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State of the Church Address 2017

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As I look into the window that shows the vastness of the world I specifically direct my attention to the church called to be the witness of Christ and would go and make disciples by baptizing and teaching all that Jesus Commanded- I look back at the last year of reading and writing blogs, articles in Christian theological journals, conversations with my friends, conversations with mentors and accountability, and of course my daily need to “dumpster dive” on the internet. What a Mess!!! My question continues … Is the church transforming the culture or is the culture transforming the church? Just an example...
- Guys who practice “tokin the holy ghost” smoke crosses, little statues of Jesus, the bible, the pulpit and their pastor ad say that they get High on the Holy Spirit – we gotta be culturally relative.
- In the Netherlands a church body decides not to discipline a pastor who is now an atheist – we gotta be open to the views of others.
- In San Francisco there is now a Christian “Homosexual” dating service
- The ELCA decided to allow ministers to be homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual, they might have actually been judged by God but just passed it off as a joke – it is a new time … get with it. Let the old pass away
- A group in Nigeria has now blended the beliefs of Islam and Christianity and Islam and calls it “Chrislam” – we gotta have unity in the world
- A popular Female TV pastor brings back the “Day of Atonement… and has people give her money to atone for their sins… Can you say Abomination? – She is entitled to have her opinion
- The Church of England issued an apology to Charles Darwin for their rejection of Evolution – We gotta be tolerant and accepting.
- In America (Seeker driven) churches spent a great deal of time on “Sex challenges” instead of preaching the gospel
- Opening Easter services with the A/C D/C song “Highway to Hell”
- The Key note speaker of a huge evangelical conference spoke on regrets and that he was disappointed with how he left the last church we pastured at… he is entitled to have his own opinion
- A Church in Kenosha Wisconsin get thrown out of a Public School because they saw the church a was to immoral – they were obsessed with sex – but why not… we gotta understand that sex help reach the community
- A pastor in the east preaches a sermon about being a godly leader without using the bible but insights from the “Purple Cow” – one said “what’s wrong with worshiping with a cow?”
- A pastor of a large seeker church who you all know… decided to celebrate and worship with his Jewish and Muslim friends during Hanukah and Ramadan and told Fox news that the future of our country is religious pluralism.
- Evangelical pastors in the emergent church who declares that ALL religions are in fact valid – Unity for our land
- They deny biblical authority, original sin, hell, substitutionary atonement and many other important doctrines – Get rid of doctrine!!!! Doctrine divides… we gotta be unified
- They came out with their own Bible with tons of mistranslations to fit the culture – The bible is not to good when it comes to being politically correct we gotta help it.
- A prominent leader declares that Jesus didn’t die for sin but for “global warming” errrr. Climate change. We are so busy preaching the gospel trying to save sinners… forget it … stop wasting your Sunday’s …we got a planet to save. We got to save the whales!!!
- Everyone needs to support Lakeland’s … raising the dead ministry. We will teach you how to raise the dead, raise money for it, and how to take care of a person who was risen – Has any been raised yet…NO
- At the beginning of the year we saw large churches with influential best selling Pastors chastising people for their desire to go deeper into God’s word… calling them names that I can’t repeat
- The tokeing the Holy Ghost guys continue and now they are traveling spreading their message
- Internationally known Pastor who said that those who do not pay their tithes should we taken out of Church and executed
- We saw the start of the “clothing ‘optional’ church”
- We saw the Jonas Brothers perform a concert at the Easter service of a large church in California
- We saw the “Corpus Christi” gay Jesus play get cancelled at a University and see it moved to a Church in Dallas
- Three men currently who are the 2nd coming of Jesus “Calling themselves Jesus”. One in Siberia with a following of about 5000, One in London who has no followers, One in the Philippines who claims to have 6 million followers.
