In this day and age of rampant apostasy, I was listening tonight to my bible reading for today which centered on Simon & Jesus where Jesus calls Simon to follow Him, and Simon replies that he’s too much of a sinner to do that, but thankfully Jesus persuades him otherwise. It got me to thinking of how nowadays the word “sinner” is rarely heard in our vocabulary – particularly in those churches that preach the now hugely popular “social Gospel” whereby church members and visitors are treated to a feel good sermon with no bite to it, and many would rarely hear such a term used in the pulpit. But Simon knew exactly what he was, and presumably felt (errantly) that Jesus was too important a Rabbi to want to have anything to do with him, because he felt his sinful state so keenly himself. We’re not told what may have prompted him to have such an acute awareness of his state, or whether most at that time would have felt similarly in the presence of any Rabbi, let alone one such as Jesus, but the point remains – he knew what he was, and knew that few Rabbis would desire to associate with such a one as him.
But that then led me on to thinking about how the social Gospel removes many other important aspects of our faith in order to tickle the ears of the congregation and have them continue to return faithfully (and pay their dues!!) each week. And the cry of many is that they have to make the church interesting and applicable to the generation of today. Why?? What is different about this generation over any other? Why did those in the 18th Century not feel a similar need, or any generation before them or indeed after them until now? And if you look back at those churches and fellowship movements of the 18th and 19th centuries in particular I doubt you’d find unfilled churches or people not interested in hearing the Gospel message. If anything, I find a lot of literature stating the opposite – that a preacher would only have to stand out in a field and preach, for him to have the field full of seeking sinners fairly quickly, and nobody complaining about the lack of comfort, or the sternness of the message. Sadly too many of today’s preachers are far more concerned with buildings and luxurious surroundings to preach in than the Truth of the Awesome Gospel which they are commissioned to go into the world with and give to the nations. Too many of those both in the pulpit and the pews want their ears tickled with interesting talks about how we can work together to provide a better future for mankind if we would only be nicer, kinder, more loving etc.
2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Let’s get one thing straight here – man can never, never make the world a nicer place – only God can do that, and while He may use man to achieve that end result, the final outcome is never in man’s hands (although our arrogance and pride will always tell us otherwise)!
Are you in a social gospel church? Do you consider God will not hold you accountable to know His Word well enough to recognise when you’re being deceived by man (after all, we’re warned that “even the elect” will be deceived in these end times!), and do you consider you have no responsibilty before Him to change that situation if it is the case for you? I would urge anyone who feels their Pastor or Minister isn’t truly presenting the whole Gospel message to effect, to consider at the very least discussing the issue with them, and if no change is forthcoming, to pray hard about moving to a more fundamentalist church setting. The time may be upon us soon when choices will be much harder to come by, and our faith much harder to live out in any shape or form, as Satan continues to wage war on the saints here. Ask God for guidance on your own situation and whether He maybe does want you to move elsewhere, or to provoke a change within the church you’re in. If the elect don’t stand up for the Truth, who else will?? Check out this blog for some more challenging input on the “lovely lady” (!) above!