I go to church is the normal response to Christianity today. The church then plays on this and fills the void with things to do, things to listen too, things to watch and things to feel part of. Everything goes great until one day something happens around you or in your life that gets you to question God because your teaching hasn’t covered everything. satan is still deceiving and is trying to get you to turn away and question God. He continues to ask; did God really say that? From this many will find out someday they have been deceived and here Jesus say, away from me I don’t know you. Most Christians don’t know what they have been saved from and many do not even make sure. They simply think they are saved because they go to church. Visiting a football field does not make you a player. Nor does visiting a military base make you a soldier. Christianity is not a spectator sport nor are we supposed to be standing on the sidelines as Casting Crowns sing. Salvation has become something you attend and watch. The battle is on the field and that is what we are to be part of. Salvation is not being saved out of this world but saved so that we can be sent out into the world. Acts 26:8 “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.” We cannot do this unless we have the power of the Holy Spirit. Christianity is not about gathering as a group away from the world but gathering as a group to be sent out into the world in the power of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately the gathering as a group at church has become the definition of Christianity instead of the being sent. The church built upon this idea because it is easy. Follow this plan and you will be successful. That actually is not true but so many will give their lives for the wrong plan. Some will succeed some will fail miserably but in the end both fail. This idea of serving the congregation and not offending them stands at the forefront of most churches today. If they actually preached God’s word they would be offended and probably leave. Yes many talk of love but not His love endures forever kind of love, the love that wins battles. The church of today loves the how to messages but don’t challenge me with living wholeheartedly for Jesus Christ and don’t expect me to surrender anything. Most churches teach a wholehearted dedication to that particular denomination or church not necessarily a total surrender to the word of God.
What they have ended up doing is teaching a watered down gospel on how to be a lukewarm Christian. This is not salvation as you are not saved from anything. They have sold their souls for numbers and popularity. The new Christian can be described as nominally committed, apathetic narcissists. This is not the Christianity we were taught to follow by Jesus. What most Christians do not know is what they have been saved from and what happens following. What they think is salvation is only a commitment to further perpetuate false teaching and doctrine. The point at which you realize you have been duped is crucial to your well-being. Finding out when you die is to late as Jeremiah 5:31 says, “The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” There is no such thing as a lukewarm christian even though there are many who are lukewarm calling themselves christians. For example when they took the land, they were specifically told in Leviticus 20:22 “Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. 23 You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. 24 But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.” 26 You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.” God made this very clear to Israel that they must obey. God has made it very clear to us also but this is where the great deception occurs and most of the church is not asking what happens when we don’t totally surrender ourselves. The words nominal apathetic narcissists do not go with the word surrender. They do not ask because the lack of knowledge is killing them. Instead the consequences are removed and cheap grace has been sold instead. Cheap grace covers up ignorance but eventually it catches up with you, hopefully before you die. In Revelation we are told again just like the Old Testament what would happen in our disobedience. Revelation 3:5 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.”
We are told to totally commit ourselves to God’s word. We were told what to do in Deuteronomy. I find it interesting that so many in the church do not take the Old Testament as relevant. This is a deception of satan because if he satan can get you to ignore what happens if you disobey then he has you. satan knows that if you read it you will then see that you will join him in the end. Deuteronomy 6:1 “These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Jesus tells the expert of the law, Matthew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Late the jailer is saved. Acts 16:29 “The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” We are missing this kind of power. We must understand the Old Testament is relevant to our faith. Notice the walk of faith Hebrews 10 talking about the Old Testament. It is interesting that how much of the Old Testament is in the New.
We are not called to a lukewarm life. If you walk that road you will be spewed out of Jesus mouth whether you know it or not. The book of Revelation ends with this. Revelation 22:12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” Do you not think we should live in fear of changing the bible by adding and subtracting it? We are already paying the price for that but that is part of the deception.
