little into what were once orthodox churches and denominations. No, this time they did not deny the inspiration of the Scriptures nor the virgin birth nor the deity of Christ. This time the deception was much more sophisticated and clandestine. This time the deception draped itself in seemingly orthodox statements of faith. But little by little the emphasis and practices of those churches began to change into something most of us had never seen. No, it wasn’t just a more modern building or sound system. It wasn’t even that the preacher wore beach attire or looked somewhat unkempt. It was much more diabolical than that.
Even while maintaining at least a verbal conviction about the Scriptures, these churches began a journey which included more modern interpretations. And these kinds of interpretations were influenced by the surrounding culture and seemed to more and more blend in with those who did not profess Christ. These churches looked different and talked different and spent money differently than in the past and they enjoyed entertainment which only a few decades ago would have been considered unhealthy for a spiritual walk. The Sunday morning services were geared to accommodate the unsaved and it was filled with all kinds of devices usually reserved for entertainment. It was a whole new ball game.
But in the midst of all this glitz and glamour was an almost imperceptible shift which only those not caught in it could see. These churches and denominations and movements were moving relentlessly away from Christ. They were no longer Christ centered and the preaching was very relevant with all kinds of good advice and heartwarming stories but void of the person and redemption of Christ. Yes there were humanitarian efforts, and yes they had great fellowship, and yes these church attracted many unbelievers. But without Jesus being the chief cornerstone of your church you have ceased being a church. There is nothing wrong with having a large church. There is nothing wrong with having a small church. But if we move away from Christ we have left everything regardless of our size or influence.
And the gospel cause and the Spirit’s presence has now been relegated to the smaller outposts who have remained faithful to our Master. In a hedonistic culture which worships entertainment, success, and itself how can churches become burgeoned with people? Without a Holy Spirit revival in order to attract sinners the churches must resort to strategies and conform their practices to the desires of the culture. And that is exactly what has happened. And the result is a mutated form of Christianity which is not following Jesus and is not remarkable within the darkness. But yes, it will remain popular.
Let me explain it with unambiguous language that everyone can understand although most will not agree. The visible church has overwhelmingly ceased to be Christian, and the ones that are still clinging to Christ will have to deepen the stakes and lengthen the cords of their spiritual tents in order to remain faithful. It isn’t going to get better. It is going to get unbelievably worse. I believe we are just seeing the birth pangs of this end time evil age, and in the coming years the apostasy which has taken root will blossom into a worldwide explosion. The gospel message will seem antiquated and outdated, and a new gospel will be embraced by billions. Many millions embrace a new gospel even now. But this coming deception will be massive and will spare no one. And the greatest sickle for this evil harvest will be the visible church. Hyperbolic? Over the top? Overly dramatic? I believe my words are understated.
When will we openly and unambiguously embrace the truth that the kingdom of Christ is an invisible and eternal kingdom which operates completely separate from the dictates of this present world? Our blindness to that fact is exactly why prayer is so devalued and under practiced. That is why believers gather on Sunday morning to learn things, to sing, to hear announcements, and to fellowship but not to pray. How many of us can even give a testimony to being a part of an all night prayer meeting? We rail about the moral descent of the culture within and without of the church but where is the fasting and prayer? You see, we demand immediate and visible results and we have no patience for prayer that requires faith and casts our cares upon God.
The entire world is awash is demonic activity and yet we scurry around with voting report cards and hyperventilate over the latest unbiblical expression from those who do not know Christ. The battle is in the spirit world and not that which is seen.
II Cor.4: 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The labor, the warfare, the battle is in the invisible world and our weapons are spiritual and not carnal. The visible church has become so entrenched in this world with all it fake morality and greed and self righteousness that we no longer even have any semblance of a prayer meeting. Fastings? Are you kidding? Tears before the altar? The church has led its members into the prison of the temporal and blinded them to the eternal. Have you ever had a Sunday School class called “Preparing for Eternity”?
But let us be even more honest. The church has all but lost the discipline we call prayer? If a professing believer prays while driving for ten minutes as he hurries to his career he might be considered almost fanatical. A dedicated follower of Jesus is defined as a church member who faithfully tithes as well as gives to the building program. It does not matter if he witnesses or prays or fasts or consumes God’s Word. All that matters is his devotion to his local church. And who today looks at the invisible world and devotes elongated time to being a humble warrior for Christ in that realm?
But Jesus is no longer the life and breath of the church. Jesus the patriot and Jesus the moral policeman and Jesus the monetary genie is sought but not the Risen Christ. And when Jesus is just a doctrinal necessity and not the absolute life blood of the body of Christ, than we are all just practicing our own brand of religion. Jesus will not accept being a brick or even an important brick in the household of faith. He is and must be held as the Chief Cornerstone which no man can lay otherwise.
Do not fret dear child of God. You may not be honored or even recognized. You may feel as if you have lost fellowship. You may battle the arrows of the evil one. But seek Christ and His kingdom with prayerful ferocity. Hold fast to Christ with meekness, humility, and with a relentlessness which manifests itself in the secret places. While the Chief Cornerstone is openly being rejected you take courage. His time is very near. Hold fast and watch in prayer. Bless His name because only by His grace have you made it thus far and only by His grace with you finish.