What’s Missing

 What’s Missing in the Church

Here are just a few thoughts that I have been thinking about lately and wanted to write them down before I forgot. They are not anything new but they have become increasingly more relevant in life today.  It will take prayer and the power of God to change things and get us back on mission.  So with this in mind here we go.

First we have lost the conviction of sin within the church. No one sins any more. We call sin anything else but sin.  We have professionals who help us redefine sin so it is no longer convicting.  Psychologist, social workers, counselors and even pastors attempt to make sin more emotionally acceptable and socially correct.  Society sees sin as a joke, as having a little fun at a party, no harm done. The problem is that sin is very real and effects the world we live in.

Even within the church today sin is not taken seriously.  Sin is something of the past that our grandparents talked about and felt guilty of. Sin has been redefined to mean a mistake or being politically incorrect.  We view sin as an unintentional act committed against another person and not something condition of our fallen nature.  Humankind is view as basically good in nature so sin becomes a mistake; all we need is a better educational system to correct the problem.   Biblically sin is an act committed against God.  Sin is separation from God as a result of our moral failure. It is disobedience and rebellion against the laws of God. Sin shows our fallen nature in selfishness, pride and defiance.

The second problem within the church today is a defying Biblical authority. The Bibles authority is no longer viewed as absolute by many. We reinterpret the Bible to fit our desires and life style in order to give ourselves permission to do what we want. Many believers view the Bible as relative, “It’s what you believe!” is the general attitude. God’s Word, the Bible, is infallible.  It is inerrant for life and doctrine. It provides a moral center, it governs our values and defines our ethics.  More importantly is leads us to redemption.

The strongest argument for the divine inspiration of the Bible is the testimony of Jesus. Jesus claimed to be the divine Son of God and confirmed His claims through His sinless, miraculous life and resurrection. The events of His life have been recorded in the four Gospels, which have proven to be historically accurate and written by first century eyewitnesses.  Since Jesus is God incarnate, whatever He taught is true, and anything opposed to His teaching is false. There is also the unity of the scriptures, fulfillment of prophecy, even in archelogy which all point to the authority of scripture. 

Dr. Rosaria Butterfield, a former tenured professor at the University of Syracuse, was a committed and comfortable lesbian until she had what she described as a “train-wreck conversion” to Christ. At one point in her life, she wrote, “As an unbelieving professor of English, an advocate of postmodernism … and an opponent of all totalizing meta-narratives (like Christianity, I would have added back in the day), I found peace and purpose in my life as a lesbian and the queer community I helped to create.” Today she is married to Pastor Kent Butterfield, and mother of four adopted children and numerous foster children.

After her conversion, she describes an encounter with a female counselor who wanted Dr. Butterfield to bend her message about homosexual practice. The woman asked Butterfield to state publicly that homosexual practice is not inherently wrong. Butterfield writes:

When I entered her office, she directed me to a comfortable chair and made one simple request: “Rosaria, I want you to change your message.” I found this a bold and disarming request, and so I told her that I come in the gospel of peace. She said, “Change your message.” Finally, I asked her what I ought to change in my message. She said, “Tell people that it is only

in your opinion

that homosexual practice is a sin.”

I responded by letting her know that I am not smart enough to have this opinion, but that this is the position the inspired and inerrant Word of God upholds. It comes to me from the historic Christian church … through the pages of Scripture, and so on down to me. I told her that changing my message would involve denying the plain meaning of Scripture, the testimony of the church, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and the gospel. But to the postmodern mind … her request seems reasonable enough: just own this position of mine as a personal point of view. But claiming something that is a universal truth to be a mere matter of personal preference is a lie by omission. This is the Bible’s message, and apart from Christ, I am more condemned by it than the woman who made this request.

The third problem is that we no longer pursue righteousness. There is not a hunger and thrust for the things of God.  Our righteousness is indeed primarily a gift of the atoning work of Christ but is also a ministry of the Holy Spirit.  Our part as believers grows out of that relationship we have with Jesus. Peter an Apostle of the Lord writes, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (NIV).

To pursue righteousness is a work of the Spirit of God within the believer for sure.  But it is also a work of discipline, devotion and prayer on our part. In righteousness you are crucifying the fleshly nature and learning to put on the Spirit. We are taking off sexual immorality, impurity, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, envy and selfish ambition; and put on love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, self-control and the like. There is an ongoing taking off of the old man and putting on the new man. You are being transformed into the image of Christ one step of faith after another.

The final problem I see within the church today is a lack of burden.  We have lost the passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We have neglected the great commission.  There is a great need to become burdened for the lost. Without an eveanglist burden the church will continue to decline. The first step to reclaiming the Kingdom is praying for God to burden you, to place some soul on your heart to the point that you are moved to action. To pray that God opens hearts and minds to the message of the Gospel is key. That God will lead people to a saving knowledge and except Jesus as their Savior. This is the work of the church!

“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.

For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome

into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. 2 Peter 1:10-11 NIV

 

With Love, Pastor Jeff