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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

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 Re:


2 Timothy 3
Amplified Bible (AMP)

3 But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].

2 For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.

3 [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.

4 [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.

5 For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].

6 For among them are those who worm their way into homes and captivate silly and weak-natured and spiritually dwarfed women, loaded down with [the burden of their] sins [and easily] swayed and led away by various evil desires and seductive impulses.

7 [These weak women will listen to anybody who will teach them]; they are forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a recognition and knowledge of the Truth.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2013/9/15 18:46Profile
RogerB
Member



Joined: 2007/4/5
Posts: 245
Bruceton TN

 Re: Where have all the good churches gone?

The internet sermons are shallow and often go near the solution but not into the solution. I attend a church that meets after the first in a rented building. Looking at a bulletin from the first church, I see we had the same message.
I'm sure you have seen or heard this as well. sermons.com is doing the preaching


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James R Barnes

 2013/9/15 21:46Profile
RogerB
Member



Joined: 2007/4/5
Posts: 245
Bruceton TN

 Re: Where have all the good churches gone?

The internet sermons are shallow and often go near the solution but not into the solution. I attend a church that meets after the first in a rented building. Looking at a bulletin from the first church, I see we had the same message.
I'm sure you have seen or heard this as well. sermons.com is doing the preaching


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James R Barnes

 2013/9/15 21:47Profile
rjennings
Member



Joined: 2006/2/26
Posts: 52
USA

 Re:

I completely appreciate the frustration over the lack of biblical Christianity being promoted in today's modern churches and we must be very careful not to fall into the trap ourselves. The lies are so subtle and sound so attractive. I remember introducing the Rob Bell Nooma videos to my church and believed them to be edifying and biblically sound until I watched Bullhorn. Even though there were some parts of it that I could identify with it didn't sit we'll with me. I then prayerfully started evaluating the content of all the Nooma videos i owned and realized that although Bible verses were shared and much of the traditional Christian language was the same it possessed a different meaning and I became keenly aware the Gospel was no longer the Gospel and biblical truths were subtly being redefined and I had to ask the pastor and the church to forgive me.

This was at the peak of Rob Bell's popularity and although my eyes had been opened others were not. I was asked to share at our monthly men's prayer breakfast in which the leader proudly proclaimed he had a copy of the latest Nooma video and couldn't wait for us to see it. It was one of he more difficult things for me t do but I proceeded to unveil what I believed God had shown me about the path Rob Bell was on and cautioned us to be discerning. I would like to tell you the response was completely favorable but it wasn't and i left the meeting questioning myself but felt that I had done the right thing. It obviously wasn't long until Rob released his Velvet Elvis book and my suspicions were realized.

I was asked by my pastor to lead Bible study at our church on Wednesday nights before Christmas last year for 3 weeks and the pastor would then take over again. During the first meeting I leveraged the Christmas story to challenge us on how much of what we believe is truly biblical and why it matters. I continued down that trek to further expose false doctrine and some promoting it. My wife confessed she wanted to stay home knowing this was a potential mine field I was venturing into. I did have one outburst in a meeting but when I challenged the person to show me in scripture where I was wrong they stopped.

I know that it is difficult to take a stand for truth when it appears we are in the minority but I must give praise to God there is a growing awareness by some that Christianity as it is promoted in many churches is lacking. The 3 weeks is drifting towards 10 months now and the study group is stronger than ever.

God continues to show me that if the truth of the Bible is proclaimed that He will support His Word. One of the greatest moves of God I've witnessed was in a series of meetings on the Ten Commandments where the pastor was apologetic from the very beginning, that it was Old Testament and the series would be considered legalistic and some may leave the church but he felt it was something he must do. He did a phenomenal job in preaching the first sermon and I told him so but said laughingly "you won't grow a church preaching like that". God proved me wrong. We were a very small congregation but 2 people got saved the very first service and by the end of the series the church was packed and within 6 months we were moving into a new facility.

God may choose to move us to a new fellowship where the truth is preached but I'm firmly convinced that He is capable of springing truth forth from our desert places if many of us will pray for truth and stand for truth as opportunity arises.

Blessings


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Rick

 2013/9/15 22:49Profile
MrBillPro
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 3233
Texas

 Re:

There are still a lot of good Churches out there, if you feel your in a bad one, maybe it's not the Church, remember, sometimes God doesn't change your situation, because he's trying to change your heart.


