I am no mechanic, but I have heard it said that the engine of your car runs better with oil in it and yes, I do know how crucial oil is for the engine, although how the engine works is a different story. Without oil, the engine will seize up and this will lead to serious and even catastrophic problems. I watched a video where they drained all the oil from a few cars and ran them till they blew up. They came to an end very quickly and one engine literally blew up with pieces of engine strewn along the road. A couple of cars died after just a few minutes while others lasted a little longer. In the case of the video, they purposely drained all the oil, ran it at high rpm’s but that always isn’t the case. It could have been a loose drain plug or oil filter, and the oil was drained accidently. I had an issue one time when the service centre forgot to add all the oil. After an “oil change,” I just happened to check the oil and it basically had just enough not to cause any damage as they forgot to fill it up to the proper level. It was way down, and I am not sure how that was even possible if and I say if they checked the levels when they were done. One person said, “There are three primary causes of a low oil level: leaks, attrition, and owner inattention.” They should have included shop inattention to that list also. Attrition means “the action or process of gradually reducing the strength or effectiveness of someone or something through sustained attack or pressure.”

        When it comes to the church, there has been a definite loss in strength as we are missing the anointing of the Holy Spirit and have sustained attack with catastrophic results. This missing oil of anointing comes from a lack of attention and a lack of obedience to the word of God. The manual tells you when to change your oil, what kind to put in and so on. Scripture is our manual and we need to follow it if the church is to operate as Jesus intended it to. Most do not even realize the oil is not at the level it should be, and they do not check, nor do they seem to care, they just keep driving, not even wondering what the pretty light is on their dash. That inattention will lead and has led to devastating consequences. They limp along thinking that the lack of power is how it is supposed to be, as that is all they have ever known. You just get used to the noises and clunks. Then there are others where the engine has completely blown up, yet they are still pushing forward in their own strength or so they think.  Another definition of the word attrition was “a reduction in numbers usually as a result of resignation, retirement, or death. When you think of the word attrition in the church, many have just given up and left. Church is not for them, or church is not what they thought it would be, or there was conflict, and so on. Churches are fading as the statistics show us and not just from people dying or moving to another location, but the church is dying because there is no anointing. Don’t be deceived by what the charismatics call anointing. Christianity, that is the religion christianity (little “c”), is dwindling while other religions like Islam are growing. I say religion of christianity, because those declining numbers are actually way higher than what the remnant of true Christians really is.

       Now obviously this is not a blog about cars as I am no mechanic; I just hope it starts. When thinking about how crucial oil is for the engine, I could not help but think about how crucial the Holy Spirit is for the church. Just as not having any oil is catastrophic for an engine, so is the lack of the Holy Spirit in the church, which is also catastrophic for the church. Like Israel, we were warned what would happen and today we are seeing the results and basically, we have a blown engine because the warnings have been there. Instead of stopping in our tracks, like you would do when you realize you have an oil pressure problem in your car, the church just changed scripture, wrote new doctrines, modified theology and carried on as if there was nothing wrong, but with no power. The church has been defeated like an engine without oil, as God has turned His face from us. For some, there has been a slow leak, while others there are parts and pieces strewn along and they are finished. With this kind of failure, a mechanic would assess the situation and find that there was no oil in the car and then show all the damage. That is what should be happening in the church. Sadly, many have looked elsewhere for parts and even new engines (gods /other gospels) instead of looking to God and humbling themselves before Him and then finding out what it is like to be part of the church with power from the Holy Spirit’s anointing. It would look like Jesus. The church is supposed to be a powerhouse, not a clunker spewing parts and smoke. The other troubling part of the church is, if this really was about a car, most people would have taken care of it and would never have let this happen to something they paid thousands of dollars for. But when it comes to the church, they are more than happy to sit by and let it blow up because all they know is the clunking and lack of power and many refuse to do anything (repent) about it, that is until they are stranded on the side of the road somewhere. For the most part it is too late, as the engine warning light has been on for years, but it was either covered up or disconnected and they refuse to take a close look at the problem. Many have died never knowing the truth of the gospel. 

        As in all analogies based on something human, this is where the analogy falls short but still makes the point. A car will never have the power of the church, even the power of NASCAR or Formula 1. In the auto industry there are all kinds of oils used, from whatever is cheap and on sale, to high performance oils and synthetics. Man has been able to make their own synthetic oils and have been very successful. My Jetta has always had the European Synthetic Oil. (I don’t know the difference) and can go longer between oil changes. When talking about oil, man has been able to create amazing synthetic oils to meet the demands of modern engines, both street and racing. As I was thinking about the church, man has also been able to do amazing things with their own hands, which I will also label synthetic (something made to imitate). This is where the analogy falls short. You might think synthetic oils are amazing and you would be right. Mobil says this on their website. “Yes, synthetic oil is better for your engine than conventional oil. Although conventional oil (i.e., mineral oil) can provide adequate lubrication performance, it can’t compete with the overall engine performance and protection provided by synthetics. Overall, full synthetic oils provide better engine performance and protection than conventional and synthetic blend motor oils.” Many churches you see that are successful could fit under this description of synthetic oils. They appear to be doing everything remarkably well and God seems to be blessing, like the powerful cars Mobil supports. But on close inspection of these synthetic churches, you find that they teach other gospels and have no power. The power these churches do have is worldly power, not power from on High. There is a huge difference. Building the church with our own hands is not amazing, but is rebellion against God. Building the church with our own power and the strength of our hands has caused God to turn His face from the church. In the end though, whether your car is a daily driver or a high performance race car that uses synthetic oil or conventional oil, if you don’t have any, the engine will die. If the Holy Spirit is not present you will also die. Paul said 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”

