The church has steadily evolved from the days when the Disciples sat under trees, on the mountain side, and even at water’s edge in the day when Christ walked the earth as a human man.
After the death of Jesus, the disciples met in homes and even in caves and then taken from the pattern of the Jewish synagogues, there began to rise up specific buildings erected just for the sole purpose of meeting to worship God.
Often when people think about ‘The Church,” they think about the many buildings all across America with beautiful buildings with spires reaching toward the sky. Then governing bodies got involved in controlling-rules and regulations and pretty soon a rebellion was brought out when Martin Luther had a revelation that put man in charge of his own relationship with God.
The pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock after a torturous journey across the rough seas of the Atlantic seeking freedom to worship God in their own way without any interference from the government.
In the establishing of the churches in America, it was clearly stated in the First Amendment of the Constitution that each person had to right to worship as they saw fit; not ruled by any man-made laws.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
For several centuries here in America, the church rose to a place of prominence in the lives and affairs of the people. When these immigrants came to America… and at that point all were immigrants except the Native Americans, and at one time they probably were…they traveled across the continent in covered wagons establishing new town and cities; but one of the first things they did when they found a settlement was to build their church.
A new series called “Sunday Meetin’ Time: The Little Church on the Hill, is the story of one such church that was built from materials found at hand – timber from the forest and rocks from the streams but with Christ as the foundation. The opening chapter is titled, “The Worn Out Church.” It is the beginning of the story of one such church that had stood the test of time; but was about to be torn down to make room for a shopping mall. It is also symbolic of the way the world had changed over the 150 years since it was built by the hands of those who came before. You can read more here.
In the beginning, the churches influenced the world in many ways – spiritually – economically – and in the foundation of America values – the family. Today, the church is being attacked on every front of those who have chosen not to believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that all Christians are bigots, racist, and fanatics. Some people are; but not true Christians who live by the Word of God.
The federal government has continuously overstepped the intentions of the Constitution regarding the freedom of religion. They have done so bit by bit, step by step, to erase the freedoms of the many for the few. Christianity is being attacked on every hand and sadly the churches have rolled over and played dead. And that is what many of them are today…. dead in Christ. One only has to watch the daily news to see how that is working out. None are so blind as those who WILL NOT see.
Some choose not to believe in the Bible because it interferes with their lifestyles and personal choices. It is naïve to think to get rid of the Bible and Christians will get rid of God. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He nor His Word will ever change; but it can change the hearts of evil to hearts of love and goodness.
Dr. David Jeremiah, well known and loved minister, has been preaching on the Seven Churches in Revelation. One of the seven is “The Disgusting Church.” This morning, he continued preaching on the churches discussed in the last book of the Bible known as the Revelation. Another word for revelation is the “revealing” the making clear – bringing to the forefront.
The church of Laodicea seems to be a warning to the present day church. It seems, like today in so many instances, this was a church without Christ. Often non-going church folks will mimic the church by saying they are all a bunch of hypocrites and that may be a prophecy being fulfilled. The building or the organization is not the church – those who are faithful followers of Christ are. God Word says that not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord, will enter into the gates of heaven!” And the alternative is horrific to even think about. Amazing how people say they do not believe in the Bible and yet the hover around their TV daily seeing every prophecy written there being fulfilled and one of them among earthquakes, is the falling away from the church.
So many churches have become compromising churches – a body of people who appear to honor God – but clings to the anti-church teachings contrary to the true teachings of the Bible. In this passage, Jesus is standing at the door of the church knocking; asking to be let in which indicates that he was on the outside of this church. Jesus is knocking on the doors of many churches today knocking, knocking, knocking and begging to be let in. He is doing the same with our hearts.
In his sermon this morning, Dr. Jeremiah quoted the words of an old hymn written in 1834 that gives the contrast.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
Words by Edward Mote and Music by William Bradbury
One of the saddest changes is that churches have abandoned the Word of God written in the old hymns that brought people to salvation, eased their pains, gave them courage, encouraged their lives and exchanged them for a loud rock and roll style of music that stimulates the emotions but not the soul.
The old adage may hold true here: “The proof is in the pudding,” meaning the final product – we are not seeing the devotion and commitment to Christ throughout our nation as in days of yore; but have succumbed to a “feel good” religion where everyone is okay and is going to heaven and don’t have to worry about obeying God for after all “God is in control.”
This philosophy for many has been a cop out and will keep many from coming to the true realization of who God really is and who they are. If God was truly in control of every aspect of our lives – the Bible would have no use. The Bible is a book of doing, seeing, going, helping – it is a book of action. Few would stand by and watch their neighbor’s house burn to the ground and not call 911 merely saying, “God is in control, let Him put it out!” And yet, we love books and movies that remind us that “God is real,” and “God is not dead,” but we all need to be reminded that hell is real as well. For everything that God created there is a positive and a negative – therefore, if there is heaven, then there is hell.
A noted feel good minister on TV says he never preaches about hell because people feel bad enough already…Jesus taught about hell…therefore, it must be real. We will all stand before Holy God and give an account for our lives, choices, sins, and our only hope is to claim the work of Christ on the cross.
In his sermon, this morning, Dr. Jeremiah gives the explanation of being lukewarm – neither hot nor cold and Jesus’ statement’s about such a church – God will vomit them out of His Mouth.
About Dr. David Jeremiah
Dr. David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in San Diego, California, and the founder of the international radio and television ministry Turning Point. Throughout his more than four decades of teaching God’s Word, Dr. Jeremiah has written many best-selling books including: “What in the World Is Going On?”, “The Coming Economic Armageddon,” “I Never Thought I’d See the Day!”, and his brand new book “What Are You Afraid Of?”
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