There is Little Fear of God Within Churches, Ahh, But Real Fear is Coming to a Church Near You.
No Fear Will Know Fear!
We Live in a Culture that Preaches No Fear, Yet We Live in a Very Fearful World.
From “No Fear” clothing and gear, to life quotes such as “There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.”, along with death defying sport activities; we are bombarded daily to fear nothing if we desire a fulfilled life in the here and now. It’s all a lie, crafted by the Prince of liars to distract mankind’s mind from that which we should fear and the church is NOT immune. Look around you, this world is a fearful place: since Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden, the fear of death and the eternal has pre-occupied mankind. Today’s media is in the business of fear mongering, everywhere we look we see death and despair, disease and destruction and yet most people live as if tomorrow will never come.
The church has become an accomplice in this deception, pandering to the fearful by presenting an escape plan that requires very little on anyone’s part. They deal in fire insurance: walk the aisle, say a few magic words, get wet and voila – all fear of one’s eternity is gone. The only future requirements are: believe every word that comes out of the preacher’s mouth, financially support him (as an act of worship), and try to be a regular attender, for bigger crowds bolster their self-esteem. On the preacher’s part, he or she will endeavor not to be overly challenging of one’s lifestyle (that is judging and not very loving) and will be sure to handle the giver’s, I mean hearer’s self-esteem with kid-gloves.
For those of us who love the Word of God, we see that our churches have become worldly and youth oriented, lacking in solid biblical teaching and more tolerant of the ills that beset our daily lives. The pulpits have become vegetarian and the true believers are starving for lack of meat. The youth leave home and the vast majority assimilates with the world and never returns. As John puts it – “…they left because they never were of us…”. The old are forsaken and shelved along with their wisdom for they are not in step with latest trends or methodology. We who love the Word, have become the troublemakers and are to be avoided at all costs.
One thing I have found to be true – I am not alone in my estimation of the situation and everywhere I turn, I find more and more believers looking for Christian fellowship based on their love of the Word.
There is No Fear of God Before Their Eyes.
No Fear..No Wisdom..No Knowledge..Zero Understanding
In Revelation 1:17, when John came into the presence of the resurrected Christ, he fell at His feet as if dead (Gr. nekros3498lit. a corpse) and Jesus laid His right hand upon John and said "...fear not...". There are two prominent Greek words for fear: phobos5401 - timidity, to shrink away and phobeo5398 - scare away, terrorize, and in this passage it is the latter definition. The disciple whom Jesus loved, one whose holiness outshines any man living today, was afraid for his life when confronted with the glorified, resurrected Lord of Glory. Ask any Christian what he or she understands to be the definition of the phrase 'fear of God' in the New Testament, and the answer will most assuredly be - reverence; for we have such a low opinion of the greatness of Jesus and conversely greatly over-esteem ourselves. John was deathly afraid; we have no real concept of what it means to be in the physical presence of the King of Kings. If we are scarcely saved, as Peter puts it; this arrogant and God hating world is in for a terror beyond man's comprehension.
2 Timothy 1:7 "God has not GIVEN (this is a gift at conversion) us a spirit of fear (Gr. deilia1167 - cowardice) but of power, of love and a sound mind." Many so-called Christians take this to be a license for arrogance which results in over-confident know-it-all's and a lack of a healthy fear of giving God and His Word preeminence. James 3:1 should be an appropriate fear passage for those who teach, for it speaks of a greater condemnation for those who do not handle the Word with care. Overlooked by the majority; it speaks of condemnation for all who abuse the Word, whether pastor, teacher or laic. Again, as Peter states it, scripture is of no private interpretation: it is the whole counsel of the Word of God that interprets scripture - Sola Scriptura!
As ignorance of the Law will not be a defense in the day of judgment, neither will the saved get a pass for ignorance when Christ cleanses His Church when we are judged. I am always amazed at the lack of understanding of some the most rudimentary principles of scripture wherever I go in American Christendom, whether from the pulpit or in the pew. It seems every home has a dozen bibles but so few have a clue as to what they contain: the churches choose to preach topically based upon a well known author's latest book and if they should have a bible study hour, the bible itself is the last thing they consider.
Proverbs 9:10 "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."
Do you ever wonder why so many Christians seem to have such a hard time grasping the Truth and always seem to be learning but never attaining? God gave us the perfect formula for understanding His private Word to His own. It's perfect order is necessary for success; omit just one element and there will be a great lack of understanding. Wisdom is not knowledge but the result of what one chooses to fear. Fearing God (desiring not to disappoint our Savior or give reason for wood, hay and stubble when our works are judged) leads us to make wise decisions such as seeking our direction from His Word. The knowledge we find as we diligently seek His instruction will compound itself into understanding. This is when our eyes will be opened to the glory that is our God and His peace that surpasses all comprehension, for Hebrews 11:6 promises - "...He is the rewarder of all who diligently seek Him."
What do we see today? Churches pursuing the wisdom of man, sidelining the knowledge of the Holy and filling their pews with ignorance. There is seemingly little or no fear of the Lord; the perfect formula for dumbing down the church. It appears by the direction of so many churches in this land; they are following the wrong leader.
It is Later than You Think!
What Can We or Must We Do?
Persecution is coming in force to America and it is picking up steam. For the great majority of churches, it is too late to change or adapt for several reasons:
- The leadership (professional holy men) are too set in their ways and their denominational backgrounds to even see what could be coming. The proverbial ostrich with its head in the ground.
- This same group have no occupational skills should their income source be ripped from beneath their feet, to provide for themselves and family. They have lived a great part of their lives off of those who do work and struggle in the real world to make ends meet.
- Arrogantly they boast, this I have personally witnessed, that no one will be able to tell them what to preach or whom to exclude. Little do they realize when they made their church a non-profit organization (501(c)3), they signed their rights away to the federal government. Yes, it gave their organization an income tax exclusion but to maintain said status they have become subservient to federal law and its dictates. It would have been much better to be a taxable private organization, pay the taxes and then run your company as the directors so wish.
- Another thing will happen should persecution come before dissolution; those who have made a pretense of being a believer in both attendance and giving, will have no reason to remain and every reason to distance themselves from the persecuted. Persecution first attacks the message, then the money and finally the physical well-being of those they hate.
Those who ignore history, are doomed to repeat it.
What can we do?
There is a substantial movement within America in the establishment of home-based fellowships taking Hebrews 10:24-25 to heart. "Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." This is the course I and several others in my neck of the woods have chosen and we are seeing the fruit of that decision in real time.
- We have become more involved in each others lives; prayers are more personal, needs are known and we have accountability to one another.
- No money changes hands, but needs are met.
- Outreach is to our neighbors and community, not to a building set apart on a hill.
- The Word of God is our only authority and though we may disagree on some points, we are a like-minded group knowing why we meet as we do.
- As we grow, we don't expand, we divide and cover twice the area for we look for needs within our immediate vicinity where we can demonstrate the love of God to a lost world.
- We do have organization within our ranks, and everyone participates according to the gifts which our Lord has so lovingly bestowed upon us.