***** – The title is a work in progress as the post actually deals with more than parents. For now, this is the second in the series started last week. – *****
Today, many who call themselves Christians have a gross misunderstanding of what it means to be a part of a church. Some within this demographic have merely relegated what church means to simply being part of a religious service an hour or so a week. Everything that needs to be done within that hour timeframe is what seems to have become church. We give a few dollars, sing a few hymns or praise songs, hear a prayer or two, and then listen to a message about God.
Rising from our comfortable seats, we mentally pat ourselves on the back and give God a high five for the privilege He gained in having our esteemed presence for another week. Going out the door, we collect our children and then wrongly assume that our week can finally begin now that the “God and church” thing has been checked off our weekly social calendar.
Sadly, the church-at-large has in recent decades done a very poor job of acting in a way that reflects to the world a commitment to sound Biblical doctrine and in a way that reflects to its members a foretaste of the glory and fellowship we will know in Heaven. Pastors and teachers have long failed in their calling and many even serve without a calling or an anointing from the King of kings. They are messengers in name only because it is certain that their message often bears little to no resemblance of the truth of Scripture.
While this article will not deal at length with the doctrine of ecclesiology (the church), it is important that we remember that the church is not the building where people congregate. The church is and can only be comprised of true born-again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. These believers are those whose faith is in Christ alone for their salvation and they have been brought to a point where they have confessed and repented of their sins which alienated them from the holy righteous God of the Universe.
If the church styles itself as being a place for the world, it will be required to do whatever is necessary to ingratiate itself to those who ultimately hate Christ due to the nature within them. The world will never love the true Church because Scripture is clear that it hates the Lord of the Church first.
The gathering of believers that wants to attract the world will soon be using plays, programs, ungodly music, more programs, skits, even more programs, and worst of all, preaching that is not preaching at all. It will be devoid of words like sin, hell, judgment, damnation, and the need for repentance. Instead, the average attender to a social club on Sunday morning will hear hip, cool, relevant sermonettes that will leave you feeling good about yourself but will not demand a change, nor will the sermonettes point you to the Sovereign God who demands our worship and praise be centered on Him.
So, leaving a service where God was not exalted and glorified, where worship was mostly absent, where true believers were not exhorted and built up in their faith, and where there has been practically no conviction of sin, parents leave to begin their next week. Nothing has changed from the week before, and the home front continues to look more and more like a battlefield than it does a home where the fruit of the Spirit reigns.
Many problems of a spiritual nature can often be traced to a lack of thorough Biblical instruction. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 reminds us, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” Thus, when the Scriptures are not adequately proclaimed from the pulpit as being from God then the results we currently see are to be expected. Poor orthodoxy (doctrine) will inevitably result in poor orthopraxy (Christian conduct).
It would be wrong though to leave the problems found in the home solely at the feet of the minister. He must proclaim the truth in love and with a great deal of mercy and compassion, but he cannot live out the necessities of the Christian life in all those who attend. As a minister, I am ultimately responsible for what I proclaim from the pulpit and also responsible for what is practiced in my home.
At the same time, parents who are true believers are responsible for what they allow to be taught to their children from the pulpit and also what they allow to be practiced in the home. True believers who desire the truth of God throughout every aspect of their life must learn to be a Berean Christian. These faithful men and women searched the Scriptures daily to make sure that what they were being taught truly was the inerrant and infallible Word of God.
While the breakdown between the pulpit and faithful exposition of the Scriptures is often too easily identified, what is not so easy to see is the breakdown in the home. The home is often a castle where we hide away from the world, and sadly, from other believers as well. Thus, there is a great lack of accountability and discipleship – until, that is, the wolf comes knocking on the door and parents wonder where it all went wrong. Divorce, rebellion, drugs, alcohol, and sexual activity outside of marriage is just as rampant inside the church as it is outside the church.
Yet, the problem is compounded when the church instead of acknowledging its sin and failure to be a true community of believers begins to shift the blame in every other direction. Therefore, when a person struggles through a particular sin in their life or in the lives of their family structure, the church is often nowhere to be seen. The individual or family often goes through their struggles alone and will normally fall away from the one place that should have been there for them all along.
The sad reality is that the church is often happy taking the offering and praise for one hour on a Sunday morning, but it remains conspicuously absent the remaining 167 hours of each week. How pathetic and tragic it is that this one hour is supposed to be a reflection of the joy of fellowship with Christ and His Bride that will be found in Heaven for all of eternity.
The true church of the living God has a very poor understanding of its role and responsibility towards one another, and outside of the church this has never been so evident than in the homes of those who claim the name of Christ. Our problems at home are often merely carried over to the church, and people wonder why they struggle to worship together more than one hour a week.
Believers must understand what is transpiring in the home in order to see why revival tarries and so many churches are operating as merely a business instead of a fellowship of believers that is a lighthouse to a dark, sin-filled world, and why there is no power or anointing from the Spirit of God.
If the connection between the true church and the home is this vital, then we need to consider why the church looks the way it does. If judgment is to begin in the church, then the warning must also include the truth that it is true believers who make up the church and therefore, by extension, judgment will surely hit us where we live, namely, in our homes.
(…to be continued.)