        As we talked about the last few days, God allowed the Babylonians to destroy Israel and Judah and take them captive because of their disobedience. That would never have happened if they had obeyed. The anointing of the Holy Spirit represents God’s presence and holiness. David said, Psalm 23:5 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 89:3 “You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, 4 ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.’ 9 Once you spoke in a vision, to your faithful people you said: “I have bestowed strength on a warrior; I have raised up a young man from among the people. 20 I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him. 21 My hand will sustain him; surely my arm will strengthen him. 22 The enemy will not get the better of him; the wicked will not oppress him. 23 I will crush his foes before him and strike down his adversaries. 24 My faithful love will be with him, and through my name his horn will be exalted.” 1 Samuel 16:13 “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.” Isaiah 61:3 “and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

        Instead of listening to God and obeying His word, Israel and Judah had decided to do things in the strength of their own hands without the power of God’s presence. Then God turned His face from them and their enemies were then able to destroy everything that God had given them. God said Jeremiah 5:11 “The people of Israel and the people of Judah have been utterly unfaithful to me,” declares the Lord. 12 They have lied about the Lord; they said, “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. 13 The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them.” 14 Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty says: Because the people have spoken these words, I will make my words in your mouth a fire and these people the wood it consumes. 15 People of Israel,” declares the Lord, “I am bringing a distant nation against you.” Jeremiah 21:10 “I have determined to do this city harm and not good, declares the Lord. It will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire.” Jeremiah 23:17 “They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.” That would be like someone telling you to ignore the warnings about your oil in your car, except it is far worse because it has eternal repercussions. 

        It got so bad that they were removed from the Promised Land. Jeremiah said, Jeremiah 25:3 “For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened. 4 And though the Lord has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention. 5 They said, “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the Lord gave to you and your ancestors for ever and ever. 6 Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not arouse my anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you.” 7 “But you did not listen to me,” declares the Lord, “and you have aroused my anger with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.” 8 Therefore the Lord Almighty says this: “Because you have not listened to my words, 9 I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,” declares the Lord, “and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. 10 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” As we talked about with those who went down to Egypt, Jeremiah 44:27 “For I am watching over them for harm, not for good; the Jews in Egypt will perish by sword and famine until they are all destroyed.”

            Today’s church really doesn’t want you to hear the message that God will watch over them for harm. Instead, they tell you your oil fine, no harm will come to you. They quote Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” That is true but only when the oil is present. As it is, they should be sounding the alarm, not telling you everything is alright. They are giving people a false sense of security. Sure, they tell you, you will probably make it but satan knows full well that you will not. Today most people who call themselves Christians have staked their lives, both present and eternal, to the churches they go to and the distinctives they teach and believe. You can hear them say, this is the church, this is the church, but they are trusting in deceptive words as Jeremiah told the people Jeremiah 7:2 “‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord. 3 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever. 8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.” Many in the church are like this, Psalm 10:2 “In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. 3 He boasts about the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. 4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. 5 His ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him; he sneers at all his enemies. 6 He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.” He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.” They have no fear of God.

        God then tells Jeremiah. Jeremiah 7:16 “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to arouse my anger. 19 But am I the one they are provoking? declares the Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame? 20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: My anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place—on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the crops of your land—and it will burn and not be quenched. 21 “‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves! 22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors.’ 27 “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. 28 Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.” Sadly, this describes the church today, a church running it its own strength without the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Most churches do not realize they are worshipping other gods, so that might as well be making cakes to the queen of heaven.

        Because of this rebellion, truth has been thrown down and deception and delusion have permeated the church and it stands desolate. How Jesus intended the church to be is no longer. The anointing of the Holy Spirit has turned away no longer being poured out. We will be talking about how it is supposed to be coming up, but for now we are told Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Hebrews 1:8 “But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” Acts 10:37 “You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” It was here Peter said, Acts 10:46 “Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” John the Baptist said, Mark 1:7 “And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” This would have been the church. Mark 1:32 “That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons.” Mark 6:13 “They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” Luke 10:19 “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” 

        Scripture tells us the priests and kings were anointed with oil. The anointing of oil represented God’s presence and His choice and holiness. When they set up the tabernacle, Exodus 40:9 “Take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it; consecrate it and all its furnishings, and it will be holy. 10 Then anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils; consecrate the altar, and it will be most holy.” When the priests were consecrated Exodus 29:7 “Take the anointing oil and anoint him by pouring it on his head.” When David was anointed God said, Psalm 89:20 “I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him.” This next verse some use to explain away their faulty eternal security teaching. For those who said a person was saved but their lives represent something closer to serving satan, they say they were not saved in the first place even though they also say God does the saving. What this verse does do is talk about the deception in the church and how many have turned away. Statistically Christianity is in decline but it has been for generations. Most of the stats are about who goes to church, not who is truly committed to Jesus and His gospel. John says, John 2:18:1 “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.”

        If the Holy Spirit was as present as many in the church say, then there would be power, not just talk. The church today is filled with sick people and many on medication. Mental health has decline with depression and anxiety increasing. Basically, all the sickness we see in the world, are in the church. Yes, there are some who get better, but some get better in the world to. This next verse is a how we can measure power in the church. This is an oil pressure gauge and the warning light is on. James tells us, James 5:14 “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” That is the power of the church. Jesus sent out His disciples and Luke 9:1 “gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Jesus is still alive, there are still disciples and there are sick people everywhere. The problem is there is no oil. Once again, we need to have the anointing of the Holy Spirit as Jesus said, Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” Acts 26:17 “I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Mark 6:13 “They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”