We need to ask ourselves some important questions today. Why are men in the ministry? What is their goal, their purpose? What are they doing and why? Why do people go to church? What is their purpose? The answering of these question tell us a lot about why the church is in the state it is in today in America.
Today, success in ministry is the ability to say what a lot of people want to hear, thereby building the ‘church’ in numbers. It is not the ability to please God, it is not the ability to stand and deliver the uncompromised Word of God to the people. It is not to warn the people against sin, compromise or God’s judgment for rebellion and wickedness. Many big church’s are full of men putting on a performance and entertaining the people and to pump up their flesh to appease and please their flesh so that they will keep coming and giving their money. Most big ministries today are nothing more than personality cults. Singing in the church should not be to entertain the people and put on a flesh show, but to lead the people into true worship. John 4:23-24 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” A crowd in a church doesn’t mean that it has been successful in God’s eyes. We want to go to churches with a big crowd, but many of those have had ‘ichabod’ written over the doors long ago and the people are so spiritually dead they don’t understand what is going on and God doesn’t go anywhere near them and has nothing to do with what is going on inside them. We think the bigger the crowd, the greater the anointing. That is false. The preachers try to find out what the people want to hear and then go that direction, instead of the Spirit of God leading the man of God leading the people, which is the pattern of God, we have the people voting on what they want to hear by their attendance and if they like what is being said. They will follow the preacher until he says something they don’t want to hear. Many churches let the pastor know what they want to hear and many have been told, “you can preach anything you want, except…” what they don’t want to hear. This is not the ministry or the true church. This will never bring salvation to the unsaved or revival in this land.
But these things are true because the crowds don’t normally go the right way, the way of righteousness, the narrow way that leads to eternal life, but the broad way that leads to destruction. Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
The preacher’s job is not in win friends and to influence people. Our job and our desire should be to fall in love with the Word of God and the Lord Jesus Christ and lead the people to do the same. To fall in love with what God loves and hate what God hates, the difference between the Holy and the Profane. That should be our intent, to please Him, whether of not people are pleased. But that isn’t popular and doesn’t bring big crows and big ministries. So most big ministries are gospel entertainers with a large following.
We have become a people that are self-interested, self-sufficient and self-indulgent and full of self. We don’t consider what God thinks or what He wants or if He is pleased with what is going on in churches and the lives of the people. It’s all about money! Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Deuteronomy 10:12 “What doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,” We need to fall in love with the things of God – to return to our first love and fall in love, not with what we want and desire. That has been the problem since the fall of man; we think we know what is best and what is right and wrong for us outside of God. Proverbs 21:2 “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes:” That is partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil instead of receiving our knowledge of right and wrong from God as man did before he fell. That was part of the temptation. You don’t need God to tell you what is right or wrong for your life, you can know what is right for yourself and choose for yourself. That was the part of being like God. That is part of the pride of life. We need to go back to the tree of life and stop partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That is wrong and that is rebellion and sin against God because He commanded man not to partake of that tree. It is a spiritual thing and problem we are talking about.
In Revelation 2:4-5 Jesus said; “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works;” That’s what you did when you first fell in love with Jesus when you were saved, forgiven and born again of His Spirit. The problem today is that most are never ‘born again’ only converted to religion and being religious. How can you ‘return’ to a first love that you never had? Then they think because they go to some church on Sunday, God is pleased and they will go to heaven. Luke 13:24-27 “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.”
Success in ministry is being able to say with a bunch of persuasive charisma what people want to hear. It is all about numbers and money, building the biggest or fastest growing church. That is not success. Success is not having the approval of man, but the approval of God. Galatians 1:10 “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
We are supposed to be leaders who like Paul can say, follow me as I follow Christ. But that is not what is happening. The church is full of blind leaders of the blind, who don’t know God, haven’t heard from God and don’t understand the things of God. Jesus spoke of them is Matthew 15:14. “…They be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” Most preachers have a big crowd, but they aren’t even born again, much less full of the Spirit of God. It should be the man of God, leading the people of God, being led by the Spirit of God and not what is going on in the churches. Today the people are leading the preacher and he is only preaching what they want to hear and tickling their itching ears and not telling the truth. They don’t want to hear the truth, but what pleases their flesh and fits what they desire. They don’t want to be corrected and told right from wrong. They want to hear smooth things. Their attitude of heart, even if they don’t say it, is described in Isaiah 30:10-11. “Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.”
