Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Will the TRUE Church Please Stand UP!!!....Final #10 Blog

I want you all to know that there are more than just ten identity crisis' that the church experiences today such as lack of vision, greed with money the church has and fighting over it, misinterpreting the Bible and preaching incorrect doctrine, lack of church discipline, improper church government, the churches treatment of ministers, ministers who abuse their office, and so on and so on.  I feel like I have beaten this horse and need to move on.  So here goes the last installment of this series (gasp!!):

IDENTITY CRISIS #10:  Accountability.  We are no longer accountable to each other in church and we are ok with that.  Church Membership is taken lightly as I have written before, ministers don't know who they are accountable to, believers continue to live according to the world and are adapted to its sin and dwell in that sin, and the list goes on.

Case Study:  We live in a democratic country where we experience freedom and liberty based upon the dreams of our forefathers, what has been fought for by them and other free men and women throughout the years, and what has been established as our law to protect these freedoms in this country.  What about the church?  We have the freedom to worship who we want to, the freedom to assemble, and the freedom of speech to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.  

I am talking to believers here:  What is our freedom with sin?  Are we free to commit any sin we want?  We are free to be forgiven aren't we?  Are we free to practice sin as believers behind closed doors and suffer "spiritual" illness because of our freedom of choice?  Are we free to practice sin as believers in public?  Aren't we free to tarnish the name of Jesus Christ when we sin in public and private...we have that freedom don't we?  

Take a look at this passage of Scripture in 1 John 1:  6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; (so if we practice sin we live in darkness and we cannot have fellowship with Him, we are lying about our relationship with Him and we deny the truth....Colossians 1 says that Jesus is the only one that can "save us" from the dominion of darkness) 

 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (here it is saying *imho* that if we walk in the Light guided by the Holy Spirit, we fellowship with other believers that are walking in the the standard is living in Christ Jesus and NOT SINNING)

8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.  (It is obvious if we have Christ in our heart or not....I call it the SIN FACTOR...either we claim to have no sin and walk in darkness and the truth is not in us, we are denying the truth and are living dark, sinful lives and even some claim to know Jesus here and are lying to themselves......OR......we have a relationship with our Lord and Savior and recognize sin, strive to live sinless lives, and when we do sin and make that mistake, we ask for forgiveness from the Savior)      

There is a gradual development of accountability accompanying the growth of a human being from infancy to maturity; and there is a similar development in the race, as knowledge grows from less to more. In the full light of the gospel, human beings are far more responsible than they were in earlier stages of intellectual and spiritual development, and the doom to which they will be exposed on the day of account will be heavy in proportion to their privileges. This may seem to put too great a premium on ignorance; and a real difficulty arises when we say that, the more of moral sensitiveness there is, the greater is the guilt; because as is well known, moral sensitiveness can be lost through persistent disregard of conscience; from which it might seem to follow that the way to diminish guilt was to silence the voice of conscience.—International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

When are we going to stop abusing our freedoms as believers and truly live under the authority of Jesus Christ?  and truly follow His Word and live/dwell in it (John 8:31)?  Will we continue to claim ignorance?  Will we be too sensitive to acknowledge what sin truly is?  Will we deny the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives as a Helper for our conscience?  Man, we need to call sin....SIN!!  It is what it truly is!!  AND WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE FOR IT!!!!

So, what if a brother or sister in Christ were to hold you accountable (you have taken your freedom too far, you are insensitive to sin, you are not living according to Scripture)......hello, we would be enraged!!!  Some have already stomped off from "that" church because of someone standing up for biblical morals and questioning others living in sin with it.  They claim they have been bruised by the church.  Did they really want to be held accountable in the first place?Church Membership does not cover this one and for the church today this is one of many UNTOUCHABLES that we don't address.

Paul writes "25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another."  Eph. 4:25 (NASB95)

And "11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light."  Eph 5:11-13 (NASB95)

Accountability is firmly in Scripture and the Church is to expose sin, brother to brother, sister to sister in Christ, the family of God.  Where has that gone to in Church today?  

Monday, May 4, 2009

Forgive me for Skipping Number 8!!!!

Will the TRUE Church Please Stand UP!!!

Identity Crisis #8:  We, the body of Christ, have evangelistic RABIES!!!  We bite too much and don't listen.  (Chapter 23 of Religously Transmitted Diseases by Ed Gungor)

The proposal here is that when we think of evangelism, we still have the title of being a "Bible thumpers" hitting people over the head with God's Word to knock some sense in them.  This is our evangelistic bite into unsaved folk.  We are in such a hurry to get people to make a decision to know Christ, we have become rabid, not loving and engaging them with the gospel.  We have created many evangelistic programs to endoctrinate us with an gospel presentation outline that is not personal, but quick and short.  And when we get started, we rabidly want to finish as fast as we can spouting that we have presented the gospel.  Many times have I been rejected by this method, because I have talked AT someone.  Throwing it out there with no meaning or explanation.

I am convinced that we are to build relationships with all people by the second part of the Great Commandment, "to love your neighbor as yourself."   We are to engage others with the love of Christ by word and deed.  The gospel isnt just about believing, it is about a life change.  Gungor writes on page 204, "Evangelism is not so much a call to believe as it is a call to become.  We believe to become."

Just last week, I had the opportunity to share the gospel with an adult and after I let him walk through a marked New Testament I asked him if he would like to know Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.  His repsonse was that he really needed to think about his decision and read somemore about it before he did.  This unsaved young man even owned a Bible and I urged him to read the Gospel of John and 1 John.  Do you know that I was ok with his repsonse?  I did not press him to make a decision and I seek to encourage him when I see him at church.  

Lest we forget, we are not the ones that save someone and we are not the ones who can make someone make a decision.  Holy Spirit convicts, Jesus calls, and we proclaim the good news. Paul says in Acts 17:23, "For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you."  We are to be the messenger with news of hope, with news of great joy, with news of change to live for Jesus who died on the cross for our sins, a sacrifice so great we cannot even fathom, a love so pure that is shown to us, a grace that is shown without strings attached and given to us even though we do not deserve it. 

Gungor writes to close this chapter that we need to put down our bullhorns and quit talking AT people and start talking WITH THEM, engaging them in becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ.
That's all I have to say about that.....coming soon....Identity Crisis Final Number 10!!!!