Complimentary StoryFebruary 2023
As our nation and culture continue to slide headlong into the abyss, the general apathy goes unchallenged by the Church in general across this land. Its as if Christianity is comfortable simply being an ineffectual subculture, more desirous to co-exist with an evil world than to challenge it, resist it, or do spiritual battle. Sadly, with the distress and deterioration all around, the majority of so-called Bible-believing churches are AWOL when it comes to raising a standard in this nation against the enemies of God.
In these times, we definitely need the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to awaken us from our slumber. Not just a little “readjustment” — not just seeking to have a place at the table of compromise. But we need a full onslaught of Biblical Truth from pulpits and laypersons alike who have experienced brokenness and revival in their hearts. This is a time to stop playing games, to quit being prideful and building our own kingdoms — to surrender to Christ to build His Kingdom.
We do not need another denomination, another cult figure to follow. We certainly do not need to avoid God’s righteousness by looking to wicked elected officials who continue to let us down. Or do they? Maybe we like being lied to because its easier to cast a vote for someone, wash our hands of responsibility to Almighty God, and then blame those we voted for when things continue to downgrade. But God holds the Church responsible for not standing in the gap, for refusing to intercede — not just with prayer, but with repentance and action.
Our lives should be beyond reproach! Increasingly, scandals among self-proclaimed believers sully and nullify our testimony, and do nothing to proclaim truth and righteousness in this late hour. Now is not the time to be wasting watching Jeopardy and Netflix while the world goes to hell in a hand basket. A Christian has no right to retire from the Christian life, from the battle that rages. We are called to die to self and seek His ways and will.
There seem to be very few heroes left anymore. I’m not talking about putting people on pedestals, but we do need heroes. Heroes are people that do extraordinary things at the expense of their own comfort and well-being. They don’t brag about or advertise it. They just do it, because it’s in their hearts. Heroes inspire the rest of us to do better, to step out in faith. Admit it, doesn’t someone like Moses or Elijah inspire us more than any of our recent presidents? Didn’t Corey Ten Boom and her family give us courage to do right when we really need it?
Yet, most churches today have a “business-as-usual” attitude about things, and seem content as long as they can continue on with their club. Many are great at dispensing information, but are bankrupt when it comes to inspiring Holy Ghost fire and action. Action that is the result of the flame of Biblical righteousness in our souls. It is confrontational and it is life-changing! It leaves an individual, a church, a community unquestionably distinguishable from the world.
How does this come about?
PREACHING, NOT TEACHING
To be blunt, many believers could get the information presented in most churches each week through a book. These churches “teach.” They provide information in a non-threatening setting with plenty of feel-good entertainment and light-heartedness. Many even feel that laughs are an essential ingredient in every church service. They don’t resemble the revival churches of old, nor do the pastors compare with the fiery preaching of earlier days when churches and Christianity truly impacted society.
In my opinion, most pastors and churches in America are not preparing their people for the extremely difficult times ahead. The signs have been increasing for decades, have ramped up in the last few years, and we are now on the threshold of the collapse of our society and the resulting persecution of true believers who take a stand for Christ and righteousness.
There are many who, out of fear, capitulate to the culture around them, and try to have a so-called “conversation” with that wicked culture — as if a reasonable compromise could be achieved. Indeed, there are some pastors and believers that are even trying to make Jesus “relevant” to our current depraved culture! What lunacy! It’s this fear of offending the culture which has been destroying the effectiveness of the Church for a long time. More specifically, the culture should be concerned — even dreading — their offense of a Holy God!
We recently observed the majority of churches “shutting down” during the “pandemic,” because they were told to. They were told they were not “essential,” and by shutting down like good little subjects, they demonstrated the truth of that fact. Some turkeys even displayed their obeisance to the ruling elite by publically showing themselves on social media donning their masks. And if anyone were to question it, they quoted (or misquoted) Romans 13 as a proof text for obeying government over God.
Now, there are many manifestations of how the Church has become lukewarm, self-serving, non-effective, and difficult to distinguish from the rest of the world. A number of decades ago, a portion of the Church embraced the seeker-sensitive model. Already this was not a good move. Then came the Emerging Church movement which delighted in denying cardinal doctrines of the Bible, describing themselves with terms like “messy faith,” “deconstruction,” etc. This movement sought to “rescue Jesus” from so-called “right-wing Evangelicalism” and Fundamentalism, thus destroying the faith of many.
Then some good-hearted folks got excited when out-spoken, brash, and prideful Donald Trump sought and gained the Presidency as a result of Trump’s supporting certain conservative positions, thus tying Bible-believing Christianity to a political individual, compromising their message, and making it difficult to be truly honest about sinful behavior and obnoxiousness on their own side. This was a mistake, and some have still not recovered from it or repented. I fell into that situation for a time myself, desiring to see right policies return to government. But the problem with what happened with the Trump presidency was that much of the Church lost what little of its remaining integrity it was trying to hold on to. And yes, the Church has lost its integrity. Scandal after scandal, pastors constantly stepping down (usually to return too quickly and non-repentant), and so-called “respected leaders” leading us like pipers into the den of compromise with wickedness.
Now we have Wokeism in the Church, seeking to placate Leftist liberal ideas, by feeling they need to denigrate their ethnicity, apologize for it, or their convictions, or their heritage — and seek a seat at the table of the Woke community. They lead their churches into these same errors. Many are questioning the teachings of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, and even much of the New. One pastor out of the Atlanta area who shut his church down for a year after the COVID outbreak says we shouldn’t say “The Bible says” when giving a message. Why?! Is that too strong for people, to quote the Word of God? These leaders are slippery, as are many that sit under the banner of a self-proclaimed coalition claiming to defend the Gospel. Some of them have defended the leaders of the seeker-sensitive false-gospel, while claiming to be the defenders of the True Gospel. Others of that group can’t be clear on homosexuality. And many are either covert or overt about their support for socialism, progressivism, and communism. Please read Brannon Howse’s book Marxianity for a full exploration of this cancer.
