“And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and steadfast — if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made minister.”—— Colossians 1:21-23
What if you were inside your home sound asleep and didn’t realize the house was on fire and quickly burning to the ground. What if you had a terminal disease, in which you only had a short period of time to live, that doctors, family, and friends knew about, but you were unaware. Or what if the things you believed about faith and church were not actually true. Would you want to know??
We all know the answer. Of course we would want to know. But when it comes to discernment about Christianity and churches these days, people would rather not hear the “bad news”.
The truth is that what many are following and believing about “Christianity” is no where near the truth of what we see in the Bible. I don’t go a day without seeing, hearing, reading, or meeting with those that are claiming to be following the Truth, but don’t realize that what is disguised as true faith, is only leading them to destruction.
Let’s be clear. It’s time for all believers to wake up. The cost is too great; eternity is at stake. And I for one, can’t sit back and watch as those around me walk around like everything is just fine when many believe and are a part of something that is leading to their eternal demise.
I know some may be thinking, “Here we go again, another post about how ‘all’ churches are bad”. Or that, “Randy is just ‘upset’ and has is out for anyone who doesn’t believe ‘just like him’”.
The truth is that there are very few people these days that I find who are humble and teachable enough to talk about the real issues happening within so-called churches. And even more rare are those who are really committed to reading and studying the Bible to be able to sift through truth and error or even truth and opinion.
I do admit that I find myself pretty upset at times. But even more, really sad about the direction in which I see so many going. When I, and those believers I talk with, struggle with being able to point to any churches that are actually preaching and teaching the Bible, as well seeking to live out the true characteristics of the Church we see in Scripture, it is really troubling. This is the reason that I cannot sit idly by watching people embracing things that are so unbiblical. It is crushing. I care far too deeply to not speak up and warn anyone and everyone I am able. Even if I need to speak repeatedly about the same things.
Don’t get me wrong, I know there is a remnant of earnest believers seeking to follow the truth of Scripture. And I know there is a remnant of churches that are seeking the same. But let’s not kid ourselves. Much of what we see today is not really what the Church looks like from what we see in the Bible. Enough with the excuses that there are “no perfect churches”. And if we are really honest with ourselves, let’s not simply “settle” when we know that the pastors, leaders, and people in churches aren’t willing to make bold stands for the Truth; especially when it is not popular.
When you read through the Bible, it is clear that God cares deeply about the Truth. In the New Testament, it is one person after another pleading and appealing for people to remain steadfast. If it mattered that much in Scripture, shouldn’t all who claim a faith in Jesus have the same zeal for the Truth??
It is easy to sit back and not question whether what we are being taught or what we believe about faith and church is right. It is easier to keep the status quo than be known as confrontational. The old cliche is that it is called the “comfort zone” for a reason. We have been told that inviting our friends to church, “serving” in the church, being activists for “social justice”, and doing community service projects are stepping outside of our bubble and being a part of “something bigger than ourselves”. But in reality, these things look more like the world than truly “going and making disciples”.
I have been warned throughout my time in ministry that I need to be careful in criticizing churches and what people believed. And I have taken that advice to heart and still often think about that counsel. It is important to not rashly go after things without careful prayer and study. I’ve also learned that when there is clear danger, we must speak up. People may not like hearing the truth, or even like us because of us trying to share the truth in love. But what most miss is that it is quite unloving to not tell someone the truth; even if it is difficult for all involved.
We must contend for the faith.
Paul reminds us in the first chapter of Colossians of our prior life of being engaged in “evil deeds”, all that Jesus has done for us, and the critical importance of finding ourselves “firmly established and steadfast” in the faith. This isn’t just a suggestion, but a command that we must examine ourselves with daily; that we are personally growing in applying God’s Word to our lives and surrounding ourselves with others doing the same. We must not “move away from the hope of the gospel” in order to compromise, accommodate, or even be afraid that we might hurt people’s feelings because of speaking the Truth.
Churches and what people believe about Christianity are truly on fire, have terminal diseases, and much of what is being modeled is not true. It may all sound good and be wrapped up to sound “Christian”. But we also know from 1 Corinthians 11:12-15 where it says, “But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”
We must take what we are seeing today extremely serious and separate ourselves from the clear compromises. I challenge each of us to consider how to define the Church from what we see in the Bible and not by what is being peddled as “christianity” and “church” today. I bet we would all find that we need some serious adjustments in order to truly be living as the Church.
In the next post, “What Is The Church??”