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Mr. Bill

 2013/9/15 23:32Profile
Solomon101
Member



Joined: 2008/4/1
Posts: 530
America's Heartand

 Re:

I must agree with MrBillPro-

I know lots of excellent churches that are uncompromising in their message and on fire for The Lord.

In our fellowship yesterday the message was from Revelations 12,

Quote:
they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.



Focus this week was on conquering by the Blood of The Lamb.

The word of their testimony and that they loved not their lives unto the death will be the message over the next 2 weeks.

The points were that by the precious blood of Christ the Lamb His followers can overcome -

1. Sins Control ( His blood saves from sin, yes. However, it will also deliver us from habits and its power/grip to live holy in this life)

2. Broken Relationships (God with man, husbands with wives, families, friendships, ethnic groups, ... all of the destroyed relationships can be healed by submitting them to the healing, cleansing blood of the Lamb of God).

3. Death's Power (Death is a an enemy with its stinger removed. It loses in the end and we who follow the Lamb overcome it by His blood!)

That did not come from some compromised web site. That came from The Holy Spirit.

That is just an example. I know many, many places where a true saving, healing, empowering Gospel of The Lamb was preached yesterday. A message that emphasized the blood of Christ, the empowering of the Holy Spirit, and our call to take that saving message to the unsaved.

There are many great churches out there. I suspect it may involve going outside what is a "comfort zone" for many people though.

Perhaps that is the lesson God is showing many. Leave what you have known and is comfortable. Jump onto a roller coaster ride of faith with Him through life.

We win! We overcome! All by the Blood of The Lamb!

 2013/9/16 12:25Profile
ccchhhrrriiisss
Member



Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4499


 Re:

One thing is certain in all of this: It benefits believers to be a physical part of the Body of Christ.

While so much criticism of modern churches is often highly justified, it would help us to remember that even the Church of Laodicea was still a "church." That doesn't mean it was a legal organization in the way that modern churches organize (modeled often after corporate business structures or the local laws). However, it was an organization (or, perhaps more accurately, a living organism). The church of the Laodiceans needed to repent because the entity had become corrupt.

Yet, even with this corruption of the Gospel and lukewarm condition, they were not yet "spewed" from the mouth of Christ. Who knows when the Laodiceans would be spewed? Who knows how long they had been in this condition? Unfortunately, we are only left with the call from Christ for them to repent. Yet, they were still called a "Church" in all of this...and the Lord extended a promise to those individuals who overcome (as such promises were made to all organizations).

Unfortunately, many churches today are, more or less, indoctrination centers. They share the "truths" that are sectarian and dogmatically sectarian. Believers who enter such churches yet might not believe precisely the same in non-essential matters are not extended the full hand of fellowship or "membership."

I truly believe that this is part of the reason why many congregations are not given messages of repentance. The congregations themselves are filled with adherents who already comply with the doctrinal prerequisites for membership. They already believe what they are "supposed" to believe about specific list of doctrines (the "We Believe" list in the Church constitution or website). With such compliance, the Sunday morning/evening services are filled with individuals who already adhere to the measuring stick of proper doctrinal beliefs. Why tell them to "repent?"

Moreover, there are some believers who could never find a "good church" because they will never find one that fits the mental mold of what such individuals have in mind (in terms of doctrine). Each of us hold to our specific set of beliefs that we have gathered from much prayer and study of God's Word. Since we can't find an institutional congregation that aligns in every way (or even in a predominance of ways) to what we "see" or perceive from the Word of God, we steer clear of them.

I suppose that "non-essentials" often have a way of becoming "essentials" when it comes to our beliefs and our views of others. I know individuals who believe a specific doctrinal "truths" who will question the validity of the salvation of anyone with a different view -- on matters that have been disputed among believers for hundreds of years.

Likewise, there are believers involved in churches that almost encourage sin and a "casual" estimation of God given the manner in which those shepherds almost encourage a lukewarm attitude. Those pastors and leaders take an opposite view of doctrine. Not only do they not focus upon non-essentials, but they also refuse to take positions on those things that ARE essential. They focus on "love" -- and not the Biblical view of divine love. Their churches are based upon a fleshly, human view of "love" based upon "value." It completely forgets the notion of God's justice or even rebuke. After all, God rebukes and disciplines those that He loves.

I think that the purpose of a Church is well-established in Hebrews chapter 10. In verses 24 and 25, we read, "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."

In other words, we are supposed to "provoke unto love and to good works" and "exhort others" as we see the day approaching.

