The Biggest Threat Part 2

This past Sunday I did a sermon on Elijah and how he confronted the king and then went back up his hill. Elijah was a crazy looking guy who lived his own way on top of a hill. What a weirdo.
It would be weird except for the fact that John the Baptist did pretty much the same thing.

Then there was Jesus who said “the son of man has no place to lay his head.” Then there was Paul who said he and the apostles had “no certain dwelling place.”

I don’t think this means we are wrong to have a house. Each of these guys had a special mission to carry out. You can find plenty of other people in Scripture who had houses and did just fine. What I am saying is that if you want to change the world, you can’t be just like it.

I believe the church has sold out to the world. We have adopted the notion that we need big buildings, slick production, fancy marketing, comfortable surroundings and readily available coffee and doughnuts.

I think we have sold out one of our main distinctives—living as a citizen of heaven and not the world.

It is no coincidence that the guys who made the longest lasting impression on the world for the Lord were people who did not get sucked into worldly, comfortable living.

At the same time, just being poor and homely accomplishes nothing. You can give all your stuff away and if you don’t have love it profits nothing.

Your attitude toward your material possessions is the best barometer for YOU of where YOU are in YOUR faith. What I think is comfortable may not be what you think is comfortable. But we are all accountable for ourselves, and the Bible makes it clear we need to consider our position carefully.

7 thoughts on “The Biggest Threat Part 2”

  1. Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy blog: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter (Ecclesiastes 10:20).

  2. I don’t recall cursing anyone. I do recall quoting scripture that points out the dangers of stuff and showing how that will be the main tool the Antichrist uses to control the world.

  3. You are brave for taking on a tricky subject. I think your points about the potential danger of affluence, particularly with respect to the individual, are scripturally sound. Your end time speculations are plausible, too.

    However your observation that some churches have “big buildings, slick production, fancy marketing, comfortable surroundings,” et al, does not in itself bear out your thesis that “the church has sold out to the world.” You may be right. I don’t think so, but either way haven’t proven it yet.

    Anecdotally, I was speaking today to a friend who is a worship leader at a large church in the Dallas area. Among other things we talked about was the fact that his church had baptized over 2000 people in the last year. I didn’t think to ask him what the church membership was. It’s huge, but frankly, THAT number is not particularly relevant.

    Typically, large churches have large budgets, small churches have small budgets. Both can have effective ministries and make significant impacts in their communities. The failure of either to do so is the same failure.

    Personally, I’ve held membership in churches of less than 100 people and modest means. I’ve also been a member of a church of 2000+. Regardless of size, the worst thing is to be a part of a church that has forgotten that its mission is The Great Commission.

    Barna Research indicates that the vast majority of churches in America are small congregations of 75-150, and most of them experience little or no growth. It is unlikely, in my mind, that affluence is the problem. If anything really does threaten Christianity in America, it is the evidence pointing to the fact that most small churches don’t know squat about evangelism, and quite likely don’t care. Regardless of size, EVERY church should be a growing church.

    Sorry for being so verbose…

  4. Churches with buildings spend lots of money on their buildings. Churches without buildings don’t. Buildings rot into nothing. I think the Church wastes lots of money on things that don’t endure.

    And I am aware of the convenience and good things church buildings allow. But I’m just saying. The NT church met in existing buildings, they didn’t build their own.

    Churches market themselves just as the world does. I guess I’m not sure how to prove the point. It just seems obvious to me that in every way we have sold out our distinctives to be accepted by the most people.

    I also disagree that every church should be a growing church. As I recall, Jesus went from 70 disciples, down to 12, to 11, to 3 and then 0. When you speak the truth we are to expect it to not go over well. I think church growth is a tool of the devil to get pastors and churches to not speak the truth.

    Sorry for being so verbose.

  5. We are exploring the direction our church will be taking over the next 20 years at this time, trying to make long range plans as to any building plans we may need to be making for the future. Your words hit home, as we struggle to do God’s will in this community. As the webmaster for our church’s website, it would be easy to say we are marketing ourselves. I would hope that our purpose is to serve the Lord and further his Kingdom.

  6. As a clarification, I’m not saying a church shouldn’t use modern means of communicating their existence. I’m more concerned with the notion that we have to dress up what we do to attract people. Like giving out free gas, having beauty pageants and other silly things the Church does to prove it doesn’t believe it’s message is valid.

  7. Our purpose in life – on a personal or corporate level – is not to improve our own quality of life, but rather to serve Jesus by fulfilling the Great Commission and by loving others. While there is nothing wrong with improving our quality of life – improving our homes, ect. – that is not our main goal in life.

    Some congregations have more money than others – therefore, some congregations are going to enjoy better facilities than others. I don’t have a problem with that.

    When the New Testament churches met in homes for worship, they might have enjoyed some coffee (or other beverage) while they worshipped. I don’t have a problem with that.

    Sometimes my church just does things for fun. We are having a fall festival this weekend and sometimes the ladies gather for spa night. It doesn’t detract from our purpose. Some churches may do other things for fun – I don’t have a problem with that.

    When a church loses sight of their purpose and starts acting only in their own interests, or when an individual starts living only to please themselves, they are out of the will of God. However, I can only determine this for myself and for my church. I cannot look at any other person or group of people and know for sure their motive in what they are doing, although I agree give-aways, etc. look suspicious.

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