Today’s message in the church is sending people to hell. The alarms should be sounding but people have agreed to disagree. A lack of faith due to unbelief fills the sanctuaries around the world. Doctrines of demons have indoctrinated the halls of education and the word of God is set aside for traditions, reasoning and the experience of man. Delusions because of unbelief sent by God fill the church today instead of the power to all who believe. Our unbelief in Gods word has left us powerless and defeated. The church is just a shell of what it is supposed to be. When they went into the land they were told Joshua 6:15 “On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! 17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.” They all agreed and shouted. Deuteronomy 20:18 “in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.” This is all about obedience. We must obey or else we will see the same results as Israel saw. After Jericho they tried to fight and lost. Joshua 7:4 “So about three thousand went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, 5 who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water. 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.”
So even though they said they were devoted they disobeyed and were defeated. Devoted means the total destruction or the giving over to completely. This is what it means to love God with all our heart. We cannot hold back for ourselves. We saw this with the lies of Ananias and Sapphira. They held back lied and died. Luke 14:25 “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. After talking to the man of great wealth, Jesus said, , “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” I think he may be talking to us the “rich; who have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” Mark 10:26 “The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” 28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” We also cannot be a friend of the world and be a friend of God.” James 4:4 “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
Jesus knows our hearts. He sees who we are and we cannot be lukewarm. This is why we should be even more desperate for revival. Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”, Matthew 9:3 “some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” 4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? The he healed the man. We cannot conceal who we are before God. So the question I want us to focus on from this day forward is; Am I totally surrendered to God? Am I devoted to Him? Do I obey him? Do I have faith in His word? Do I believe? Do we really want to see? Sure we can ask this question but are we serious about living surrendered to Him. If God is looking at our hearts, our hearts are to be changed. We then need eyes that see our hearts, not the ones that do not require faith. Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” We may think we are seeing but the truth is we need salve for our eyes so that we can see. It is not what we do or wear on Sundays but it is all about our hearts all the time.
Paul continues to pray. Ephesians 3:16 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” He then goes on and tells us Ephesians 4:11 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
So there we have it, the early church. This is where we want to be. Clothed with power, unity, apostles, prophets. Is it any wonder why we have no power today, everyone doing as the please not even aware the Lord has withdrawn the power of his Spirit. Most are content this way with a form of godliness but continue to deny His power. Why because that is what they think salvation is. Most don’t even believe in these two, healing and the demonic. Is it any wonder that the church is still on the bottle and being tossed about? That is not how it is supposed to be. James 1:6 “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” There are many being tossed about but there are just as many who have anchored their hearts to the wrong foundation instead of Hebrews 6:19 “having this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever.” So even though many say they are surrounded they are not committed. They are simply going through the motions thinking it is enough but it is not and they will not see eternity with God.
We talk a lot about the condition of the church. Yes it is very easy to turn a blind eye to it, which obviously will help you not have to change but if you are reading your bible and looking at a comparison with the bible and the church you cannot say the church has power. What we must do is not be afraid to point this out standing on the word while doing it but we must also make sure are and continue be totally surrendered to his word. Even though Paul said all these amazing things to the Ephesians here is the message Jesus gave them, of which we must heed also. I find it interesting that when we read Revelation 22 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.” They obviously needed to hear it just as we need to hear it to strengthen us today. Jesus said Revelation 2:2 “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” It is so important for us to make sure we have not forgotten our first love. But here is the predicament most find themselves in today. What exactly was the first love? Was it real? In my short life time I have seen many different reactions to the gospel. Some are emotional responses, which turns into not testing the spirit. We have legalistic responses which turn into rules and regulations and traditions. We have intellectual responses which turn into reasoning. We have community responses which allow people to feel part of something but in many cases the true relationship with Jesus Christ is missing. If Jesus Christ was there, there would be power. So then it would be wise to question our salvation. Our first love means this. Deuteronomy 26:8 “So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. 9 He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” We then are supposed to drive out demolish and destroy the enemy. We are at war with the evil one and we were promised victory but not when we disobey His word. We must know what we believe. Are you totally surrendered?