Hello, and welcome to Faith is Hope,
Church, what does that mean? I’d imagine to most it’s the building where you go each week to worship. But is that the church? Jesus told Simon Peter you are the rock I will build my church on. So what is the church?
The church is the people. The Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come, and he answered them. “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, Look, here it is! Or There! For behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” (Luke 17:20-21) Jesus also said, “For where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matt. 18:20) Now Jesus is talking about two different things here. If you have a problem with someone, and they have sinned against you, go to him. If he listens then you gain your brother. If not, take your evidence, with one or two witnesses to the elders of the congregation. The other thing that Jesus was talking about is that when you come together, brothers and sisters, and you pray and you worship God, you’re his church. The church isn’t some million-dollar building with a hundred-thousand-dollar sound system and some big screen monitors. Jesus spoke to thousands while sitting on the side of the mount of olives. Just Jesus, the people, and the word of God. And after that, after Jesus spoke, he didn’t charge them, he fed them. So, are we being fed the meat, the bread, the wine? Or are we being given the scraps, going hungry, for the word of God?
In America over twenty percent of the people when asked, say they’re no longer a part of a church or identify as Christian. Over twenty percent of the people in America are afraid to acknowledge they are Christian. Do you honestly think that if you deny knowing Christ, that Christ won’t deny knowing you? Jesus said, “On that day many will say to me, Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty wonders in your name? And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matt. 7:22-23) Your faith in God is everything. It’s everything you are and everything you’ve been promised. Sure, you can come to accept Jesus, and if you walk away from God, like the prodigal son, you can return to him, through Christ. But, what happens if you run out of time if you die before you’re able to truly come to and accept Christ, and his gift of salvation? What will happen to you then? See, a lot of people claim to know Jesus, but the real question is does Jesus know them?
Sadly, shamefully, many church leaders, pastors, priests, and ministers are bending to the evil will of the world, and of satan. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing, you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” that’s (Romans 12:2). So, maybe someone can tell me, who gave any of us, and I do mean any of us, the authority or the power to change any of God’s commandments, laws, ordinances, and statutes? What gives any religious leader the right to tell the congregation they have to accept gay marriages, or that people need to be more accepting of homosexuality, murder, abortion, or any other sinful actions, to be more inclusive? God hasn’t excluded anyone. We are all free to accept God’s gift of salvation through his son, Jesus Christ, or deny it. Why would you tell someone to accept sin, instead of telling the sinner to accept salvation, forgiveness, and redemption? Why? I’ll tell you why, because religion has become a big business. Instead of salvation through Christ. It’s money, money, money. Fill the seats with people instead of filling the people with faith through Christ, with the word of God. Christians are being told to accept sin and its death. That living in the world is better than living in God. Is that really the message God wants for us to receive from those he chose to teach his word, to share his message? Because if it is, run, don’t walk, run to the nearest exit. Don’t say goodbye, don’t look back, just run. Because you’re sitting smack dab in the middle of Sodom’s town square.
People haven’t stopped believing in God, or Jesus, or his message of salvation. People have stopped believing in the messenger. You can’t preach the lies of the world, and call it God’s message of truth. The world is influenced by satan, so the world’s message is actually satan’s message, not God’s. How do I know this? Because the entire world is happy to include everyone in its sin. And anyone who doesn’t want to be included is attacked and persecuted even to death.
I’m not the answer. I’m not a pastor or minister. I am a sinner. I fall short of the glory of God every single day. And every night I ask God to forgive me through the Lord’s Prayer. Then every morning I wake up and try to get it right again. Do I get it right? Well, some days are better than others, but no I don’t. God knows that we’re not going to get it right, he doesn’t expect us to. What God expects is for us to say we’re sorry, to ask for forgiveness, and to try again. Every day we need to keep trying and not give up or give in. Admitting you’re sinful isn’t accepting sin, it’s admitting you’re human, that you’re not perfect. Sin pulls us away from God because God and sin cannot be in the same place at the same time. I know that every time I ask God for forgiveness, he forgives me. So why do we need to admit that I’m a sinner? Why do I need to ask for forgiveness? Have you ever tried to help someone that wouldn’t admit they needed help? How can God forgive us, If we won’t admit we need to be forgiven?
Look, don’t just accept that the scraps that fall from the table are what God wants you to have. Read the Bible, ask questions, and search for the answers in God’s word. Search for a congregation of people whose leader is feeding them the body and blood of Christ. People there are two directions that we can go. We can go with God, or without God. But it’s up to us to know which direction we’re heading, which road we’re walking on, and which gate we’re standing at. Don’t settle for what the world says you can have. The world will lead you to death. Jesus Christ will lead you to salvation. Stand up and receive what God wants you to have. Salvation. The choice is ours.
Hey, I’m Dave – join me next time when I talk about Jesus Christ. And until then, I’ll see you at the Rest Area.