Why Is the Church Shrinking? Why Do We Seem to Feel Attacked?

Proverbs 3:11-12

11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.

Church: “You are in sin. You should stop swearing and having hateful thoughts.”
Christian: “Don’t you know? I have freedom in Christ!”
______________

Church: “You are in sin. Your lustful thoughts are adultery, and you no longer love the Lord as you once did.”
Christian: “I can’t be outside the culture. Of course it’s going to have some effect on me…”
________________

Church: “You are in sin. You left your first husband, and now you are considering fornication.”
Christian: “Why do you hate single mothers?”
________________

Church: “You are in sin. The only things you can think about are sex and money. You need to repent, or you may die.”
Christian: “Oh, now, you decide to put your foot down? After you allow hate, adultery, blasphemy, and everything else? You’re just a bunch of hypocrites!”
________________

It’s true that the church has not enforced church discipline much in the past 100 years. That’s why we deserve what is happening now. However, lack of discipline was never the only problem. Lack of submission by believers to the authority of God was the bigger part of the picture. The church has not been short on words, but on courage and faith. We pointed out a lot of sin, but neither the leadership nor the body repented of those sins; we didn’t believe God would actually punish us for them; we made general statements that people could easily deny to themselves. We didn’t act in love, which would surely have told our brothers not to fall off that cliff over there. Love conquers all, and perfect love casts out fear, but we couldn’t conquer our fear of man. That’s how I know we didn’t love each other enough. We believed that if we just tried to get along and not make too many waves, we’d be accepted, but the acceptance of the world should never have been our desire. Remember? “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” We didn’t heed Jesus’ teaching that being accepted by everyone is the worst thing a Christian can be. So, we became false prophets.

Instead of faith and love, we had fear. We feared that if we preached against greed, or, Heaven forbid actually *disciplined* some business man for greed, then the rich people who support the church would run away, and then there would be no more money to support the megabuilding with the basketball court and the dancing angel statues. We feared that if we talked about sexual sin, we would either give people ideas for bad things to do, or maybe they might feel judged, and the pews would be basically empty, because… who hasn’t had lustful thoughts? We never preached about social justice at all, because it wasn’t affiliated with the political party most of us had chosen, and we didn’t want to be inconsistent in our beliefs(!) When someone came out to confess sin, we never handled it correctly. What we would normally do is to either leave the church in disgust, or fire that person. We should have joined in! Everyone who had committed that sin should have stood up in the church and confessed it! It would have been awesome! Tears of repentance would have been streaming down faces. God would have been able to heal us. There would have been revival.

We told people that they would be financially successful if they said a little prayer to give their lives to the Lord. We really said that, when Jesus said that we would have “persecutions” and “sufferings.” We sold a very cheap version of the gospel that was like an incantation: Just say the words and you go to Heaven! Almost like… magic? Hmm.

We didn’t even take care of people who were suffering in our own church, financially, physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

Some sins are simply taboo, and if you commit one of them, you’d better keep it to yourself, or you’ll be ostracized. None of this “confess your sins one to another” junk.

Are you having doubts about your faith? Have you heard of Google?

Do you have an emotional problem? Here is the number of a Christian counselor in the area. Oh, you can’t afford it? Yikes.

Oh, you can’t pay your rent? Electricity turned off? Did you pray about it?

God forbid you get sick and begin to die, if it’s “before your time,” because nobody will know what to do with you, at all. That simply shouldn’t happen. You’ll be doing well if even one church friend visits, because even though we’re Christians, we still fear death, since we have so little faith.

Jesus said that the world would know us by our love for each other. Is it any wonder we don’t seem like the body of Christ to most people any more, when there is more concern about the church building and how it looks and what time the service starts, and if we like the way the pastor preaches, and if we like the music, and if we feel good about ourselves, and how many programs we have, and whether they meet regularly, and on time, and how many new members we are seeing each week, and the weekly giving, and a million things other than simply being there for our brothers and sisters in their times of need and truly sacrificing our lives for the Lord? Instead, we do whatever we want with our lives, just like everyone else does. We are “fans” of Jesus. We kinda like Him, as long as he doesn’t cramp our style, too much. We don’t hate God, we just don’t want to be too over the edge. We seem to have forgotten what God said: “Because you are neither hot nor cold, I will spew you out of my mouth.”

Instead of loving our enemies, we sued them. We kicked them out of the church. Sometimes we hunted them down. Sometimes we assassinated their character in Christianity Today or the newspaper. Sometimes we just ignored them, and that may have been the worst thing we did, because that’s like the Good Samaritan just looking the other way and passing by the wounded man. We should have been the first one there when our enemies needed help. That is the love of Christ.

We didn’t give to the poor, because we had no faith. We reasoned that if we gave money away to the poor, that would mean that we would have less money, and then we would get poor, too. We somehow actually managed to convince ourselves that God, the father of Jesus, who commanded us to “give to everyone who asks of you” would actually *punish* us for following his command! We thought God was too weak or stingy to bring more money into our lives. We didn’t read the Bible, either, which clearly, says, in many places, that God will reward us, both in heaven and on earth, for giving to the poor. Prov. 19:17, Matt. 6:4

Like the proverbial frog being boiled alive by slowly rising heat, we didn’t notice how bad things were getting until it was far too late. We put up with too much, for too long, and we can’t walk it back, now. The megachurches will fall. There will be lawsuits, sure, but in the end, the government always wins.

If you’re looking for someone to blame, however, watch where you point that finger. We need to look at ourselves, first. I’ve certainly thought and prayed a lot about my part in all of this, because I approved of most of the things I’ve mentioned above, back in the day. I never opposed any of them, so I’m part of it. I helped to push things in the wrong direction. The church isn’t suddenly being taken over by sexually immoral pseudoChristians with a political agenda. Nope. The church was ceded to Satan himself, long ago, when *WE* let the huge buildings, attendance, our social image, pleasure, money, and sex run the entire church. Not surprisingly, Satan began to immediately destroy the church from within. So, this is not some sudden occurrence: gays attacking and taking over the church. This has been going on a long, long time. Satan has destroyed the church’s credibility, holiness, witness to the community, leadership, teaching, doctrine, agape, and cohesiveness already. What you see happening now is just the penultimate stone being kicked off of the very last stone.

