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TITLE: UNHAPPY WITH YOUR CHURCH?????
Subtitle: Spiritual Needs Are Not Being Met And God's People Are Searching!
The vast majority of articles in the "From A Pastor's Heart" section are not meant to be devotional in nature, but to focus upon needs expressed by those who contact us. And judging from the ever-increasing numbers of people who are upset with their present situation and looking for another place to worship, this subject needs to be addressed.
It both touches my heart and troubles me greatly that so many believers today are "turned off" by their local churches. And when we look closely at the complaints, much of the dissatisfaction is understandable. Of course some people would be unhappy if the apostle Paul was their pastor, but judging from the comments I receive--most are reacting to the "plans and programs mania" currently sweeping Christendom.
Somewhere along the line counting noses became much more important than feeding sheep and that is when the apostasy kicked into high gear! One by one preachers have fallen victim to the insatiable demands of a result oriented ministry and in the process been blinded to Satan's willingness to aid them in achieving the numbers! Tares now outnumber the wheat and the relative few who truly know the Lord are hurting and looking for answers. So it is to those who are trying to separate from spiritually unprofitable situations that we address our comments.
First of all, we need to examine the following passages of Scripture carefully:
"But as for you, (the sacred appointment, the unction) the anointing you received from Him, abides (permanently) in you; [so] then you have no need that any one should instruct you. But just as His anointing teaches you concerning everything, and is true, and is no falsehood, so you must abide--live, never to depart [rooted in Him, knit to Him] just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do]" 1 John 2:27 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary, emphasis mine).
The Holy Spirit literally takes up residence within those who have been born again and will guide them "into all truth":
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come" John 16:13 (KJV, emphasis mine).
He will reveal to us the things of God:
"But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 1 Cor. 2:10 (KJV).
"Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual" 1 Cor. 2:13 (KJV).
He will also reveal to us the things of Christ:
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" John 14:26 (KJV).
The point being that the Holy Spirit guides us and teaches us as we move toward spiritual maturity. When we study the Word of God and open our hearts and understanding to the leadership of the Spirit, He has promised to teach us all we need to know. Now with that being said, a logical question arises concerning preachers/pastors. Are they absolutely necessary for a church to exist as such? And the answer of "No" will probably surprise some of you! A preacher whom God sends to a particular assembly of believers is a "gift" to them (Eph.4:11) and he (not she!) will serve as their leader to help them grow spiritually, but the ekklesia--the group of believers we call a "church" still functions as such without a pastor. Remember the Lord said:
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" Matthew 18:20 (KJV).
Beloved, the "two or three" gathered for worship in Christ's Name constitutes the New Testament definition of a church (ekklesia) and will be blessed to the degree of their devotion--not the total number of participants. And I am convinced by the attitude and actions of most "church-going" people today that they really do not understand the concept of worship! They attend for what they can get out of it, rather than offering to God their prayer and praise. A worship service is supposed to be the adoration of Christ and acknowledgment of His intrinsic worth--His "worth-ship." According to Webster's Dictionary, the word "worship" comes from the old English word weoroscipe which breaks down to weoro = worth, and scipe = ship. So when we assemble for worship, our emphasis is supposed to be on giving--not receiving. But when the attitude of our heart is correct in giving of our time, talent, and treasury, tremendous blessings are always received.
Human nature dictates that all of us want to "feel good." And bless their hearts, preachers have figured out that the easiest way to get people to come to church--and keep on coming--is to cater to that fleshly tendency. The "successful" pastor will likely be at the back door of the church after the service to shake hands (and often hug everybody who will stand still long enough--women included--which, by the way, is an open invitation for the devil to cause problems. Many godly and self-respecting women object to such contact, but keep quiet about it to avoid problems. While others who are starved for love and affection, get ideas about the preacher! Heard of any preachers having problems with sexual immorality lately?). But interestingly enough, such exibitions of "love" by the pastor are well received by most people and some get their feelings hurt if the pastor inadvertently snubs them. So cater to this innate "itch" and it will pay dividends where attendance is concerned. Youth programs are stressed because if junior/sis can be kept happy and entertained, mom and pop are much more likely to stay put. Serious bible study and sermons about bible doctrine be hanged! Crank up the canned and amplified music--99% of which is nothing more than insipid lyrics set to the world's latest music. Get toes to tapping and watch visitors come pouring in each Sunday. Then be sure to accentuate the emotional. Touch every psychological button possible with "feel good" sermons and viola! pretty soon a building program will be necessary. But may the Lord have mercy on all who fall prey to this and those who mistakenly feel such tactics are necessary. If declaring the whole counsel of God while at the same time trying to avoid the flesh is not enough to fill the pews, then let them remain empty! A few grains of wheat should be treasured above a ton of tares!
Magnificent church buildings are just that--buildings. They are not churches. God's people are the church and when they leave the building, the church leaves with them. So when a family or group of born-again believers gather around the kitchen table for prayer, praise, and Bible study--they form a church in that home! And it is my opinion that such "home churches" will likely become more and more prevalent as the apostasy spreads. During the first 200 years of the Church Age, home churches were the norm and so was persecution. And before the Lord comes for His Bride at the Rapture, history may well repeat itself.
Unhappy where you are? Dissatisfied with all the plans and programs that just stir up dust and leave you thirsty? Not being fed spritually? Cannot find a church where you feel welcome? Then start your own! Find some others who are like-minded and agree to meet together to worship God from the heart and not just fill pews with bodies. And remember that you do not need the permission of any ecclesiastical hierarchy to assemble. As the Nike sports shoe commercials advise--"Just do it!"
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.
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Finally, we would love to hear from you. You can write us at:
Cutting Edge Ministries, C/O Pastor Ron Riffe
P.O. Box 26
Gordo, AL 35466
You can also E-Mail Pastor Ronald Riffe regarding questions or comments about this article.
God bless you.