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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : True and Lost Christians

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Onesimus4God
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Joined: 2006/1/16
Posts: 333
Pinson, Alabama, USA

 True and Lost Christians


This is written by a dear brother whom I respect very much.

"Church Growth" is all the rage.
Decades ago...and with an ever-increasing focus as the years have passed...churches began to MAJOR in GETTING people to CHURCH...all the while MINORING in TEACHING people the TRUTH.
Churches soon began to base almost ALL "ministry" on ONE premise:
"God has called us to build a great church...a great congregation...a magnificent facility that offers families every possible outlet by which they then become loyal to this particular body...financially supporting our ministries."
Subtly...the focus changed from CHRIST to a CONGREGATION...from GOD to an ORGANIZATION and its OFFERINGS.
"We offer relevant teaching...wonderful music...programs for the entire family...opportunitites to minister and use your talents!"
So...BEYOND the subtle SHIFT from a focus on GOD to a focus on the ORGANIZATION and "ministry"...what ELSE is so WRONG with the "Modern Church?"
Let me begin that answer here:
1. The desire to be NON-OFFENSIVE
As the stated goal of most churches is to "win the lost"...then it is IMPOSSIBLE to preach the Gospel WITHOUT that message OFFENDING the lost.
Read that again:
As the stated goal of most churches is to "win the lost"...then it is IMPOSSIBLE to preach the Gospel WITHOUT that message OFFENDING the lost.
You see...those who are UNSAVED should either be OFFENDED by the truth OR they should be CONVICTED by the truth.
1 Corinthians 1:18-25 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Whether it makes sense or not...God wants the GOSPEL to do its work...NOT the ELOQUENCE of the SPEAKER...NOT the MAGNIFICENCE of the MUSIC...not the PROFESSIONALISM of the entire PRODUCTION.
2. The desire to evoke an EMOTIONAL RESPONSE
Folks...God does not want people to simply be MOTIVATED...to be INSPIRED...to be EMOTIONALLY STIRRED.
What DOES God want?
The Lord wants people to be CONFRONTED with the TRUTH.
Read that again:
The Lord wants people to be CONFRONTED with the TRUTH.
You see...those who are UNSAVED will enter a sanctuary with a MYRIAD of established BELIEFS.
And...when it comes to WORLDLY mindsets...WORLDLY views...God wants those mindsets CHALLENGED by the TRUTH.
Did you catch that?
God wants people...and those WORLDLY mindsets...CHALLENGED by the TRUTH...by the Word of God...by the GOSPEL.
I PROMISE you this is TRUE:
God NEVER wants someone who is LOST to leave a service STILL lost...and...He NEVER wants someone who leaves LOST to ALSO leave UNCHALLENGED in their BELIEFS.
Never.
Never.
Never.
Look at the passage above again...and note the stated RESPONSE of those who HEARD the TRUTH...those who HEARD the GOSPEL:
1 Corinthians 1:22-24 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Notice it is the SAME Gospel being PREACHED...but the RESPONSE of each GROUP is DIFFERENT.
---The JEWS sought a SIGN...yet...the Gospel appeared to them as a "stumblingblock."
---The GREEKS sought WISDOM...yet...they SOUGHT wisdom ABSENT of the TRUTH.
---The BELIEVERS understood the truth to be the very "power of God, and the wisdom of God."
To those who did not believe...the Gospel appeared to be "foolishness."
So...let me restate what I believe God is saying to churches...to PULPITS today:
Pastor:
If your services are not CHALLENGING the BELIEFS of the LOST...and...even challenging those who CLAIM to be "Christians"...then your services are not CHANGING the LIVES of the lost.
You want PROOF that churches are no longer CHALLENGING the BELIEFS of the LOST?
Read on:
The most well respected Christian pollster of our day...George Barna...long ago began to document the decline of true Christianity here in the United States and even around the world.
His findings...even from 20 years ago...would startle you.
Here is a recent quote from The Barna Group:
"About four in 10 of all Christians and two-thirds of practicing Christians profess the Bible’s credibility."
What does Barna NOT do properly?
In defining "Christians"...it is obvious by the wording that Barna recognizes that a CLAIM of being Christian does not equate to actually BEING a Christian...and...that DISTINCTION should be more heavily stressed.
Not EVERYONE who CLAIMS to be a "Christian" is TRULY a Christian.
So...today...we see only 4 in 10 PROFESSING Christians...or 40%...those who make a CLAIM to be Christian...believe the teachings of the Bible are "credible"...that they are to be BELIEVED.
Amazing.
Stunning.
Most of all...GRIEVING.
Here is ANOTHER stunner:
"Almost half of Millennials (47%) agree at least somewhat that it is wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith." (The Barna Group)
And...WITHIN the "Christian faith"...most believe we should be allowed to differ in our beliefs...as ABORTION, GAY MARRIAGE, and TRANSGENDERISM are now WIDELY accepted among the younger generations.
And...as Barna research notes...with every passing generation...fewer and fewer "Christians" base their beliefs on the precepts found within Scripture.