- A church in Indiana started a “cash for converts” program. Paying members $12.50 per visitor
- A large church in South Carolina said to be one of the most influential churches in the south… opened its worship service August 8th 2010 with “Don’t need nothing but a good time” by Poison a song all about women and drinking
- A large church in California who is said to be THE influential church in America … puts Miley Cyrus’s song the Climb in their worship set
- October 9th 2010 one of the nastiest and violent rap groups came out of the closet to say that they are evangelical Christians and have been the whole time. All of their lyrics, which are filled with countless words of profanity, have a subliminal gospel message
- Many churches in the country have gone to “Clown-led Worship” – Literal clowns sing the hymns, serve the Lord’s Supper and preach the word.
- There is a church in North Carolina who one of its members won 100 million dollars playing the Lotto… promised to give 10 percent to her church. When she only gave a million dollars, the pastor is now suing her for lying.
- Seminaries are now throwing out classes on theology and the bible and replacing them with business classes failing to understand that the church is NOT a business, it is a family.
- When it comes to preaching a prominent leader in the church declares that the Audience is sovereign… we gotta preach on topics that people want to hear so they come to church and stay. We gotta make church something that people will like. That our culture will like. Something That will not offend them.
The Apostle Paul warned us about this did he not?
2 Timothy 4:3–4 NLT
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
2 Timothy 4:3–5 NLT
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.
I. Culture Changing the Church
- Conforming to the pattern of this world with the polluting of our minds.
A. I remember preaching my first state of the church sermon in 2008. A woman complained and said that all of this stuff is just plain negativity and good for nothing. The stuff happening in 2008 is nothing compared to what is happening now… things are getting worse and it will not get better if we just ignore it.
B. But Shane you gotta stop being negative - where do we get that from? It may come as a shock to you, but it is not the Bible. It is here penetrating the church in the form of life coaching, started in the church with Robert Schuler and EW Kenyon… from the self esteem/positive thinking movement which began with a man named Nathaniel Brandon who is said to be the father of the Self-esteem/positive thinking movement. Who was Nathaniel Brandon? Along with Alan Greenspan was a disciple of Ayn Rand who was an atheistic philosopher.
C. So you see… the whole point this lady was making against my sermon that day was founded upon atheistic philosophy which came because she was probably never warned of it. And as you can see, we are seeing the unthinkable in the church today. Let us not be ignorant. We were warned.
Matthew 7:15 NLT
“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.
Romans 16:17–18 NLT
And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.
2 Corinthians 11:13–15 NLT
These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.
2 Corinthians 11:
D. This deception is real and the worse thing about it, is that we may not even know that it is happening to us. Also, to deny the existence of it would make the victory complete.
1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.
E. We must be discerning during this time… We cannot afford to lay down, ignore it, forget it and pretend there is nothing wrong. Again to pretend that its not there would make the deception complete.
F. What does it mean to be discerning… “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” -Charles Spurgeon
G. This is the reason why I say that our most dangerous enemy is not the Atheist … we know they are wrong. It is the ones who are telling us half truths like God is a God of love without the biblical fact that he is also just and will judge the nations. They are almost right and this is very very dangerous
H. How important is this???… this could have eternal effects on people we know and love.
II. Contend for the Faith
- Is our faith worth fighting for? Are we fighting for it now?
A. Like never before… it is getting in everywhere. And I mean everywhere.
Jude 3 NLT
Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people.
B. Contending for the faith – “to fight for” … “to struggle for.” Jude is exhorting, urging, or appealing his readers not simply to defend the faith, but to fight for it … in context… protect the Faith!! Intruders have crept into the church and Jude saw it as his duty to defend and protect. And because we are not doing this, all of the mess we are seeing will only get worse.
C. Jude is exhorting, urging, or appealing his readers not simply to defend the faith, but to fight for it … in context… protect the Faith!!
1 Timothy 6:12 NLT
Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.
2 Timothy 4:7 NLT
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
- Intruders have crept into the church
D. Will you today … join me in being on guard and fighting for the faith that was once and for all delivered… he gave it all to us and it is to never change ever… it is not relative, it does not need to be watered down, it does not need to be changed to fit the times and culture. But it is happening…Survey… It’s more important to “be the gospel” to others, rather than to preach to them. 69% Agree…
1. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
E. We used to understand that if you have the right belief you will experience God, but now in our culture it is… if you have the right experience you will have the right belief.
