“O! Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that kills the prophets and stones those having been sent to her…..” (Matthew 23:37).
Those who try to give warnings to the church are never very popular; the pages of church history are splattered with the blood of those seeking to point the apostate church back to Christ, and this only repeats the pattern laid down in the Old Testament; even God’s only begotten Son, the prophesied Messiah Himself, was murdered by His own people! They found His words too difficult, confronting their flesh and demanding sacrifices that they were not prepared to make. When Jesus was speaking words of eternal life in the synagogue at Capernaum, many of His disciples said;
“These (words) are hard to take; who can hear them?” (John 6:60).
So the religious leaders found it more “expedient” to kill Him so as to preserve their own status and the religious traditions that underpinned them.
Nothing much has changed; Christianity today is more concerned with social niceties and political activism than it is with service to God; Churches are under the authority and control of careerist hirelings whose ambition is to rule men rather than serve God, although they are sufficiently deceived to believe that they are actually serving God by ruling men.
The pews are filled with the spiritually lazy, who have no energy or desire to take the kingdom by force, content to float along with everybody else on the perfumed cloud of what today is called “Christianity”; these are the “foolish virgins” who were shut out of the wedding feast, the bridegroom telling them, “I know you not”.
Mixed in with these are spiritual spastics, those with spiritual birth deformities resulting from a shonky “new birth” experience other than that prescribed in the Word – conviction of sin, repentance, faith towards God, trust in Jesus Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit.
This church is always looking for something “new” and “big” and “exciting”; it relies on carefully circumscribed extracts of the Word so as not to frighten the congregation with the truth; “positivity” and “assurance” and “confidence” are the words most quoted and used; holiness, obedience and faithfulness are hardly ever mentioned. What is called worship reflects the culture of the world and, instead of being led by the spirit of God, is led by the zeitgeist, the spirit of the age; it ministers to the emotions of men, rather than the soul of God.
There is no fear of God in this church; on the contrary, the attributes of God that are almost exclusively stressed are His love, His forgiveness and His mercy. Consequently, when gathered together, this church does not draw near to Christ; it gathers around the notion that if we do this we will be OK, because God loves us doesn’t He?
Paul warned the Colossian church;
“See that no-one will take control of you through philosophy and empty deceit according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
Modern Christianity has become empty and vain philosophy; empty because it is not full of Christ, empty because there is no power, empty because it is without life-giving content. It is vain because it puffs up the self and lays claim to things that don’t belong to Christianity, but to Christ; it is vain because it leads nowhere and has no purpose, except to perpetuate itself. It is a philosophy – philo “love” and Sophos “wisdom” – because it is based on wisdom and it is good to talk about it; Christians love to talk about Christianity; they are always talking about God and Christ, their Church and Christianity; talking about Christianity is what Christians do more than anything else, generally at the expense of spending time with Christ.
When the leaders of the Jews criticised Jesus because His disciples didn’t follow their traditions, He reminded the Jews of Isaiah’s prophecy;
“This people draws nigh to me with their mouth, and honours me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching as teachings the precepts of men” (Matthew 15:8-9). How can Christians ignore this today?