Friday, November 3, 2017
We live in a spiritually chilling and deceptive time when many churches take the low road of trying to make followers of Christ. They paint the gospel as a sensational splash of the world, while the cost, repentance, humility and consequence of being a true Christian is increasingly ignored. In many churches today multiple sensory stimulation’s of the flesh take center stage.
Some resort to playing secular music during pre-service time. Many produce Hollywood-style light and sound shows with fake smoke to stimulate the senses, with the clear message being to improve on the gospel message to make it more palatable, luring many to a false gospel.
Many call it “building a bridge to unbelievers” which misses the mark of the gospel. The bridge to unbelievers has already been built and there is NOTHING anyone can do to improve upon it! His name is Jesus Christ, and His name is a Rock of offense, and He promised His followers, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet, because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19).
God further promised true Christians, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:12–13). Suffering persecution for being a true Christian, however, is what is NOT taught by many churches today as they bow the knee to the unbelieving world.
Paul did not adopt the world’s distracting, sensory-pleasing show to make unbelievers comfortable. Paul demonstrated true leadership of the gospel, saying, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:2–5).
Don’t miss the revelatory truth of the Apostle Paul’s purpose in preaching “that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God”! Anything that distracts from the severity and price of the cross of Christ for the redemption of fallen, unrepentant man is an affront to and scourge against Christ. The cross of Christ and cost of repentance cannot be made comfortable.
Our sins and unbelief lashed the body of Jesus Christ. Our unrepentant estate nailed Him to the old rugged cross. Our sin and pride pierced His side. Our hard hearts platted a crown of thorns upon His head. Our choice of the world’s glamorous offerings mocked Him as He suffered, that we, the wretched, undeserving, unbelieving, unrepentant and hopeless sinners might be saved.
That we could do nothing to change our destiny of an eternal hell, being eternally separated from God, is why Christ took on human flesh, suffered our punishment and shame, that by true faith in Him, and “the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9), counting ourselves dead to sin (Rom. 6:11, 13) by faith in the finished work of Christ unto eternal life – this is the good news of the gospel.
A glamorized church produces a lukewarm unrepentant heart. Yet, that’s the happy, feel-good, watered-down message presented in many churches today by pastors exercising oratory skills, “with persuasive words of human wisdom”, and gain the praise of the unrepentant. This is also how saints are deceived by the false pre-trib rapture, that Christ will snatch Christians out of this world before the seven-year tribulation and revelation of Antichrist.
But note the dialogue between Pilate and Jesus. Pilate: “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, ‘You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin’” (John 19:10–11).
When one teaches the gospel selectively, or in partiality, opposing what Christ taught, he, like Pilate, declares his power over Christ, but Christ says back to him, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given to you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you [a false witness] has the greater sin”. Many pastors deliver a false Christ to the people!
There is no imminent, pre-trib return of Christ for the gathering of saints, and anyone who teaches so speaks violence against Christ as did Pilate. Here’s why: God said, “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, [the rapture] we ask you…Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thess. 2:1–3).
The “falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3 and Matt. 24:10) from the Christian faith when the tribulation is revealed must and will occur, and Antichrist must and will be revealed before the return of Christ for the gathering of His elect. The only thing that’s imminent is the possible end of any of our lives, which could occur at any moment, because no one has the promise of tomorrow.
The sensational light, smoke and sound shows so prevalent in many churches today is just an extension of the progressive but illegal end-time changing of God’s Word, for many, “will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:3), which notably began with the rise of deceiving end-time spirits in the early to mid-nineteenth century when much false teaching infiltrated the church.
What about you? Does “Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2) look anything like the glamorous Hollywood-style productions put on by many churches today? Isn’t there conviction of personal responsibility for our unrepentant hearts that nailed Christ to that old rugged cross? Much truth of new birth conversion is tragically being removed from the church and its author is Satan who dispels by distraction and worldliness the truths of salvation. Christian, be on your guard!
Marlin J. Yoder