Establishment of the Church: The Phoenix Arises

To get to Jesus and what he did the stage must be set going back to about 60 B.C. The Persian Empire was long dead and Israel had been left to be lead by the Hasmonean dynasty in relative autonomy. That is until the bloody years that started about 60 years B.C. The Roman conquest had its rebellions that had to be crushed and this is largely due to, as Keddie points out, the fact that much of the Jewish apocalyptic literature can been seen as anti-empire; in other words the Jews were a people that did not want to be ruled (Keddie, 2013). After the rebellions came Herod the Great who, through blood and bribe, wiped out all of the Hasmonean descendants and their supporters to establish the Herodian dynasty (Atkinson, 1996, P. 319). It is not surprising that when Herod the Great heard of this king in Bethlehem that he employed the same tactics that he used with the Hasmonean descendants; after all in Herod’s mind a king could not cause problems for him if he was dead (Matthew 2:16 NIV). But that understanding that Herod had was followed by the Jews and Jesus proved that killing him would not only not stop him, but it would start something that is still moving over 2000 years later. Into this world of blood, fear and poverty walked Jesus; though his enemies killed him they could not stop him from first rebuilding Israel and second reforming the world; by 70 A.D. the wheels were turning and  the Christian Church was set on a trajectory that would alter the face of the world.

The rebuilding of Israel can be seen in the way Jesus conducted himself. Shelley put it this way, the gospel writers go out of their way to describe the things Jesus did to demonstrate himself as the real Israel: time in the wilderness, Baptism, 12 disciples, 5 sermons and 3 days in a tomb (Shelley, 2013, P. 4).  Shelley finishes with this explanation of Jesus’ actions, “Where Israel had failed, Jesus had been a faithful Son” (Shelley, 2013, P. 4). When Jesus said that he had come to fulfill the Law this is what he meant, in him Israel was complete (Matthew 5:17, NIV). Fear and jealousy lead to his murder, the Jews that had been brutalized for years under Herod had finally found a small tenuous peace with the Roman overlords and that peace was worth keeping at whatever price. What Caiaphas said out of fear of Rome and jealousy of Jesus was far truer than he had known: “You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish” (John 11:50, NIV). So this Jesus who taught others to turn the other cheek was force to turn the other cheek as the Jews hauled him before the Roman Governor Pilate and demanded his execution on the grounds that he was a rabblerousing enemy of Caesar.

Jesus reforms the world by his death. In life Jesus had perfected Israel now as his body lay in the grave those 11 that remained of the ones he had chosen were sheep without a shepherd. Hope, however, came when the words “Do not be afraid … He is not here; he has risen” rang out from angelic vocals (Matthew 28:5-6). Meeting after meeting, sighting after sighting, by witness after witness confirmed the Lords resurrection; finally he stood on a hill and told his followers to wait in Jerusalem and he would empower them to take his message to the whole world (Luke 24:46-49). On the day of Pentecost a uneducated fisherman by the name of Peter stood in front of thousands of Jews and proclaimed “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” and in that moment the first Church was born and it had about 3000 members (Acts 2:38-41). The Church did not escape the eyes of the Jewish leaders. Just like Herod the Great they thought they had done away with Jesus by killing him but the Jesus followers were only growing and the fears and jealousy that lead to Jesus’ murder lead to intense persecution of the Church. This persecution was a blessing in disguise because as the persecuted believers fled Jerusalem they carried this message with them. There was a man bent on ending the way, his name was Paul. When Paul was busy organizing the murder of Stephen he did not know it but he would become the most powerful gospel preacher of this new way (Acts 8:1, NIV). Paul was the climax of this apostolic age. As Paul road north from Jerusalem to Damascus Jesus was waiting for him. Once Paul had met Christ there was no stopping him. He would take the gospel to the corners of the Roman Empire. By the time of Paul’s death at the hands of Nero, Paul had planted churches in nearly 20 of the biggest cities in the Roman Empire and written two thirds of the New Testament.

