Take Jesus With You

Major forces are making inroads into the church today that threaten to alter the doctrines and integrity of Christian witness and mission.  Secularism, culture, relative truth, emergent theology, education and media all have plans to “fundamentally transform America.”  In addition to the internal corruption of the Church, governmental and social pressure has as a major focus the silencing of Christians and their counterpart conservative beliefs.

I have mentioned before about adding my voice to those who are distressed at times concerning the world of Christendom and how more and more there seems to be increasingly little difference between the behavior of Christians and that of the world.  We don’t appear to be “set apart” as the Bible instructs us to be.

Set apart means, as we know, that we are in the world but not of the world.  In fact when we see the world going in one direction it’s a pretty safe bet that Christians should be going the other way.  God creates people with an existential drive to love, and be loved/accepted by someone.  He meets the deepest love need through His Spirit living in us, if we so choose.  To be “born again” is to have a radical transformation of our life where “old things pass away and all things become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).  That includes every facet of our lives, permanently.  We experience a continual “renewing of our minds” (Rom. 12:2).

All of those who do not partake of the aforementioned become products and victims of their environment.  They know no other way.  They will naturally pick and choose that which seems best for them in accordance with whatever training and influences make up their background.  Ever present though, is that need for belonging that God built into every one of His creation.  This unconscious drive to know God finds its misplaced expression in a variety of pursuits that are directly tied to the culture that holds out the carrot to elusive happiness.

The Bible accurately explains this behavior of not knowing God as “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25) and abandoned the covenant of God.  Even for those who have not heard of God, the Bible says are without excuse simply because His creation is evidence enough for everyone to seek Him (Romans 1:18ff).  And so it is today, everyone is “doing their own thing” and according to them no one has the right to judge whether that is good or bad.  Without God there is no sin.  But what about professing Christians who claim salvation, but have not the evidence of a “renewing of the mind?”  The walk doesn’t match the talk.

This hypocrisy is more rampant in the church in America today than anytime in our history.  And while each individual is solely responsible to God, we all look to church leadership for teaching and direction.  Therein is part of the problem.  We have entered into a time prophesied in the Bible of a great falling away initiated by those in charge of the Church (Matt. 24:10-13).  With breathtaking frequency the Bible is ignored while ministers of the Gospel conform to the vicissitudes of culture.  In so doing, they must first decide that the Bible is not the inspired, infallible Word of God, which then can be reinterpreted, fudged, deconstructed, and any other form of destruction to be up-to-date and culturally relevant.   If one holds to the truth of the Word of God, the culture will say, in current jargon, you are “on the wrong side of history.”  This was recently countered in the media by a believing pastor who claimed, “I am not interested in being on the wrong side of history, I want to be on the right side of truth.”

In the past theologically/social liberal church groups and ministries that denied the inerrancy of Scripture, were easily identified and had no appeal to true believers.  The schools that followed the same path were also dismissed as places where training for ministers or Christian education would not take place.  It was pretty clear who represented “them” and “us” with distinct lines drawn.  Of course there have always been some disagreement within the “true believers” camps, but the common thread was holding up Scripture as the inerrant and authoritative Word of God with it’s attending doctrines.

Now, however, the same unbelief that crept into the apostate groups is infiltrating the majority of evangelical churches, and others, infecting them with heresy.  The danger is that the people follow along unaware, and some pastors also seem to be ignorant.  And why are the people so easily deceived?  The Bible is clear about teachers coming in sheep’s clothing but really being ravenous wolves (Matt. 7:15).  Never before have so many “familiar spirits” (Acts 6:16ff) entered the fold with the intention of deceiving the flock.  They say the right things, they express love for people, and they use the right scripture verses but mean something different.  The average churchgoer does not detect the errors easily because of their lack of Biblical knowledge, and, worse, the wolves intentionally mislead.

If I were to list churches, leaders, and ministries that are in the “emergent church” (the leaders of this movement) camp, or are allowing heretical teaching to make inroads into their midst, you would dismiss me as a kook that sees a demon behind every bush or under every chair.  At times I hardly believe it myself, but the evidence is there for anyone interested in knowing.  I have personally corresponded with some of these people and have been shocked by their ignorance and occasional condescending attitude toward me.  We are in great need for spiritual discernment in the body of Christ.

Well, how do we insulate ourselves from being duped by these wolves?  The key is to belong to Jesus.  Really belong to Jesus. Take Jesus with you to school.  Take Jesus with you to work.  Take Jesus with you to church (He may be hard to find in some).  Show Jesus to your family.  If you go anywhere or do anything with Jesus, you will emerge with Jesus.  If you enter the world without Him you will become a pawn for cultural values and it’s sinful ways.  You will fall prey to worldly philosophy that essentially worships the mind (most emergent leaders are very intelligent people) and self.  Secondly, “for lack of knowledge my people perish” (Hosea 4:6).  Our heart’s cry should be “just give me Jesus.”  “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).







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