Beautiful Deception

A small amount of falling snow had accumulated as I drove home from work a few nights ago.  At one point, my eye caught the snow as little wisps danced across the pavement in a distinctly serpentine fashion, back and forth the snow weaved, leaving delicate flakes behind in its wake.

After a few seconds, I looked up and saw just how close I was to the car stopped at the red light.  I braked just in time, averting catastrophe.  I saw the parking lights of the car in front of me turn on and two cars in front of me, the man opened his door and got out of his car, walking back to see the damage.  I had escaped a fender bender, but the person in front of me had not.  Had I continued watching the fascinating snow, however, I most likely would have made the accident in front of me into a three car pile-up.  All because I’d forgotten the first rule of driving:  “Keep your eyes on the road ahead of you, and where you’re looking, that’s where you’re headed.”

Naturally, I started thinking about the drive home and realized how much like me in my little car is like the life of the Church.  My heart is burdened by how I see the Church living in this post-modern world.

Many Christians spend so much of our time awed by whatever feel-good theology is popular at the moment, things which are as unsubstantial as wisps of snow.  “Oooooh, the Prayer of Jabez!”  “Ahhh, Purpose Driven life!”   “Oooh, Spirit Guides!”  “Ahhh, the Emerging Church.”

The purpose of the church has not changed for 2000 years.  We are not about building up a social class, or becoming a mission for social justice, we are not an experiment in social change.  The purpose of the Church is to equip and encourage Christians to evangelize a world going to hell. And we’d rather love them into our buildings than preach them into the kingdom.

The Church is always, has always been, and simply must be about Jesus Christ.  His rescue of our souls.  His gift of eternal life.  His creation of a family of believers.  His love, peace, hope, and joy in our souls.  And importantly, His sanctifying work in our hearts, carving out the evil —  lies, lust, hatred, gossip, back-stabbing, worry, immorality, and covetousness — that we reveled in before we believed on Him.  And to believe on Jesus means more than just believe He exists.  It means believing in His purpose in coming to earth, His work, and His word.

The Church is not about spirit guides, but the Word of God.   The inerrant, infallible, incomparable Holy Scriptures.  Ever since the beginning of time when the snake deceived Eve in the Garden, Satan’s method of leading mankind astray is by questioning the Word of God.

And the Devil is very good at it.  He has had generations question the very foundation of faith in Genesis and the creation of the world; he’s infused doubt into the truth of the global, worldwide flood; he spread the falsehood that the disciples carried Jesus from the tomb and lied about His resurrection, and now suggests that we can’t know what the Bible says.  Rather than using the insidious, “Did God really say..?” The Father of lies now whispers, “We can’t know what God says and it doesn’t really matter.”  And into this void of confusion, with no absolute foundation for morality or righteousness, every sin is accepted and the Church has no anchor, swaying between New Age paganism and post-modern humanism.  Then, just like watching the snow softly blow across the road, the church becomes hypnotized and unaware of the dangers ahead, dangers that we’re already seeing in evangelical America.  A church weak, impotent, marginalized, and unable to influence the children in our own families.  We’d rather get together in the coffee shop outside the auditorium and discuss what a verse meant to us than read the Bible to our children and tell them that God says Jesus is the only way to heaven, and the Bible holds the answers we would ever need in life.

Beloved Church,  “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
‘I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.’
‘ Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.
I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the LORD Almighty.

That is what our dying world needs.

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