Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Cornerstone 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.


BB said...

Excellent commentary and observation. You could have easily named names but I hope that will be in a future blog. I think it is important that we do that so as to point out the obvious and dangerous teachings of others. God bless.

Lorena said...

"All that matters is his devotion to his local church."

Reminds me of the Catholic lay people devoted and enslaved at the same time, to 'mother church'. It's all about 'her' and not Christ. We seem to be doing something similar by our 'devotion' to the particular local church building we attend.
When it becomes so there really isn't much time for Jesus; the physical takes precedence over that which is unseen- the spiritual. I truly believe much of it is flesh-feeding even though we may not intend it to be so.

Anonymous said...

It's been said that an empire lasts no more than approximately 400 years. Maybe because the empire creators have lost their first focus and take everything for granted and eventually lose their ground to a more powerful empire. I think churches are the same. When a church institution loses it's luster and it's congregations dwindle, and men thirst for more of God, God sends a revival and a renewal and a new group starts, then it soon becomes a mega-church empire, and like clock-work people get complacent, the pastors get greedy, lose focus, take everything for granted and the Lord allows it to fizzle out.

When a big denomination fizzles out, and if men are thirsty enough for more of God and seek His face, God sends a revival again. Then divisions happen, men demand allegiance, put their names on the ministry and want to be recognized for the spiritual revival. With the pride, then complacency and looking for excitement and new ways to increase the flock, they invite God's anger again. And they fizzle out.

This has been happening every time a Holy Spirit Revival is poured out. Men take control. And their little empires eventually die. How many times does God need to teach us that we can't turn His church into an institution with a man's name attached to it. We do the same thing over and over and God withdraws until we get on our knees and beg for His presence.

I pray we haven't blown every chance and I worry we have no more lifelines. We've been sent every kind of spiritual rescue and warnings and haven't heeded those warnings and now empty churches are creating empty powerless members who think they are christians.

Church ministries are the blind leading the blind - and the Lord gave the gentiles His authority to feed His Church and it's said in scripture somewhere that the Lord moved his Jewish people to jealousy, so they might realize how they didn't recognize Him the first time; and now the Church doesn't recognize Him either. I think the Lord is showing the compromised church that it refused him also. If any christian boasts that they are the replacement of Israel, they need to think again.

We are today being demonstrated that religious institutionalized gentiles, are rejecting the true risen Christ too. What miserable men, men are. And Jesus yet died for us all even when He knew now stiff-necked we would be.

May the Lord have mercy on the compromised church and may they break free and recognize the real Jesus.


Cherie c. said...

I am rejected, by the very people who profess to love me. Not surprised, they reject Christ too. I am blessed to now add to the list of things my husband says I am since I am not a follower of his god. You will find them interesting as do I.

anti-american, unchristian, out of touch, in the Bible too much, not in fellowship with Tim Tebow, *^&$#%, and now, atheist. ?????

Yeah, it hurts a bit, but the Lord never said it would be easy. I will love him anyway.

This post is sad and I am too. Could use a hug, but will gladly accept a prayer.

Love you all!

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Annette said...

May mercy and grace abound, Pastor Rick, as our LORD uses you to plant fruitful seeds of faith into furrows that have been plowed so deep by dull plowshares; that are in great need of sharpening.

Once again, after reading this entry, who cannot but cry out to Jesus in longing for Him to return. And as we taste the saltiness and feel the tugging in our hearts, we can still rejoice in singing praises to exalt the very God who made us.....

"Praise the LORD!
Praise God in His santuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD!"

Psalm 150 Author: God.

Annette said...

I grew up in the church, strayed during my college years, and made my re-enterance after marriage and children. This is common protocol amongst many within our society, so I believe I am not alone. Then, early one morning after crying all night in pain, agony, and complete brokenness before our Mighty God, you cry out to Jesus to save you. And Jesus comes and you are filled with the Holy Spirit and desire to know Him better through His Word. And yes, we all know this is a journey, a process, and continuos's like planting our corn and beans in the spring, watching them grow into beautiful plants sprinking the countryside with that deep, healthy shade of green that represents life to the full, then watching these plants fail as the fruit ripens and shades of golds and browns pepper the countryside. It is fall and the fruit needs to be harvested. We continue this cycle year after year after year.

Our faith in Jesus Christ, in some ways is similar. We become born again of the Spirit of God and the word "excitment" pales in comparison to the living revelation that we are now a "child of the Living God" and desire to know Him better through His Word. The seeds were planted, and we are growing abundantly in our faith. God sends other believers, following the leading of the Holy Spirit, to help, nurture, and love us into maturity....taking year after year, season upon season, day by day.....minute by minute. We live, we grow, we share our love and faith in Jesus Christ because He loved us first and how can we not talk about this JESUS whom so many think they know, but do not believe? Only God knows.

And yes, to most of the world, we will be rejected. That hurts, yes it times, excruciatingly on the inside, because we are human too. And that is okay. Even Jesus wept. Yes, He cried out to His Father, our Father, in the Garden of Gethsemane, yet fully being God in the flesh. What a powerful witness this is to us today.

Annette said...

And Cheri, I love you like a sister, and am getting to know you through your testimonies. You have a loving, caring heart for people and I truly am encouraged by you. I have no earthly wisdom for you, but wish I could give you a hug that is so deperately needed. But if Pastor Rick allows, please allow these words to touch your soul....

John 12:32
"But Jesus answered them saying, "The hour has come that the Som of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me, and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor."

May Jesus' Words be an encouragement to all of us today. Long distance hugs to you, mon amie, Cheri.

Love you.

Anonymous said...

hugs cherie

Cherie c. said...

I'm sorry dear brothers and sisters, I do not mean to burden you its just I don't have anyone to talk to here at home and I come here. You are all I have and I'm blessed.

Annette, love you too dear sister.

Feeling the hugs and so need them right now. I heard from Rita via text that Becky came through her double knee surgery oksy, she is in much pain.

Kim is having her 2nd surgery today, please keep praying.
Love you all very much

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Steve said...

Brother, thank you again for your spot-on observations.

Exactly as you say, the enemy has turned the Church away from its Head by his relentless attack in the spiritual realm: to which the Church ordinarily pays little attention. We perceive well enough that mankind's problems are spiritual: even blind guides can see that much. But our real faith is in the enemy's first lie: that spiritual problems have worldly solutions.

I'd suggest his attack has primarily been against the Church' understanding of governance: our heart-deep recognition of the Kingdom (the only governance God has ever endorsed), which Jesus has said is FIRST. Our championing of any human scheme of government...particularly one founded on the principle that "the voice of the people is the voice of God"...makes the Church merely another worldly pressure-group. Everyone knows our twaddle about "King Jesus" is lip-service and hypocrisy: we don't REALLY buy that "Kingdom" stuff; so what do we need with a King ?

The enemy knows what governance our hearts are actually set on. So he's routed his deceits directly into the Church' heart, through the political faction the Church follows instead of its Head.

Of course the Church rejects the Cornerstone. Operating by the enemy's thoughts and ways, we are rebellious, blasphemously "patriotic," hypocritical, haters of the poor. What could He possibly say to us except what we DON'T want to hear: "Repent."

Praise to Him that His word to us IS still being heard and proclaimed. Not in the Church He created to be HIS body: but here, and by other faithful witnesses.

In Jesus, Steve