Church Where Art Thou?
Patricia L. Dickson
According to a study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, there were 1.06 million abortions performed in the U.S. in 2011. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Vital Statistics is reporting that in 2012, there were more black babies killed by abortion (31,328) in New York City than were born there (24,758), and the black children killed comprised 42.4% of the total number of abortions in New York City. Approximately 50% of all American marriages end in divorce resulting in kids being shuttled between two households. The Homosexual community has made major inroads into every institution (including some so-called churches) in America. Only 70% of U.S. students graduate from High School. The Public School system has dumbed down our kids by replacing Reading, Writing and Arithmetic with graphic sex education classes with an emphasis on the Homosexual, Bisexual and Transgender lifestyle. In the meantime, the state of Colorado has passed laws legalizing marijuana and other states are threatening to follow suit. All of these things are taking place despite there being a church on every corner in America.
Many Americans fill our churches on Sunday mornings where they sing songs of Praise and listen to sweet sermons. However, once these same individuals and families leave the four walls of their church, they seem to resume the same behavior as though they have no power to break free. Many parishioners feel as though their problems (and sins) are insurmountable. Many pastors stand in their perspective pulpits Sunday after Sunday giving pep talks, talking about prosperity and telling touching stories, refusing to mention the word sin out of fear of offending someone. They teach about the love and mercy of God, daring to mention God’s judgment. I remember traveling through a city in my car and hearing a local pastor advertise his church on the radio. He said that everyone was welcome to attend his Sunday morning service and that he promised not to beat up on anyone. In other words, he would not remind you of your sin. Pastors are delivering a cafeteria style gospel where they pick and choose parts of the Bible. Pastors are called to preach and teach the whole truth of God’s word just as the Apostle Paul wrote in Acts.
Acts 20:27 27
For I never shrank or kept back or fell short from declaring to you the whole purpose and plan and counsel of God.
How can the church grow and be equipped to obey the Lord’s commandment to spread the Gospel throughout the four corners of the earth if we ourselves are weak and burdened down with sin? The word of God proclaims that we (Christians) are the salt of the earth, but if we have lost our saltiness, what good are we to the earth (world)?
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.
What is the church? The Bible teaches us that the church is the bride of Christ and that Jesus will return for His bride, a church without spot or wrinkle. If Jesus were to return today, would the church be hiding in shame just like Adam? Will Jesus have to call out to us “Church, where art thou?” How did the church end up in this condition? When the church stopped preaching the word of God and substituted it with man’s words, it became powerless! The Bible proclaims that there is power in the word of God. If we read the book of Acts, we will find that AFTER the preaching of the word, salvations and miracles happened. People’s lives were transformed! All throughout the Bible we see transformations and miracles taking place after the preaching of God’s word. Look what happened in the city of Nineveh after Jonah proclaimed the word of God. The king and all the people repented of their sins.
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown!
5 So the people of Nineveh believed in God and proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth [in penitent mourning], from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
6 For word came to the king of Nineveh [of all that had happened to Jonah, and his terrifying message from God], and he arose from his throne and he laid his robe aside, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes
7 And he made proclamation and published through Nineveh, By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed nor drink water.
8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth and let them cry mightily to God. Yes, let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.
The church has become passive to sin (claiming not wanting to judge) instead of aggressively preaching God’s word unapologetically with authority. According to Hebrews 4:12, the word of God judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart.
12 For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the [g]breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.
The world has a kindred spirit with the church because it feels so comfortable amongst the so called people of God. Sinners should instantly feel convicted when they come into God’s house because the presence of the Holy Spirit should be there. Instead, celebrities who openly display their hatred for God through their music and movies, can walk into our churches and sit on the front row or be invited in our pulpits and not feel any convictions. Many of the pastors are more concerned about money than souls, therefore they will not preach about sin because it might offend someone and cause them to leave the church and take their tithe with them. The Bible says that anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. The Bible also teaches us that if we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. What joy it is to know that my sins can be washed away!
I John 1:9-10
9 If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].
10 If we say (claim) we have not sinned, we contradict His Word and make Him out to be false and a liar, and His Word is not in us [the divine message of the Gospel is not in our hearts].
13 For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved.
14 But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed [in Whom they have no faith, on Whom they have no reliance]? And how are they to believe in Him [adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him] of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?
15 And how can men [be expected to] preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings! [How welcome is the coming of those who preach the good news of His good things!]
My question to pastors is what else is more beneficial for your congregations than the teachings of the bible? There is no issue in our lives that the bible does not have an answer.
By not preaching God’s word, we deny God’s power to manifest. The preaching of the word brings the repentance of sin
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action),
17 So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.
. God has commanded us to preach His word, He is responsible for proving it. The bible teaches us that God’s word will accomplish what it was sent to do and want return void.
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
When I witness the constant moral decaying of the world, I can only place the blame where it belongs, at the feet of the church. Church, where art thou?