VACCINE TO THE MARK
We’ve had a number of “respected” Christian leaders tell us to get the jab, the so-called COVID vaccine — that in fact, Jesus would tell us to get it! That it’s our Christian duty. That it’s the loving thing to do! Still not convinced? Well then there’s always Romans 13 again which tells the Christian to sit down, shut up, and obey the government. and if you don’t, God will be angry with you! Yet the Scriptures clearly tell us we need to obey God rather than men, when the two are in conflict.
And yet, what do we get from most pastors, pulpits, churches, Christian programs, and leaders? Lukewarm silence against the evil of our times, and even worse, enthusiastic participation! Is it any wonder that so many are going to willingly embrace and take the Mark of the Beast? How do I know? Because they are running right up to the flame right now, not discerning the danger of the Beast system which is getting everything in place, conditioning us for the response that Satan desires. And the Scriptures warn us repeatedly that there is not forgiveness for those who willingly take the Mark of the Beast. Read about it in Revelation 13, 14,15, and 20. Don’t believe those deceivers that try to convince you that you can take the Mark to buy and sell (i.e. survive), but as long as you don’t “worship” the Beast, you’ll be alright. People, if you willingly take the Mark, you ARE WORSHIPPING the Beast! That’s why God warned us so explicitly in the Bible (which some believe we are not supposed to quote!) A warning is given for a reason, to make people aware of a serious danger! It’s not for our amusement or a topic for discussion over tea.
Yet, where is the preaching on all of this? We are living in the most exciting, however most sobering times in history, and so little serious preaching is out there when assuredly it’s not as if there’s nothing to relate the Bible to these days. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote a book titled “Preachers and Preaching.” He didn't write one called “Teachers and Teaching.” He probably knew something the rest of us should.
Ephesians 5:11 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” When was the last time your pastor “reproved” Halloween? It’s certainly an unfruitful work of darkness, and undoubtedly multitudes of professing believers participate in it. This is an example of how to make the Bible applicable to one’s life — compare the wickedness of Halloween to the righteous standard God sets worth for His Church.
What about Disney? Wholesome family entertainment, or wicked darkness promoting the occult, sexual deviancy, and anti-Biblical morality? Does the Bible have anything to say about any of this? Should it be ignored so not to offend someone? Scripture says in 2nd Corinthians 2:11, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” Yet apparently a great many of us remain ignorant. Why? Could it be that there are not enough pastors and Christian leaders who are seriously preaching, applying the Scriptures to our life and times, and in the process KEEPING us ignorant, by side-stepping their responsibility and their calling to be watchmen? Jesus said “I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11). He continued “The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.” (John 10:13).
These hirelings careth for something more than the sheep. And it’s not God’s Truth either, because if it was, then by default they would be assuming the responsibility of a shepherd by protecting and caring for the sheep, keeping them from the harm around them.
Are pastors warning of socialism, communism, wokeism, worldliness? “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15). Is much of our modern-day entertainment of the world? Has your pastor ever given messages on this dangerous snare to our spiritual walk and our commitment to Christ? Hollywood, television, rock music, hip-hop, country music, the internet, social media, all have a serious danger that can harm our walk with Christ.
SOUL-STIRRING PREACHING DESPERATELY NEEDED
True Biblical, Doctrinal, and Applicable Preaching is desperately needed in our times. I believe it borders on sin for a pastor to put his congregation to sleep with little feel-good messages on a constant basis, tuning out the conviction of sin, the need for repentance, and giving little informative talks. Again, teaching informs, while preaching transforms. Salvation and revival won’t come without conviction and repentance, and the people won’t hear any of it without a preacher who takes the Scriptures and God’s Truth and applies it to the condition of our souls and our lives.
What became of preaching on Hell, on Biblical separation, on God's judgment? What about coming out of Babylon, or repentance, or of choosing Christ over all the entrapments of the world? What about preparing for persecution or standing alone for Christ?
We need more preachers like those in our nation’s history — men like Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, John Wesley, Charles Finney, and Asahel Nettleton. And in more recent times, men like David Wilkerson and Leonard Ravenhill. Listen to some of their fiery messages online. These were humble men whose hearts were broken with the sinful condition of the nation, and the indifferent condition of the Church. They did not seek to build or preserve their own kingdoms. Their preaching was convicting and fiery, but not proud and hateful. Wilkerson’s sermon, “A Call to Anguish” is a true wake-up call to apathy; and Ravenhill’s books, such as “Why Revival Tarries” and “America Is Too Young to Die” are akin to Hebrews 4:12 which tells us “The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Also, please check out Dr. E.A. Johnston on sermonaudio.com. He is a dear man of God with a heart for revival, who has been through many trials, yet perseveres and has a Biblical message all would truly benefit from!
In the present hour, I am personally blessed and inspired by men such as Pastor Matt Trewhella, Pastor Butch Paugh, Coach Dave Daubenmire, and Jamie Walden. Although I may not agree with 100 percent of everything they say all the time (I don’t even agree with myself 100 per cent of the time!) I love their fire, their zeal, their ability to motivate, to get to the heart of the matter, and their love of Biblical righteousness. I don’t put people on pedestals, but I honor and appreciate God-called men (and women) who sacrifice much for Jesus Christ!
Yes, we need serious preaching in this hour, in these dark days of 2023 and beyond! Preachers that will sound forth the Truth as expressed in Ephesians 5:14-16, “Whereas he saith, ‘Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead,’ and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”