Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What about the Change?

I've been reflecting on a lot of things lately. I seem to have the gift of overanalyzing just about everything. Sometimes, that can be a good thing and sometimes it just gets me in trouble. Actually, this may be one of those times, but here we go anyway!

I grew up in a pretty serious "pentecostal holiness" church. These people were serious about being holy. When I was a kid, there was a period of time when I even thought I had their holiness thing figured out. If it was fun or enjoyable, it was of the devil, so we weren't allowed to do it. In other words, sometimes in their zeal for being righteous, they may have gone overboard a bit, but their hearts were in the right spot.

In those days there was no real room for gray. What was right was right, and what was wrong was wrong. As a kid and later as a teenager, I didn't always like what I was taught. In fact, there were times when I decided I not only didn't like it, but I wasn't going to do it. Let those old people have that "being holy" stuff. I'm going to have fun. You know what though? Even when I walked away from the church, I never tried to justify my sin. I never tried to open my Bible and find some out of context scripture to justify what I knew was wrong. I knew I was doing wrong. I may have done it anyway, but I knew it was wrong.

Somewhere along the way there seemed to have been a pendulum swing in the church. As I said earlier, I believe there were times when the "holiness" movement may have gone a little bit too far. There were some that made holiness way less about the condition of a heart and more a bunch of rules and regulations. In an effort to correct some overly zealous teaching the next generation began preaching all about freedom and grace. This is good right. Well, yeah, but just like those who overdo holiness, there are those who overdo freedom and grace. What??? How could we possibly overdo freedom and grace?

I know some of you are not going to like this but here we go. The line to let me know how ignorant I am will form on the right side, single file please.

Somewhere along the way, it became O.K. to sin. In fact, it has gotten kind of trendy.The new mantra is Grace will cover it. I have freedom in Christ, so it's O.K. Isn't Jesus wooonnnnderful!!

Now it's O.K. to drink, it's O.K. to do drugs. In the last two years, I have had more conversations about alcohol and drug consumption for Christians than I have ever in my life. Don't bother me with the Bible verses that tell me not to do this. Don't bother me with drug and alcohol consumption being like witchcraft. Never mind how what you're doing could affect others around you. I JUST DON"T CARE! Don't bother me, I'm more interested in being cool. Give me two shots of alcohol on Saturday, and a shot of Jesus on Sunday and we will be good to go. How about the Marijuana was created by God and it comes from the earth, so it's good. Puff puff. Yea man! Are Christians really becoming this ignorant?

And then there's this. Somewhere along the line sexual promiscuity became O.K. Churches across the country are being packed out every week with couples that are living together outside of marriage.I recently saw an advertisement for a Television documentary on two couples that were planning on getting married. But wait here's the CRAZY part. They were going to get married and they hadn't....GASP!!!....LIVED TOGETHER FIRST. Sex outside of marriage? No Big Deal. God's grace covers it. I have freedom in Christ.

Our churches are full of men AND woman who are caught up in pornography and have no conviction. They come to church and just want to be told that they are a champion and that God has a great plan for accelerating their lives, and making them rich and famous. Don't bother me with the repent from your sin stuff. God's grace covers me every time. I have freedom in Christ! Now what was that porn site again?

How about when the ladies come to church dressed more like they are heading for the strip club than the altar. How about they dress that way because it makes the "Christian" men give them all the attention they are really looking for. Hey, I can dress anyway I want. I can look at anyone I want. I have freedom in Christ. God's grace covers me every time.

How about the language that come out of the mouths of the people of God. Many think nothing of popping off with a few profanities, inuendos, and inappropriate jokes while standing in the sanctuary where they are about to "worship" God. I have people say stuff to my face as a pastor that would have gotten me a swift slap in the mouth by my parents when I was young............Hey wait a minute! That gives me an idea!

I could go on, but you are probably getting the point. My question is this. What about the change? I'm pretty sure when i read my Bible it tells me that although God's gift of grace is free, and his freedom absolute, it comes with a change. It is natural. It is not something that is attached to rules and regulations, it has to do with pleasing the God that gave you the gift. If there is not a change going on in our life after we receive Christ, then we have to SERIOUSLY take a look at our lives and see if everything is as it should be.

If no one has ever told you in your church, Sin is not O.K. In fact, The Bible says this:

Hebrews 10:26-29

Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received a full knowledge of the truth, there is no other sacrifice that will cover these sins. 27 There will be nothing to look forward to but the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. 28 Anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Think how much more terrible the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God and have treated the blood of the covenant as if it were common and unholy. Such people have insulted and enraged the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to his people.

Uh-Oh I just went all hell fire and brimstone on you. But seriously, All of the sin that is going on in the church today needs to stop. This is a serious passage of scripture. It is time for the church to reclaim real holiness. If you are currently entertaining some form of what you know in your heart is wrong, and haven't addressed it. Do it now!! We really don't know how much time we have in this life. Don't be a fool who is treating the blood of Christ as common and unholy. Get your life right now!!

If you are a pastor and are reading this. Are you preaching the whole story. Are you preaching about being a champion and destiny and purpose and all of that, but leaving out the avenue to that life? GET A SPINE!! The Bible tells us that we will stand and give an account for what we taught. Are you ready for that? Or have you been "tickling ears" so you can try and get bigger offerings and more people? With a broken heart I have to say that I believe there are many pastors in the church who are currently in the process of gaining the whole world, but losing their soul. Many will stand before God and He will say "I don't know you."

I'm not saying this stuff because I am trying to get a rise out of people or get more people to read my ramblings.In fact, this stuff is really not what I enjoy writing about. I want to write about being a champion too!! I'm writing this after being broken by God at the state of affairs in the church today. The church really does need to wake up. Time is short.