Jesus didn’t change the world by human means. He changed it by changing people from the inside out: uneducated fishermen became fearless preachers, men became martyrs for Jesus, and hardened Jewish persecutors became unrelenting missionaries. The fear of what Rome might do became a reality in 70 A.D. when Titus smashed Jerusalem and ended Jewish life in the holy land. But Maier tells us that what has started as a branch of Judaism “was now composed almost entirely of Gentiles” (Maier, 2008, P. 11). But out of the ashes that Titus left in Jerusalem the Phoenix that was the Christian Church had already risen.  Even though out of fear and jealousy Jesus had been killed, it did not stop him from rebuilding Israel and empowering his followers to reform the world. It would not be long before Christianity itself would become catholic and imperial.

 

 

Resources

Atkinson, K. (1996). Herod the Great, Sosius, and the Siege of Jerusalem (37 BCE) in Psalm of Solomon 17. Novum Testamentum, 38(4), 313-322.

Keddie, G. A. (2013). Judaean apocalypticism and the unmasking of ideology: foreign and national rulers in the Testament of Moses. Journal For The Study Of Judaism In The Persian, Hellenistic And Roman Period, 44(3), 301-338. doi:10.1163/15700631-12340380

Maier, P. L. (2008). Not one stone left upon another: the catastrophic fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 forever changed the face of Judaism–and the fate of Christians in the Holy Land. Christian History And Biography, (97), 8.

Shelley, B. (2013). Church history in plain language (4th ed.). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

How did the early church at the time of the fall of Jerusalem perceive its relationship to Judaism?

By the time 70 A.D. had rolled around the Jews had already done a lot to distance themselves from the followers of the way. They had already labeled the Christians “These men who have turned the world upside down… ” (Acts 17:6, ESV). There was also clearly an attempt to distance the Jewish theology from Paul during his trials at Caesarea. In many ways the charges brought against Paul by the Jews were a change of defamation, they were charging him with preaching in the name of the Jews what the Jews did not sanction. That is not a surprising on their part considering they picked Paul as their spokes person against those of the way. Maier gives us some insight into what was happening right around 70 A.D. in the Jerusalem church: “It is no surprise to learn from Aristo of Pella, an early Christian historian whose works are not extant, that the Jerusalem church after the Bar-Kokhba revolt was now composed almost entirely of Gentiles.” (Maier, 2008, p. 11). This lets us know that they Jews had worked hard and succeeded at isolating themselves from the way. Shelley, mentioned that many of the Christians fled Jerusalem during the 70 A.D. attack because they believe the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 24:15-16 about the abomination of desolation (Shelley, 2013). Either way after the event in 70 A.D. the shared consciousness of the Jews and the followers of the way was completely severed. From that point on the bishops in Alexandria and Roman would provide the guidance for the church and there would be  no more counsels in Jerusalem.

 

Aaron

Resources

Maier, P. L. (2008). Not one stone left upon another: the catastrophic fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 forever changed the face of Judaism–and the fate of Christians in the Holy Land. Christian History And Biography, (97), 8.

Shelley, B. (2013). Church history in plain language (4th ed.). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson

The reason political correctness is so prevalent and so dangerous even for Christians is because it is so much easier to stay asleep, and political correctness won’t wake you up.

Political correctness is sin. I am focusing on people who called themselves Christians in this reply because the world is dead. There is no regeneration (rebirth) outside Christ so it is not surprising when this is true about them “… light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:18). So sinful political correctness is normal for those that hate the night, however the deeper question is why do many people that say they know Christ (they say the bare the light with them) prefer politically correct rather than truth. I heard a sermon by Dwight L. Moody once about sleeping Christians that fit this. Moody said that Christian are all asleep and they do not want to wake up. Politically correct thoughts are cognitively easy. Meaning that you don’t have to really think to process them. That is the number one thing I run into when just trying to get people to read their Bibles regularly, people don’t want to have to think and when I can get them to read it they do not meditate on it for the same reason. I know they do not meditate on it because I ask them what they learned from their readings and I will get answers like, it was a good story, or Jesus loves me, which are platitudinal answers that demonstrate a level of indigestion of the text that borders on Spirit grieving. No, I am not saying I am immune to the apathy that comes from our first world existence. For example, I am a nerd, I like to say that I have been a nerd before it was cool to be a nerd. I have liked computers and video games since I was young. So of course when this new Pokémon game for the phone everyone is playing came out I started playing it. When I ran out of a certain in-game item, Pokeballs, I sent a screenshot to my friends complaining about it and one of them reminded me how the first world the problem was by saying #FirstWorldProblems. That statement hit me like a ton of bricks as the Spirit said to me, there are people that have not eaten for days and you are complaining about what? It was a wake-up moment and I owe my friend for their willing not to be politically correct but rather calling me out. The reason political correctness is so prevalent and so dangerous is that it does not wake people up from the first world apathy America is in. The poor people here are still in the top 10% of rich people in the world and those of us that are well off here, good job, house and a car, like myself, are in the top 5% in the world. When I was a soldier I saw real poverty in Iraq, I had my eyes opened to the real world and just how decadent even a conservative middle-class person lives here in America. Yet, even with that experience, I slip into sleep from time to time. The reason political correctness is so prevalent and so dangerous even for Christians is because it is so much easier to stay asleep, and political correctness won’t wake you up. As Christians our purpose here is to combat the lethargy that our world tries to pull us into. Any warrior must keep training in order to keep at their peak level. As Christians, we are warriors on a battlefield that is far more important than another in the world, the universe, or any time. Since I was a soldier I know the power of teamwork. I know that when your comrade is pressing on into the fight it makes pressing on easier. Political correctness is most often avoiding the fight not pressing into it.

