There are probably more disenfranchised Christians than there are who attend church. Even the most fundamental and conservative churches are losing members and, in some cases, closing their doors. To prevent this, some churches have taken drastic measures to hold her own in the community. The contemporary service usually has what amounts to a band or an orchestra. It is a concert and not worshiping in song.
During the week the church building is used for other purposes such as exercise groups and dance lessons. They call these extracurricular events a means to reach out into the community and attract people to come to the building that might not ever consider attending. It appears that the attitude of many churches today is to get people to come into the church by any means possible and then get them saved. This, of course, is not biblical because coming to a building, singing a song, or hearing someone talk is not a salvation experience.
The reasoning varies when people do not go to church. Perhaps there was a confrontation with another person in the church or some form of betrayal, or discovered sin by church members, or unhappiness with the way the church is run or the way the worship services are orchestrated.
Much of what is happening is contrary to the basic biblical guidance. Worship experience should be an enrichment of one’s spiritual condition. Notice how things have changed. In many cases it is not called the church, but a worship center. The indoor place of worship is not called a sanctuary. It is simply another room in the building or given a nickname. These things reflect the influence of the world on the church body. People can eat or drink fluids during the worship service. I do not see how a person could open their heart to Christ what eating a frosted bun and drinking coffee.
Some churches invite people to come as they are. Those who attend take them up on their invitation. Women come in short shorts and men come in clothing that they would not wear to work. Much of what clothing they wear looks like they would go hiking or have a day on the beach. Certainly, a person would not dress that way if they were going for a job interview. And that is what is happening when people come to church. They are having a job interview with God. How does God want to use them?
This blog is not intended to be some type of gripe session. Instead, it is to point out how the world has come into the church. The question I ask is where is holy in the building?
The word for church comes from the Greek word ekklasia or an assembly of called out ones. To change the name to worship center merely is labeling the building and not the significance of the building and those who enter.
Since this blog is not a gripe session, it is addressed to those who are disenfranchised and discouraged. For many it is hard to find a church where to worship. To these people I have some observations to share.
Consider the book of Revelations. In chapter 1 verse 19 Jesus tells John that he is to write about things that he just saw and then write about things which currently were happening and finally to write about those things which shall be. This is the outline of the entire book.
Let us draw attention to what was currently happening at the time of John and the last church that Jesus mentions to him. It was a church that actually existed at the time of John. The reason I say to consider this last church is that it is the seventh in a list of churches that depicts church history. Therefore, this last church named Laodicea is the last one before the coming of Christ. In this blog there is not enough time to discuss the sequence of events before the coming of Christ. However, we can pick up this Scripture and learn from it about today’s happenings.
Jesus said that they convinced themselves that they are wealthy and needed nothing, but he described them as wretched, miserable, blind, poor, and naked. These were real people who thought that their church was so wonderful, and Jesus said it was not. He called those people to repent.
People who believe as I do, take this as a description of modern-day churches.
To those who are disenfranchised and discouraged, understand that this passage of Scripture tells you that the condition of the church that was so criticized by Christ and prophesied is the normal condition of the church before the return of Christ.
The way people act in churches that are discouraging to others is normal according to prophecy. The falling away of people from the church is normal. The unfed hunger for believers is normal. The condition of organized religion today is unhealthy. If it were healthy, why is the church not growing and why are so many people leaving the church?
The word Laodicea when translated from Greek means the people church. So, the church is no longer filled with the presence of God as Moses and the Israelites felt with the cloud hovering over them in the wilderness. People are in charge of the church today, not God. In many cases it is sinful people who are running the church. If they are not sinners, they are Christians who are shallow and allow their natural man to override spiritual manifestations that would bring honor to God.
I will never forget a sermon illustration that our pastor gave when I was a child. He said a man had a dream and was walking with an angel down the street. He saw a church that had demons swarming all over it and then another church in which demons were asleep on the roof. He asked the angel for the meaning of this dream. The angel said those demons that were asleep on the roof had no need to work or aggravate the people inside because they already had that church under their control. However, the demons that are swarming all over the building were trying their best to defeat the gospel and those who would carry it to the world. These were spiritually strong people who follow the word of God and seek to win people to Christ.
My friend, if you feel alienated from the church, if you have feelings against the church and some so-called Christians, if you have been hurt by those who claim to be Christians, then take heart. What you have experienced is normal for this day and time as the Laodicean period right before the return of Christ.
Avoid being discouraged and keep focused. Human nature is a very difficult thing when in contrast to the spiritual man. He who would grow in the Lord is most likely to be attacked by those who are closest to him. That would be church leaders and professing Christians.
Just as the Bible says, serve the Lord with gladness. Reinvigorate your faith and be strong in the Lord. Do not allow people to distract and discourage you. What they would do is a sign of the time. Keep your eyes on Christ and know that you are living in the last days before his return.