The hot topic these days in the media but even in Christian circles is the coming crackdown on religious freedoms, even perhaps to the point of full scale persecution against believers in America. Yes this is a real threat but I seriously wonder if this is the biggest or most serious threat to Christianity in the west? I believe that Government persecution and removal of our rights are in fact “small fry” issues compared to the unseen enemy “giants” that are presently wreaking havoc in the Christian church - seemingly crushing everything in their path!
Over the last 25 years or so I have watched as this present darkness of spiritual forces have systematically slaughtered and brought untold ruin to Christian families, churches and entire movements! There has been a steady decline in the western church and like many of you I have wept as I have lost friends in the fight. Some of my friends who I grew up with have long since abandoned their faith and many of them are now divorced and others have turned to homosexuality. I have even had some tell me that they don’t believe that God really even exists anymore! It has been heart breaking to watch as so many believers (including close family) have slowly drifted away from the Lord to pursue other things.
But it’s not just "regular Christians" - I have also watched as friends who are Pastors and Christian leaders, have turned their backs on the Lord and completely abandoned their faith. Some are now "Success Coaches" chasing money and others have even become "ministers" in the new age movement, opening themselves up to the occult. And then there are the great company of men who were once mighty in God, who served the Lord with pure and un-defiled motives, but they too have become casualties, swept up in the rat race of success, money and fame, all under the guise of "ministry".
THE LAST DAYS FLOOD
This great shaking is really a great flood that has been rising steadily for several decades and is sweeping all away in its path. All except those who cling to the Lord Jesus Christ! The Lord foretold this would happen in Matthew 24, ”…the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. THEREFORE STAY AWAKE!”
WICKED RULERS IN HEAVENLY PLACES
Brother and sisters, our fight is not against earthly governments, nor is it with men who attempt to take away our earthly freedoms, in fact it is not against flesh and blood at all. Our fight, our daily battle is against a vast, dark, unseen spiritual empire which is hell bent on causing as many believers as possible to fall away from the Lord.
This is in fact the greatest and most deadly threat facing Christianity in America and in the west! Just look at what these satanic schemes have accomplished over the last few decades...it is indeed chilling! As we look at these things I am gripped with the sobering thought, “by the grace of God, there but, go I”.
For most professing believers in America and in the west, Christ is no longer their "first love", instead He has been replaced by a love for this world or a love for so called “ministry” and even a love for social causes! We have forgotten that the greatest single thing that Christ said we could do was to sit at His feet and listen to His every word. What is it to return to our first love? It is to simply "listen" to the Lord, all the time and obey Him. We will never know what it is to "live" if we do not learn what it means to "listen" to every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Many believers today are slowly becoming lukewarm and this in turn gradually brings with it a compromising attitude towards sin. And from this gradual compromise comes a cover up and this is how we become hypocrites. This is what happened in my own life and if it was not for the Lords mercy in waking me from my "sleep", I would probably have died in my sin by now. When we become a hypocrite, our spirituality is nothing more than mere words, and while we appear to be acting out the right part for others to see, we are in fact inwardly cold, lifeless and in many cases utterly filthy!
Where is the religion of the early church at work today in America and the west? Where are those who will stand up and be counted for Christ? Do you see it very much anymore? It is gone! Todays religion is in “form only”, there is no spiritual fruit, no spiritual life and it is completely devoid of spiritual power!
When was the last time that you heard a call to serious prayer and fasting? When was the last time you encountered a company of believers where prayer and fasting was a priority, because they knew that if they didn't seek the Lord they would fall by the wayside and would no longer desire to do His will? It just doesn't happen very much anymore. And for the most part Christians don’t actually even need God anymore, they can live quite well without Him. American society and her abundant resources have become the source of supply and the new god of the lukewarm, last days church.
ICHABOD - "THE GLORY HAS DEPARTED"
Where is the hunger and thirsting after the Lords Kingdom and His righteousness? Where is the burning desire for the Lord to revive His church again? It is nowhere to be found. In its place is a hungering and thirsting for cultural acceptance of our Christian brand, with hardly even a mention of Christ and His call to follow Him wholeheartedly.
Why bring Christ into it anyway if you can simply blow people away using music, money and marketing! These things have completely replaced the gospel and the power of God. And it works...people are flocking to these expressions of “church”. The message is always positive, always telling people how awesome they are, how loved they are, how they are the best looking, most amazing people on the planet and how much Gods wants to bless them. And this is exactly what this narcissist generation wants. This self absorbed, self loving and totally selfish generation is looking for a style of Christianity that panders to...THEM! It’s all about them, just take a look at social media sometime. Me, me, me, me! And modern Christianity is serving up a "me gospel" to them by the gobfulls! But it is all a house of cards...completely and utterly devoid of Gods presence. When you peel away the gifted and charismatic personalities, the bright lights, the music, the business machine and the hype...what you have left is spiritual emptiness...God is not there...He has left the building!
