Monday, February 17, 2014

The Depressed State of the Church by Michael Cook

" I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8 (NIV).

Folks, I just read about a report that makes me shake my head and to hang my head in shame. Here's the portion of this article that I want to share with you and then I would like to ask, what is our responsibility in this?

"If you read too many statistics on the American church, chances are good you’ll come out pretty depressed about the state we’re in.

Of the 90 percent of Americans who call themselves believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ, a much smaller amount would say they actually believe these things:

Absolute moral truth exists.
The Bible is completely accurate in all of the principles it teaches.
Satan is a real being or force, not merely symbolic.
A person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or by doing good works.
Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth.
God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.
Of the 90 percent, how many do you think believe these things?

Sixty percent?

Forty percent?

The answer is 9 percent, according to research done by The Barna Group on all sampled age groups of Americans in 2008. The number goes to less than 1 percent among Americans in the 18-23 age group." Matt Carter. (Matt Carter serves as the Pastor of Preaching and Vision of The Austin Stone Community Church).

We have more Bible coming at us today from more directions than at any time in the history of the world, and yet at least in this country we have more people who claim Christianity but do not believe the Bible or believe only what they want to believe.

Is there any wonder that our nations' moral standards are rapidly declining? We don't believe God! We don't believe His word. We are not experiencing His presence in our churches. We substitute good feelings and happy music and pop psychology for the Power of the Holy Spirit and true conviction. We have an "I'm okay, You're okay" religion. Don't talk about sin. That's over. Don't talk about obedience because hey we're all sinners anyway and there's nothing we can do about it. We choose the Constitution over the Word of God. We look to politicians instead of looking to Jesus Christ for our guidance. Or we go along with the culture instead of the Bible.

We quote Bible verses to each other but then we go off and do whatever it is we want to do? People of God hear what the Spirit of God is saying to us!
"It's your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore." Isaiah 59:2.

I know that there are some who will read this and then turn to me and tell me, "But Michael, Jesus Christ came and took away our sins! We don't have to deal with that anymore!" To which I will say, "Yes, Jesus Christ did come to take away our sins! So if that is true then why are we still holding onto them? Why are we still wallowing in them? Why are we asking God to accept us even while we are still clothed in our fleshly garments?" Listen to His indictment on us, "For your hands are defiled with blood And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken falsehood, Your tongue mutters wickedness.…" Isaiah 59:2, "When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!" Isaiah 1:15. We are walking in spiritual darkness. We are offering up strange fire to the Lord. And God is saying repent, turn from our wickedness. Stop! Listen to the Holy Spirit. He is come to bring us to a place of repentance; a place of turning to God and crying out for mercy and forgiveness. What we need is God's Holy Spirit.

Listen to Jesus! This is what He says the Spirit will do for us! "When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:" John 16:8. He is not coming to make us feel "happy"! He is not coming to make us "rich!" No, He is come to prove us wrong about sin, to prove us wrong about righteousness and to prove that we are wrong about judgment! "concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;" (John 16:9). Remember Jesus said that we are His disciples ONLY if we keep His commands. "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;" (John 8:31).

I truly believe and am becoming more and more convinced that we are the Church of Laodicea. We are neither hot nor cold. And because we are not hot or cold we are in the gravest of danger.

"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent."

Listen to the Spirit of God! Not to me! I want nothing from any one! God supplies all I want and all I need. I am not trying to make you like me or to make you angry or sad. I am trying to warn us! Yes US. We are in the gravest of danger if we do not soon repent and turn to the Lord with all our hearts, for real! Hear what the Spirit of God is saying. If you have ears to hear and if you have eyes to see. We are in grave danger. I know you feel it in the air. You see it in the sky!

You have wearied the LORD with your words. "How have we wearied him?" you ask. By saying, "All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them" or "Where is the God of justice?"

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