As the “Church” are we failing? Are we just a bunch of losers? This will be a series of several posts on the state of the church and what is happening. As I began writing the content led me to first “What is the Church?” After that I wanted to look at what the Bible teaches “the church” should look like, what happens to us by relating two parables and then it led to an evaluation based on the way Jesus evaluated the church in Revelation chapter 2.
Please strap your seat-belts on and ride with me as we begin with Part 1:
Are we Americans first and Christians second or are we Christians first and Americans second? What do you think of when someone mentions the ‘the Church’. If you think it is some organization in the next county or some building up the street, then think again. The church, my friend, is you and it is Me. The church is a group of people. It is the believing souls that follow Christ.
“‘Church’ might be a denomination, a building, or an organized group of believers, but THE Church consists of followers of Jesus Christ who have been saved by grace through faith in him—the ‘body of Christ’. Instead of pointing fingers and saying the ‘church’ has failed at this or that, we might want to pause and take a hard look at ourselves first. Is the church failing us or are we failing the church?” – G.S. West.
The church is failing because we want to be like the world. To completely believe in the Gospel will destroy our lives as Americans. We have all compromised what we have been taught. We have all forsaken the word of God. We are a bunch of two faced hypocrites! I use that strong language because it is true. We are supposed to be different. The Bible says, “They will know we are Christians by our love”. It also says that we would easily be recognized by our fruit.
What has happened is that we have been watered down so far that we cannot be picked out of the crowd any longer. If we all were in God’s word and in prayer each day as we are commanded something amazing would happen. We would be so profoundly different from everyone else that the world would have to sit up and take notice. What if preachers today expounded God’s word from what was written instead of making up their own? A few still hold to Gospel but most do not. What I see are preachers that only talk about the pleasantries involved and somehow skip the issue of sin and the wrath of God. There are so many false teachers out there now it is frightening. We have all bought into the health and wealth philosophy in some extent if not wholly and it cannot be denied. We have done it without even being completely aware it happened. It has been like the story of how you can boil a frog. If you try to put a frog in hot water to kill him he will just jump out quickly to safety. If you want it done you must put the frog in a pot of cold water and let him swim around and get comfortable. Then turn up the heat slowly and bring the water to a boil while the frog is sleeping. And that’s it, he’s cooked! And yes, we are cooked! We have all been slowly boiled into the world.
Do you know the parable of the “Rich Fool” or the parable of the “Rich Young Ruler”? Both of them serve as good examples of where we have come. And the fix we are in. The parables are great so read them all. The Rich Fool parable can be found in Luke chapter 12 starting at verse 13. Just prior to the parable on the Rich Fool Jesus was cautioning against covetousness. The text shows Jesus teaching about being ready for the redeemer. This parable is the very first of five parables about the second coming of Jesus the Christ. He was preaching to the multitude, probably in Jerusalem because it was in the last month of His ministry. Jesus was addressing the crowd and He was teaching. The crowd heard about the hypocrisy of the Pharisee’s. They also heard about the Fear of God and the need to confess Him before men. They heard of the urgency of the time and that possessions are not as important as Godliness. Jesus was warning against greed and materialism. The Rich Fool was trying to store up his mast harvest to be able to eat, drink and be merry. What Jesus knew that the fool didn’t is that it was the last day of the fool’s life. He would die that night. He drew a parallel between the rich fool that met an untimely death and those that store up things for themselves but are not rich toward God. The point being: Spiritual wealth far exceeds material wealth in value. In verse 20 he was called a fool. This is the only place in the Bible where Jesus directly called anyone a fool. The rich fool was called that because he was totally self-centered. The personal pronouns of “me, mine, and I” are used 12 times in this short parable by the fool. It is a very telling point of reference.
Then we have the “Rich Young Ruler” found in Luke 18:18-30. Let us look in verse 22, “Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” This guy wanted to be in the Kingdom. He wanted to be saved. But he couldn’t unless he sold all the riches he had. When he heard those things he became very sad for he was very rich.
With us it is not that we are all rich even though we are better off than the rest of the world. What our problem is absolutely is the way we have come to live. In order to completely follow Jesus we would need to surrender how we live, how we work, how we love, how we communicate and I could go on and on. Every ounce of our lives would need to be surrendered or “sold” to completely follow Jesus.
We are all unwilling to take that step. Aren’t we?
Click here to jump to Part 2 as we reflect on the hearts of the two rich guys…