Week after week...Sunday after Sunday...lost "Christians" leave church services still COMFORTABLY believing it is OK to be a CHRISTIAN while ALSO being HOMOSEXUAL.
Is it?
No...it is not.
Week after week...Sunday after Sunday...lost "Christians" leave church services still COMFORTABLY believing it is OK to ABORT a BABY.
Is it?
No...it is not.
Week after week...Sunday after Sunday...lost "Christians" leave church services still COMFORTABLY believing it is OK to LIE...to GOSSIP...to "SHACK UP"...to commit ADULTERY...to FORNICATE...to LOVE the WORLD more than they love GOD.
Is it?
No...it is not.
I speak the TRUTH.
Yet...today...people are leaving churches day after day without their beliefs EVER being CHALLENGED.
And...God is not pleased...not at all.
What was one of the greatest failures of the prophets of Israel?
Their REFUSAL to confront SIN...the REFUSAL to rightly DISTINGUISH between two OPPOSING belief systems.
It began when the Lord instituted the office of the priest:
Leviticus 10:8-11 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, 9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations: 10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; 11 And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.
Then...we find a time when the priests have FORSAKEN that call:
Ezekiel 22:26-28 Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27 Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. 28 Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord had not spoken.
When we FORSAKE the TRUTH for a "non-confrontational" gospel...we MOTIVATE sinners while LEAVING them in SIN.
It is then DELUSION reigns.
But...what happens when we RETURN to the TRUTHS of Scripture...when we CHALLENGE the people with the "foolishness" of the Gospel?
Malachi 3:16-18 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. 17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. 18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
You see...when we follow the precepts of the Lord...when we determine in our hearts to CHALLENGE the BELIEFS of UNBELIEVERS...it is THEN...and ONLY then...we are able to once again walk in DISCERNMENT...recognizing the DIFFERENCE between TRUE Christians and LOST "Christians."
Does it matter?
More than you may know.
Remember these words:
The Lord NEVER wants ANYONE to be FOOLED into HELL.
What does that mean?
We must tell people the TRUTH...never allowing the LOST to falsely BELIEVE they are actually SAVED.
****************************************
My response:
Amen. However, I don't trust Barna as a gauge of reality. I trust the Word, and the true prophets or our time. Leonard Ravenhill stated he doubted if 2% of all evangelicals were BORN AGAIN. I believe this. Even Billy Graham admitted that he doubted if 5% of all who came forward in all of his meetings world wide, were serving the LORD.
Brother, I love you and so appreciate you. I know your heart. But there is one TRUTH that I see lacking in what you share with us in love. That being that when the whole church system is FALSE, it can only produce that which is FALSE. You reference church services that by their very nature, are not of YEHOVAH. You simply cannot produce good fruit from a bad tree. This whole world of "service the LORD" by weekly meetings is a FALSE SYSTEM that began even as Paul was preaching. Man too what was HOLY and added to it, Man introduced pagan customs and celebrations, methodology and so for. Ceremonies and rituals. All disgusting before GOD. Brother, if you white was a tomb, it's still a tomb. And inside is nothing but rotting flesh and dead men's bone. Modern day churchs are some of the most DANGEROUS places on earth. I say without reservation, that men's souls are safer in a BAROOM, than in "church". CHURCHES in all their disguises, ARE NOT HIS BODY. They are an evolution of 2,000 years of violating what YEHOVAH has given unto us in HIS word. It is a cancer that cannot be cured with a band-aid. It must be ABANDONED. Man's version of "church" does not need a reformation. It needs to be ABOLISHED. It is an abomination unto YEHOVAH. You stated it's identity very accurately. But you continue to mention "services", as if they had any validity or recognition in the KINGDOM of the MOST HIGH. Please consider excavating this idealism off of your landscape. 😢
2Co_11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Man's version of "church" and "christianity" is a transformation that makes LIES sound like TRUTH. Add too or take from the HOLY WORD of YEHOVAH, and you are in EXTREME DANGER.
We simply must go back to the BIBLE, and consider what it has to say about our concept, a false premise with a horrible end. It must be abandoned. It must be CAST OUT. We must come out of her, and reference it no more! We must go back to the Gospels, the Book of Acts, The Epistles of the Apostles, and Revelation, and we must encourage all who will listen to do the same. We simply must follow what is revealed in SCRIPTURE, and not what is stated in the covenants of deceived men and women.
Brother, please hear my love. Rather, HIS love. Come out from among them, and be ye sepaate.
Heart peace and joy in the HOLY SPIRIT to you, your family, and all who love to read and hear what you share,
Bro Lahry


