The One Call That the Church Professing
the Name of Jesus Christ Refuses to Heed!
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
Repentance is a constant theme resounding throughout the pages of the holy Scriptures. It has been and continues to be addressed to individuals as well as collective groups such as families, communities, churches, and entire nations.
Repentance is the simple act of abandoning all personal and collective sin while turning to God for mercy and forgiveness. Such mercy and forgiveness are graciously offered in and through Jesus Christ Who sacrificed His life on a Roman cross for the sins of every human being. Jesus was resurrected from the dead three days later following His crucifixion and is now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven until the time comes for His return to earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.
While there were some religious stirrings and numerous activities with accompanying references to God following the September 11th terrorist attacks on United States turf, there was no mention of the need to repent and get squared away in relation to Almighty God!
Those various groupings, usually labeled as "church" with a denominational identifier preceding it, and who claim to be allied with Jesus Christ, seem to want to relegate the term "repentance" to the bottom of the rubble pile of the former World Trade Center in New York City. And there is no overwhelming evidence to suggest that there is an intense desire that it might be retrieved and the collective church groups be exposed to its meddlesome probing and rebuke!
Repent? Of what? What is it we have done, or failed to do that we should provide evidence that we want to make the necessary changes and be wholeheartedly obedient to Jesus Christ with Whom we profess to be in union and agreement? Further, that we indeed are carrying out His mandate to confront the world with His claims and call on every human life?
Consider the following possibilities:
Our compromising and at times, intentional silence, regarding the unique Person and position of Jesus Christ while in the presence of other religious expressions, including Islam! It is amazing (and repugnant) at how churches claiming to be Christian are scrambling to host special events in which Islamic reps are invited to discuss the Islamic faith. Will there be a point in all this discussion where Jesus will be extensively quoted (not an expression of opinions of clergy or laity), but what Jesus said about Himself, Who He is, what He came to do while here on earth, and how ultimately everyone, including the practitioners of Islam will stand before Him to be judged? We know the answer to that don't we? It is far easier to speak in generalized terms about "God" -- and "Christians" who are content to limit themselves to this will find that they get along very well with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and any other "ism" that has been spawned in unregenerate human imagination in this world! Just don't mention the controversial name of Jesus, or go off the deep end and say that He is God in human form, and that He declared Himself to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father but by Him! Did not this same Jesus also say something about being ashamed of Him, and how he would respond in the presence of the Father?
Our lack of "balance" in revealing to the world Who God is and how He interacts with us humans. The church too often appears to play a one stringed fiddle with the tune being "God is a God of unconditional love, and we're all His children and on the way to heaven, so we have nothing to worry about!" How has it happened that we do not present the "flip side" in being fully truthful and revealing that God also at times will manifest His deep displeasure in acts of chastisement, wrath, and devastating judgment! There is a substantial body of information in the Scriptures to more than verify this neglected truth as well as confirmation of the same in archeological discoveries over the years!
Our tolerance of what God plainly reveals to be most intolerable:
the rampant unbelief concerning the recorded miraculous acts of God in both Old and New Testaments, whether you are considering the flood at the time of Noah, or Jonah being swallowed by a great fish which God had prepared, or the virgin birth of Jesus, or His feeding of a crowd in excess of 5,000 with a few fish and loaves of bread, or His raising of Lazarus from the dead, or His own resurrection following His crucifixion. It seems to be the height of sophistication and "learning" (or is it really the lowest depths of stupidity?) to deny the supernatural and the miraculous, and still be "Christian" in faith -- it's simply a part of the "diversity" to be celebrated in today's church!
the acceptance or rejection of the authority of the holy Scriptures and the "buffet" approach to faith and responsibility matters according to one's personal whims in the name of "diversity" -- it's a "pick and choose" what seems best for you in many church circles today, with even those who claim to be "evangelical" leaning a bit here and there -- don't want to offend anybody and be accused of being "narrow" and worse of all, being "homophobic," right?
the substitution of human authority in place of divine authority in determining what is acceptable sexual activity so that what God labels as an "abomination" we humans now label as quite acceptable, good, and worthy of pressuring a whole society to accept it socially, legally, morally, and ecclesiastically whether that society wants to or not!
