One of the reasons that Christ saved me was to make me like Himself, another of those reasons was so that I would be used by Him to also help others to be like Him. The first of these is taught in many churches, the second, not so much. It is the Holy Spirit of God that convicts men, and it is thru the Word of God that this conviction comes, but some in the pulpits today have no desire to preach these words, they are not pleasing to the ears of some in the congregation.
How the church as a whole and the individual who is in Christ are to behave are quite easily discerned by the child of God who studies the Scriptures, the problem is that not many are studying, they are relying on the one behind the podium and those who have been voted into positions of authority at the church to be their guides. Conservative church attendance has been dwindling for many years now, and those in the hierarchy of the church are partly to blame, although every believer will stand by himself on that day to give an account. There are those who have a desire for what is best described as corporal fellowship, a once weekly gathering of Christian believers, but have given up on the churches in their community. Not because of petty differences, but because the hierarchy of the church has little to no spiritual discernment. One cannot be expected to be under the authority of those who refuse to preach the inerrant Word of God in its totality, those who shy away from certain truths for fear of offending. Those who can see refuse to be led by the blind.
These are the places that have no true discipleship courses, instead they rely on what they call a mid-week Bible study that is very difficult to discern between the Sunday morning service. There are rarely if ever any times set up during the week for those to attend an open discussion group, where individualized questions are brought up and then discussed by the group, all based on the spiritual needs of the individual. These types of churches usually tell those in attendance to simply invite the curious to a morning service and leave the “come to Christ” talks to the professionals, those who have been trained to do so. Some of these churches may have started out with good intentions, but found no one really that interested in coming out of the sheepfold, they are happy just to eat once a week and then really don’t care what they are feed, as long as it is not shoved down their throat. Preach a Jesus who loves me, not one I have to serve, show me Him who suffered for me, but not one I am asked to suffer for, tell me all of the wonderful things waiting for me in Heaven while I continue to accumulate all that I can from the world. I want to wear a Crown of Glory, but you can keep the one of thorns, thank you very much.
And so, the pastors begin to acquiesce, instead of words of conviction and submission to the will of God from the Word of God, they watch those who seek the meat of the Scriptures leave while they are left with nothing but those who are constantly content with the milk. “If your words make me feel convicted, I too will leave” are the words of those left in the congregation, and so let the entertainment begin. Many pastors do not want to wield the double-edged sword of God anymore (Hebrews 4:12), they prefer one that is dull, almost like a child’s toy sword, it looks real, but it is not. Their words are flowery and sweet, never are there any opportunities of reproof and correction given, the convicting words of Scripture are glossed over or completely left out, make me feel loved, nothing more.
These churches rarely if ever have a guest speaker, he may bring up the subject of how we are to die to self, and the ways in which the Scriptures command us to do so, it may accidentally make someone present realize that they are not being an obedient servant of Christ, and that might may them feel bad, so cue the video. There are a lot of lost souls in these churches who believe themselves to be saved. Just keep showing up, invite people to church occasionally, put some money in the plate, listen to the sermon, then call it a day, see you next week.
You will never find a church full of nothing but mature, serving Christians, but it is becoming more and more difficult to find one with even a few in it anymore, much less pastors who are willing to assist those in attendance to become one. The desire to serve leaves when those in attendance do not desire to serve. Many of these pastors stay because it is a secure job, their sermons become repetitious in there topics, focusing only on the most mundane, as it were, aspects of Scripture, nothing that might make anyone uncomfortable is ever brought up. What is happening in the world is the context of their sermons many times, but not what they are to do about it. Just stay in here where it is safe and invite them to church. It turns into a pretty easy job actually, “Oh, I felt like you were talking just to me” can be heard after every service, stand at the door and shake some hands, maybe visit the nursing home occasionally, and then think of something shiny and sweet to say next weekend. Keep them interested in their walk, but not the walk of Christ, teach them to be nice, but not Holy, speak sweetly to them, but never in firm truth. Always remind them subtly that they are going to Heaven because they are there, because they are the good people.
Those of you who have left these buildings, for I will not call them churches, and can find no place that lifts up the name of Christ and teaches obedience to His Word in your area, take heart, the Lord your God has a plan for you. The churches of the first century started in people’s homes, and as I have heard many a fine man of God say, that is probably where it will end. The apostasy is in full gear, evil is abounding, and those who are desiring to serve fully and completely are becoming more difficult to find every day, but our Lord knows who they are. His church is alive and well my friends, you’re just not going to find it in many buildings these days.