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How to Repent of Your Sins

God has laid it heavily on my heart that I am to share with you the process of repentance.  For whatever reason, we have lost the knowledge and ability of how to truly repent of our sins in the Christian community.  I repent of that, itself.

No more.  I want to tell as many Christians as I can to purify themselves for the coming of the Lord Jesus.  “Zeal for your house will consume me.”  John 2:17

I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.  Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel?  For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!

Ezekiel 18:30-32

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.  James 4:7-9

Step One:  Envision God’s Glory

God is good.  He is so good that if you haven’t thought about how good He is in a while, you need to meditate on His glory.  We have lost the ability to worship God, in all our many songs, never listening to God or even looking at Him for a moment.

Read all these verses, please, to prepare your heart:

1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne4Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6 Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

   In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

   “‘Holy, holy, holy

   is the Lord God Almighty,’

   who was, and is, and is to come.”

 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, 
   to receive glory and honor and power, 
for you created all things, 
   and by your will they were created 
   and have their being.”  Revelation 4

4 I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, 5 and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man, 6 but each of them had four faces and four wings. 7 Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. 8 Under their wings on their four sides they had the hands of a man. All four of them had faces and wings, 9 and their wings touched one another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved.

 10 Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle. 11 Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out upward; each had two wings, one touching the wing of another creature on either side, and two wings covering its body. 12 Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went. 13 The appearance of the living creatures was like burning coals of fire or like torches. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it. 14 The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning.

 15 As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. 16 This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like chrysolite, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. 17 As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not turn about[d] as the creatures went. 18 Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around.

 19 When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose. 20 Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. 21 When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

 22 Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked like an expanse, sparkling like ice, and awesome. 23 Under the expanse their wings were stretched out one toward the other, and each had two wings covering its body. 24 When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings, like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings.

 25 Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. 26 Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. 27 I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.

   This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.  Ezekiel 1

I want you to read the passages above about what it is like to be in heaven, in God’s presence.  Do it while you listen to this song:

Now that you have a sense of what God’s presence is like and how holy he is, please do this:  Close your eyes and envision yourself in God’s holy, awesome presence.  Be there, in heaven, with God.  Do this in private and in complete silence.

Step Two:  Ask God to Convict You of Your Sins

Now ask God, humbly, to convict you of your sins.  Sit silently and wait.  Do not do anything until some of your past sins come to your mind.

Step Three:  Repent of Each Sin that Comes to Mind, Individually

For each sin, say something like this:

“God, when I was an eight-year-old child, I received a call from a pedophile.  I couldn’t keep that from happening, but I enjoyed it and participated in it.  That is horribly wrong, I see that now.  Even at that age, I was spiritually corrupt.  I realize now that my entire life has been tainted by sexual sin.  I can see the effects of it even in my children.  I am so sorry that I have not obeyed you, even from my birth.  Please forgive me.  I don’t ever want to give in to demonic sexual temptations again.  I repent, God.  Please cleanse me of my sin, and take it away from me forever.  Thank you God, for your mercy.”

So, again, for each sin:

1.) Say what you did.

2.) Say that you know it was wrong.

3.) Say what consequences the sin had in your life.

4.) Apologize to God for not obeying Him.

5.) Tell God you don’t want to do that sin ever again.

6.) Ask God to forgive you and cleanse you of the sin.

Speak from your heart.  Let your confessions flow out of you like incense, to God.  When my husband and I began to try to do this last night, at first, he was completely dumbstruck by the awesome weight of his own sin.  But I said,

18 “Come now, let us reason together,” 
   says the LORD. 
“Though your sins are like scarlet, 
   they shall be as white as snow; 
though they are red as crimson, 
   they shall be like wool. 
19 If you are willing and obedient, 
   you will eat the best from the land; 
20 but if you resist and rebel, 
   you will be devoured by the sword.” 
            For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Isaiah 1:18-20

I said, “The longest journey starts with a single step.”

As we began to confess our sins, I was reminded of sexual sins that I committed even as a child.  I then realized that it was only because I became a Christian shortly after, that God spared me from taking a horribly wrong turn in my life.

This process is cathartic.  If done rightly, you are going to be experiencing much sorrow, grief, and sadness.  Many things that you have pushed out of your mind for years will come to you and they will have a profound effect on your view of yourself.  But, Christian, what is being close to the Lord worth to you?  Seek His face, please, do not resist coming to the mercy seat.  All other rulers sit in a seat of judgement, but not our God, who sits on a seat called, “mercy.”  But you must come to him to receive it!

Another thing that will happen if you do this for long enough is that you will realize how far wrong we have all gone, in the church, in our country, and in the world.  At that point it will begin to dawn on you that the entire world is ripe for judgement.  What happens next is that you may soon begin to feel overwhelmed by sin.  You will feel like Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane:  “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”

When this happened to me, I began to pray for mercy, but I didn’t get a word out.  God stopped me, opened my eyes, and my eyes fell on this verse:  “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you.”  Jer. 7:16

When God said that, I fell on my face on the bed and wept.  God has never told me not to pray for mercy, before.  Do you realize what that means, Christian?  It means that you are on your own now:  each of us must come before the mercy seat and confess our sins to receive God’s mercy.  I cannot do it for you.  All I can do is tell you what God told me to tell you.  You must choose to respond.

If you reach this point of extreme grief, the remedy is to focus on God.  When the sin of the world is overwhelming to you, simply imagine being in God’s presence, or sing the Revelation Song that I posted a link to.  This is worship.  It will make you feel instantly at peace.  If you have fears for your future, you need to confess those fears and let them go, because not trusting God is against what Jesus taught:  “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life.”  Matthew 6:25

Another way you can find relief from your spiritual grief is to watch and pray, as Jesus told us to do in such times:  “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”  Mark 14:38

Pray for your family members and yourself, that we will all be able to be strong in our faith.  To “watch” is to keep an eye on world events to see if they are some of the signs of Jesus’ coming, and also to merely sit before the Lord in silence to see if he has anything to tell you.  Long periods of humble silence in God’s presence can lead to great peace in your spirit.  If you begin to truly look at world events in light of what Jesus said would happen as a prelude to his second coming, I think you will be greatly affected by it.

Read the Bible every day:  let your heart hunger for God’s word.  Fill your lamp with oil, before it is too late:

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

 1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

   6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

   7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

   9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

   10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

   11 “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’

   12 “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’

   13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.  

