“For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment.” (James 2:2)
If a man walks into a church today, Evangelical or otherwise, with long hair and what most would consider a scraggly, unkept beard, what would be the normal reaction of not only the congregation, but those that sit and stand on the podium. Add to this the torn and worn, yet clean clothes that he has on, and the invitation that he would receive might be quite cold, to say the least. He doesn’t fit in.
Go back to the Old Testament days, switch out the torn clothes for a camel’s hair robe and belt, and you all of a sudden would welcome this man, for he is more than likely a prophet of God.
The world, Satan’s world, (2 Cor. 4:4) has invaded the church, and it did so quite some time ago, a suit and tie at the very least if you’re going to stand behind the pulpit, along with the proper haircut, and the congregation will match that same world’s appearance. One must fit in with the attire of the day, or one will be perhaps not completely ostracized, but will in most cases never be made to feel welcome until they do.
Those who claim Christ as Lord, for the most part, nearly always judge by the appearance, for they have determined it the only “safe” way to judge, to look on the heart, to take the time and make the effort to hear what that one who they are so ready to cast out would not be the normal attribute. Get a haircut, shave, or at least trim the beard, put on some presentable clothes worthy for their supposed “house of God,” and then maybe they will listen, but not until then. This is not the only path of the world that the church has decided to follow, but, the majority hear sermons on how to be “better Christians.” Not on how to be willing servants, self comes first, the lost are left to fend for themselves, the weaker brother is looked upon as “too needy,” pride is the order of the day in regards to that one, and if one does not attempt to “fit in,” if one does not acquiesce to the routine and follow the well-worn prescribed pattern that the “official” elder members of the church have laid out, one will receive a cold welcome, not the truths of the Word of God.
The neighbor is loved, (Matt. 22:39) as long as they are like those who have sat in the pews for a very long time now.
There is a certain way that those so-called churches of God serve the Most High, and one must prescribe to it if one desires to darken their doors, even if the truth of just some of the facts of this short letter are brought to their attention, they will not be debatable, they will not search the Scriptures with you on these matters, they will not search their hearts, they will see you as an outsider attempting to usurp their authority in these matters. One may as well go to a Roman Catholic enclave and attempt to inform them that they are a congregation and religious order of works, not grace.
It takes very little time to find one of these churches, those with ears that want to be tickled. To find one where each Sunday morning is truly a worship service, where discipleship is taught, where dying to self, lifting up the name of Jesus, and glorifying God above all else, no matter the consequences to ourselves is more difficult, in fact, they may be gone.
Sunday morning for an hour or so, pretending to fulfill the obligation, bringing the world inside of those doors with them, no broken or contrite hearts, (psalm 51:17) simply a deed that must be performed to assist their emotional state. So sad.