As Brother Ravenhill often said, "the Church has lost sight of the Judgement." I think that this is the key in a good local church. Are we focusing on the pure and simple Gospel?

- The universe and all that is in it was created by God.
- Mankind was created in the image of God and for his purpose.
- Mankind was given a free will and exerted that free will to follow whatever it wants.
- Mankind is racing toward judgment day.
- Jesus is the only hope for men facing judgment.
- Repentance of our own selfish free will is a reflection of those who believe in and love God.
- Not only is Jesus the "hope" for exploration from the penalty of that day, but He is approachable and cares for each one of us with the purest form of love that has ever existed.

In my experience, the institutional churches that meander from these pure and simple truths are those established by earthly constitutions, hierarchy, concrete, bricks and mortar. They aren't founded upon the true testament of Christ Jesus. Instead, they lull followers into a slumber that is very difficult to awaken from.

I am grateful for places like SermonIndex that can provide encouragement and fellowship over the internet. However, I think that it is imperative for believers to seek physical encouragement as well. We need to encourage, exhort and provoke one another in Christ over something other than just a monitor and keyboard. If we can't "find" a church, perhaps we should begin one in our homes or apartments?


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Christopher

 2013/9/16 15:43Profile
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2037
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

I wish I could say there is at least one decently solid church near my home. A while back I was attending a church near my home which was affiliated with EV Free churches and Southern Baptists. It seemed like an okay church to me at first. The lead pastor liked reaching out to the community by doing giveaways on the church building parking lot. But sadly, he was opposed to sharing the gospel with the people who came for the giveaways (the old, 'show love and preach with your actions only, not your words').

One day I overheard one of the members making plans to drink beer with the pastor at a baseball game. I asked the pastor and he admitted to it and said there is nothing wrong with it (please, no debates on the issue of drinking). And that was the best church I was able to find nearby.

The majority of churches in my neighborhood are apostate in one form or another, some approving homosexual marriage and clergy, others preaching the prosperity gospel, others very liberal, etc. I currently attend a Calvary Chapel which takes me around 15 minutes to drive to, which is good compared to others who have to drive much farther for church.

We are indeed living in some tough times. My heart goes out to those who cannot find a fellowship nearby where they can find spiritual safety and encouragement. Hang in there brothers and sisters. Cling to Jesus as tightly as possible and He will see you through this tough time in your walk. Keep praying and getting in His Word and you will continue to grow in the midst of your wilderness.


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Oracio

 2013/9/16 15:55Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

I've not been in the forum much the last couple years. But it concerns me that though I've not, I see some of the same old broken records playing. It's sad really. If you have a problem with the local churches available in your area, then do something besides grumble about it self righteously online. If everything around you is dead then God has called you to raise those to life around you and to start a church. If you don't or can't, then you are probably what the apostle referred to as "doubly dead."

If you aren't part of the solution you are part of the problem. Stop playing prophet online and go change some lives already.


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Jimmy H

 2013/9/17 5:48Profile









 Re:

Quote:
I've not been in the forum much the last couple years. But it concerns me that though I've not, I see some of the same old broken records playing. It's sad really. If you have a problem with the local churches available in your area, then do something besides grumble about it self righteously online. If everything around you is dead then God has called you to raise those to life around you and to start a church. If you don't or can't, then you are probably what the apostle referred to as "doubly dead."

If you aren't part of the solution you are part of the problem. Stop playing prophet online and go change some lives already. kingjimmy



Knowing that there is a lack of genuine desire to glorify God in our lives as we observe and comprehend others around us who take the name of Christ is of necessity a disturbing reality. If we were not disturbed we would be in a hard place because we would have no discernment at all. Then we could just go along with the worldliness of many churches and have no concerns whatsoever. As it is in the UK and the USA things are very difficult spiritually and have been getting much worse over the past 15 years or so.

Do you really believe that everyone has the authority to just start a church? This would lead to complete chaos and more cults than you could shake a stick at. The abuse of believers would rocket to unimaginable proportions and the name of the Lord would be impugned in every place. You cannot begin from a place of concern for the Lord's name and then end up destroying His name in the minds of men by acting presumptuously. It doesn't work that way. Neither is it a requirement to be a prophet in order to understand these things. It simply requires a love of the Father and a desire to honour the Lord.

The grief which many believers feel in this day is real and ought not to be taken lightly.

 2013/9/17 7:17





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