Matthew 25:1-13

Watch.  Fast.  Pray.  Know Him.

Dear God

 “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands,5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

 7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.

   “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.

 15 “Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.

 17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

Daniel 9:4-19

 

Lord, I want to submit all of my sin to you as Daniel did.

I repent of hating my mother when she was old.  “Listen to your father who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.”  Proverbs 23:22

I did hate her.  I confess it, now.  The reason I was so mad at her was that I wasn’t ready for her to need my help.  I still wanted her to be there for me and help me.  I was selfish, narcissistic, inconsiderate, and ungodly.  I didn’t even pray with her, because I was in such shock that she was actually dying, I couldn’t seek you.  I had a “dark night of the soul.”  I didn’t seek you as my comforter.  Instead, I used shopping to assuage my conscience and my emotions.  I was materialistic.  I didn’t seek you as I should have.

Please, God, please forgive me.  I am so sorry for being hateful to my mom near the time of her death.  My mind simply couldn’t accept that she was actually dying and I couldn’t stand to see her that way.  I just wanted her to get better!  I couldn’t stand to hear her screams of excruciating pain and watch her waste away more and more each day, and see her beautiful mind deteriorate to the point of madness.  I thought I could control her with my emotions.  So, I was there for her physically, but not emotionally or spiritually.  I can never make it up to her or you, so please forgive me, Lord, I place myself humbly at your mercy.

I repent of buying into the culture’s worship of loose women and wearing tight clothing that caused my son to be embarrassed for me.  I’m going to start dressing more modestly.

I repent of swearing.  I have no excuse.  I was just trying to fit into this disgustingly immoral culture.

Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Eph 5:4-5

I repent for being extremely indecent in public places at least five times that I can remember.  At that time, I didn’t believe in Jesus, but I still need to confess and repent, I see that, now.  There is simply no excuse for that kind of behavior, which is only now, over 20 years later, finally gaining acceptance in some places.

I repent of rejecting you as the authority in my life and living a lawless life for five years before your love brought me home, Father.

I repent of lying.  I can’t even remember all the times I’ve done it.  I have no excuse.  I did it selfishly, to protect myself.  I’m sorry.

I repent of not loving my children enough and using emotional blackmail on them.  It’s just terrible.  They seem okay, but that does not justify my actions.  I have been a bad example, and it’s only through your grace that I’ve been able to un-teach them some of my hateful attitudes.

I repent of drinking too much in college and making alliances with unbelievers that caused my faith to be compromised.  I loved the world more than I loved you, God, and I am sorry for it now.  Because I didn’t stand up for the truth, many people have been lost.  I can see that now.  Please forgive me for leading other people astray with my actions.

I repent of judging people because they have a lot of money.  I see now that some rich people actually are good Christians who love you.

I repent of judging people who lack compassion.  I see now that compassion is a gift from you to people who love you.

I repent of judging KKK members.  I see now that they were probably raised to think that way.

I repent of judging people who hate children.  I see now that it’s actually better if people who would be bad parents hate children, because you are not going to bless them with any children.

I repent of hating fools and unintelligent people.  I see now that many unintelligent people are far better people than I have ever been, and that fools are just deceived because they refuse to submit their minds to you.

I repent of never being able to admit it when I’m wrong.  I know my husband has been asking me to repent of this for years, but I’m doing it now.  Sorry, honey.  I have had too much pride.

I repent of being extremely impatient and yelling at my children sometimes.  Please forgive me.  I do love them so much, and I thank you so much for blessing me with such wonderful, beautiful kids.

I repent of spanking my kids too hard, a few times.  Over the years, I have learned never to discipline in anger, but I still need to ask your forgiveness for not being a good example to my kids of how you discipline us.

I repent of buying into humanist ideas and teaching them to my children.  I realize now that humanism is very close to the spirit of the antiChrist, because it places man in the place of God, which is what the antiChrist is.

I repent of rejecting gender roles.  Clearly, from the Bible, you have created men and women differently.

I repent of showing my children ungodly entertainment.  Will you please change me?  I cannot change in my own strength.

I repent of not standing up to oppose those who hate my enemies or teaching them how to love.  Because I failed to speak up, the very definition of love has been lost, and now people even think it’s better to allow someone to commit suicide than it is to save them.  I’m so sorry.  This is terrible, because I know you are love, so by not being a good example of love, I have lied about you with my inaction.  Please forgive me.  By buying into “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” I have acted in direct opposition to your teaching, Jesus, which says that we have to love our enemies.

Christian, what about you?  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

But… Christian?  Have you confessed your sins?  When was the last time you did it?

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’  Matthew 7:21-23

Christians: Repent of Idolatry

For quite some time, I have been studying what idolatry is.

Idolatry is the natural religion of the human heart, because it’s about human beings.

Whatever you like, there is an idol for it.  Idolatry is about all the things that delight human beings.

That is why it is a “pantheon.”  The reason there are so many idols is that every single thing that is not our God, the great “I AM,” is an idol.  That’s right, everything–every single thing in existence other than God can be worshiped as an idol.

Idolatry is such an easy sin to commit that if we are in any kind of sin, it is likely that we are in idolatry.  Any disobedience, disrespect, mockery, lack of complete commitment, faithlessness, or any other form of disregard for God is, in effect, idolatry, because we are to put God first in our lives:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matt 22:36-40

So now the question is this:  Which of us believers has never committed idolatry, at least in our hearts?  Brothers and sisters, I urgently need to tell you that you must submit everything in your heart, good and bad, to the Lord as soon as possible.  Only by our good example and submission to God will the Holy Spirit be able to work through us to prevent the tide of corruption and wickedness which we now see enveloping our nation and the world at large.  Please, please, ask God to show you what the idols are in your life and renounce them–repent!  I have a strong sense that even if many Christians repent, God is still going to judge us, but I don’t know how, where, or when. I assure you, Christians, that as long as we cling to our idols, we are only a part of the corruption problem, and will never make it any better.

I had a dream of war.  A limp child died in her mother’s arms.  All night in my mind, grey, ruthless armies marched, destroyed, and killed.  I fell asleep with visions of suffering children, and I awoke to visions of cannons.  I think God is trying to tell us:  Turn from your sin and seek my face, for I am the only one who can save you from yourselves!  Christians, we have tried to stop corruption using political powers, as I’ve discussed, and it has only made things worse:  now we’re viewed as “dominionist” hypocrites who only want to boss other people around.  No more, not for me.  If asked, I will disapprove of sin, but to actively oppose evil has not worked.  “Do not resist him who is evil.”  “Turn the other cheek.”  “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit.”  Change your heart, turn to God, focus on him alone, and change will spread from us to the rest of the world.