138539 black babies, nearly one baby in three were killed in the womb

In the wake of the brutal shootings this week there have been a lot of posts on Facebook and other places of people lamenting this violence and to that I say Amen. We should have a heart for those that are suffering. However, friends, truth is the Christian’s stock and trade. We must have truth and be dealers in it. The enemy is using lies from the media to distract us from the real genocide going on.

The numbers do not lie, black people are 3.3 times more likely to be involved in a crime than any other race, even though they are a minority. There are almost 3 times as many white people shot by police in a year than black people.(http://www.dailywire.com) DO NOT get me wrong, racism is evil and it does exist. There is a fundamental problem we are seeing happening right before our eyes and that problem is not police tactics, but rather our country has left its God. That is the real problem.

The enemy is blinding this nation with media attention. Let us talk about what is really going without the flippant melodramatics that this nation has become addicted to. While the media drums up your rage at the police in order to create ratings the real genocide is not being told. There is a systematic targeting of black people going on right in front of you that almost no one talks about.
• Blacks comprise only 13% of the population of America but account for 37% of all abortions.
• Black women are five times more likely to abort than white women.
• 69% of pregnancies among Blacks are unintended, while that number is 54% among Hispanics and 40% of pregnancies among Whites.
• Planned Parenthood, the largest seller of abortions in the United States, has located 80% of its abortion clinics in minority neighborhoods, disproportionally targeting minorities for abortion. (http://www.operationrescue.org/, 2016)

While we were watching TV and getting mad at police officers who, for the most part, are just trying to survive their job, the black community is being targeted from the outside as well as the inside. Let me be clearer “138,539 black babies, nearly one baby in three, were killed in the womb in 2010 (Blackwell, http://www.washingtontimes.com/, 2015).

Wake up American church because it just gets worse. 42% of abortion is in this timeframe were for women who claimed to have a protestant faith. (http://www.operationrescue.org/, 2016) Your faith, what the world sees in the church, has been hijacked by a liberal, non-biblical, reprobate, unregenerate populous that is dominating the church today. Look around us at the world, the problems we see, the sin, even the political nut house that is going on, all started in America’s churches. It started with us, because while we were watching TV and getting mad at what the media, led by Satan, wanted us to get mad at, Planned Parenthood started its genocidal campaign against the image of God found on every unborn human. While you slept in our comfortable houses watching our TVs, and our super bowls, and finding very little time to spend in prayer and in the word of God the enemy took our nation and destroyed it.

So, STOP IT! Stop being hand fed by a Satan controlled media. Stop playing around on Facebook and getting into buddy groups to pray for the suffering in the world. Instead, get in your closets and get on your faces and beg God to forgive your lethargy. Beg him for Justice. Beg Him for your nation. Then get in His word where truth and strength really come from and take that truth to this world. Make no mistake church, with all your outreaches, with all your friendly faces and programs the light of the Gospel that should shine from you is largely hidden. You have become powerless because you do not fear your God. You have become impotent because your God is not the Everlasting Almighty He should be but rather your god is your belly. You have forgotten your mission and you have denied your calling and when you look at this nation you can righteously take responsibility for the hurting and suffering you see. If you had fought it, if you had stood fast in the Word and in prayer then you could look with clean hands. But since you have slept all this time in comfort you must look and see that this is the price for your lethargy.

