I was reading a blog post about why people hate attending church this morning and it got my juices flowing. One, because I do not think that the article truly reflected the real reasons why people are not going to church. And, two, because I have said before that I was going to be bringing up topics concerning the church and its lack of influence on the masses at large and upon its very own members.
For one thing, I believe that people are tired of going to places where their souls are not truly fed. They are preached happy-sounding messages that are politically correct so that the people are not offended instead of giving them the true Bread of heaven so that those attending can be fed and empowered.
People are tired of going to church with problems, fears, challenges, insecurities, depression, fatigue (you name it, they are feeling or are faced with it) and leaving the building the same way that they came in. Defeated and discouraged.
Parishioners are not told how to live in victory. Instead, they are fed a bunch of pablum about prosperity and how to obtain the “blessings of God.” They are told that they can purchase the divine favor of God if they give a certain amount of money. (As if it is possible nor necessary to purchase something that has been promised to every child of God by right and inheritance.)
No one is told that there is spiritual warfare that we are all engaged in, whether we are active in that war or not. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12) People are afraid not only to talk about the devil, but they are terrified of “taking him on,” fearing that if they engage him that he will cause them even more troubles and heartaches that they are presently going through. So they tiptoe around satan, hoping that if they do not bother him, he will not bother them. Which could not be farther from the truth. The devil is out to destroy every man and he is doing it through lies, deceptions, and other schemes. One of his most successful deceptions is making people believe that he does not exist at all, so he is free to run rampant through life after life and take whatever he wants…and that is everything that you have. Your freedom, your children, your very life. satan hates God and he hates God’s children even more. He hates EVERY man and works tirelessly to harrass, torment, and get as many people into hell as he possibly can, for he knows that his time on this earth is getting shorter all the time.
The fantastic news about the devil, however, is that he is a defeated foe! Jesus made an open spectacle of him and defeated him on the cross and the Lord gave to all of his believers the power to not only defeat him, too, but to keep him on the run. “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over ALL the power of the enemy: and NOTHING shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19) “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) When you put the devil where he belongs, under your feet due to what Jesus has done for us on the cross, he no longer has free rein over you or your life.
But, as I said before, you must be submitted to God. That means you must be obedient to Him and to His ways. So many people want to live any way they want without any kind of interference or intrusion, still free to sin and do all manner of ungodly things, and still expect to be blessed. But that is not so. We MUST be obedient to God. So many have confessed Jesus Christ as Savior, but not many have confessed and live with him as their Lord. (And by Lord, that means that He has the right to command, to tell one what to do, and to lead, guide, instruct, chastise, rebuke, encourage, love…whatever He deems necessary in the lives of His people.) He said Himself in Luke 6:46, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
So many say that they love the Lord, but their actions tell another story. “If a man love me, he will keeep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth Me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.” (John 14:23,24) The Lord was very clear on this point. If we love Him, we keep His Word and we live according to that Word, for HE is the Word itself. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS God.” (John 1:1) When we do not live according the the Word, we live defeated lives and are open game to the enemy.
Most churches are avoiding the subject of sin like the plague because it makes people uncomfortable, angry, and the leave in droves. But the truth about sin is this: “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” (John 8:34) Pastors tell parishioners that God is a God of love and that they are accepted no matter what, but this is NOT the case. It is true that God is love, but He is also holy and a God of justice and judgment, as well. We avoid that subject, as well. But the great news is that He has made the provision for sin through the death and blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. Only His blood can atone for sin. We all sin, yet God is faithful to forgive us for our sins if we confess them to Him. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) We do not have to live under a cloud of condemnation. Jesus took care of that. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)
Jesus Christ came so that we would have an abundant life. One of love, joy, peace, and great satisfaction. When we live according to His Word, we experience just that. When we do not, we experience dissatisfaction, oppression, depression, and a host of other unnecessary and unpleasant things that satan has set up for each and every one of us.
Now, do not think that because you are a Christian, you will not face hardship or trial or tribulation, for the Lord said that we would experience all of those, but to be of good cheer because He has overcome the world and those trials come to make us and not to break us. We WILL have problems and challenges, whether we are children of God or not. But when we are God’s children, we are under His protection and He gives us strength and power to deal with them all. “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. “(Psalm 18:2) “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lored shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)
The heart of the matter is that we cannot live apart from Jesus Christ. There is no value in life apart from Him. And we cannot live that life on our own. “I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
These are some of the main truths that churches are not teaching that we need to know in order to live successful and victorious lives. Instead, churches are cranking out fancy music and telling people what they want to hear in order to feel good for a few hours, rather than telling them and giving them the tools they need in order to live productive and joyful lives.
We need to stop talking ABOUT Jesus, and start LIVING like Jesus. Only then will the houses of God start to be packed out and not flocked out.