Most are so full of ego and pride, they don’t know anything - if God is in it or not, if it is the truth or not, if God is pleased or not. It is all about them, about man instead of about God and His Will and His way and His Word. That is a why the church is being rejected by the unsaved. The church has no living testimony before the world! They love the ways of the world, the things of the word, they want the best the world has to offer and are as worldly as the unsaved and don’t want to change or give up their worldly ways. Yet at the same time they want God’s best blessing and heaven too and that just won’t happen. They forget 1 John 2:15-17 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
There is little of the Cross and the blood of Jesus. Little of repentance and changing of lifestyle to live by the Word of God. It is not supposed to be the preachers job to be running a popularity contest, to be pleasing the people and a church that just pats each other on the back (The Mutual Admiration Society) while doing nothing that God demands.
We equate success to big crows and money coming in to the church. To the things that men look at and thing are something worthy of being noted. God is not concerned with what men think is something. That which impresses man doesn’t impress God. Luke 16:15 “for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”
People go to a particular church because of the singing, the programs, the this or that, but not because they what to learn more of Jesus and learn more about Him and live to please Him. It’s supposed to be all about Jesus, about what the Father wants. About worshipping Him, about giving Him the glory He deserves, about hearing His Word, about learning of His ways and walking in His paths.
We need to look at why we go to church. Most are singing songs to each other rather than to the Lord. The come to hear what they want and not what they need, to be pleased and satisfied. They sing songs about and to each other rather than songs of worship to Him. Church is about Him, not us.
Years ago the #1 prayer request in prayer lines was for lost souls, family and friends. Now it is (1) for healing of body, (2) for prosperity (behind healing by only about 3 percentage points). We are asking for prayer for self and self interests. Prayer for lost souls is at the bottom of our priorities. Yet we should not be trying to win souls because they need to be saved. We are not trying to win souls because they are lost. We are trying to win souls for Jesus, because created them, loves them and died for them that they shouldn’t end up in hell – because it is the heartbeat of God and desire that none should be lost. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, …not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Romans 5:6-8 “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” We win the lost to Christ because we love Him and because of what He did for us! It’s all about Him, not about us! He didn’t save us to dress up pretty and go to church on Sunday. We won’t even mention Easter and what goes on in the church then.
We have made the preachers servants of our own fleshly desires. It isn’t that God doesn’t want to heal us or prosper us, but we need to understand that the reason God wants to heal us and prosper us is so that He can establish His covenant in the earth and receive the reward of His suffering on Calvary – souls for His kingdom. God wants us to lay down our lives for the gospel of Jesus. Mark 8:35 “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.” Mark 10:29-30 “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” God didn’t save us, deliver us, heal us and more all so that we could heap it to ourselves and sit in church and complain about our little nothing problems and ask God why He hasn’t given us that new Mercedes we have been asking for.
We have stopped caring about the Lost and being a witness for Jesus and care only about self. We have brought self into the church and glorified and exalted it. We have brought covetousness into the church and sanctified it and it is causing the unsaved to mock and ridicule the church.
God has called us to lay down our lives, not take it up. He has called us to serve and not to demand to be served. Most go to church so God can serve them. They go not to give unto the Lord what which is His and bless His name and give the worship that He is do, but for what they can get out of God. They think that because they go to church God owes them and He is impressed and will grant them their fleshly desires. They aren’t coming to church because they love God and love the brethren, but because they love themselves!
We are approaching the end of time and the second coming of Jesus. Then it will be to late to change our ways, to give God the glory He deserves, to preach the truth and live the life of the Spirit, rather than walking in the flesh.
How will we answer God. Why did he save us? That we might please ourselves? That we might become covetous of the world, things and money and desire the best of this world and to be exalted and made somebody. Do we go to church for fire insurance and to have God bless us and give us all that we want while we do nothing for Him.
