My last post titled, “WHEN TRUTH PREACHED FROM THE PULPIT IS NOT ENOUGH” offers the beginning to this post.
The “church” (I use this term loosely) has a track record of sweeping sin under the rug (for centuries), even when truth and grace are preached from the pulpit. We are naturally followers, so even if we are true believers, sometimes we can become swayed by culture and not even recognize it because we are often still heavily involved in “religious” activity. Here is a list for pondering and taking before the Lord in light of His Word.
1.No repentance over our own sexual brokenness- We have no purity on our own. If we profess to be saved, we must admit we need Jesus in all areas of life. It’s His purity that we are clothed in. (period) (exclamation point)! Romans 3:12
2.Giving in to the cultural labels of homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual, transgender that go beyond someone’s behavior and reach too far as a label of personal identity.
We fit ourselves into one of these categories. I heard a pastor tell a man living in a gay lifestyle on a t.v. interview that he could not relate to his struggle. Huh? In our sexually charged culture- I don’t believe that one. He may not have given himself over to it, but no common ground there- really? He affirmed that they were different instead of finding common ground. He protected himself and his image. Instead of considering this man better than himself; he, sexually speaking, considered himself better, cleaner. He did not do so on the basis of Christ- but rather on the basis of himself. 1 Corinthians 3:11
Do we not know that we, in our sinful nature, have every sin bound up in our hearts? Many of us can vouch to the unbelievable ways Satan deformed us in our sin. Let’s not think so highly of ourselves. Romans 12:3
3.Not dealing with sin in our personal lives- Passivity towards our own sin leads to passivity with sin in general. I mean, how can I speak boldly and take up for anyone else if I don’t fight my own battles with the authority of the Word? Sometimes, we don’t know how to fight and we really must get help and do whatever it takes to let our King into every area of our lives. There is help for any and every issue. Revelation 3:20
4. There is little, if any, loving confrontation outside of the pulpit. The pulpit is a safe place to be bold. Jesus didn’t hide behind things or positions- and He had the ultimate position. Jesus is our only source of safety. Psalm 91 We will all have hard times and difficult situations to deal with. This is not a jab at the position of pastor or ministry leader. This IS a jab at the system. We often want our pastors/leaders to do all the work and hold the preaching time as the most important time. We judge the health of our church by the numbers and the preaching/ teaching. Many pastors/ leaders feel stressed to “perform” well and have the approval of their congregations. Help your leaders. Don’t hinder them. Pray. I believe many well meaning, godly men and women are leading and dealing with very difficult situations, good ole boy clubs, and unbelievable politics – and have to ask themselves- am I willing to get fired or to quit if I have to compromise to stay? The answer- pastor, teacher, church staff, and church member is: Yes. We are to seek Christ and His will not our own. You are free, no matter your position, to follow Him and He will take care of you. I also believe some people are not qualified to be leaders- going through seminary does not equal spiritual maturity. There is no shame in that. If someone is truly saved, God’s promise to complete the work He started is true. Let’s be careful to aid that as the body not contribute to the attack of the enemy. Ephesians 6:13
5. I’m okay- You ‘re okay mentality. I had a meeting with a pastor once about a couple who were living together and were unrepentant- not open. This meeting had been avoided for some time by this leader. His response was that we are all sinners. This is a very common attitude in churches who preach something very different from the pulpit. (Bold in the pulpit/ Cowardly where the rubber meets the road). By the way, the rubber is where we gauge the health of our churches, not just the pulpit. This attitude that he exhibited tells people they aren’t worth a rumble with the enemy on their behalf. It says, “I would rather you like me than for me to be inconvenienced to help you have the treasure of Christ and nothing less”. Oh, dear reader, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Keep away from people like this. Pray for them, but nonetheless keep away. They would give you over to your sin for your approval and their comfort. For more on this read the book Pilgrim’s Progress. The children’s version is excellent. 2 Timothy 4:3
6. Not knowing how to deal with difficult situations- So we don’t. We are naturally cowards. People around us affirm us prayerlessly with religious slogans like, “That’s the Holy Spirit’s work”. His Word or His direction are often not sought. The Holy Spirit indwells us to enable us to obey. Sometimes, the Lord will say wait and pray, and sometimes He will say, go and pray! Your insecurity or mine is not to be a crutch or excuse. 2 Timothy 3:5
7. Expecting our leaders to do everything, but they can’t nor were they meant to. We might be needy and expect our leaders to fill voids that only Christ is meant to fill. Not to mention, all believers have spiritual authority under Christ and a responsibility to mankind, especially our family in Christ. 1 Peter 2:5
8. Our leaders sometimes gain celebrity statuses. This is dangerous for many of our leaders. We need to pray for them diligently recognizing they are often under intense spiritual warfare.
9. Allowing people, who have never repented and put on Christ, to join churches. Numbers. Numbers. Numbers. People are not cattle. This makes it difficult for true believers to assemble with the saints when in many cases the majority are not even believers.
10. Being nice- believing every tear and not dealing with people as sinners. Get real people. Everyone is sorry when they get busted. All of a sudden, suddenly, out of the blue- sorry. Listen to words. Trust behavior. That’s not mean. It is true. People need the respect of knowing they aren’t trusted if they aren’t trustworthy. This will actually help people face up to reality.2 Corinthians 7:10
11. Being confused and not reading the Scriptures from beginning to end. We amen our pastors and teachers, but often don’t have a backbone in our own lives. We struggle with guilt over our own pasts and often have not allowed Him into the deepest places and wounds He wants to heal, so we can serve Him freely. We try to piecemeal the truth we have instead of studying the Word as one work. We can be easily swayed. 2 Timothy 2:15
12. Ousting boat rockers. What if someone gets ugly honest about something going on in a ministry or church. Usually, they must go, sometimes under a bus. The rest stand by are never sure what happened because the proper information is never given to the saints. And of course, we want to conform, nobody likes to be rejected, or fired- especially if there’s a family to feed. Conflict is part of life not to be avoided. God is good. He can handle it.
13. “Performing” for God on Sundays. The schedule with the two songs, greet, two more songs, pray, sit, stand, offering… It’s different in every church, but really? Every time? That performance/ schedule mentality carries over into Monday and all the other days. Performing leaves little room for His agendas, for our listening and obeying. We might have forgotten to “be” with God. Just being. Remember back to when you first started walking with Him- to the being with Him. Psalm 23 It’s vulnerable to be with Him. A lot of the performing is about image control.
This is why we must look at ourselves and quit pointing the finger at liberal churches and unbelievers.
Who do you listen to?
Liberals and unbelievers who uncover hypocrisy and lies, but support other lies contrary to Scripture OR those who boldly proclaim Scripture, but sweep the sin in their midst under the rug?
Read that again.
Sounds not so good, but…
GOOD NEWS: There is another option.
and He has names:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We – deformed by the Fall- will try everything but bowing low, flat-faced to the ground at the feet of Jesus.
This. Bible believing people, though is for us.
To get really low.
And get trained in the use of His armor.
But not just for our own freedom- for others.
This is your destiny.
To grab your seed and plant it. Every last bit of it- unhindered by the works of darkness.
Children of the light, listen to God’s Word in Isaiah 50:10 “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord”.
Trust Him, for He is trustworthy. Worst of sinners, like Paul, profess that title as your very own and allow Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be the head- listening to Him and His love for you- freeing you moment by moment being your light, your way, your truth.
To the King and King’s Ways!
Remembering on this Memorial Day: My way to Him came by His death.
The freedoms I enjoy in the USA came way by the blood spilled by patriots, who believed liberty was possible and worthy of their blood.
In Christ Alone,