Listen to today’s broadcast:
I think that if your eyes are open you would have to answer this question with a resounding NO! Our churches are not getting better, they are getting worse. Some would say, look at our mega-churches, are they not an indication that things are getting better. I will admit that there is a lot of religious activity going on, but there is very little true spirituality.
The Bible warns us in many places that there will be false converts. Listen to what Matthew 7:21-23 says
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
There are many people in our churches who are not truly born again. They are involved in Christianity. They claim to know the Lord and to be doing the work of the Lord, but the Lord will say to them “I never knew you.”
We are told that there will be those who will have all of the outward trappings of Christianity, but they are workers of iniquity. The Lord will tell them to depart from Him.
This brings us back to the question, Are America’s churches more godly? No, they are not. Actually the churches are impotent. They lack the power of God.
In order to look at where we are today I went to Barna Research, which is the place to go if you want to learn what the trends are in churches in America. In a study of the transitions in religious behaviors over the 20 years between 1991 and 2011 here is what I found:
- Church Attendance has declined — 47% – can be found in church events during a typical week.
- Eight percentage points less likely to attend Sunday school in a typical week than was true twenty years ago.
- Less than one out of five (18%) now attend during a typical week.
- Volunteer Workers – 30% volunteered at a church during a typical week back in 1991, that figure has declined to 22% today.
- Bible Reading dropped, going from 51% to 46%.
- Practicing their Faith – Those who embrace the label “Christian” for themselves are now ten percentage points more likely to be unchurched than was true in 1991.
- That31% have not attended any church service during the past six months, during the past quarter.
This shows that professing Christians in the United States are not very dedicated to their Christian faith and to their Christian walk. For the most part attendance in churches is in decline. The number of Christians who surrender to full time service is also in decline.
Here is something that I noticed when I lived in Great Britain. Those who were in the ministry were there as a career choice, not because of a call from God. If you ask them the will tell you that they chose to work in a charity or in a non-profit because they wanted to do something for other people. They have no personal relationship with God. This explains why there is a growing number of priests in the Church of England that doubt the existence of God. Just like in Great Britain, we in North America are loosing touch with true Christianity.
It is no wonder that our text says there will be many, not a few, who will say in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?” I suggest to you that the reason that so many churches in North America are in trouble is that they have rejected the doctrines of the Bible.
Let me tell you about what I have learned from my personal experience. I went to a good, doctrinally sound, separated Bible College. I am not sure I can say the same thing about this college today. I remember well the question that was often asked, “Fellows, do you want to work hard, or do you want to work smart?” What dummy is going to say “sign me up for the hard route?” We all said we wanted to be successful and smart so we could build great churches for God.
As a result we studied the strategies and methods that would build a big church. Back in those days, if someone was successful you wanted to go to their seminars and learn the secret to their success and what were the latest gimmicks that were filling their pews.
Back in those days I must confess that I was a student of Rick Warren. I began to read his books and listen to his messages. When we boil it all down, he was telling us to take out the offense of the Gospel. He said nobody wants to come to church to hear something negative. “Don’t tell people what they are! Tell them what they can be.” I remember this statement, “If you can sell Jesus like soap you will build a big church.”
Just look at the religious advertizing, drive around and look at billboards. You won’t find them saying, “you must fear God,” or “repent or perish.” The messages you here are “God is love,” “Jesus loves you,” and the like. All you will see is a positive message. This is confusing the world. They are asking why they have to change anything. If God loves my I can just be as I am without changing anything. As a result most professing Christians today don’t understand the message of the Bible.
We also have the big TV preachers preaching the social gospel and the gospel of health and wealth. Messages on judgment, repentance, remorse and contrition for one’s sin are completely absent from their preaching. As a result there are many false converts who “join the Jesus team.” They believe they are on the Jesus boat headed to Heaven because they have had their ticket stamped. They said a prayer and the “believe in Jesus” and they just want to have fun along the way.
The sad thing is that when they come to difficulties in their lives they don’t have the power of God to sustain them through these difficulties. They don’t have the Holy Spirit to help them in their struggle against sin and since they don’t have victory, they give up and walk away.
Back in 2003 I wanted to quit the ministry. I was tired of seeing activity without results. We were seeing people get saved and new churches planted, but we were not seeing any change in people’s lives. People were still in bondage to their sin. The did not have victory. I had to confess that my methods were the problem. I had listened to the wrong advice. I stopped selling the chicken soup and the fluff. I started studying the Bible to see what it had to say. I began preaching more faithfully the principles of the Scriptures. The message of the Bible is for people to repent and turn to God seeking His mercy and forgiveness for their sins.
I am addressing this because our churches are in trouble. Churches are turning to entertaining and pep rally services. DOCTRINE is not being Taught. It is all about feeling good and lives are not being changed.
God never saved anyone He didn’t change. Those who are in Christ are new creatures and old things are passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christians should have victory over sin in their lives. God’s salvation not only gets us into Heaven, it gives us victory over sin.
The message that is out there today is don’t be negative, don’t be divisive, don’t ruffle people’s feathers. They tell us that we are only to preach love, joy, and peace. It has now reached a point where if you preach judgment, repentance, and changed lives, you are unchristian. You become a hate monger and a fear monger.
The attitude in the last 20 years has changed from your are not being smart, you will only have a small church that will never grow to throwing rocks. condemning, and trying to marginalize them by calling them names.
The Ecumenical Movement is a major problem today. It wants to merge every Christian sect into one and even merge Christianity with other Religions like Islam. It has one major rule: Never be Divisive. Focus ONLY on what you can agree on. DON’T MAJOR ON DOCTRINE!
We realize that not everyone is going to agree with us. All who hear our message will not see things the way we do. When I take a stand against false teaching I hear about it from some of you who follow our ministry. We are being opposed, even by our Christian brothers. There are pastors and churches that will have nothing to do with our ministry because they are so far gone into the positive only movement. I pray that they will wake up before it is too late.
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