We are a people that as those in Jesus day have missed our day of visitation, our opportunity to repent and turn from our selfish sinful ways back unto the ways of righteousness. Jesus wept over Jerusalem because they missed their opportunity of salvation. Luke 19:41-44 “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” Is Jesus likewise weeping over His people in America today? He has visited us and come to deliver us from ourselves. He has come to loose us from our religious hypocrisy. But what have we done?
September 11, 2001 was a wake-up call that we totally missed and now more than ever men are turning away from God.
Micah 6:8 “And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.” Don’t have mercy, love mercy. Verse 8 follows verses Micah 1-7. “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.”
Micah 3:1-2 “And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment? Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them…” That is what is happening in the majority of churches today. This is what the leaders are doing to the people of God instead of feeding them the manna from heaven, building them up and leading them to lives of righteousness, it is all for personal recognition, fame, name, kingdom building and ego propping. Besides what is happening in the churches here, in other countries 2/3rds of Christians today are living under persecution and starvation. Today more are giving their lives and suffering persecution that at any time in and in fact the entirety of history before today. Psalm 14:4 “Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.” Christians in other countries are paying a price for following the Lord, while here the believers are being raped financially and deceived by false doctrines and doctrines of devils. 1Timothy 4:1-2 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”
Last year we spent more on diet coke in the US than we did on foreign missions. Yet our people pray for prosperity, when they live like kings compared to the world. We are as a bunch of spoiled rotten brats. We who have to decide which of 6 or 12 pairs of shoes to wear, which of their myriad of clothes, most of the world are barely clothed. We are a people whose God is our belly and we can’t bear to stay in church on Sunday morning past 12 because we have to go eat. The idea of missing a meal to give that others might eat is unacceptable to most who see themselves as ‘King’s kids’ that deserve the best this world has to offer. We can’t give up a meal for Christ or for our brethren in need because of our selfishness. We are a bunch of babies and not like the believers of the first century when the poor gave beyond their ability to others they saw as more needy. 2 Corinthians 8:1-4 “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.” So unlike these early Christians, we are selfish and self-centered and egotistical and care nothing of the world around us and those in need, even brothers and sisters in Christ. We should be ashamed of the way we live like kings with no concern for others.
God is about to put the church through the fire. God is about to judge the church in America because He tells us that judgment must begin in the church of God and will before God judges the sinners of the world. We are so spoiled that we get upset when we don’t get everything we want, when we can’t have a new car or something we want while we have brethren in foreign countries with nothing, in church with no shoes, in tattered clothes, without proper food, being persecuted for Christ and we do nothing but complain and act like spoiled brats. We are running around saying, I want to be taught, wanting teaching seminars and are “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). We are wanting to be spoon-fed, can’t study the Word for ourselves, do not check out the word of the preacher to make sure it is the truth, as the Berean’s and we have heard enough that we should be teaching others and yet still need to be taught again, the very basics of the Christian life.
God will judge us as liars, hypocrites and spiritually dead men, full of rebellion, mean and short tempered, full of hate and unforgiveness and selfishness and self-willed and self-sufficiency. We want to name it and claim it and think God is just there as a big sugar daddy, Santa Claus in the sky waiting for our gimme list to fulfill our lustful desires. We stand in church and claim our rights as if God owes us something when we have done nothing to deserve it and ask for a new Mercedes and new home and care nothing for the lost and dying. We want all the promises of God, all the blessings of God as His children, when we have not met the conditions of receiving His blessing and provision and have no commitment to Him or His Word. We have no spiritual backbone and stand for nothing. This is not Christianity. Christianity is a covenant relationship, but we want God to give all He promised for His people without meeting the requirements of being His children. We want the best heaven has to offer and want to give nothing back in return, no strings attached. Let us assume that you are wealthy. How would you feel of some beggar coming to you and saying, I have decided to be your son and so I want you to give me all the inheritance and benefits of being your son but I am not willing to take your name, live under your authority or do anything in return that you might ask of me. What would your response be to such a bum?
What do we expect Jesus to say and do when He comes back to such a church? Is this the blood washed church He is returning for to give eternal rewards too? We have forgotten the cross, the suffering of Christ for us. We have forgotten who we are and who God is. We have lost sight of all spiritual priorities.
