Monday, January 27, 2014

Victory In Jesus

      Throughout the ages churches have succeeded in influencing the culture around them. They have failed at this too. They have given up true values for worldly wealth. They have stayed with their faith through torture and ridicule. They have been ashamed of the gospel at times. They have even denounced Jesus Christ. This cycle of failing, succeeding, failing will never stop until we reach the pearly gates of heaven. All we can do is trust God and obey His inherent Word. The devil will get lots of little victories in this fallen world but Jesus owns the greatest victory of all. The victory over sin. And He won this battle for us and gives us freely of His purifying blood.
      The early Church was successful in influencing the culture around it. They stuck to their sacred Christian values no matter what the cost for the most part. They actually read the Inspired Word of God. Their kids we're taught at a young age about sin, the affects of it and God's grace and gift of redemption. They were taught about His commands and commissions and how to honor and serve Him with their life. People wondered what the difference was in these people. They saw their true joy in the midst of turmoil. They saw God's love shining through them. Some reacted in hatred towards these people who would dare differ from their dreary laws and ways of doing things. Some yearned to join the sect of people who stayed true to what they believed. But it wasn't all gushy "Jesus loves you." They taught that Jesus loves you and that is why he set out safeguards to keep you from sin and pain. But he knows we will step outside the safeguards he made for us and that every one of us will sin and that is why he gave his life to pay the ransom for our wickedness. The early church recognized that to serve their Savior they must still follow His commandments. Although they were free from the dredge of meaningless duties and inevitable sin, they still wished to obey their God and follow His Son's example. The early church was able to influence the culture around them despite persecution because they knew that they might be poor and tortured down on earth but they would be walking on gold paved streets and communing with the God of heaven and earth soon. They did their best to carry out a godly vision and put on the mind of Christ.
      On the other hand our modern church is epically failing to influence culture. Kids nowadays either love going to church and youth group not to worship and learn about God and His Word but to hang out with their friends or they hate it because they don't think all that "Jesus stuff" is for them. They listen to some so called Christian music, which instead of compelling them to worship their Savior stimulates feelings and movements inappropriate for the house of God. (Or anywhere outside of marriage.) Then they might listen to a sermon from a "cool" youth pastor only a few years older than themselves that tells them "whatever you do, its alright because Jesus loves you." People don't actually read their bible instead they listen to the newfound Mega Church preachers, who tell them what they want to hear. When out in public the majority of people who call themselves Christians do not stand out at all. They wear the same clothes. Have the same lack of morals. And do lots of the same things. They are submersed in the culture. Lots are ashamed to speak out about what they believe, Lots are confused about what they believe and lots don't even know what they believe. They don't think scripture is sufficient. They keep searching for answers elsewhere and satan is right there to fill their heads full of lies.We as Christians have lost sight of the vision of God. We care more about what others think and how we feel than what God thinks and how our posterity will feel. The worldly culture we live in is succeeding, much to the devil's delight, to influence the so called churches of today and modern Christians blissfully enjoying religious liberty are being sucked into worldly influences.
      Recantation in the early church was a serious matter. Denying your God and your faith was detrimental. Jesus is the life giver; The author of Salvation; He is love; He is light; He gives Joy. God is the creator; the ruler of all; He molded every one of us and crafted the rules by which we were made to follow. The Holy Spirit is our comforter and the one who gives us conviction. The early Church must have a had a hard time dealing with those who would deny these truths, which they taught. They knew these things were true, but what to do with those who denied them out of fear, shame, ignorance or disbelief? There must have been many who also knew these things were true yet wanted to keep their seats of importance and be allowed to have input in public policy. They were ashamed of the gospel. The Church might have denounced these cowards as no longer part of the church as they had recanted Christ, while still allowing them to come to meetings and such. They might have tried to preach to them about being ashamed of their Savior or denying His sovereign power. They certainly did not tell them that "whatever they did was ok, because Jesus loved them." They probably tried to teach them about Jesus' real love and why they should follow Him through turmoil to paradise. The early church did not treat recantation lightly.
      So, how do modern churches handle recantation? They seem to preach about irrelevant stories and feel good morals not scripture. If someone doesn't "feel" like Jesus was the Son of God they might quote John 3:16 and try to tell them about His "Love". Some churches preach that you don't have to follow God's laws and principles because we are covered by Jesus' blood. What ever we do, say or think is alright with them and they say its all right with God. We just need to come to church, tithe and be a good person. If someone doesn't believe the bible is the Word of God or that it is relevant to today most modern church leaders and theologians would agree. They don't think the bible is accurate or important in todays world matters. It is an an ancient document that can be gleaned from at most. And most of them haven't even read through it. If someone denounces the faith altogether they are still welcomed in the church and told all of the same things I stated above. Most so called Christian leaders in our government drop their morals, bibles, ethics and consciences at the door.Everything is ok is the message I consistently hear. The devil is slowly but surely lulling the majorities' morals and minds to sleep and my observations have been that lots of modern churches simply do not handle this constant recantation at all.
      I think there is more required to be a Christian than wearing a Jesus shirt and going to youth group. The modern church is being influenced greatly by its worldly atmosphere in contrast with how the early church was able to influence its culture. This early church also saw that denouncing God was a serious life or death, heaven or hell decision. While todays churches aren't concerned with getting the evil out of peoples lives or what they truly believe in their heart or proclaim in the public square at all. The churches of today are falling fast and will continue falling until we go back to the biblical principles that God has laid out for us and follow our Redeemer through thick and through thin. We must turn back the the scripture, God's commandments and listen to the Holy Spirit in all matters. We must tune out the devil's lying voice and help pull others out of his snares. God will preserve a remnant. Although we are the minority in even the "Christian circles" we must stand with what Christ taught not what man thinks he knows. We are the remnant. We must go back to the principles the early church taught and forsake any worldly influences trying to creep into our churches. We are in a fallen world. We will fail on our own, but we have victory in Jesus.