_________________
Lahry Sibley

 2021/11/17 10:23Profile
docs
Member



Joined: 2006/9/16
Posts: 2404


 Re: One Note Concerts

I might gently add that the number of responses, zero, that you usually get may be an indication of how your tone and attitude comes across at times to others. I can't speak for everyone of course, but just offer a suggestion, whether I am right or wrong. You seem like a piano player who bangs one note on the piano over and over and thinks he is offering up something skilled or that people want to hear when that is not the case at all. It's the same ole same ole which has been banged over and over and has become wearisome. Plus, as far as I can remember, you will not inform anyone of who you fellowship with or what type of fellowship it is if you do attend one. Those are very easily answerable questions for most believers. If you don't attend anywhere, then that takes away some of your credibility as a constant critic I would think. It's easy to stand back and only criticize and not take part in the restoration you say others are so needful of. What are you doing to bring it about?

There are a lot of keys on a piano worth playing and considering. Can you perhaps one day post any thoughts on what you believe the church has done right?

Most of the good folks here probably fellowship with other believers and leaders who they know are imperfect saints just as they realize they their own selves are. But they realize commitment is foremost these days, and they see the other saints they spend time with and seek to edify as being well worth the time and effort and are not all caught up in a monstrously evil system. The life of Christ in them and among these church fellowships testifies that this is not so.

I get extraordinarily edified at times during our weekly Sunday service in the local congregation I attend. The true word of God is preached during these services. As it should be. We also have home groups where we come together, and many times share a meal together before we worship and study the word. And the life of God is there! Many here on this forum probably do much the same I would assume. At least they are making the effort and are to be commended. God is well able to restore His church and get it to where it needs to be to face the coming days. If you stand aloof from your kinsmen in Christ and ONLY bang one constant note on the critic's piano then I believe it becomes wearisome and the constant criticism I would think ceases to be constructively born of the Holy Spirit.


_________________
David Winter

 2021/12/1 16:10Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5966
NC, USA

 Re:

Well stated David.


_________________
Todd

 2021/12/1 18:06Profile





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