Micah 3:5, 9 “Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him… Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.” You have more than you should and won’t say what you should and speak the truth. (V.11) “The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.”
Jeremiah 23:21-22 “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.” (V.25-32) “I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.” Scripture is full of verses that describe the current state of the church in America. But I want to go beyond our current state of affairs.
Micah 3:8 “But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.” Then the people begin to repent and when they do… Micah 6:1-3 “Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice. Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD'S controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel. O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.” Look at your condition. Did I do this to you? (V.4) “For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants;” Did this make you turn out this way? That I set you free and prospered you and let you live like a king and fed you when many in the world are starving. What caused you to become this way? What did I do to you? Whether you recognize it or not, at some time you will come to the end and to your senses.
Micah 6:6 “Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?” What do you want Lord? This is revival. When we come to the place of asking God, what do you want, not God, this is what I want to do and I expect you to bless it and make you like a king. When we stop asking and expecting God to be our servant and serve us and are willing to say to Him as the Lord Jesus did, “not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).
God is not after your money, your empty worship… what He wants is for you to ask Him what He wants on the earth and He wants you to have fruit undo eternal life. Ask Him for His will and purpose. What does He want? Psalm 2:8 “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” He wants us to ask Him for His hearts desire and what He wants is souls. That is the heartbeat of God. Jesus didn’t die for men to go to hell, but that they might be saved. What does God want for us, but to do justly, to feed our brothers who are hungry, to clothe them and pray for them that are hurting and to be a light in the midst of darkness.
Is Christianity just going to church for what you can get out of God? God says, you know what to do. Do what is right. Walk humbly, do justly and bring souls unto Him.
2 Corinthians 6:2 “(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” Do you need to repent and return unto the Lord and His ways? Do you need to return to your first love and the God of your salvation? He is waiting to hear your cry, so that He can answer. He is waiting to hear your repentance so He can forgive and restore. He is waiting to hear you ask for deliverance and freedom from the shackles of bondage that have held you so that He can set you free and you can know the liberty of Christ. Not a liberty to sin, but a freedom from sin and it’s power to control your life. Anything that you cannot master and put under your foot; is your master and has you under foot. That is not where God wants us to live, but in His presence.
Will you pray and ask God to come back to sit upon the throne of your hear and be your LORD and SAVIOR? For He is either both or neither! Which will it be? There are only two choices. To submit to the Lordship of Jesus or to reject His lordship! It is an eternal choice. There are only to kingdoms, that of heaven and hell and two eternal destinies. There are only two kings, two masters, Jesus and Satan. And you have to choose which it will be. That is the power of choice God has given you as a free moral agent. You have the freedom to choose for yourself and God will not violate your free will or force you, but will accept and honor your choice, for life or for death, which ever it may be. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life,” Choose Jesus! Choose life! Choose heaven! Ask Jesus to forgive your living independently of Him and His will, surrender your life to Him and receive Him into your heart for now and eternity. You will be eternally glad you did.
If you want Him, pray in your own words or even these words: “Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that I have sinned before you and broken your commandments and lived in rebellion to your will for me. I am asking you to forgive me of all my sins and transgressions before you. I am asking that you wash my sins away by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus and cleanse my heart and give me a new heart and a new spirit that I will love you and obey you. Lord Jesus, I am asking you to come into my heart and become my Lord and Savior. I freely accept your sacrifice for my sin and I ask you to come into my life and change me and make me a new creation and take out of me the love for sin and that which is against your commandments and give me a love for the things of your kingdom that I might love you and serve you from this day forward. I give you my life. Take it and change it and make me a vessel of honor. Thank you Jesus for hearing my prayer and coming into my heart and thank you Father for forgiving my sins. I know I don’t deserve it and can do nothing to merit or deserve it, but I believe your word and believe that you have forgiven my sin because I have asked in faith and I believe that you will do for me what you said. Thank you for making me your child. In Jesus Name, Amen!”
It’s not the specific words as much as the sincerity of your heart to humble before God and repent of your sin and believe Him. It is all by confessing what we believe God has said to us and that He will forgive us and give us new life, when we ask Him too.