‘…If You Won’t Move Your Feet ’
I recently received a note from a man who has been in ministry for many years. He’s quitting. Because he can no longer stand working among professing Christians who do not live their faith or produce any fruit. He, like many others who take their walk with Christ seriously, can no longer “play the game” of vain religion. He has not lost his faith in God; but he has lost just about all his faith in professing Christians.
Friends, we have a problem. Too many of us spend the majority of our Christian lives “playing church.” We do our duty by attending services once or twice a week. We may even volunteer for in-church programs and activities. But let’s face it: very few allow Christ to actually be Lord of our lives. And even fewer study the Word “to show themselves approved, workmen that need not be ashamed.” If the truth be told, most of us very well ought to be ashamed; and one day, as we stand before our Savior and see Him face to face, we indeed will be very ashamed. Not for the things we have done; for the things we have not done.
Church attendance is at an all time low now. Pastors and Elder boards fret over the shrinking numbers and they can’t figure out how to get more people in the seats; or even get those who used to attend regularly, but who have dropped out completely, to return. They contemplate changing the style of the service, they consider changing the type of music that is played, the pastor tweaks his sermons to be more “open and affirming” of the growing number of, (shall we say), “diverse” lifestyles. They offer pizza parties, potlucks, and concerts. But still the numbers remain anemic. The “wheat” are walking away from the Establishment Churches, leaving only the “tares” in their place.
I talk to a lot of serious Christians on a regular basis and I can tell you, they are frustrated. Churches they have attended, in some cases, their whole lives, now offer little more than “self-help” talks in place of powerful sermons from the Word of God. In most instances, there is no longer any discipleship taking place. Sin and Repentance is never even mentioned; it’s been entirely replaced with the false modern “love Gospel.” “Praise and Worship” has become an activity — a 20 minute segment of the “service,” rather than a way of life. Serious Christians need more than that. And so they are walking away, sheep without a shepherd.
But I’m also finding that even among these serious Christians there are serious problems. After years of being trained to just “do church,” they do not have the courage or self confidence to live as Christ commanded. They will seek out opportunities for good, solid spiritual instruction and growth. But they’ve been so trained to simply sit and listen, that’s all they know how to do. They’ve never been discipled to go out and make disciples of their own. When they find a place that offers the uncompromised meat of the real word of God, they are elated, and cannot get enough. Understandably so. The Word of God is so good. Yet they have been so conditioned to just sit and listen, that that is all they ever do.
We here in America have turned the “Go ye” Gospel into the “Come ye” Gospel. Imagine if Jesus had just sat in one place. Imagine if He simply sat in a house and taught, never leaving the four walls of His “church.” Imagine if He had relied on people coming in… But no: Jesus went out. In Luke 9, we read that Jesus said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” If that’s how Jesus ministered, what are we doing just sitting there? How many church-goers ever step outside, bold enough to admit they even know Jesus, much less tell even their neighbors about Him? And… do your neighbors even know you are a Christian?
We have not been discipled or taught to make disciples. We have been trained to sit quietly and listen. To stand when we are told to stand, to sing when we are told to sing, and to bow our heads when we are told to do that. Then we leave and go back to our normal lives, go out to lunch and then home to watch Sunday Football. Is it any wonder that in these perilous times, so many are finding the activities that take place in the average “church” to be vain and irrelevant?
Now, let me challenge you. I have said before that we have to decide if we are serious about this. I know many of you appreciate my weekly broadcasts here, and I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to speak to you. But if this is just a radio program, then that’s all it is, and that would be extremely disappointing. Because that is not the point of what I’m trying to accomplish here. I’m trying to motivate you to action. As Christians, we are to be about our Savior’s business. We are to occupy until He returns. We only have one life to give in this world, after which comes the judgment. We will have to give an account of all our idle words, and all the missed opportunities, and all the work we refused or chose not to do for His Kingdom. And if Christians do not stand up and serve, teach and disciple the lost world…who, I ask you, is going to?
In Acts 1, Jesus told His disciples, “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Let’s look at that statement. We are to be His witnesses — His missionaries. And He said, first in Jerusalem, then in Judea and Samaria, and then to the ends of the earth. But we don’t do it that way. What is “Jerusalem?” It’s our home town! Judea and Samaria? That’s our state or region. Then, to the ends of the earth. It’s supposed to start in our own local areas — in our home towns. Instead, we send money to overseas missionaries doing mercy ministries in foreign lands. That’s all well and good, but if we are not ministering to our home towns first, I believe we have things completely backwards. This country — America — is now one of the most lost, confused, unsaved countries in the world. What are we doing about it?
I’ll tell you what we’re doing about it. We’re bringing the unsaved world into our church meetings and we’re tailoring our church meetings to accommodate the world. Rather than being salt and light and discipling the lost and perishing, we are accepting the carnal, worldly lifestyles of the lost and perishing, affirming them in their sin; telling them that God loves them just the way they are. If they believe God loves them just the way they are — and the church affirms these lies — why in the world would they ever consider repenting of their sin? “Just walk an aisle, say a few words and you’re good to go.” We are so misled.
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