Monday, November 30, 2015

Worship Service... Or Lip Service?

"The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught." (Isa. 29:13)

This, of course is the natural result of people seeking to have their itching ears scratched (2 Tim. 4:3). How many church websites promise things like "Passionate Worship" "Dynamic music" or "A modern praise band playing current worship favorites"? How many church mission statements state they want to help people become "passionate" followers and worshipers of Christ? Yet, where is all the passion? Where is all the devotion to God? The lives and influence of Christians - indeed, the life and influence of the church - belie the "passion" and "devotion" shown by so many in worship services and events all over the world. If we're honest we'd admit it's obvious the "devotion" to God shown during the worship time vanishes as soon as most walk out the door to go home. What about you? If what you display during the worship time doesn't translate to the world around you then you are likely among those described in the above scripture, to some degree or another. You can raise your hands and sing, "I love you Jesus" (even with a few tears) all day long, but you need to examine your heart and find out if it's real.

The late Dr. A. W. Tozer, author and pastor, said, “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”

Absolute truth.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Oh Those Itching Ears!

"For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." (2 Tim 4:3)

I can say with absolute certainty that we are now in that time. Many who are reading this post find themselves in the company described in the above scripture, and they don't even know it. It has been my experience, especially in online discussions, that sound doctrine is a rare commodity these days.

Why do we find ourselves at such a place? Well, mainly because the Scriptures say it will happen. Another reason is because way too many preachers and other church leaders (and I use that term loosely) are for too interested in keeping butts in the seats and not offending anyone (all in the name of "love") than they are in preaching the truth and building the kingdom of God.

Not too long ago I was in one such church and picked up one of their brochures. On the brochure was their stated goal of providing a "casual and hassle-free atmosphere" for people to "experience" God. So, "repent and believe" (Mark 1:15) has become "casual and hassle-free", and "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..." (Matt. 28:19) has become, "let them 'experience' God"?

So how does one know if they're one who wants their itching ears scratched (or are the ones doing the scratching)? If you're about to jump into the comments section to refute or argue with what I just said, there's your answer.