Identity Crisis #4: The church has been transformed by the culture of the world.
It has been too long that we have opened God's church, the body of Christ, to the culture of the world. The following examples I give you are from experiences I have had in my own life as part of a church. I have understood pastor's say that they are CEO's of the church. Since when has God called you to a high paying salary, a private jet, greediness, selfishness, and a holier than thou attitude. We are supposed to live the life of a servant, teaching and preaching God's Word humbly, and applying that teaching to ourselves as well as teaching doctrine, theology, and application to the congregation. Paul writes in Philippians 2 that we are to have the same attitiude of Christ...."humility and obedience", so we, pastor's, are to model this to the congregation and the community. Instead of preaching "you" to the crowd, we need to be preaching "we"....because we all are sinners that fall short of the glory of God.
In many churches, deacons have become boards of decision makers instead of servants of the church as we read in Acts 6. I am reading the translation of the Greek verb diakonew: serve, wait on; care for, see after, provide for; serve as a deacon. This board mentality is from a business or organization of the world and we like it so much it has to apply to the church. Go back to Identity Crisis #2; "we don't really know what church is." I have served at a few churches where deacons did no service, they made decisions for the welfare of the church...they were in charge. Didn't Jesus break up the argument of the disciples saying "Who will be first?"..."Who will be your #1, Jesus?" The answer is "The first shall be last." (Matthew 19:30)
Scripture is not the authority of the Church as God's Word. The attitude of Christ's church is "Just because God wrote it doesn't mean that it should apply to me" or "Just because it is in the Bible doesn't mean I have to follow it". We sit under teaching after teaching after preaching and our lives are no different, we havent applied anything!! We have let culture(worldly views) and politics guide our actions, we want to be politically correct. We have to side with one political party or the other. We think that we have to be stamped by the world by what we believe in....Democrat, Independent, or Repulican, instead of being identified as a believer of Jesus Christ, holy, chosen, and set apart.
Finally, the believers that make up the church. Folks, believers are to submit to God!! If we are believers, God's Word says we are to be pro-life, support marriage between man and woman for life, abstain from being drunkards, live Spirit filled lives not fleshly lives, stand against immorality, be just, and so on. This is against the world and culture we live in and the message it brings. We have been passionate about causes instead of being passionate about Christ in our lives. We are more passionate about success for ourselves than serving others. We are more passionate about griping about the world around us instead of being passionate about reading God's Word and applying the positive change it can make in our lives. We are more passionate about indulging in what the world offers than being passionate about changing our lives to sin less because it is Christ's desire for the believer. Martin Luther figured it out....and it changed his life in a major way. Aren't we called to be salt and light? To make a difference in the world becuase of our relationship with Jesus and to be a city on a hill that cannot be hidden?
What is it going to take? We are so far away from spiritual awakening because you cannot tell the difference between the world and the church. Is Henry Blackaby right? In his book, Holiness, "The spiritual condition of America depends on the spiritual condition of God's people." If it is, it depends on the believer of Jesus Christ to turn things around, to pray, to worship, to hunger for God's Word, to thirst for righteousness, to desire a close relationship with our Lord and Savior, to minister to others, to spread the gospel, to crave holiness, to be the example of Christ, to not forsake the meeting with the family of God.
We must get back to the roots of the early church in Acts where it all began.....Ed Stetzer said in a missional conference I attended: "We are called to be a first century church in a 21st Century world", not a 21st century church in a 21st century world!! We are hurting ourselves trying to be relevant, trying to fit in with the culture outside. Quit acting like the culture around us, quit letting the principles of the world into the called out, children of God, chosen, set apart, led by Christ, CHURCH!! Will the TRUE Church please STAND UP...for Jesus Christ and bow humbly and claim Him King!! Messiah!! Savior!! and Lord!! and claim ourselves as servants of Him who died on the cross for our sins because He loved us so much and submit to His plan, His will, His authority in our lives.