Let me give you some examples of different types of idols that I have seen Christians cling to.  Of course, Christians are like any other human and we are all delighted by the most popular idols:  money, power, and sex.

Let’s see how Christians have idolized money.  Many outside the church have judged us for building church metropolises that cost 12 million dollars and spending only a small portion of church funds on the poor.  In fact, there is one large church in my town that is nearly bankrupt, because they were never able to finish paying for their building before Christianity became so unpopular that they didn’t have nearly the number of members that they would need to pay for such a structure.

This is something that we really need to grapple with.  Christians, instead of appreciating the loving nature of the sacrifice that Christ made for us and doing the same for others, most of us now consider it a burden to even give the tithe that everyone in the church rightfully should pay!  Love is a sacrificial thing.  It gives to anyone who needs, even when we are down to only “two mites,” because we can trust that, if we obey God, he will reward us. “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.”  Proverbs 19:17

We should all be giving money over and above our tithe, whatever is asked of us, if God leads.  Perhaps, at times we rationalize that we are only “enabling” bad behavior, but I would just like to point out that Jesus did not differentiate between “the deserving poor” and “the undeserving poor.”  Oops!  Perhaps sometimes God gives us the discernment to know that what they ask for is not what they need, so we give what they do need.  Unless we are sure that giving will actually, literally hurt the requester, then we are in disobedience to Jesus’ clear teaching if we turn them away empty-handed:

“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.”  Luke 6:30

I dare you, Christian to read Luke 6 and analyze yourself in comparison to it.  It is extremely challenging.  I really think that if you can do even one thing that Luke 6:27-42 says to do, you are being a better Christian than about 90% of the Christians that I’ve met in my life, which is many hundreds at many different types of churches over the years.

I hope you know, Christians, that the world has heard about this passage in the Bible, and they have tried to hold us accountable to it for decades, and yet we have rebelled and remained lawless in the eyes of God and men.  Read it.  Pray over it.  Submit to it.  Repent.  It is the only way that God’s work on earth can be done.  If you are one who believes in Jesus, then I love you, and that is why I tell you these things:  I don’t want you to continue in ignorance that could lead to destruction.  I care too much about you to let that happen.

I have already written in another post about how Christians have sought power that was not the power of God, so I now move on to the subject of sexual idolatry.

Let us discuss the Bible’s view of sex.  Love between a man and a wife that is intimate and exciting is laid out for us on the book called Song of Songs.  This picture of sexual intimacy is in the Bible for two major reasons:  To show us the nature of Christ to his bride the church, and also to show us how our marital relationships should be a model of that relationship.  This simple fact has been pushed so far aside that even Christians no longer seem to understand the purpose of marriage or sex as gifts and symbols from God.

Jesus came to earth so that we may have a relationship with God.  Our relationship with Christ is symbolized by marriage.  That means that marriage and the special, exclusive relationship with our Lord cannot possibly be represented by anything other than a committed, loving, honoring, exclusive, wedded relationship between a man and a woman.  I’m sorry if that’s hurtful, but the truth is important, because Jesus said, “I am The Truth,” so if we reject the truth, we are rejecting Jesus.  “The truth will set you free,” so if you are in bondage to sexual sin, then please give that sin to the Lord and let him change you.  Give it up.  Repent.  Jesus came to set the captives free, so let go of your past sins and hurts and let the Lord love you.

Types of sexual sin include, but are certainly not limited to:  impure thoughts, masturbation, adultery, prostitution, fornication, same-sex relationslooking at pornography, and many other things listed in the Bible, especially in Leviticus 18.  Remember Christian, if you have to ask the question, “Is this okay?” it is not okay!  God does not require us to be “okay,” but to be holy.  Remember, my blog is not addressed to unbelievers, because I know they will not listen to me.  But, if you are a Christian reading this post, you need to consider whether God has sent me, your Christian sister, to call you to repentance.  If God can speak through a donkey, then he can most likely speak through me, even if you consider me no better than a “donkey,” in a way.

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. 1 Thess 4:3-8

Again, anything that is not honoring to God is idolatry.  All sexual sin is idolatry, and the more we sink into sexual sin, the more other types of idolatry we will fall prey to.  In fact, while Christians have been trying to fight back corruption with the law, we have completely failed to realize that the corruption we are seeing is not the problem, but only a symptom of the true problem, which is worship of the self.

Ah, yes!  Humanism!  When Petrarch realized, in a mountaintop experience, that he should stop focusing on God and focus on himself, I’m sure he didn’t realize that he was setting Western Civilization on a destructive course that leads to death and hell.  Petrarch was an extremely popular poet, credited with founding Renaissance Humanism, which has been an idol for many scholars*.  He loved Augustine and his Confessions with a passion.  Petrarch did want to serve God, but notice the argument that he uses to shift his focus from Christ to himself:

I closed the book, angry with myself that I should still be admiring earthly things who might long ago have learned from even the pagan philosophers that nothing is wonderful but the soul, which, when great itself, finds nothing great outside itself. Then, in truth, I was satisfied that I had seen enough of the mountain; I turned my inward eye upon myself, and from that time not a syllable fell from my lips until we reached the bottom again. 

So, it would appear that it was indeed paganism, which is a form of idolatry, that led to our current state of valuing ourselves above God.  By idolizing the self, we have all strayed far from God’s will for our lives.  By putting ourselves first, we have not put God first.  Later in his life, Petrarch wrote in his secret diary a dialogue between himself and his beloved Augustine, in which Augustine condemned him for living his life wrongly by wasting it writing poetry about another man’s wife.

Christian, I’m not trying to be bossy, but Christianity is not about you.  It’s about God.  The religion that’s about you is called “Humanism,” I just showed you that.  I do not want to hear one more Christian say that they can’t do what God requires, because they weren’t raised right, or they are just made wrongly.  God does not accept excuses for sin, but he does accept sinners, if they come in humility and repentance, and not pride and lawlessness.  Still not convinced that God desires control of our sexual lives?

