Friday, January 13, 2012

The progressive path of this blog: The Word of God driving The Church of God

I have been writing and working on this blog now for half of January and I just want to make sure everyone who is reading it or following it understands where I have been because then you will have a better understanding of where I am going.

First of all let me mention again the previous three blog entries:
  1. REFORMING THE CHURCH is conforming our lives to the Word of God
  2. REFORMING THE CHURCH starts with having the ears to hear the Word of God
  3. REFORMING THE CHURCH means teaching believers to love the church the way that Christ loves the church
So these three posts have simply laid the foundation for everything else I will be discussing through the life of this blog:
  • What reforming the church is
  • Where reforming the church starts
  • And what reforming the church means
Okay, so you obviously see the trend here: God has given me a passion to see the church as a whole in America go through a reformation. When I looked up the definition of reform one of the basic meanings was "change."

But here are some synonyms that were listed with it:
  • re-organize
  • re-structure
  • transform
So why do I feel the need to see the local church change? Be re-organized? re-structured? transformed?

Because we live in the world. A very dark and very wicked world. And the local church exists in this world of sin and wickedness. 

That is why Christ said this prayer before He went back to be with His Father:
John 17:15
I do not ask that You take them (believers) out of the world, but keep them from the evil one.

That is the key, "keep them from the evil one."

Now Christ is praying for true believers here and because of that true believers will be kept from the evil one, but that does not mean that the evil one will not tempt them and kick them and seek to drag them into the pit with him. I think the first way he seeks to do that is by surrounding believers with the world, inside the local church.

And that is why the local church struggles so much in this world. Because it is not the final bride of Christ. Local churches are filled with both true believers and false believers.

As long as we live in the world, the prince of this world, the evil one, will place "tares in amongst the wheat," weeds will be mixed in with the true crop (Matthew 13:25-30).

So every few years the church gets so filled with the world you can no longer recognize the church, at least true believers can't.

The Word of God for the most part has stopped being preached and stories and jokes have taken its place. But because this happens so slowly and so craftily by Satan, in Matthew 13:25, it says that Satan does this, "While the master's men are asleep," even true believers don't always recognize this is happening until it is too late.

But then the Lord awakens them and it is obvious to them what has happened while everyone else is either still sleeping or doesn't care. That's why most churches are filled with empty pews or sleeping parishioners. Because the true believers have left in search for the Word of God and the rest simply stay because they have developed a dead religious ritual that is comfortable for them and their family.
  • What happened to the living vibrant, local church that desperately longs for the preaching of the Word of God?
  • What happened to preachers who long to give that preaching to their people?
  • What happened to verse by verse expositions through books of the Bible? 
  • What happened to preachers being able to freely address the common sins of our day and our culture without being run out of town for it?
  • What happened to parishioners who long to learn the Word of God from their pastor and are willing to believe and live out that truth?
That is why Paul Washer recently made the comment, "There are very few churches in America." What he means is that there are very few, true, biblically minded, Christ exalting churches in America. There are a lot of church buildings, a lot of brick and stone and metal with steeples sitting on top of them, but there are very few churches scattered across this land who are willing to hear and live out the Word of God!

Most church buildings today are filled with people who do not love the Word and the preachers are no longer giving it to them. They barely show up for services and when they do it is only to complain or vote the preacher out. That is exactly what this day and age is still seeing in most of its churches. 


Is there some change happening? Absolutely! But God is not nearly finished yet. So back to my point, this blog is a progressive chain of entries that start with the most basic foundations of a true and biblical church and will extend into many different areas of our lives that need to be reformed in the process. 

And what will guide us in this reformation? What will be the magnifying glass through which we look at the errors in the church of today and then turn around and give us truth on how to change those errors and reform the church? THE LIVING WORD OF GOD!

I will most likely use the phrase Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) in every blog entry, because of how important that truth is to me and to the church as a whole.

The Protestant Reformers of the 1500s and 1600s used five phrases to explain the only way that the church will ever be vibrant and effective again. It must hold to these 5 non-negotiable truths:
  1. Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone)
  2. Sola Gratia (by Grace Alone)
  3. Sola Fide (through Faith Alone)
  4. Solus Christus (in Christ Alone)
  5. Soli Deo Glori (All for the glory of God Alone)
  1. There is only one book that we need to know and follow God and that is the Bible
  2. There is only one reason that God would choose any vile, dead sinner for salvation and that is because of His grace 
  3. There is only one necessary gift that God gives dead sinners when He saves them and grants them life and that is the gift of faith to believe in Him and follow Him.
  4. There is only one person who was able to extend God's grace to dead, wretched sinners and give them faith and that is Christ alone and His blood on the cross
  5. And finally The Bible alone leads us to understand the grace of God, grace that gives us the faith to believe in the only source of life and forgiveness, the person of Christ. And when we trust in Christ alone through faith alone by His grace alone, and not because of any thing that we are or we have done, God receives all the glory and all the praise for it!
We would know none of this without the Word of God! So that is primary.  I hope if this is the first blog entry you are reading from me about the reformation of the church that you will please stop right here and go back to the very first entry. Go back and read it first, then read the second and then the third. All of them build onto one another and will help you understand the context of everything I am writing.

A word to pastors: I hope if you are a pastor this blog both challenges you to preach the truth where you are and encourages you to stand firm in that truth when you are being persecuted for it.

A word to parishioners (lay people in the church): I hope that if your pastor is not leading your church in a biblically healthy way, that this blog will give you the courage to either speak with the pastor personally about your convictions and pray for change, or it will confirm that you need to leave that church and find a better place for your family to be nourished by the Word of God.

In the end, my heart longs to be as passionate for the bride of Christ as He is!
John 2:17
"Zeal for the church has consumed me."

And by the way, if it is going to be real zeal, the kind of Zeal Jesus has for His church, then it must be a zeal to see the church be everything Jesus wants it to be and not everything we want it to be.

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