My thesis for these blogs is that the church had lost its identity.
I wrote that identity crisis number 1 was the church being identified by our buildings!! This is not found in Scripture and we think building "upon a foundation" means going into a building program. As my dear friend mentioned at Bible Study last Friday, from the Field of Dreams movie with Kevin Costner, "If you build it, they will come" type attitude. Time to move on!!
Identity Crisis #2: The church has allowed the unsaved to become members in it. There are people in the church who have been members for years and they are not saved and do not display the fruits of the Spirit and do not have a devotion to the Lord because they are about being seen, they come with their family and wonder during the service how long the preacher is going to preach today. It is obvious by the look on their face that they have better things to do and want to get this couple of hours over with. Hey, they will tell you that they are good people and that is enough to get them to heaven because they come to church and sit in the same pew for years. They truly believe that God will reward their faithful attendance because that is what God wants them to do...go to church...and that's it.
They have no regard for Scripture. They may know John 3:16, but if you ask them to apply what God is teaching through His Word, it ain't happenin'. The word "disciple" or "servant" is not in their vocabulary. They are attending church to be served. Jesus taught: "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. "All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left." Matt 25:31-33 (NASB95)
We have placed sheep and goats together and we are trying our hardest to unify them in the Spirit. Can't be done. The goats will try and "butt" the sheeps away from ministry and stand directly in the pool of water to make it muddy so the sheep will live in fear of them and not go to the pool for drink. Goats drain the fellowship of the church by taking over and relationships between sheep are on pins and needles. Goats have no problem getting in the face of sheep to stare them down and to place blame. "You don't understand"...."my ministry"......"people don't appreciate me".....these are the words used by goats to describe their hurts and feelings as they are self absorbed and focus on what happens to them in perspective.
Paul also writes in Philippians 2:3-7: "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped , but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men." Paul instructs to have the same attitude of Christ...an attitude of humility (as a servant to our Master) and of obedience (to God's will in our life). There is no room for selfishess or conceit here. A goat's attitude is the opposite of Christ's attitude!!
Some sheep have problems remembering what Christ called them to do. In Luke 9:23, the first thing Christ called us to do is to "DENY YOURSELF". Go back to the Great Commandment, "Love God, and then love others." (summary) We let the mentality of our great country..."I have rights and you need to respect them"...into the church and that pretty much squashes the Great Commandment and the teaching of Paul to the church in Philippi. You cannot take a goat type thinking into a sheep filled church. This is why we have an identity crisis today in the church. We have filled our body (church) with too much goat mentality and junk!!
Will the REAL SHEEP stand up for God's biblical plan for His church? Is Jesus the true head of the church you are a member of or are the goats runnin' things? Will the SHEEP DOG (pastor) do his best to keep the goats away from the SHEEP? Until next time...Sleepy Disciple