“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”
I Corinthians 15:1-8 NKJV
The point of departure
The Christian church in America today is hopelessly fractured. There are so many different approaches to the conduct of the the faith. So many different ideas of even the most basic aspect of the mission of every believer: the Gospel.
Some preach a social gospel, others a liberation gospel, some prosperity, but relatively few honor the truth.
There are some who look upon the Gospel as the universal love of God. Those that advance this idea often fill churches that are soft on sin, redemption, the penal substitutionary death of Christ on the cross, and seldom preach the truth of the Bible. Often these churches are quite large, unnaturally so.
“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.””
Matthew 13:31-32 NKJV
Mustard seeds do not grow into trees.
In these churches, nary is one called a sinner, and seldom are people held to biblical standards. In many such congregations, even the most wretched of sins is affirmed, if not applauded. “All are welcome!” Unless you truly believe the word of God.
The true message of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ came to earth, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, willingly went to the cross to die for the sins of the world. He was buried, and on the third day He rose victoriously. It is a message that brings joy, and brings great warning. Someone had to die a gruesome death for our sins.
Regardless of how we try to dismiss our offenses, they are worthy of death, and those who do not come to Jesus for salvation are destined for hell. There is no way to candy coat it. There are some who say that insisting on the biblical Gospel “chases people away from Christianity…”, but in reality the absence of it draws people toward hell.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:23 NKJV
We are at the point of departure, when people will begin, in earnest, to make a decision: says to the Gospel, or say yes to hell.
In the midst of this time, we who have decided to follow Jesus must go and tell. We must go and communicate the message of the Good News, unvarnished, not sugar coated, and uncensored. Those who persevere with the work will face opposition, mocking, arrest, attacks, and perhaps, death. But we must press on anyway.
It is a very tragic time, as families are being disrupted, driven asunder by the devil. Unbelieving mates abandoning their believing spouses, children exiting the faith in record numbers, and long term attenders hopping away, opting for churches where they can feel comforted and assured in their sins.
Pastors of these churches are casket painters, as their pleasant words are as brushes painting pleasant colors to mask the spiritual death that awaits those that crowd in their pews, mere vaults in the mausoleum of the damned.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”
II Timothy 4:3-4 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, at this point of departure, may we be dedicated to preaching and teaching the truth of God’s word. Let us be faithful calling each other out in love, when we have seen that we are straying, being sure to do so gently. We are all human, we all can stumble, and we all can be tempted away.
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.”
Galatians 6:1-5 NKJV
The falling away has begun, and what we will behold will be frightful, as those thought to be long time brothers and sisters ceasing following Jesus and seek after their own flesh. Let us not lose heart, but let us double down on the things that we know: Jesus came to save sinners. Jesus is coming again.
Let us be mindful of how we walk, and let us also be mindful of how those around us walk. Follow the examples of godliness that the Lord has provided, bearing in mind that you too are an example for someone. May it be said of you, that you walk rightly.
“Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”
Philippians 3:17-21 NKJV
Have a Fabulous Friday!