In the Bible, as we Christians know, God asked Abraham to make a commitment (covenant) with him, by cutting off a piece of… what?  What other evidence would anyone need that God wants to be in charge of every part of our lives?  Circumcision is a symbol of commitment to God:  it is cutting off part of your most sensitive, personal, precious part of yourself and casting it aside and letting it die.  It’s painful!  It’s bloody!  Everyone will ask you, “Why on earth would you do something like that??”  “What did you do??”  Cries of dismay and disgust fill the air at this terrible violation of the idol called “The Self.”  If God’s covenant with Abraham involved his private parts, then that kind of commitment is what he requires of us, as well, but much more, in fact we must commit our entire being to God, because we are to be “circumcised of heart.”

Christian, you believe you are saved because Jesus died for you?  Well, I need to tell you that Jesus said only people who do his Father’s will are going to heaven:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 7:21

So, think about it:  if you refuse to submit to God, because you were born a sinner, just as I was, then what excuse do you have for that rebellion?  Why do you slap God in the face and tell him that you can’t change, when he as told you that “All things are possible through Christ, who strengthens you”?  For too long, the church has preached what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace,” and many souls have fallen into sin because they believed they were accepting Jesus without giving anything in return.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.  Matthew 16:24-27

Where does Jesus say that any of us has an excuse to sin?  He clearly says that if I want to be his follower, I have to “take up my cross,” and we all have our various crosses to bear.  For example, in my flesh, I’m a narcissist and I have a bad temper.  Should I use the fact that I was born that way as a license to sin?  If we aren’t willing to “lose our life” of sexual liberty, then we cannot find our life in Christ; Jesus said it himself.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  Roman 6:1-4

People will do whatever they are open to.  I know that, because I’ve had a lot of sexual opportunities that I’ve passed up, because I was not open them.  A perfect example is the time I spent at a college one summer when I was still in high school.  I had a female friend there who was extremely smart and creative.  We almost seemed like soul mates.  We used to have tickle fights on her bed.  When the summer was over, we were both emotionally devastated, and she wrote me a goodbye letter telling me that “other people wouldn’t understand our relationship.”  What does that sound like?  The relationship never became sexual, however.  Why?  Because I wasn’t open to it, that’s why.  It was against my beliefs.  I’m pretty sure she was open to it, and that she still is open to sexual contact with women.  So, didn’t I make a choice not to further the relationship?  But again, what does it matter how I was born:  no matter what my issues are, I have to place them all at the foot of the cross and not resist God’s discipline on my life, for that is lawlessness.

So, it’s hard for me to place myself above same-sex relationships or any other type of sin, since I have been attracted and intimately attached to the soul of a woman, and certainly in later years had many impure thoughts, including many types of sexual sin, more times than I can count.  Jesus said that looking with lust was just as bad as committing the act, so that means that I have committed all those acts, because I wanted to do them. (Matt. 527)

I am a sinner, like you.  I am no better than you, no matter what you’ve done.  You and I both need Jesus.  We were born in sin, and we will die in sin if we do not repent and turn to the Lord.  We are not different, we are the same, you and me.  We are both sinners saved by grace who need to turn from our sins and seek the Lord.

God, I want to turn from all my sexual sins of the past.  I have had countless immoral thoughts, I have enticed others, I have been a bad example to everyone around me by not keeping my faith, which means that I have led others to sin, I have cohabited before marriage which is fornication, I have disgraced the name of Christ by not allowing his light to shine in my life.  I have worshiped the idol of my own lust, and exchanged your truth for a lie, which is that what I want matters.  I now submit to you and ask your forgiveness.  Please forgive me and change me and cleanse me from all my sins through the power of the blood of Jesus.  Today, I have wept about what a bad example I’ve been, and how poor a follower of your son I have been.

Anyone reading this should pray for me too, that God will have mercy on me.  I do love God and want to give him my full devotion.  I think the light should have come on in my mind in college that I was not being a good example, when my sorority sisters asked what was the most important thing in my life, and I said, “God,” and they all agreed that they couldn’t tell.

I’m so sorry, God, for living a wordly life of carnal passions, but I thank you that you can still save me.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23

Still don’t think you can change?  Well, it’s true:  nobody can change without Jesus.  Trying to change yourself through your own strength is a heresy called “legalism.”  It will never work.  Trying harder will never work.  If it could, then we would not have needed Jesus to die for us.  Throw yourself on God’s mercy and ask him to change you, for “his strength is made perfect in our weakness.” Confess that you are helpless in your sin. When you are weak, but you let God change you, then God is glorified, which is what God desires, our love and devotion.

 

* I just noticed that they have a little, golden idol that looks like a human on the Humanism page.  Isn’t that cute?

Christians: Repent of Unholy Alliances

I think that this may be one of my most controversial posts.  Today I plan to share with you why I see no clear way for me to follow the Lord in the next presidential election.

Politics is like a house built on a foundation of ideas.  These ideas can be philosophy, feelings, or religion.  Most of them are ethics.  It has become apparent to me that if my political foundation is Christianity, I cannot vote for any of the possible candidates without feeling at least somewhat uneasy.

In my last post, I gave many Bible verses that speak about how God would like us to interact with and support each other.  Here is my summary of those principles, as I see them:

In looking at these principles, I can easily see that neither party platform supports them all.  I view that fact as a very bad sign for all of us, because it means that no matter which party wins, we will continue to institute more sinful practices as the law of the land.

The Current Administration

It seems to me that one party, the Democrats, wants to plead the cause of the poor and protect and support the needy and the immigrants, which I believe we should do.  Though I certainly don’t think that we should encourage our countrymen to be unambitious, I don’t think that an economic depression is the time to tell our neighbors and friends to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.”  I know that social programs cannot solve all our problems, but I think that they will always be needed, especially in times like the present.

Before I go on and say what I can’t accept about the Democratic platform, I just want to make it clear how I feel about our President.  I love this man.  I love his whole family; I can’t help it.  In fact, as a person, I can’t think of another President that I would more want to have as a personal friend other than Jimmy Carter, who I dearly loved throughout my childhood.  It is clear to me that our President tries to do the right thing.  It pains me to see how critical people are of him, seeing how hard he tries.  Even people who voted for him are more critical of him than I.  I even predicted long ago, on another blog that nobody could live up to the build-up that preceded his election, because only our Lord Jesus can change things that broadly and easily.  Over the years, I have watched the lines in his face deepen with care from all the burden that he carries for all of us.  In fact, I can’t think of one bad thing to say about him, and I would love to be able to tell my grandchildren that I voted for the first African-American president that our nation ever had–that is an awesome thing.  There is one major thing holding me back from simply deciding to cast my vote for Obama, and that is his NARAL rating.

