The title sounds ominous, doesn’t it? It is a warning!
The message and ministry of the Western Postmodern church has become blurred. Let’s look back, so we can look forward.
AD 1 – The Church of Jesus Christ, the Body of Christ, had no buildings, little money and no wealth. At that time, the Church was a Movement.
Jesus said to make disciples; collect no money except to make your journey.
The penalty for becoming a Christian was often death. Still, the Church grew exponentially.
AD 49 – The Church expanded into Greece. The Church became a philosophy to many. The Church grew and size and influence.
AD 313 – The Church expanded into Rome and it gained recognition. It grew in power and popularity. It obtained wealth, buildings, property and influence. It became an institution.
AD 380 – The Church expanded into Europe. It was becoming a worldwide phenomenon. It grew in wealth, stature, power and influence. It had become a culture.
AD 1607 – The Church reaches America.
AD 1681 – The Church became corporate. It had become a business and incorporated. It became regulated by the government.
Now, There are so many ‘church leaders’ who lust for attention and authority that they will embrace cult-like church environments to obtain their cravings. Thereby, the spread of the Gospel is stunted by the very ones called to spread it.
Likewise, there are many pastors who crave success to the extent they demand obedience to their programs in order to obtain their quest. They mistakenly believe that “If we build it, they will come”. And many pastors demand allegiance to the man-made order in their church polity and programs for their own satisfaction and peace and quiet. And the Gospel is held hostage by those few.
But, here is how Jesus describes the work of the Gospel:
Jesus refers to His ministry as “The Threshing Floor”. Luke 3:17 “His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” A messy and often violent place.
Hardly like the, “seeker friendly” postmodern church.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This was written to Jesus’ disciples then and now, for all the ages. This is written to you and to me.
Jesus did not say “Go, to church therefore, and listen to a sermon, sing some songs, make some coffee, greet people at the doors, hand out bulletins, invite your friends to church, and leave the work of the Gospel to a sermon.”
Read these following verses and ask yourself what they are telling each Christian to do:
1 Peter 2:4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by people, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For this is contained in Scripture:
“BEHOLD, I AM LAYING IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNERSTONE,
AND THE ONE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME.” 7This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for unbelievers,
“A STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,
THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE,” 8 and,
“A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”;
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this they were also appointed.
9 But you are A CHOSEN PEOPLE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR GOD’S OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
This is written to and for all Christians for all the ages. It does not say you are being appointed as an altar prayer team or to the church security team or hospitality team. You are living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
You are not a member of a 501(c)(3) religious organization or a church subcommittee. But you are A CHOSEN PEOPLE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR GOD’S OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
2 Timothy 4:1 I solemnly exhort you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and exhort, with great patience and instruction.
This was written to Timothy as a minister of the Gospel as the template for all who would follow Jesus. We are not called to speak strange messages (glossalia) to the congregation or to become fund raisers or busy ourselves with entertaining the congregation to the abandonment of preaching the word.
2 Timothy 4:5 But as for you, use self-restraint in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
The Church bulletin says we need parking lot attendants, janitors, kid’s choir helpers, nursery attendants, greeters, kitchen workers, bus drivers, etc., and we do need them to run the organization. And the Bible says, But as for you, use self-restraint in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
2 Peter 1:3 For His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 Through these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world on account of lust. 5Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they do not make you useless nor unproductive in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For the one who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choice of you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choice of you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
Your Brother and Friend,