DRY, BITTER & JUDGEMENTAL
On the other hand we have another group of believers who have also drifted from the way, but for different reasons...they have become bitter and judgmental, binding others under a cloud of legalistic condemnation. They focus merely on the outward, rather than on the heart, hating everything that is not just like them! In their minds, no one is good enough and there is absolutely no good work for Christ in existence, outside of their tiny-sterile-sanctioned-little-world. These are the types of believers who will cut you if you do not agree with them (and their doctrines) and they will become divisive and full of rancor over just about anything!
COMPROMISING WITH THE WORLD
The Apostle Paul contrasts the believers life against the unbeliever and says that they are to be so different that it should be like comparing light against darkness, as different as Christ verses the devil (belial). Yet today you find that the average christian has lowered themselves almost to the same standards of the world. The way they dress, the way they talk, what they listen to and what they watch...no different at all! We are no longer the salt and light in this world and the world knows it and is not fooled or one bit interested in the Christ that we claim to be following.
Now, I am not preaching total abstinence from alcohol but I am shocked at how many Christians today have turned to social drinking and could not care less if they are a stumbling block to others. What’s next, social pot smoking? Many believers don’t even blink an eye when it comes to compromise. They approach it with a calculating coldness – thinking nothing of flaunting their "freedom in Christ". And as always it is the young and the weak, the "little ones" who suffer as a result of our so called freedoms!
LOVE OF MONEY
Materialism has replaced Christ as the new god of this age. The love of money practically grips the entire church. Almost nobody lives as Christ has called us to live…”do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
John Wesley had much to say about this and contends that the heathen of third world nations obey this command of Christ while western Christians blatantly ignore it...and he wrote this 250 years ago!!! Perhaps there is no greater and widespread offence against the Lords commands, than the way in which Christians treat money! We can only surmise one thing, that we have become bound to money, we love it…it is truly our god!!!
NO DESIRE FOR SOUL WINNING
And where has all this gotten us? Today, for the most part the average Christian has no passion and no desire to reach the lost, to take the gospel to the nations. Oh, there are plenty who desire to take "mission" trips so we can have a little adventure in our lives and perform a street drama or two, but this doesn't exactly equate to taking the gospel to the nations! In reality there is no desire to reach the lost even in our own back yards, let alone take the gospel to the Unreached People Groups of the world - now numbering almost 3 billion souls!!!
To make matters worse, to this lukewarm and apathetic Christianity we have now added new and “better” versions of the gospel that do away with sin, repentance, the atoning work of Christ on the cross and self denial. This is a false gospel that only addresses love, acceptance and tolerance and ignores the reasons why lost would even need to hear the "Good News"...to escape the wrath of God! Yet those who attempt to teach the truth are labeled as “preaching law rather than grace”. Good is now called evil! The clear truth of God’s word is being questioned and maligned on every quarter - to the point that the truth about an eternity in hell, being Gods righteous judgment is apparently no longer in keeping with Gods good character! So let's just rip these things right out of the bible shall we?!!!
NO DEPENDENCE ON THE HOLY SPIRIT
And finally there is the never ceasing battle that seeks to elevate intellectual knowledge ABOUT God while diminishing any and all experience WITH God. The early church believers were given instruction in the gospel and at the same time were encouraged to experience God. In fact, in many cases while the Apostles were yet teaching or praying, the Holy Spirit fell on the hearers...and the people actually EXPERIENCED God!!! Today, these things are pushed into the shadows, overlooked and even called demonic. Yet it is all right there in the bible! To this end, millions of believers have no knowledge or understanding of the gifts and ways of the Holy Spirit. They desperately struggle to live the Christian life in their own strength and continue to fail because they are being wrongfully taught that they are already "filled' with the Holy Spirit the day they first believed. We have become so afraid of the “bathwater” that we have thrown the “baby” right out the window. And the body of Christ is suffering as a result. This is all the work of the enemy!
LORD REVIVE US AGAIN!
These are just a few of the clear and present dangers facing the American church and the church worldwide. Will governments pose a threat against Christianity? Yes probably so, but this will only strengthen the church, not weaken her. The best thing that could happen to the American church is in fact government persecution and the taking away of all our rights and means to live. This will force the church to become truly dependent on the Lord.
My prayer is that the Lord will wake us up if we have succumbed to any of the schemes of the enemy listed above. I pray that our eyes would be opened to see the true state of our lives, that we might seek the Lord for complete renewal and press on towards the upward call of Christ Jesus. Lord, revive us once again!!!