Make no mistake friends, I am not one writing as if I am not guilty. I must beg the same forgiveness. But as I beg, I will also be begging for the power to make sure that I am never asleep again.

Father, please wake us up. We need you now. In Jesus name.

Resources
“http://www.dailywire.com/news/7264/5-statistics-you-need-know-about-cops-killing-aaron-bandler”
“http://www.operationrescue.org/about-abortion/abortions-in-america/”
“http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/21/j-kenneth-blackwell-black-abortions-a-crisis-in-am/ “

1st-century letter to a modern church

Aaron, friend and pastor, to the church of Jesus Christ.. “Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”(Ephesians 1:2). It is by the grace of God that in His mercy He sent forth Jesus Christ, His Son, to die and be accursed on a tree (Deuteronomy 21:23) that I am able to greet you as brothers today. It is by Christ’s sacrifice that those foreknown and predestined by God would, in the power of the Spirit, form the brotherhood of Christ, in order that the faith be preached to the world. (Romans 8:29) I thank God that you have not forsaken your assembly and that daily I hear news of the Gospel being preached through you. Brothers, I would not have you unaware of the stronghold of the enemy that arrays itself against your very door. Many brothers have been deceived and, if they do not repent and turn, lose their faith. This tactic of the enemy is so potent because it preys upon the area where the flesh is often the most weak. The battle has even claimed many of those that call themselves shepherds. Following the events of churches around the world will bring even those that are not given to emotion to tears and story after story of brothers and sisters falling into sexual immorality will appear. But we know that the events of sexual immorality is not the true seed of the sin. James, the brother of Christ, taught us, from the Lord, that temptation is the work of the enemy that impregnates the soul with sin and when sin is fully mature, death will follow (James 1:15). Brothers make no mistake, there are those among you right now that have been impregnated with the sin of sexual immorality. The reason I can speak so boldly on this is that all you need to do is walk out your front door with your eyes unguarded and the temptation is there. But a far worse thing is happening amongst you than not guarding your hearts in the world. Many of you have brought this temptation into your homes and placed it as a shrine in your meeting room. Of course you know I am referring to your television choices. Do not mistake my words here friends, the television, in and of itself, is no more or less a sin than a rock. On the contrary the television brings avenues to access preaching and teaching and knowledge about God’s creation and what he made that are unparalleled and in that capacity the television is a tool for God’s Kingdom. However, brothers, many of you are not using the television for this purpose. Instead you have bought into the world’s entertainment by allowing images of such a sexual and violent nature to flow before your eyes that your souls are not just impregnated by one death but many. I should not need to be blunt because you should have a hatred for sin in your life from your rebirth. However, for your sakes, I must be forward, if you watch a show called Game of Thrones you are in effect signing your own death warrant. Do not mistake my words, thank God that the power of God can and does work above our simple selfishness. Nevertheless, be wise brothers put such things away from you and see them for the death they are. And those of the you that may have strayed even farther from the path into pornography or licentiousness please return brother, for adulterers will not enter the kingdom of heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9). Do you not know that the Lord Himself said that adultery is in the heart and to look with lust is adultery?(Matthew 5:28) How can you then in your heart justify to yourself that you have not committed adultery when you do these things and the word of our Lord himself testifies against you? You cannot, and if you continue in this way you will be swallowed up in your sin and you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Pray therefore brothers for yourselves and each other that God not let you fall into this sin and that he rescues speedily our brothers that have already fallen. Pray for me as well that God keeps me in His paths and brings me again to you with all haste. I commend the bearer of this letter to you. He was once a sinner like all of us but he has been freed and the Lord as seen fit to be mightily with him. The saints that are here with me greet you. My bride and fellow laborer, Tiffany, greets you as well. Grace and peace to you from your Lord Jesus. Amen.

I attended a “prayer” meeting last night.

