Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Walls are Down - The Gates are Burned with Fire


I do not normally link to something like this but I believe it is important to place before our eyes the extent to which the church has fallen. This is a critique of the popular movie “American Sniper” which has been heralded by millions of professing believers. If bad language offends you even in this one instance then do not click on the link. But if you do you will be shocked. And I do not wish just to shock us. That would be useless. I pray it will lead us all to a deeper personal repentance. The days are drawing to a close. 

Neh.1: And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

The walls are down. The gates are burned with fire. When the walls are down the enemy comes in from everywhere. And when the gates are burned there are no more gates. When the walls are down no gate is necessary. Sometimes I look around. Most times it just comes to me without me looking for it, but sometimes I look around. And what I see is astounding and makes me shake my head. I cannot believe what has happened.
I have been a believer for forty years and in just four decades it has gotten worse than anyone could even have imagined. What is colloquially called the “church” is a mockery of the Scriptures and the life and teachings of Jesus. There are so many false teachers and false teachings and compromises and passionless practices of the faith that it is beyond belief. Nehemiah recognized the condition of Jerusalem and he heard the commission of God, but the church is fast asleep with the exception of some discernment which usually aims at the most obvious heretics but still is blind to the overall condition of the church which includes all of us.
This should be a sad time for all true believers. The church is in worse condition than we all could have imagined, and that condition is much worse than you may think. The office of elder/pastor is a sham and has become a hideout for greedy and lazy men. Even some good things are brought into focus at the expense of Jesus and the gospel. Some churches boast about their ministry to the family unit and they treat the family like an idol. While it is true that God desires families in line with His Word, it is also true that a strong family means every family member must be a passionate follower of Jesus. All things will work together for good when that is the case.
As can be seen on some television shows you can have a loving and vibrant family and not be a self denying disciple of Jesus. Can you see the subtly here? We are not to follow the family unit, and just having a loving family has never been our goal. In fact Jesus openly claimed that many times when someone repents and seeks to be a passionate follower of Jesus it causes a schism within the family. But again idolatry has taken hold within the church and good things such as the family have become the core of the faith. People now seek a local church they feel will minister to their family and not one that will deeply challenge each individual concerning the quality of their discipleship.
That is just one of the ways in which the church has turned away from Jesus and has turned unto idols. It is a stunning tragedy of epic proportions. The fog of deception now blankets the whole ecclesiastical community in subtle and open ways and even those who can see some of the more gross deceptions and falsehoods walk in deception themselves. The carnal and deceptive climate that permeates the western church cannot be overstated. That is not to say that no churches are doing any of God’s work. No, there are still missionaries being sent all over the world and that is wonderful. But here in America the average church member lives a self centered life which is heavily weighted toward activity, fellowship, and a soothing sense of community and belonging. But the hidden spiritual and devotional life of the average church member is abysmal if not nonexistent.
Now think on this. If your eyes were opened and you could see and every house on your side of the street was engulfed in flames would you not cry out? Would your bloodstream be filled with adrenalin? Would you not forget about embarrassment and run around the neighborhood warning everyone? But if you sat on your front porch where you all the fires, including the one in your own house, could be seen and yet you kept rocking and eating, what would that tell us? It would clearly reveal you were blind to all of it, or perhaps you could see the fire in a few houses but not all. The only other answer would be you had utterly no regard for human life at all.
And so here we are and the fires of hell are consuming the community of faith subtly and openly and yet there are those who say nothing. In fact professing believers are wallowing in the fire ignorant of the burns they are sustaining and ignorant of the life this fire is claiming from them.
And here sit a group of “orthodox” firefighters chatting among each other. They have taken videos of some of the other houses as the fire rages and they comfort each other with the fact that they see those fires and they are against fire. But their house may not be engulfed in flames, but it is on fire nonetheless and yet they do not cry out against the fire in their own house. But, brothers and sisters, the whole neighborhood is on fire. Money and material goods and entertainment and nationalism and war and prayerlessness and many other things have become kindling to this fire. And there should be strong and even panicked prophetic voices crying out to all of us, but where are they? Cry out against Osteen and Warren and Copeland and all the obvious heretics, but the Spirit desires to convict us as well. Our walls are down and our gates have been burned. And that is why some of us have escaped and now are nomads. But many of us cannot go back into a burning building.
Professing believers are consumed with the most despicable forms of entertainment. If the movie houses were showing what they show now fifty years ago no evangelical would step foot in them. And yet today professing believers sit and listen to movies laced with four letter words and sexual scenes and graphic violence and think nothing of it. In fact many like it. Evangelicals by the millions are consumed with money. They think about it, they dream about, they stash it away, they labor hard for it, and compared with the time and effort they expend on their spiritual lives it is easy to see where their hearts are. And professing believers by the millions express their love and allegiance to a fallen nation and will kill and die for it if need be in spite of the teachings of Jesus. The entire “church” entity is a literal cesspool with very few exceptions.

Josh.24: 14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Here we stand in the midst of a smoldering pile of religious timber. People continue to stoke the fire and warm their hearts and lives by it. This is not the fire of God. This is the fire of hell and man’s fallen heart. Do not look for a massive repentance that sweeps across the land in thousands of churches. But God still does work within the hearts of individual believers just like he did with Jeremiah. Seek Christ through the Spirit. Reject self righteousness as strongly as you reject the compromised and deceived church. Seek to make Jesus the absolute Lord of your life. Pray over everything and set your ears to hear His voice. Fall in love with Jesus with a broken and contrite heart. Let obedience be a sweet smelling savor to our Lord and make obedience be your contentment. Pray much. Pray more. Allow the Spirit to revolutionize your prayer life. All he needs is your heart and your time. The days are evil. Stay under His shadow. Repent often. Rejoice in His love and forgiveness.

Jer.9: 23 Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:
24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

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