MAN DRAWS PEOPLE
GOD DRAWS SOULS
II Cor.10: 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
II Tim.4: I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
We live in a day when there is such an emphasis on numbers and excitement and large buildings and paying church debts that gradually made the church change the way it “operated”. It now operates like a business complete with debt management, slick advertisements, fund raising campaigns, celebrity personalities, exciting visuals, and all kinds of mechanisms designed to draw more and more people. It has been quite a phenomenon as the church has undergone an incredible metamorphosis in just several decades.
And to be honest what the church desired and the strategies it employed have been successful beyond its wildest dreams. Large and technologically advanced buildings have sprung up all across America and people by the tens of thousands stream into these wonderful edifices. And the Sunday morning services are a study in organization as to how to manage large crowds. There are well trained parking attendants, energized greeters, visitor specialists, effective and alert ushers, and just literally a well oiled machine designed to aid in the arrival and departure of large crowds. Some churches even have enlisted the paid help of secular companies in order to design a crowd management program that would best fit that church’s particular circumstance.
To the outside onlooker it would appear that the evangelical community is growing by leaps and bounds. And that would be accurate. But even while the evangelical community seems to be growing it does not mean the body of Christ is growing either numerically or in spiritual depth. Rock concerts draw a crowd. Sports events draw a crowd. Movies draw a crowd. Political rallies draw a crowd. Parades draw a crowd. Insurance conventions draw a crowd. Book signings draw a crowd. Yes, man can really draw crowds. And man can use all kinds of techniques to draw these crowds. There are time tested ways that can almost guarantee a large crowd.
And the church has learned well from the world. You can provide some kind of entertainment for children and you will have a crowd. Suggest that you can help with people’s marriage and you will draw a crowd. Advertise special speakers and you will draw a crowd. Have an Easter or Christmas pageant and you will draw a crowd. Have wonderful and high quality music and you will draw a crowd. Provide comfortable pews and effective air conditioning and make people feel important and you will draw a crowd. Get a building program going and make people feel like they are part of something and you will draw a crowd. Get ten smart people to sit in a church conference room and plan out different strategies on how to get a crowd and you will draw a crowd. Find out what people want to hear and tell it to them and you will draw a crowd. As I said, you need not reinvent the wheel because drawing a crowd has been and continues to be somewhat easy these days.
But that has never been how God draws sinners and believers to Himself. Never. Numbers not only do not equal believers but most times they present a false perspective. And unless there is a massive move of God which cannot be explained by human machinations, then drawing numbers reflects a flawed message and a system of manipulative strategies. But most sinners are not drawn to Christ when the message is presented with any kind of personal cost or sacrifice. That kind of message does not usually draw crowds.
But only the Holy Spirit can draw a sinner to Christ. God can use our lips and our prayers, but it is all the Spirit’s doing. And that is a miracle of redemption that occurs in the spirit realm and can only be seen by the effect it can have on a soul. We do a very great disservice to the ministry of the Spirit when we manipulate people. That does not mean we attempt to create some dead and dry atmosphere where there is no passion or no raising of the voice or no spiritual music. But it does mean that we must be very careful not to draw people by human means rather than being used of the Spirit as conduits while sincerely attempt to stay out His way and ministry.
You see, this is no game of ecclesiastical competition and who gets the most people wins some heavenly reward. The atmosphere that has been created in these last days is a despicable display of human engineering, human craftiness, human strategies, human manipulation, and human idolatry. And professing believers are content with going back and forth weekly to the same building to hear the same things only to return to their dwelling place in the very same spiritual condition as when they came. You see, we have been lulled to sleep via the power of our own lusts that seek just enough religion to satisfy our religious conscience but surely not enough to cause any painful sacrifice in our imprisoned cultural existence.