I went to a prayer meeting last night. During that meeting I experienced rage and pain because the men were not praying God’s will be done, they were praying our will be done. As a drove away I realized why my spirit had been so offended, this was not a prayer meeting it was a political rally. As I listed to the 15 different pastors their pray, I was not moved. No, worse than that I understood just how much this offended God. His power being entreated for human purposes. I started to think just what do I believe? Do I believe that God is all in all and that I can really trust Him? Or do I pray selfishly for what I will, are my prayers really for his will to come? Then one man stood up, he was not a man that seemed in charge and I do not even remember his name, I only remember that he was a Hispanic pastor from my town. And he said lets pray like Daniel prayed and my eye flew open. I realized that all this time the group had been praying that Nebuchadnezzar would be a good king, instead of honoring our real King. This unassuming man went on and said let’s ask for forgiveness and again my eyes opened and the words flew into my mind “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”(2 Chorn 7:14). Notice it doesn’t say if the world turns he will forgive and heal, it says “My People” “Called by My Name”. That is you church. The church in America has put its faith in something other than God! We are worried about who gets elected next, worried about our economy, worried about immigration, and worried about Isis, we are worried about the policies our current president is putting in place in our school and we have forgotten that God Is Sovereign! He puts the leaders in place, he turns the heart of men where he wills them, he intends evil on those that do war with Him but on the humble His mercy is everlasting. It is God who visits evil on the evil doer for generations to come (Exodus 20:5-6). Wake up church, where is your hope? Wake up church, where is your faith? Wake up church, is it not when the world is the darkest that the light of Christ shines the brightest? Wake up church, is your goal a safe and easy life or is the will of the Sovereign LORD! Will you serve Nebuchadnezzar and pray that God makes your slavery easy? Or will you preach the Gospel, put your faith in God, and having done all stand! (Ephesians 6:13) Christian’s should not be seeking peace and safety, look at history, look at your predecessors, they welcomed hard times because they desired God to be glorified in the surfing as well as in their safety. That is all I hear from Christian’s these days, God heal me, God provide for me, God give me safety, God give, God give, God give. You trust him to give but not take away? You see a decision by the Supreme Court redefining marriage, I see God forcing His asleep church to take a stand or prove that they are not really His. You see a dictator using public funding to push the LGBT agenda and put boys and girls in the same restrooms, I see God given His people yet another chance to preach the Gospel with relevance. Is it a bad thing to seek peace and safety? If the peace that safety comes at the expense of one soul’s salvation, YES! Wake up church, your time is now, how long will you be lulled to sleep by fake peace and safety. They that overcome win the crown and that crown is infinitely more valuable than a super bowl ring (Revelation 3:21).

95 THESES TO THE MODERN EVANGELICAL CHURCH “revised”! by Greg Gordon (Think About That)

http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=35810&forum=35

1. The “church” at large has forgotten that the chief end of man is to glorify God. (Rom 16:27; 1Cor 6:20; Mt 6:9; 1Cor 10:31)

2. Christians ignore most of the methods, practices and principles found in the book of Acts. (Acts 2:42,44; Acts 2:46; Acts 2:38)

3. Many treat “church” like any other social club or sports event that they might attend. (Acts 2:46; Heb 10:25; Acts 1:14)

4. We’ve made Christianity about the individual rather than the community of believers. (Rom 12:5; 1Cor 12:12; 2Tim 4:16)

5. In most “churches” the priesthood of all believers isn’t acknowledged and the role of pastor is abused. (1Pt 2:9; 1Cor 12:12; Eph 4:11-13)

6. The “church” as a whole has lost the concept of their being grafted into the promises given to Israel. (Rom 11:15, 17-18, 20, 25)

7. There needs to be a recovery of teaching the whole counsel of God, especially in expository form. (Acts 20:27; 1Tim 4:6, 2Tim 2:15)

8. We take it too lightly that we have the blessing and honor of having God’s Scriptures in our possession. (Ps 119:16; Acts 13:44; Neh 8:9)

9. There has never been more access to the Word of God, yet so little reading of it. (1Tim 4:13; Neh 8:1-3; Ps 119:59)

10. Some read the Scriptures to attain knowledge, but do not practice what they read. (Jam 1:22; Mt 7:21; 3Jn 4)

11. Worship has become an idol in many “churches”. The music often resembles that of the world. (Amos 5:23; Phil 4:8; 1Jn 5:21)

12. The world is shaping the views of the “church” more than the “church” shaping the world. (Rom 12:2; Mt 5:13; 1Cor 1:22-23)