2. If Paul and Peter and an Angel is standing there and preach to us something different we should not listen to them… there is no one, not even the apostles, to preach a different gospel… so it should never happen with us….EVER
F. Postmodernism caters to a consumer mentality catering to what people like and want… which causes the church to do the same… no absolute truth so religion must be what I like and what I want.
3. But it is happening…Survey… It’s more important to “be the gospel” to others, rather than to preach to them. 69% Agree…
G. Charles Colson – tells a story of a church who wanted to grow the membership… bait and hook, but the bait never changes
4. Academics call it a “megashift”
H. We used to teach that the problem is that we stand before God in condemnation because of sin, but we teach that the problem now is ignorance… we don’t know how much God loves us.
I. We used to teach salvation through Christ alone, but now God saves everyone.
J. We used to teach Heaven and Hell, but now it is taught that everyone will go to heaven or there is no such thing as hell.
K. We used to teach that Jesus died for our sins, but now it is taught that Jesus is an example…. To show us how we are to love each other. So then we feel bad and then we become motivated, change our lives, and do good things for our fellow people.
III. What Do We Do?
- We preach, teach, and learn the Word of God like never before.
2 Timothy 4:2 NLT
Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
A. The importance of the Word.
A. The importance of the Word
Amos 8:9–13 NLT
“In that day,” says the Sovereign Lord, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth while it is still day. I will turn your celebrations into times of mourning and your singing into weeping. You will wear funeral clothes and shave your heads to show your sorrow— as if your only son had died. How very bitter that day will be! “The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the Lord. People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from border to border searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it. Beautiful girls and strong young men will grow faint in that day, thirsting for the Lord’s word.
Amos 8:9-
1. - “And on that day,” declares the Lord GOD,
“I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth in broad daylight.
I will turn your feasts into mourning
and all your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth on every waist
and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son
and the end of it like a bitter day.
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD,
“when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the LORD.
They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD,
but they shall not find it.
“In that day the lovely virgins and the young men
shall faint for thirst.
B. The syntax implies that the punishment is worse than going without water and food…better to be judged than to be ignored.
C. Yet we take it for granted… and the bible collects dust. Its just not relevant today. No it is relavant, it just that we don;t want what the Bible gives anymore.
D. Because of sin we desire our preaching to not be Christ centered, but Self centered.
E. Our culture is seductive and it continues to lead us time and time again away from Christ even as Christians.
IV. What Will We Do?
- Trust the Lord
Jeremiah 5:30–31 NLT
A horrible and shocking thing has happened in this land— the prophets give false prophecies, and the priests rule with an iron hand. Worse yet, my people like it that way! But what will you do when the end comes?
A. Now we see why we are easily led astray. We like hearing it. Its what we want to hear. It is music to our ears. Like it, Love it, Got to have it
B. How unfaithful we are to Christ and his word. We have left the fight and we are no longer on guard… it too hard. Maybe for some of us, We quit on Him
C. Thank God that Jesus did not quit on us. Let us be encouraged this year… We can trust our Lord. We depend on the Lord. We will wait on the Lord.
- He comes to us to open our eyes when we are lost in darkness
- He speaks his word into our ears when we fall into a pit
- He holds us up when we have sunk into sand
- He wakes our spirits when we slumber and sleep
- He transforms us into his vessels when we are broken
D. What we find here in the word… the gospel. The good news
E. Jesus died for our sins…
F. When we “be the gospel” it is all about us. When we preach the gospel it is all about Christ
G. He is our hope… He is our life… He is our light… He is our rock
H. He is our Lamb…. He is our Vine… He is our King... He is Truth.
I. He will ready us while we are on guard. He will also give us the knowledge and wisdom to contend for the faith. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. He is the word made flesh. His word is truth
9. Effects how we evangelize…
10. Earnest Gellner a British anthropologist … every culture needs a worldview to provide meaning.
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