Our president has been rated with 100% approval by NARAL.  That means that he approves abortion under basically any circumstances, with no restrictions.  It also means that in the event that a baby somehow survives an abortion, he condones the murder of the baby, after it is born.  Let me just repeat that.  He has repeatedly voted against a law that would make it illegal to kill babies who survive abortions.

This troubles me because of how much I dearly love an abortion survivor named Gianna Jessen.  If you have never heard of her, I strongly urge you, my brother or sister, to watch these two videos of her speaking on the evening of a debate about the legalization of abortion at Queen’s Hall, Parliament House, Victoria, Australia in 2008.  I want you to see and feel in your heart that this woman has a passion given by the Holy Spirit to wake us Christians from our sleep about the abortion issue–we have accepted the argument that all abortions are acts of mercy, which I intend to question in this blog.

I challenge you to listen to her words and not feel God’s glory and hope burning through your soul.  She truly knows what it means to live her life in God’s arms.

Gianna Jessen speaks about her survival of abortion

Giana Jessen speaks about ethics and who we are in Christ

Oh, how I love this woman, this beautiful Christian sister.  I know that she knows and loves my Jesus as well as I know that I love Jesus.  I thank God that he sent her to tell us all “the other side” of the abortion debate.  I was pleased to notice that some filmmakers have chosen her life as the subject of a film called October Baby, which encourages me.  It encourages me because I feel like Christianity has been left out of the “Great Conversation” of culture for far too long, but I’ll discuss my thoughts about Christian art in another post.

I have to face the fact that our president voted against laws that would allow other people like her to live.

All that to say:  If I am to protect the weak and prevent corruption as the Bible says, I cannot, in good conscience, vote for a platform that does not oppose abortions that could be prevented.  Understand, brothers and sisters, that our lives are not about liberty.  No, my love.  Our lives are about submission to Christ, and he showed us that we are to love all weak and helpless people, because that is what he did.  “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.”  Matt 18:5

In another post, I will discuss how the Democrats seem not to be supportive of religious freedom for Christians, but right now, I want to finish discussing the possible presidential candidates.

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney seems to me to be lacking in compassion.  He wants to oust the immigrants and doesn’t think that it is a problem if only a few people have most of the money in this country.  If he were to win, I fear that there would be many riots among the youth and other disgruntled people of our nation.  If you recall, that was the response to the election of George Bush, and the animosity has not decreased much over the past eight years.  Bottom line:  I don’t feel that a vote for Mitt Romney protects the poor or the immigrant, as the Bible verses I have cited say we must.

Rick Santorum

I understand that he is no longer in the race, but since he was billed as the “compassionate conservative” candidate, I want to talk about why I didn’t think I could vote for him.  Though I certainly agree with most of this brother’s beliefs, I can’t agree with his interpretation of how we should apply the Bible to our lives.  He claimed that we could end poverty, but Jesus said, “The poor you have always with you,” and “In this life you will have trouble.”  To me, that means that we can’t possibly end poverty on the earth until Jesus returns.

Santorum also claimed that if someone had some health problem, it was probably their fault, when the book of Job clearly shows through story that even the very righteous can have terrible suffering and sorrow.  In fact, Christian mystical books such as Hind’s Feet on High Places and The Dark Night of the Soul claim that suffering and sorrow are God’s way of bringing us closer to him.

Finally, right before he dropped out of the race, one of his aides claimed that God would not be happy if a woman were to be the leader of our country, seemingly forgetting that the Bible says that God is actually in charge of what leaders a nation has.  Bottom line:  Rick Santorum also does not appear to be as compassionate as the Bible says we should be, as Christians.

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich seems to have one major ethic:  Newt Gingrich.  It is well-known that he was convicted of political corruption in the past, so I was quite surprised that he would even be considered for the presidency.  I was not at all surprised, however, to hear that a man who is unethical in his public life is also unethical in his private life.  Those things are signs of bad character.  To elect Newt Gingrich would be to reward and encourage corruption in our society.

Finally, he does not seem to have solid views on the major issues and has been known to vacillate.  That, alone would be enough to keep me from voting for him, because if he does not “toe the party line” then he may go awry on the key issues I care most about.  Bottom line:  Newt Gingrich does not even claim to be following the Bible, Biblical principles, or Christian ethics.  His ethic appears to be himself.

Ron Paul

Though I hear that Ron Paul is a very respectable man, which I do not dispute, I want to caution all my brothers and sisters reading this:  We must ally ourselves with Christ, and not Ron Paul.  I couldn’t agree more with Ron Paul’s pro-life position.  I absolutely love that he supports homeschooling, which could certainly be beneficial to me in many ways if he were to become president.  But there is one very important thing that I think Christians need to notice about the “Libertarian” philosophy…

Decreasing regulation and allowing corruption to spread is not being “salt” or “light.”

Sorry, but I really need to say that.  Christians, please do not think that if we all allow the government to deregulate everything that we are held blameless if sin runs amok in our society.  God holds all of us accountable for what we allow to occur around us!  If you doubt me, then I ask, “Do you judge our predecessors for allowing slavery?  Do you judge the German people for looking the other way during the Holocaust during World War II?”  If so, then we can all agree that to allow something to occur is to tacitly approve of it.  We cannot wash our hands and say, “Oh, well, it was the government, and I cannot do our Heavenly Father’s job.”

My brothers and sisters, we are the body of Christ!  We are to do what he would do.  He was never seen to approve of sin.  He told people not so sin many times.  He saved the adulterous woman from being punished according to the law, but then he said, “Go and sin no more.”

If we allow the government to decrease the amount of help people are receiving during a depression, then that is actually a form of societal corruption, if I’m reading my Bible correctly.  Also, if we oppress the immigrants and are not loving to them, that is also against the Bible.  If we do not protect the fatherless with laws, then in what way are we protecting the unborn fatherless?

Well, now that I’ve most likely offended everyone who has had the patience to read all this, I guess it’s time for me to repent.