the many religious groups outside Christianity are all valid and acceptable due to the human determination that indeed there are "many paths to God!" Christianity is but one of these and ought not to make exclusive claims for itself, especially as based on the personal statements of Jesus Christ. One bishop in a mainline denomination went on record not so long ago that we should cease proclaiming the exclusiveness of Jesus Christ in foreign mission endeavors -- just assist the people where they are and don't impose our faith on them, blah, blah, blah!
our silence, with some few exceptions, over the mass destruction of thousands of unborn children each week -- each one was foreknown and identified by God, and He had a special place for each of them in His divine plan -- that is, until they were violently exterminated in the name of convenience! And as noted in another place on the Range, we were nationally outraged at the violent deaths of a few thousand on September 11, 2001, but there is no outrage that even begins to approach the magnitude of that displayed since the attacks of September 11th over the violence that has resulted in 40 million or more unborn children destroyed -- the USA version of holocaust! To add insult to injury there are church groups, especially among the mainlines, that have official policy statements which give sanction to this practice! Go ahead, check it out -- you know, we have to support a "woman's right to choose" do we not? Isn't there a word for this kind of thing -- hypo... something or other?????
our pride and feelings of superiority in relation to other groups claiming to be Christian -- ads and promotional tactics with a Madison Avenue approach attempt to sell a particular church rather than confronting the world with the claims and call of Jesus Christ on human lives -- ooops, there I go -- mentioning what it seems is not politically correct to mention -- the name of Jesus Christ!
our tolerance for the massive desecration of the special day that is supposed to be given to worship and devotion to Almighty God and growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We can't even muster a whisper of protest over the fact that Sunday has been changed into a day of widespread commercialization, fun, partying, and games! One reason is the fact that not a few claiming to be "Christian" enthusiastically leap into the Sunday free-for-all quagmire! Consider the next Super Bowl event in the early part of 2002 -- note how many churches advertise something that ties in to the great sporting event of the year -- a number will have "Souper Bowl" Sunday, in which people are to contribute cans of soup for local food pantries, etc. And then its off to party as we get caught up in all the hype -- is that God sitting in that choice box seat as honored guest of the NFL???
our lukewarm, self-satisfied approach in the midst of a nation that is doing everything conceivable to invite the wrath and judgment of Almighty God! So long as we keep all the bills paid, invest in some mission activities, try to increase our stats a bit over the previous year, and have avoided any major problems, we're doing OK, aren't we? This is especially important in denominational connections. Ah, Laodicea resurrected today would likely say, "Welcome to the club!"
last, but by no means least -- our obvious reluctance or intentional neglect of the pursuit of holiness as the minimal standard for all human behavior and relationships! Rather we seem to be quite content with the Corinthian status of carnality and its accompanying problems rather than taking seriously God's command to be holy, because "...I the Lord your God am holy." This wretched condition is enhanced because of reluctance to be disciplined in personal pursuit of Biblical knowledge coupled with significant time spent in prayer. We just don't have the time to do that "religious stuff" -- we'll take care of that on Sunday morning when we go to church, that is, if we don't have to take care of some other pressing matter on Sunday! Aha! Gotcha!
Now then, did Jesus not say we are to be "salt" and "light" in this world? He also allowed for the possibility that the salt could lose its "saltiness" and become worthless, and the light could have something placed over it so that there is no more illumination which makes the light worthless as well in such a circumstance!
Is the time not long overdue for us as individuals and as churches to say to God with sincere remorse and regret,
"I/We am/are sorry for..(you fill in the blank)....have mercy and forgive us...renew us and empower us by your Holy Spirit to faithfully carry out the mandate you gave us to bear witness to your Son without apology and the salvation He alone has made possible, and to powerfully proclaim that all who come to Him in a repentant spirit will be forgiven and will enter His eternal Kingdom! May our words and our actions individually and in union with fellow believers in every respect bring honor and glory alone to your Son, Jesus, Who is King of kings and Lord of lords, forever and ever! In the mighty name of Jesus we pray. Amen!"
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart; these, O God, You will not despise.
Psalm 51:17 (NKJV)
"...if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
October 13, 2001
by Clayton D. Harriger, Pastor
For related subjects, see the following:
- "But Doctor, I feel fine, and people say I look great!"
- A National Rage Against Violence, BUT Not Always!
- Is the United States Going Down the Same Path As Samson?
- Response to a Columnist's Diatribe on Ministers' Comments About Terrorists' Attacks!
- Imploding Our Culture by Destroying the Young!
- Ripe for Judgment?
- How to Dismantle a Culture in 3 Easy Steps!
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