Biblegateway Verse of the Day

Why Does it Seem the Church is Asleep?

By Benjamin H. Liles

          Earlier today I realized I'm playing a part of the silent church that refuses to take a stand of faith against the dangers and perils of living and being a part of this world. It's a sign that in this present day and age in history we are becoming like the Laodicean Church that Christ says He will spew out for being neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm (see Revelation 3:14-22). The problem is we ought to be awake, revitalized, faith-filled, taking a stand and doing something with the saving faith we had when we first believed. What's happened?

Church History in a Nutshell

          At the beginning of the history of the Church, after Jesus promised the gift of the Holy Spirit, and He ascended to heaven we see a flourishing, faith-filled church. The first mention of people coming to Christ once the apostles were filled with the Spirit of God is in Acts 2, after Peter addresses the crowd. We read, "Those who accepted the message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day" (v. 41).

          Ever since then and even up until recent years numbers and scores of people have been coming to Christ. They want forgiveness of their sins, they desire a new life, a life where no more sin and death reigns in their members. Yes, a number of us will fall asleep and return to dust as God said man would do at his death, but others can and will be set apart for the day the Lord chooses to return. To those Christ is giving a gift to them: to see Him fully and bodily return in all glory, honor and majesty.

The Problem

          Some time in the early 70s, I want to say around 1972 to 1975 a new genre of music emerged on the world scene. It wasn't like the music that the Beatles gave, or the Rolling Stones, or even that of what would be Metal music. Some artists turned to Christ and gave Him their all people and bands such as Petra, Amy Grant, Resurrection Band and a few others; 1978 would see DeGarmo and Key, while Greg X Volz from the former band called "e band." Volz for a time would sing for Petra.

          I bring this up for the reason of not saying these people weren't worldly and turned masses of people off from Christ, but that certain religious leaders told their congregations to not listen to certain artists who might appear less Christian. What makes a Christian what he or she is? Furthermore, not all evangelical professing Christians are what they say they are. If we stand on faith that Christ saves, and specific artists are honoring the Lord with the lyrics and contents of the music should we not give them the benefit of the doubt? It's akin to "Well, let's shut the doors and never let anyone in. Let's look out at the world and stare at our rose-colored stained glass windows, while we learn nothing of how to be Christ-like."

The Church Now

          Ever since then it's not just an attack on Christ-centered music, but on the body of Christ that He established two thousand years ago. While I will not point my finger at one specific institution as I believe we're all to blame, we need to see things as for what they are. Some people have crept into the church. Christ said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out" (John 10:1-3).

          Not only that but so-called evangelical churches even at this moment give a version of the gospel of Christ that's not one cent the authentic word of God. Paul wrote, "For if someone comes and proclaims a Jesus other than the One we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit than the One you received, or a different gospel than the one you accepted, you put up with it way too easily" (2 Corinthians 11:4). There are certain teachers, ministers, and others who refer to themselves and model as "motivational speaker." These are not authentic, Christ-filled teachers who lead an institution that bears Christ's name!

Conclusion: What Can Be Done?

          It seems what we need to do is re-orient ourselves back around to the truth at hand. I love how Paul says this, "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin" (Romans 3:20). No, the real reason these evangelical Christians won't talk about Hell or even death is they don't want true authentic conversions to Christ. They have their own brand of leading people to Heaven, which in itself is a gilded version of Hell. What we need to be doing is turning our hearts around and over so that we see ourselves as God sees us: sinners in need of Him.

          Before Jesus Christ was even born in the manger, to give His life a ransom for many, God proclaimed this: "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him. I will be like the dew to Israel; He shall grow like the lily, and lengthen his roots like Lebanon" (Hosea 14:4-5). I  know this pertains solely to Israel, but it's a lesson we all can learn. God chastises those He loves. Those He loves He restores and brings back to the fold. As Christ said, "No one can snatch them from my hand" (John 10:28).

          I want to end this on a note of something I felt on my heart. It not only made this post possible to write, but to show God's wonderful love and patience with us all. So here goes --

          There is an old guard who had always faithfully done his job. From the day he was allowed to hold his position to even now he's always been at the ready, able to defend, and state why he stands at attention the way he does. Lately, however, he's allowed himself in his old age to sit a bit longer, to no longer stand the way he once has done, and thus unsavory sorts were allowed in where he had been guarding. For the place he was guarding was revered a holy place. In the end, when his time, the unsavory lot weren't the only ones cast out of the court, but the old guard as well, for allowing them in. Who do you want to be?

          I write this both as a warning and to encourage. The words here are for the benefit of healing and bringing that one person who feels lost and ashamed of what they have done back to the Lord. I've been there and came to Christ. No sin is too big. No deed to hard for God to forgive. "With God all things are possible," Jesus tells us (Matthew 19:26). The only sin God cannot and will not forgive is the one that is unspoken. Come to Him, change your heart and your mind; be like the son who woke up from the pig sty saying to himself, "I want to go home to my dad and tell him I have sinned against him and heaven" (see Luke 15:21).

         God restores the truly penitent heart that desires only Him and never wants to leave His presence ever again.

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