We have come into an age in which the goal of seeing people be saved and delivered is no longer considered to apply. The vocabulary has changed into one in which the goal is to reach the “unchurched” and have them “churched.” The measure of leadership performance is on monthly attendance statistics where pastor with the bigger church is praised and the smaller one is subtly looked down upon. We have had people say the church should be run like a “business” and this will result in greater success.
All sorts of strategies are used. Flashy lights like at a rock concert. Flesh-pleasing music. “Seeker-sensitive” sermons. Essentially it all boils down to stimulating and comforting the fleshly nature of man and ignoring the spirit within.
Revelation 3:15-16 “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
What is it about “hot” and “cold”? Neither of these temperatures is comfortable for a human to experience. We keep our houses at a lukewarm temperature because this is comfort. When we feel hot or cold we complain and want to change the thermostat to avoid the discomfort of the flesh. Hot or cold are what is pleasing to God, lukewarm is what is pleasing to man.
2 Chronicles 6-8, “6 [Amaziah] hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver.
7 But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the LORD is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim.
8 But if thou wilt go, do it, be strong for the battle: God shall make thee fall before the enemy: for God hath power to help, and to cast down.”
God told Amaziah (Judah’s king) to send back the 100,000 mercenaries of Israel he had hired and go into battle with only his own army. Israel was in rebellion and the extra men would bring a curse. Of course it takes a lot of faith to do something radical like this but nonetheless it was God’s will and it worked out successfully.
We also have the more well-known story of Gideon in Judges 7 in which he came with an army of 32,000 preparing to battle the Midianites. God instructed him to command anyone fearful to leave the army and return; this left 10,000 soldiers. God still considered this to be too much and next whittled the army down to only 300 men based on their style of drinking water from the river. With these 300 God brought about a total victory over the hated Midianites through ambushing their main army at night.
Looking at the pattern of scripture, God always reduces and separates in order to bring power.
John 6:53-56 “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.”
“….Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?”
“….From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
Christ saw that he had too many uncommitted followers and preached a difficult message in order to whittle them down. He taught communion in a way that would seem to the masses to be a form a cannibalism. Only those who were truly hungry for the truth would continue following him, the majority turned back and went to their everyday lives. Church should be no different. We need to preach the whole gospel, the easy parts and the difficult uncomfortable sections. If people choose to leave, this is not a bad thing; it will help to purify us from the dross, leaving gold refined as in the fire. Now while we are on the topic of communion, when Paul said “do you not have houses to eat and drink in” (1 Cor 11:22) he was not only referring to natural food but was also symbolically teaching on spiritual food: to not come to church expected to “get fed” from the pastor’s message, but to become strong from your own personal devotions and study of the word at home and in your own life. Church is only a top-up, it is not what the sheep should rely on to “get fed.” We come to serve, to operate in our giftings and anointings, to pray, to worship God, to minister. New believers and baby Christians are the only ones who come to get fed.
Lets take a look at the Ezekiel 16 harlot on the corner.
Ezekiel 16:23-25, “And it came to pass after all thy wickedness, (woe, woe unto thee! saith the Lord GOD;) That thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place, and hast made thee an high place in every street. Thou hast built thy high place at every head of the way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms.”
This represents the harlot Babylonian church spoken of in the book of Revelation. She builds her high place (grand church building) on every street corner. She opens her feet to everyone who passes by (evangelism of the neighborhood). Multiplies whoredoms (church growth strategies). The Laodicean church has more in common with the biblical harlots than the bride of Christ.
The flashing colored lights in the so-called “worship” services are a distraction, taking the focus off God. It is a sign of Lucifer the “light bearer.” This is why entertainment centers and sin-city locales such as Las Vegas are full of neon lighting. Smoke machines are also being used in youth-oriented worship. Anything we can do the copy off of the world instead of being a holy and set-apart people. It is time to get rid of this nonsense and return to the simplicity of the gospel.
Plenty of contemporary worship has become corrupted. Just listening to Hillsong United you can tell there is no anointing on much of their music. It is dead and soulless, designed to have people enjoy passively listening to it rather than with the intent that a person can worship to that style of music. When worshiping God there should not be “gaps” in the song to allow for guitar riffs (“Look to You” is a perfect example of this). People should also not be clapping their hands during worship as clapping is fleshly and distracting and you will never enter in to true worship. Consider also, one of Hillsong United’s lead songwriters, Marty Sampson, has recently renounced the Christian faith, saying “it seems to me like just another religion at this point.”
Man-centered Babylonian Christian religion wants to find a way to “get to heaven when I die” as the main goal. To be prospered financially and in good health. To have God give them a soulmate. To hear words of comfort and encouragement. To go to church to “get fed.” All nice MAN-CENTERED things. We pick out Bible promise books which only include positive promises for blessings, but hide away all the promises of wrath and judgement for disobedience.
God-centered faith is about finding your place in his kingdom and doing his will in every aspect of your life. Repentance from sin and disobedience is a must. Preaching the uncomfortable truth is not optional. In the kingdom, our focus is not on going to heaven after death, but on bringing heaven TO earth. You do not wait for revival, you ARE revival.