And what is most pitiful and disgusting about the entire evangelical spectacle is how Jesus, the person and the Savior, has been so marginalized so that He no longer is the August Lord but He is now the earthly fixer, the American supporter, and the moral political figure. And He seems to exist in our minds to do our bidding and help us achieve whatever earthly success we desire. Even if we ignore the horrific scene of preachers driving Rolls Royce’s and telling the gullible people how they can give to get rich, even if we just count that as so absurd that it is spiritual insanity, we still must see the current ecclesiastical construct and message as an atrocious deviation from historical Christianity to say nothing of the teachings of the New Testament.
When a church grows numerically the offerings increase as well. And then the staff increases and the pastor’s salary increases incrementally. So with that template in mind, do you not see the overt conflict of interest in all of it? And which pastor leaves his large church to go to a smaller church with a smaller salary package? It is almost always un upward transition. And the new church calls a new pastor based in large part on his oratorical prowess and the growth his present church has experienced. And when a pulpit committee goes to hear and interview a preacher and are convinced he is the one, then he is asked to preach for their church “in view of a call”. And after hearing him preach once or twice, and after providing him with the details about the salary package, the members vote. Think about that. The church adopts the political culture in which they live and votes!
All members can vote. That means whether they come every service or once every two months. If they never read their Bible and if they never pray they can vote. If the look at pornography and if they are currently having an extra marital affair they can vote. And where in the New Testament does it say that the church is a democracy? And if it does not then where did the church get such a notion? They copied it from the fallen culture and the kingdom of darkness. Now I want you to think about that for a moment. The overwhelming majority of local church shepherds are called by a pagan method. Does that not shake your being when you think of all the implications of such a construct?
But since we have long since discarded the ministry of the Holy Spirit because we have by and large discarded the life blood of prayer, then we must resort to pagan practices and methods to build the local church. By God’s grace He still calls sinners even through some of these churches, however the evangelical community is literally filled with unconverted church members. And the churches continue to draw people, and quickly getting them saved, baptizing them which makes them a church member, and then we go on to the next throng of noses. And the unbelievable sacrilege is that the church kills two birds with one stone. The sacred act of identification and obedience called baptism serves as the doorway to church membership simultaneously as it portrays a sinners identity with Christ. That my friends must be a great affront to our Holy God.
And even though church membership is unbiblical you might think that a new convert or even someone new to the community would have to wait at least one year before they would be allowed to join. But the membership process is usually speedy. Why? Because the pastor knows that the feeling of belonging to something is a strong influence on someone and causes them to stay where they believe they have a home. Membership itself is a technique to control and so the quicker the better. And once again the congregation votes on "receiving" new members who are rewarded with a new box of tithing envelopes. The numbers have increased.
The entire construct perpetuates a fallen system and now blends in nicely with a fallen culture. The evangelical masses align themselves with conservative causes and for the most part vigorously support Republican candidates who use Christianity as a vehicle for garnering votes. We are known as the religious right and not humble followers of Jesus whose concern is the souls of men and not their votes. Churches pass out voter’s information fliers during election seasons and people sit right in the place where they are supposed to come to worship the Risen Christ and they read what they already know. The Hebrew children worshiping the golden calf had nothing on us.
We have the written and complete revelation of God’s Word, and we have the gospel message. We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and we have the life and teachings of Jesus at our very fingertips. And yet we still need to be involved with the machinations of fallen man and all his carnal weapons employed to achieve his fallen goals. Think about this: What if tomorrow abortion was illegal and strictly enforced. And what if there was not one gay person living in America. And what if all the liberals turned into members of the Tea Party. What does that change? All it would do is make us feel more comfortable and at ease in our present cultural situation. But it would not change one sinner’s eternal plight. But please understand that the church would rather have the culture become more moral than see sinners saved. You see we already have eternal life, but now we want heaven on earth as well.
And so the church will continue to draw men while the Spirit will continue to draw souls. And the difference between the two is the difference between heaven and hell. And I can hear these hollow words being spoken many, many times each Sunday,
“How was church this morning?”
“”It was great!”
Perhaps it was really great. But sadly many times God was not there.