Sunday, November 21, 2010
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is,
and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
“But you said, ‘We will not walk in it’.
Who listens to the Word of God today?
Who obeys the Word of His Servant Jesus?
Not the churches who call themselves by Jesus’ Name in our modern, affluent societies. Not the denominations who supposedly spread the Word of God across our land. Not the church organizations who claim to be acting in the Name of Christ.
By the thousands, our churches and institutions who carry Christ’s Name boldly on their signs and their letterheads, who quote their favorite Scriptures in their bulletins, who maintain nice websites for their constituents, and busy programs to keep their membership happily engaged, are flaunting their ways of doing church, and refusing to listen to the Word of God.
Is it any wonder that people don’t see Jesus today?
The affluent societies, such as the
, see themselves with a special endowment from God for their standards and ways of living. This could be termed an ‘entitlement’. In other words, we are entitled to live the way we please, because we are a free, affluent society. Our very prosperity is a stamp of approval from God Himself on us. United States
Perhaps God blessed
with abundance. Perhaps He gave us our ‘work ethic’ and allowed us to expand across a continent and build cities and states, farms and factories, a huge economy, and endless possibilities for the many. Perhaps it was the Lord God who gave us the freedom and ability to do these things. America
But it is not God who gave us entitlement to do whatever we want to do with our lives and our time and our energies. It is not God who allows us to love the world we have created, and the things in it we set up as idols. It is not God who gave us the right and privilege to exchange His truth for lies, and His Word for comfortable church pews.
God’s people must seek Him wholeheartedly or perish along with this affluent, godless society that is heading for disaster.
God’s people, those who name the Name of Christ, must abandon their selfish, empty religious ways and “ask where the good Way is, and walk in it.”
I hear every day about the disillusionment of people who leave the churches because they are not getting anything out of their church experiences. They are leaving with good reason. The churches are consumed with their own schemes and plans, and have run ahead without holding to the teachings of Jesus and His Word, and have spun themselves webs of lies and deceit so large that nobody can discern where they end. The overwhelmingly rich and powerful church society we have created is keeping people from finding the Lord.
· We are not ‘entitled’ to change the Word of God.
· We are not ‘entitled’ to live rich, comfortable lives in the service of God.
· We are not ‘entitled’ to defend what man has created.
· We are not ‘entitled’ to hold up our modern ideas of what the church should be over what God says His people should be.
We are ‘entitling’ our way into God’s wrath.
The current ‘entitled’ church system that many are working so hard to defend is under the judgment of God.
“Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury,
burn incense to Baal and follow
other gods you have not known,
and then come and stand before Me in this house,
which bears My Name, and say ‘We are safe’—
safe to do all these detestable things?
Has this house, which bears My Name,
become a den of robbers to you?’
‘But I have been watching!’ declares the Lord.
“I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen;
I called you but you did not answer.
Therefore what I did to
Shiloh I will do now
to the house that bears My Name, the temple you trust in,
the place I gave to you and your fathers.”
Because of our sense of ‘entitlement’ we think we can go to church, and sit in the pew or chair, and sing, and go through the religious rituals, and attend classes, and even lead within the church structure, and live any way we please. We believe our very affluence attests to our obedience to God. We believe, because the churches think this way, and teach this way, that life for a believer in Christ is measured by how well our life is going, how much money we make, and how well we look. We think, because the churches think this way, that our leaders should be well-paid, and have secure jobs, and that we should give our money each week to keep up our Christian-church lifestyle we’ve become accustomed to.
You will be surprised at how God views these things if you begin to follow Christ through death and resurrection. You’ll be surprised at how powerful God wants to be in your life, and the deliverance He has for you from this weak, lowly view of what God’s people should be.
What we have created that we call church is unrecognizable in Scripture, except the Old Testament Jewish religious structure, which God abolished when Jesus came to bring the power of God to men.
As God’s beloved people went away from Him then, we have gone away now.
“Each pursues his own course like a horse charging into battle.”
“From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain…”
Brothers, I recommend that we all step away from our pulpits, shut down our church structures, abandon our institutions, give back our paychecks earned from our religious work, and completely leave the work of our hands for one year. Yes—let’s shut it all down. The entire so-called ‘Christian’ subculture.
Then for that year, let’s gather together as the people of God informally, and live out the life portrayed for us in Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-27. Let’s spend the year in prayer and seeking the Lord, and talking with one another, and assembling only to ask the Lord Jesus what He wants us to do.
Is there one of you, no matter how steeped in your church ways, that believes the Body of Christ would be worse off at the end of that year? Or would we, by obeying the Word of God, be blessed in that obedience, and have the wonderful outpouring of God’s Spirit, the fruits of repentance, the powerful working of God among us?
Is there anyone who will stand up and say this would be wrong?
Our current version of church is a license for sin and anonymity. We as believers can hide in the church, never confessing, never changing, and living like heathen while we dishonor the Lord.
Many of our leaders have confessed in private survey after survey that they have sinned much in secret while accepting their ‘entitlement’, the paycheck they are given for ‘serving’ the people of God.
Which god is this?
Not the God who speaks in Jeremiah, and Isaiah, in Acts, or in Ephesians, or in John’s, James’ or Paul’s letters.
“His intent was that now, through the ekklesia
(the ‘called out to be together’ people of God),
the manifold wisdom of God should be
made known to the rulers and authorities
in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose
which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Eph. 3:10,11
The calling of God for the people of God is so much higher than what we are accomplishing by our silly man-made church institutions. He intends to show His power, not our wealth. He intends to show His love, not our programs. He intends to show His Temple, the living stones being built together in love into a living, breathing Body for Christ, and this Body doing Christ’s work His Way on the earth.
It is of supreme importance to God that we leave our childish, modern religious ways and seek His already revealed Word, the ancient Way, and walk in it.
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