CHURCHES WITHOUT JESUS
I Cor.1: 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
We live in an age where many churches in America who would call themselves Christian no longer need Jesus and His cross to continue to operate as a church. The bulk of sermon topics are of an earthly nature and Jesus is an aside if anything at all. The gospel is not a core message and if it is mentioned at all it comes as a final appendage to the sermon. You see, preaching Christ and Him crucified is no longer in vogue among evangelical churches. Finding your purpose, helping you succeed, achieving your potential, getting God’s favor, and a host of messages associated with money have replaced the Son of God. Lifting up Jesus no longer excites the evangelical base like money and politics and earthly success does.
And so we have thousands of churches who could easily continue without ever mentioning Jesus again. They are earthbound and focus almost exclusively on man and his desires and his needs. To exalt Christ can only be found in studying church history. Professing believers still have their hearts firmly planted in this world and although they may attend church they seek to hear things that might help their earthly lives. And much of what they hear could also be found in the self help section of the local book store.
This is the highest spiritual treachery that can be found in a church that calls itself “Christian”. And the so called preachers that oversee and perpetuate such betrayal will be held accountable before Him who will be our final judge. When you basically use Jesus as a membership card in order to be called Christian but then you preach and teach and live everything but Jesus then you are a monstrous traitor to the faith. And many of these hirelings also change Jesus and His teachings into something He is not and they make His teachings some kind of encyclopedia of cultural interest.
But let us again be painfully honest. The carnal man does not nor can he desire Jesus. The carnal and fallen nature desires everything in this world. He compares himself with other worldlings, and he wishes his life could meet all his lusts. He wants more and more of this world, and he wants to be recognized for his earthly wisdom and successful strategies. He has an insatiable need for self affirmation which he can only find in the things of this world. He wallows in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
And this phenomenon is running rampant within the evangelical pulpits and pews. You see, if you are not in a spiritual war against all that then you will quickly succumb to it. I am not being hyperbolic in my assessment. Living in this world, and especially living in a hedonistic culture which is completely against Jesus and all He taught, presents a formidable challenge, albeit glorious in His sight. If we labor in faith to remain unspotted by this present world, even though our endeavor may never be perfect, we still honor our Great Redeemer. You see, my friends, this is no game. This is no religion. This is as serious as it gets in the realm of the spirit.
When the church collectively in any culture strays from the gospel and begins to craft all kinds of relevant messages without lifting up Christ and Him crucified, you can be assured that the faith once delivered to the saints is no longer being practiced. It does not matter if the preacher reads from the Bible before his message, and it does not matter if a statement of faith seems somewhat orthodox. It does not matter if they sing worship songs that use the name of Jesus, and it does not matter if they baptize people. If the church does not have the Lord Jesus Christ as their core foundation, and if He is not obvious and prevalent throughout all their ministries, and if He is not constantly being lifted up in their pulpit, then that church is a place where religion marries culture and the result is an unholy union.
Cannot you not see just how demonic such spiritual adultery is? I mean He who suffered and died in our place has given way to paths of earthly success? Have we lost sight of the blood? Are we blind to His agony and His wounds? Has the cross become just jewelry and serves as little more than a religious talisman? The great heart of God sent His only Son for our ransom and now we leave Him and go a-whoring for earthly harlots? Have we no conscience? Are our hearts so cold that we cannot even hear the Spirit calling us back to He to whom we owe our very lives?
God comes in the flesh and walks among us and suffers the sling and arrows of fallen man and yet endures all until He rides into Jerusalem knowing full well the cheers He hears will quickly turn to calls for His life. And yet still He comes. Still He walks toward an agony which no one can possibly know. And all this for His enemies!! This is no quick beheading; this is what will seem like eternity and in some ways it surely is. This death will be infinitely more than just one man dying for one man. This is the Incarnate Son of God suffering for all men and in that He entered into a sacred suffering which will never be fully understood and can never be duplicated.
And the innocent lamb in days gone by dies quickly and without any knowledge, but the Lamb dies in excruciating pain and uncommon mocking and shame, and this Lamb knew full He was dying for those who did not deserve it. And He knew that those of us who would be redeemed by faith would so often disappoint Him and yet still He suffers and still He dies in our place. Oh the glory of such an event! Oh the majesty of such a Lamb! Of the soaring praise that such a Son should receive! And yet in the face of this blood soaked glory the church has sought things that those who reject and mock our Lord seek. It must be the sin of all sins that we call apostasy.
Let us as individual believers steady the course and remain submissive to our Wonderful Lord as we reject the treachery being practiced in most of the visible churches, and let us keep our hearts broken before Him. This is not a time to retreat and become silent. This is a time to praise His name form the rooftops and to worship Him and Him alone while turning our backs on this present world and all its fallen systems. This is a time to deepen the stakes and lengthen the cords of our tabernacles and follow Jesus wherever He may lead. The days are evil and the evil one is roaming about attempting to convince people they can enjoy and frolic in this present world and still follow Jesus.
That is a damnable lie and we must fervently reject it every single day. But take heart and heed, my fellow travelers, Jesus is coming back soon and His reward is with Him. Many will wail in fear and rightfully so, but we must remain faithful to Him and Him alone. Praise be to the Lamb that was Slain and the Risen Christ! Maranatha!