13. The “church” spends more money on dog food than on missions. (2Cor 9:6; Lk 21:2; Acts 4:34-35)

14. We take lightly the cost of discipleship laid out by Jesus Christ and do not deny our lives. (Lk 14:33; Lk 14:26-27; Mt 8:19-20)

15. There is a lack of true discipleship and making others to be obedient disciples. (Mt 28:20; 2Tim 2:2; 2Tim 2:14)

16. Many subscribe to the error that parts of life are to be spiritual while others are to be secular. (1Pt 4:2; Col 3:3; 1Jn 2:6)

17. Modern Christians often find Jesus’ command to sacrifice and serve abhorrent. (Phil 2:21; Jam 3:16; Rom 12:1-2)

18. Self disciplines in the Christian life such as fasting and praying are considered legalistic. (2Tim 2:21; 2Tim 1:8; Mt 6:17)

19. Little thought and contemplation is put towards the lostness of men, the seriousness of the Gospel. (Phil 3:8; Gal 2:20; Heb 10:34)

20. We are living with an epidemic of cheap grace with flippant confession and shallow consecration. (Lk 14:28-30; Lk 14:26; Jam 4:8)

21. Since the inception of the Church, the Gospel had the requirements of repentance and discipleship. (Acts 2:38; Lk 14:26; Jn 8:31)

22. Now forgiveness is offered without repentance, discipleship without obedience, salvation without sanctity. (Heb 10:29; 4:11; Lk 13:24)

23. Introspection, counting the cost, godly sorrow over sin, are all foreign to many in the “church”. (Acts 2:37; Ps 119:9; Heb 6:1-2)

24. The modern church loves itself more than its neighbor. (1Cor 3:3; Gal 5:13; Phil 2:3)

25. The church must repent of its idolization of personality, and of business principles. (2Cor 2:17; 1Cor 3:5; 1Cor 12:23)

26. Many elders and pastors of the “church” sadly are fleecing the flock to supply their own wants. (Jn 10:12-13; 1Pt 5:2-3; Rev 2:15)

27. The qualities most in demand in today’s pastorate are frequently foreign to the Scriptures. (1Tim 3:2-3; 1Tim 3:5; 1Tim 1:5-7)

28. The professionalization of the pastorate is a sin and needs to be repented of. (2Cor 11:13; Gal 3:1; Gal 2:6)

29. There must be repentance for the ambitious desire and idolization of the celebrity pastorate. (3Jn 9; Jer 17:5; 1Cor 12:22)

30. Pastors must trust the Spirit, not statistics. (2Sam 24:1; 1Cor 1:25; Rom 8:14)

31. Modern day prophets are being stoned by criticism and neglect. (2Tim 4:3-4; Gal 1:10; Jer 1:7-8)

32. God’s prophets are ill-treated and shunned by most “christians” considered too harsh or extreme. (Jer 6:10; Isa 6:9-10; Gal 4:16)

33. The prophets prophesy falsely, priests rule by their own power; and my people love to have it so. (Mt 24:4, 11-12; 1Cor 1:19, Jude 8 )

34. There are many false gospels being preached from pulpits in our day. (2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:8-9; Jude 16)

35. There is an epidemic of a “mock” salvation message. It is correct in doctrine, but false in reality. (2Cor 3:6; 1Jn 5:11-12; Rom 8:9)

36. A salvation that does not make men holy is trusted in by a deceived multitude. (Jude 4; Rom 8:1; Rom 6:17-18)

37. There is a needed perseverance in the truths of the Gospel without unbelief. (Eph 1:1; Heb 6:11-12; Heb 10:26-27)

38. A great need is to see “christians” become saints in actual experience. (1Jn 2:29; Col 3:5-8; Tit 3:8)

39. Many professors of religion are forbidding people to be a part of the holy body of Christ. (Mt 23:13; Ps 119:1-2; 2Pt 1:3-4)

40. Preaching has become all about the happiness of man and not the glory of God. (Jn 6:26; Rom 4:20; 1Pt 4:11)

41. Preachers give smooth words to entice men, yet very few give any words of correction or rebuke. (Jer 6:14; Pro 1:23; 1Tim 5:20)

42. Run from gospels that focus on our success and prosperity in the name of Jesus Christ. (Jn 2:16; Acts 20:33; Jer 6:13)