I repent of calling myself “Republican” and “conservative” when really I should just say I’m a Christian, and leave it at that.  I don’t want to follow some earthly leader with clay feet, anymore.  I’m very saddened that so many people, both Christians and non-believers have chosen to treat politics as if it were a religion.  If it is a religion, it seems to me to be a very impure, illogical, and prejudiced one.  It’s divisive and causes Christians to judge each other, when we are supposed to love each other.

I want to tell you that I have been researching the conditions under which God judges a nation.  Here is a partial list (supporting scripture is at the end of this post):

  • Cheating people as a habit
  • Having hearts that rebel against God
  • Worshiping idols, which is to say not putting God first
  • Growing rich dishonestly and mercilessly
  • Not defending the poor
  • Not defending the fatherless
  • Not defending the widow
  • Having corrupt rulers
  • Having corrupt clergy

I have seen evidence of all of these things in very recent days, as God has shown me the depth of our corruption.  Yesterday, I wept about it.  We are kicking single mothers out of their homes into the street with their children.  Companies are firing people and forcing them to sign a false resignation letter so that they won’t be able to receive unemployment.  Even in small matters, business is not conducted honestly, and companies try to cheat their customers out of what they are owed.  This, in addition to all our other sins, grieve my spirit greatly.

Please pray and ask God to convict you if you’ve committed this sin of making alliances with earthly powers and leaders above our Lord Jesus.  Don’t trust me, go straight to the Lord.  “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”  Psalm 118:8

Please forgive me if I have offended you in any way with my words.  I am only speaking what God has put in my heart to say to you, my brother, my sister.  I leave you with scripture that I hope will bring to light some of the corruption that is grieving me so much.

“These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16-19)  Looks like that we are guilty of all of these things, if we are all taken together.

23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts
   they have turned aside and gone away. 
24 They do not say to themselves, 
   ‘Let us fear the LORD our God, 
who gives autumn and spring rains in season, 
   who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’ 
25 Your wrongdoings have kept these away; 
   your sins have deprived you of good.

 26 “Among my people are wicked men 
   who lie in wait like men who snare birds 
   and like those who set traps to catch men
27 Like cages full of birds, 
   their houses are full of deceit; 
they have become rich and powerful 
 28 and have grown fat and sleek
Their evil deeds have no limit; 
   they do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it, 
   they do not defend the rights of the poor. 
29 Should I not punish them for this?” 
   declares the LORD. 
“Should I not avenge myself 
   on such a nation as this?

 30 “A horrible and shocking thing 
   has happened in the land: 
31 The prophets prophesy lies, 
   the priests rule by their own authority, 
and my people love it this way.

Jeremiah 5:23-31

23 Your rulers are rebels, 
   companions of thieves; 
they all love bribes 
   and chase after gifts. 
They do not defend the cause of the fatherless
   the widow’s case does not come before them

Isaiah 1:23

Christians: Repent of Seeking Worldly Power Through Politics

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.  Zechariah 4:6

 

I want to repent before all of you and God.  Christians are to be salt, it’s true.  We must resist corruption, or we become irrelevant and useless, like mundane soil.  However, Jesus was not a political leader.  Everyone wanted him to be political.  The prophesied Messiah was supposed to save his people.  The Jewish people naturally assumed that their Messiah would free them from their political and social oppressors, the Romans.

Instead, Jesus allowed the Romans to kill him.*

I don’t think we can underestimate the importance of that fact:  Jesus didn’t “resist him who is evil.”  I seem to have forgotten that, somewhere along the way.  I think a lot of us have.  

Think of it:  How did Christianity spread, in the Middle East, after Jesus’ death?  It spread as a grassroots movement that was greatly misunderstood.  At one point, Christians were so misunderstood that communion was believed to be actual cannibalism, which led to Christians being persecuted in Rome in many terrible ways.  What happened then?  Well, to shorten a long story, you may have heard of “Vatican City.”  Christians went from being crucified and eaten by lions in Rome to owning a big chunk of it.

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.”

It wasn’t a community uprising that spread Christianity.  It was the way the Christians allowed themselves to be persecuted.  Jesus died.  Jesus was resurrected.  Christians died.  The church was resurrected.

Many of us Christians have followed our emotions instead of God’s Spirit.  We have gone astray.  For the purpose of gaining more political power, we have “gotten into bed” with various people who have interests that we cannot righteously support:  greed, humanism, lust, hate, and many other pagan (that is to say essentially human) values.

I feel convicted of having done this, myself.  I confess:  I was wrong.  I thought that I could somehow protect my children’s future and their future children using my own strength, and by relying on other people in power.  No more.  I no longer want to be compromised.  That is why I have officially renounced any political ties to any party or faction.  I do believe that I can support good causes.  I see nothing wrong with that, as long as the motives and ideals of the cause are Godly.  

However, if I were to have a political philosophy, I think it would have to take into account what the Bible says about how we should treat our countrymen and how we should live our lives.  I cannot protect my children through worldly power.  I have to rely on God’s spirit for that, because there is no place on earth that is “safe” from sin.  This principle has been expressed in art in the film “The Village” by M. Knight Shyamalan:  The reason we cannot completely escape evil is that it comes from within us.  I know this is true, because Jesus said it:

“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’”  Matt 15:17-20

Every political party must deal with the competing interests of wicked human beings like us (notice I include myself), which leads to compromise, which leads to corruption.  Accordingly, I seriously doubt that any political party will ever be able to champion a truly righteous platform.  I may never donate to a political cause or identify with a political faction, again.  I wish, from now on, to be identified only with Christ, because “for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  Being a Christian is not about me or what I want.  It is about God and what he wants.  

So, from now on, I will decide who to vote for by reading, listening, evaluating, and then praying about what I have learned.  I will no longer vote for a party out of mere loyalty.  I urge you, my beloved brother or sister, to do the same.  I feel sure God is calling us to repent of any unrighteous attitudes about worldly power.  Please know that, however you decide to vote, I do not judge you, because I fully understand now that no political party has “a lock” on the Biblical worldview.  I love and respect you just as much, no matter how you vote, and I pray God will forgive all of us for our past sins in making unholy alliances.

Here are some verses I believe are applicable to Christian political ethics:

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, 
   for the rights of all who are destitute. 
Speak up and judge fairly; 
   defend the rights of the poor and needy.  Prov 31:8-9

“How long will you defend the unjust

and show partiality to the wicked?       Selah

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless;

maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.

