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Go back to the Bible
- Jacob Ninan
The church, as a whole, is becoming more like the world than ever before. People who want to build the church are resorting to human ideas to do it, and the churches that are coming up are farther and farther away from what Jesus had in His mind when He said He would build His church. Satan has been very successful in sowing tares among the wheat (Mt.13:24-26). As a result, a large percentage of people sitting in churches and imagining they are headed for heaven are in for a shock when they find themselves in the fire of hell (v.30). The phrase Jesus used while describing this parable is very telling, "while his men were sleeping" (v.25). That is what is happening. The leaders are spiritually asleep, dreaming about prosperity and fame, and the enemy has crept into the church.
What are some of the wrong things churches are focussing on these days?
Entertainment. When people come who are stressed up because of all that they have been through during the week, the church is there to entertain them with appealing music, enjoyable programmes, impressive, short sermons, etc.! What is missing is the word of God that can bring conviction to sinful lives, heal wounds, and provide hope, encouragement and wisdom for the future.
Not offending anyone. Not wanting anyone to leave, the messages and interaction are always welcoming, overlooking faults (even when people continue in sin), giving hope without repentance, prophesying prosperity and resolution of all problems, etc., and the church becomes very unreal.
More numbers. Church growth is measured in numbers and not in terms of lives being transformed into godliness. When the leaders' goal itself is wrong, how can churches be pleasing to God?
Seeker friendly churches. If the focus of the church is to make it comfortable for unbelievers, it can't at the same time cater to the growth of believers. The church is where His people are to be edified (Ep.4:16). Others can be added to it only by being born again (Jn.3:5).
Social work. Everybody appreciates philanthropy. If the church is involved in helping needly people, it is certainly going to be admired. People may be attracted to the Gospel of Christ through these good deeds. But transformation of society cannot convert it into the kingdom of God, because only individuals who are born again by responding to the Gospel can enter that kingdom.
While Satan is at the back of this confusion as a master strategist, it is people who lean on their own understanding instead of listening to God who play into his hands.
If we believe that the Bible is God's word given to us, let's follow it as our guideline for every work connected with His kingdom. Let's not imagine that the 'Ishmaels' we produce with unholy alliances with the world can also be heirs to the kingdom. On the contrary, Ishmaels can only cause confusion and destruction to the work of God, which was why God told Abraham to send him and his mother away.