43. Run from gospels that focus on self-improvement. (1Tim 6:5; Heb 12:14; Jam 4:14)

44. Run from churches where men, and not Christ, are glorified. (Col 1:18; Jude 25; Jn 16:14)

45. Run from churches where there is no Bible, no cross, no mention of the blood of Christ. (1Pt 1:18-19; Eph 3:13; Rev 1:5)

46. Run from churches where the worship leaves you cold, where there’s no sense of God’s presence. (1Cor 5:4; Ps 80:14-15; Jer 12:11)

47. Run from churches where you’re comfortable in your sin. (1Cor 14:25; Heb 10:30-31; Heb 4:13)

48. Run from churches that use the pulpit of God for a personal agenda. (Jude 10-11,19; 3Jn 9)

49. Run from those who preach division between races and cultures. (Jam 2:4, Gal 3:28, Rev 5:9)

50. Run from ungodly, spasmodic movements and endless empty prophesying. (Jer 5:13; 1Cor 14:33, 1Jn 2:16)

51. Run from preachers who tell mostly stories and jokes. (Eph 5:4; Tit 1:8; 2:12)

52. Run from those that are only after money, who use one gimmick after another to get your money. (2Pt 2:3; 2Cor 12:14; 1Cor 9:18)

53. The phrase “accept Jesus as your personal Saviour” is not found in the Scriptures. (Rom 10:9-10; Col 1:13; Acts 26:20)

54. Evidence of true conversion does not seem important to modern day Christians. (1Jn 2:6; 1Jn 4:17; Mt 7:20)

55. Thousands of sinners think of God as having only one attribute: Love! But they continue in sin. (Rom 1:18; Acts 5:11; Ps 2:12)

56. “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!” has hindered true evangelism. (Rom 3:19; Acts 26:18; Phil 3:18-21)

57. A Gospel of love and grace only, without the law of God being preached. This is a doctrine of Satan. (2Tim 4:3-4; Rom 2:4-5; 3:19)

58. There has clearly arisen a careless mixture of 20th century reasoning with God’s revelation. (Col 2:8; Rom 1:25; Gal 1:6)

59. Decisionism and the “sinner’s prayer” has been a major cause of false conversions in the “church”. (2Pt 2:1-2; Eph 2:4-5; 2Cor 5:17-18)

60. Many will be surprised to hear Jesus say, “I never knew you, depart from me.” (Mt 7:22-23; 1Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21)

61. Men have taken the place of the Holy Spirit in confirming men in their supposed salvation. (1Jn 2:3-5; 2Ths 1:8; Gal 6:12-15)

62. The doctrine of hell and eternal suffering is something little grasped by most professing “christians”. (Mt 13:42; Jam 5:1; Ps 9:17)

63. The judgment seat of Christ is perhaps one of the most neglected topics in the modern pulpit. (2Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10; 1Cor 3:13)

64. The second coming of Christ needs to be re-instated as the church’s general thrust and burden. (1Jn 3:2-3; Col 3:4-6; 1Ths 4:14-17)

65. The church has lost the fear of God and has over emphasized the love of God. (Heb 12:28-29; Lk 12:5; Heb 10:31)

66. The church has left evangelism to a few trained professionals. (Acts 8:1,4; Acts 4:29; Rom 10:14)

67. Repentance is considered a one-time act in modern evangelism rather than a way of life. (Rev 3:19; Heb 12:17; 2Pt 3:9)

68. The Lordship of Jesus Christ is something that is not taught in many pulpits. (Acts 2:36; 1Cor 12:3; Rom 6:18)

69. Many in “churches” are not open to correction, church discipline or rebuke. (1Cor 5:5; 1Cor 11:31-32; Heb 12:7-9)

70. Some preach salvation as a theory instead of persuading men to come to Christ. (Jn 5:40; Col 1:28; 2Cor 4:5)

71. There has been a loss of the fullness and majesty of the gospel. (1Tim 1:11; Jude 25; Rom 15:29)

72. There is little mention of sin or the depravity of man from “church” pulpits. (Jn 3:20; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5)

73. Covetousness, consumerism, and coddling of the world’s goods does not appear wrong. (Jer 22:17; 1Jn 2:15-16; 1Tim 3:3)

74. Little is made of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in churches or in evangelism. (1Cor 15:14-15; Acts 4:10, 33)