Rescue the weak and needy;

deliver them from the hand of the wicked.  Psalm 82:2-4

“Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.”
            Then all the people shall say, “Amen!” Deut 27:19

 12 When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. 13 Then say to the LORD your God: “I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them.  Deut 26:12-13

16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.  Deut 10:16-19

 “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.

 “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless. Ex 22:21-24

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27

If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.  Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!  If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.  Matthew 18:6-10

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”  Heb. 13:4

As far as I can see, there is no political party or movement that will allow us to support all these scriptures with our political voices and actions.  God help us.

 

* That is how Jesus saved us from our sins: by allowing himself to be killed, and then being resurrected, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.  Romans 8:11

What Is This Blog About?

My heart is broken within me; 
   all my bones tremble. 
I am like a drunken man, 
   like a man overcome by wine, 
because of the LORD 
   and his holy words. 
The land is full of adulterers; 
   because of the curse the land lies parched
   and the pastures in the desert are withered. 
The prophets follow an evil course 
   and use their power unjustly.

“Both prophet and priest are godless; 
   even in my temple I find their wickedness,” 
            declares the LORD. 

Jeremiah 23:9-11

I come to you, my Christian brothers and sisters, to plead with you.  I am in the process of repentance, and I want you to join me.  I’m sickened to death by how corrupt our society has become.  I feel as Jeremiah did in the passage above–weakened, drunk, overcome by wickedness.  It is not only politicians who are corrupt in our time.  Even in the church, there is corruption, materialism, and lack of love.  If society is corrupt, it can only be our fault as Christians for not preserving society.  Jesus said that we are the “salt of the earth.”  If corruption has spread, we must take responsibility for our part in allowing it to spread, both directly and indirectly.

Christians–We have not been salty enough.  Jesus said “if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”  Isn’t that what is happening?  Aren’t our Christian beliefs being “trampled by men?”  I understand if you don’t agree, but I know many Christians will agree that our beliefs are attacked far more frequently and vehemently than they have been in previous decades.

A few years ago, our church started a new Bible study, called “Seeking Him:  Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  I learned a very important idea from this study, which follows:

Revival starts with widespread repentance.

Perhaps you would like to shout at me, now, “We all want people to repent!  They won’t listen!”  My dear brother or sister, please listen to this passage from 2 Chronicles about who can start a revival and widespread repentance:

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.”  2 Chronicles 7:13-16

Repentance starts in the house of the Lord.  It has to.  It must start with you and me and every Christian that we know, because we have God’s Spirit, so we are the ones who can hear him calling us to repent.

This passage gives a clear path to repentance and the renewal that God promises if we turn from our wicked ways:

  1. Humble ourselves
  2. Pray
  3. Seek the Lord
  4. Turn from our wicked ways

Is this an easy process?  Yes and no.  It doesn’t cost anything but time and energy, and yet, it’s so hard to admit it when we’ve done wrong.  That’s just one more sin we’ve all committed:  having pride, for too long.

If you’re not a believer, you’re certainly welcome to come on my journey of trying to point out to Christians all of our sins, but please do not think that this blog is directed at you.  I’m speaking to Christians, because it’s my opinion that only through our repentance will the Holy Spirit intervene and change people’s hearts for Christ.  You are welcome here, whoever you are.

Christians are “salt.”  Salt in a wound hurts.  The truth hurts.  Many people will be offended by some of the things I say, and other people will be offended by different things I say.  I’m prepared for that.  I’m not starting this blog to cause controversy, but after having dreams and visions, and praying and fasting, all of it leading to this blog.  I seek peace with God, who tugs at my heart.  Unfortunately, “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God,”(Jas. 4:4) and the converse is also true.  My choice to speak the truth is going to cause many people to regard me as an enemy.  I apologize in advance to anyone who may be offended by my words, but Jesus said that we must love God the most, and other human beings next.  Though I do love you, I must listen to God, who says that “my people perish for a lack of knowledge.”  If I know the truth, but keep silent, then I am partially guilty for my neighbor’s sin:  “Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.”  Lev. 19:17

I have no idea where this blog will lead, because I hope to be following the Lord as I write it.  However, I have made a partial list of sins that I think many Christians need to repent of, all of which I plan to write about.  Something on this list may surprise or upset, well, almost everyone.  Since I have no more alliances with political parties, I’m free to shed light on the sin of absolutely everyone, including myself.  As I discuss each one of those sins, I will confess which ones I’ve committed and try to earnestly repent.

Sins for Which Christians and the Church Need to Repent

  1. Seeking worldly power through politics
  2. Making political alliances instead of allying ourselves only with Christ and other believers
  3. Allowing Christian doctrine to become corrupted with humanistic ideas
  4. Failing to love the poor and the widow enough
  5. Failing to love the alien enough
  6. Failing to protect the fatherless
  7. Failing to plead the case of the poor
  8. Failing to love people who call themselves “homosexuals” enough
  9. Allowing ourselves to become corrupted by pagan urges
  10. Tolerating pedophiles in church leadership positions where they come into contact with minors
  11. Being too tolerant of sin and not loving sinners enough
  12. Allowing the family structure to be compromised by adultery
  13. Not loving our children enough
  14. Not disciplining our children properly
  15. Failing to be salt
  16. Failing to be light
  17. Doubting God’s goodness
  18. Lacking faith
  19. Having the form of Godliness, but denying its power
  20. Forgetting our first love

I’ve tried to order this list starting with more mundane things and leading to more spiritual things.  There is a feeling in my heart that I can’t describe, except to say that I feel that if Christians don’t repent of these sins and any others we have committed, then God may judge all of us, soon.  What does that mean?  I’m not sure.  I’m just communicating a feeling.  I have sighed, wept, prayed, fasted, studied, and thought about this for quite some time.  I pray God will be gracious and allow me to speak the truth in love.  I am at least somewhat more at peace right now, because I’m not longer silent.

I am ridiculed all day long; 
   everyone mocks me. 
Whenever I speak, I cry out 
   proclaiming violence and destruction. 
So the word of the LORD has brought me 
   insult and reproach all day long. 
But if I say, “I will not mention his word 
   or speak anymore in his name,” 
his word is in my heart like a fire, 
   a fire shut up in my bones. 
I am weary of holding it in; 
   indeed, I cannot. 

Jeremiah 20:7-9