This last week has been difficult to say the least. I have been studying the word of God and the conviction of his word is ringing ever more loudly in my head. Brought to my memory recently was the scripture Paul writes in Corinthians.
And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up; if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
Essentially. I'll break it down. If Jesus did not die then we are fools and in the words of Mr. T. The fool is complete pity “I pity the fool!”. These are harsh words. Paul in making a point though. He is making a very powerful point. That without Jesus ALL these things we are doing are foolish. Let that sink in for a moment. Our faith rests on one name JESUS. The most powerful name.
I'll state something I’m not ashamed to say the Gospel as it written and the power that is behind it is not a cautious gospel. It is not something taken lightly to re frame life and improve your outlook. The reason why AGAPE SPIRITUAL CENTER in Los Angeles is popular is not because it is the Gospel at all. It is because it is a Cautious Gospel. One that fulfills the flesh and leaves the spirit dry. It requires nothing. It's not because they are evil or that Michael Beckwith is some horrible man. It is simply a Cautious Gospel. (no gospel at all) A message that leads to death. Death eternal. That is however indeed an evil outcome in which I might question to Michael from whence he comes.
Michael Beckwith is not the only purveyor of this shaken not stirred martini on ice gospel. The nightly pick me up Gospel.
We have many Christians who claim Christianity bringing this same gospel. It scares me to the core because we are living in an age where the Lost are not preferential guests of the church. Where dark is too dark and broken is too broken. Where lost is too lost and the power of our Power Sermon and sleek Jesus Pajamas won't buy us a seat in heaven or a soul to come with. As Christians our cry out for the lost os sometimes like our cry out for God. We don't want them really too lost because it might require too much of us. We don't always want too much of God in fear of what it might cost us. In other-words we are a afraid to dive in too much in both ministering and being ministered to in fear of what we may be asked to do and when it comes to God in fear of what it might reveal about us. We believe that keeping God at a religious distance is safe and because of these we see his children and the lost the same way. Sadly it not just because of the devil but many pastors and people who speak in his name say that person is too far gone. We sign seal and deliver and pre-qualify people for the gift of salvation. As if it was ours to Give. The GOSPEL IS NOT OURS. We are the voice and benefactor but not the person who gives salvation. Because we have not laid down our own lives we believe people need to meet a requirement before the gift and eternal prize of Jesus Christ. Because this darkness takes the forefront fear sets in and we become silent.
Evil is allowed to strive, take friends, destroy families, take wives and take our children hostage as well all in the name of appearance and image. We are so afraid to shake and rattle the cage of the devil in fear we ourselves might get some infliced wound. I'll admit this is scary. It's not for the lighthearted. It’s full of alot of spiritual and physical pain one can only say. Is it worth it?
Truth is I think we are living in a place of false convictions much like Paul stated. Paul said there is No Gospel without Jesus and more frightening is the idea that there is no Jesus without a Gospel. In other words we are deathly afraid of the cost that this Gospel might cost that we are willing to see people devoured rather than stand up because we do not actually believe it and we are afraid. This world is getting worse and worse and the end of this ride promises paradise but we are so afraid to live saved we want paradise to come now or live within our church walls and family to protect us.
The world is full of darkness and it's only getting darker. The answer is not the Jesus pick me up. It's not the Church hump day, happy day or the Sunday Funday with Cookies donuts and picture show. It's a Church full of the Holy Spirit ready to rattle some cages and rely on God and Trust in Jesus in the knowledge of this real and true Gospel.
I remember I was told when I accepted Jesus life would not be easier. That was correct. I remember hearing I would be a soldier and that I would go through spiritual battles. That was correct.
Overall, my pain comes in knowing that I have given my life over to a marketing of the Gospel rather than the Gospel itself. My fear is that those who really need Jesus are shut outside the doors of our churches. My pain I feel and weight at times is the fact that when I gave my life to Jesus I gave it knowing I'd be on a battlefield. I knew it would not be easy and I knew it would mean discomfort, pain and even sacrafice.
When the demon possessed comes into the church The solution is to pray for them in team and see that through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit that no weapon formed against us shall prosper. Sadly there is a minute few that believe that Jesus empowers them to have power over this darkness so many are left solo believing while others just stand by and look in saying. “Does he realize that person is Possesed by an evil spirit?”
What are we doing in the church and what do our worship songs mean. What truly is a dishonoring thing is when we RUN the other way when we have been called to this.
“As Christ’s soldiers, don't let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army.”
1 Tim 2:4
Do we honestly believe that this war that we have been called to is to feel a room up or the Kingdom? Do we think this war is about our church functions and programs? Do we feel that we have been called to Wednesday night prayer or to the darkened places where people have been beaten and eaten up by the world. Look I am not saying these are not important and do not have their place all I am saying IS PLEASE do not mistake the battle. If you do you will prepare the outside and not the inside.
You will prepare to look and sound good but will not fortify your heart for the attack of the enemy and the world around you. When the brokeness of the world and the lost surround you will consider them a distraction rather than the battle you have been called for. Then all you have given your life to is a Gospel of Cautious PERSUASION and Cafe Lattes (No Gospel at all) and trust me being a fan of coffee there is nothing wrong with Lattes but if you we're drinking one while your brother drowned to death you may argue the immediate value of Lattes and reconsider your approach to the Gospel.
I believe the truth is the enemy has blinded us from the real fight in hope we will pick up the banner to fight for our ministry, para-churh organizations, and churches and leave those in deep need of the kingdom discarded and forgotten outside the walls of the Kingdom. I don't want to answer to that before God. Do you?