75. The “church” has relied more on technology than God. (Zech 4:6; 1Cor 1:21; 2:4)

76. The prayer meeting is considered one of the least important meetings in the “church”. (1Tim 2:1; Acts 4:31; Phil 4:6)

77. Pastors have never prayed less than they do in the “church” today. (Jer 10:21; Phil 2:21; Eph 6:18-19)

78. Very few are waiting on God for His direction and purpose for His Church. (Eph 1:11; Ps 37:7; Isa 40:31)

79. The “church” has many organizers, but few agonizers. (Phil 3:18-19; Rom 9:1-3; Jer 9:1)

80. We need to have the gifts of the Spirit restored again to the “church”. (2Tim 4:2; 1Cor 14:39; 1Cor 12:31)

81. A serious, sober, self-controlled Christianity is very seldom found or preached. (2Pt 3:11; 1Pt 4:7; Jude 3)

82. The “church” at large has forgotten how to pray. (1Jn 3:22; Acts 6:4; 1Ths 5:17)

83. Many “churches” are more dependent on tradition than the leading of the Holy Spirit. (Mk 7:13; Acts 16:6; Acts 13:2)

84. Multitudes of professors preach and teach: that you cannot be freed from sin. (Rom 16:18; Rom 6:1-2; 2Pt 2:1)

85. The Apostles and Christ always preached the possibility to walk free from sin. (Tit 2:11-12; 1Pt 1:14-16; Rom 6:19)

86. Sinners are not saved to sin, but rather, saved to holiness and good works. (Rom 6:13; Eph 2:10; 2Pt 3:14)

87. Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. (2Tim 2:19; 1Pt 4:17-18; 2Tim 3:12)

88. A baptism of holiness, a demonstration of godly living is the crying need of our day. (1Tim 6:3; 2Ths 3:6; 2Ths 2:13)

89. Many are confused about obedience, and good works that are readily mentioned in the Scriptures. (Tit 3:8; Jn 10:32; Rev 3:15)

90. Little emphasis is put on the plan of God to make us like Jesus Christ in “churches”. (1Pt 1:14-16; 1Jn 2:6; 1Pt 4:1)

91. Christ did not die on the cross to obtain a worldly “church” but for a “glorious Church.” (Eph 5:27; Tit 2:14; Col 4:12)

92. Christ does not come into an unregenerate and impure heart as many contemporary theologians say. (2Cor 5:17; Mt 5:8; Eze 18:31)

93. A holy Church is God’s blessing to the world; an unholy “church” is God’s judgment upon the world. (Mt 5:14,16; Eph 4:1; 1Ths 2:12)

94. If Christianity is to make any headway in the present time, it must be proved to be more than a theory. (2Ths 3:6-7; 1Ths 4:1,11-12)

95. Unbelief has gagged and bound us as risen Lazarus! We need release in this final hour! (Heb 3:12-14; 1Cor 3:21-23; Heb 11:6)

We have lost real worship in the American Church

Unity is a big theme in the Bible. For example, Paul talks about one Body with many members. This idea of oneness in Jesus is part of the churches power and something we have lost in America church because we have adopted American consumerist society. Today in America if we do not like a church we just bounce to the next one and in this we way miss out on being vested in the Body. JFK said, ask not what your country can do for you but rather ask what you can do for your country. If JFK can say that about a worldly thing that will pass away like America, how much more should we be asking this question of ourselves concerning the church? I believe a big part of how the consumerist mentality crept into the church was the corporatization of Sundays. We have a set time for worship, set time for preaching and then we all go to lunch and talk bad about the volume of the music or the preacher. If we change our thinking to understand the purposes of Sunday worship service is not for us but rather it is our responsibility to communally come together and worship God, it would change how we do it. Imagine a church were people came with the intent to worship. They would not have anything scheduled for later on Sunday because they would hope the worship service and exhortation would go long. They might even still be there fellowshipping by the time evening service came around.
I do not believe the church in America knows what worshiping is. I am talking in general. I am sure there are some that do. However, if I could change anything about how churches in America worship it would be that I would encourage people to get back to, as Matt Redman wrote beautifully in is song Heart of Worship, the idea that is it all about Him. Anyone who gets this idea will have grown spiritually from getting to this thinking and they will continue to grow by practicing the idea.

Think about that
Aaron.