Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The State of Christianity Today

As I read my Bible, I continually grow dismayed and disheartened at the state of Christianity in these last days. So much of what I see happening in the church today can be read in the pages of the Gospels, we simply have to look at the descriptions of the Pharisees, scribes and lawyers. We, today, have become those hypocrites of Jesus' earthly time.

I read the headlines that Christianity is the largest "religion" on earth, today, and I'm reminded of Jesus' words in Luke 13; "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." Or in Matthew 7; "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven...Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Also in Luke 11; "And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness."

How does all of this reconcile with the church today? We have so many who call themselves "christian" and they so completely look the part. They have tidied up their outward appearance, and their superficial acts make them appear to be on the right, narrow path, but if you look closely, you don't see the fruits Jesus said would come from the trees of the faithful. When was the last time they gave food to the poor? When have they taken clothing from their closet and wrapped a naked man with them? When was the last time they gave shelter to the homeless? And, I'm not talking about giving money to their local church so the church can do these things to the community at large. I have yet to read where Jesus told us to give all our stuff to the local church so they could do these types of ministering; He commanded that each and every one of us, as individuals do these things.

Luke 3 reads, "He that hath two coats, let him impart to him who has none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise." We are the wealthiest people in the world, in the United States of America, yet we hoard all these treasures while others, even in this country, are going to bed hungry, naked and homeless. It's no wonder that Jesus will say to many on the day of Judgement, "For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not....Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."

In pulpit after pulpit we're not hearing love preached, but hate. I am ashamed when I hear from the pulpit, "if a man doesn't work, he doesn't eat" to justify not helping someone who is poor, hungry and homeless. Yes, Paul wrote those words, but if you look at the context of that statement, he was talking about someone who was in the local church but wasn't working to build that church, but instead only showed up to eat when they prepared a meal. He wasn't talking about the poor in the community, he was talking about in the context of building the physical building of the church.

There are those who are seated in their customary seat every time the church doors open, but they have never stepped out of their comfort zone to offer words to the lost on the streets of their community. They have never offered a meal or a helping hand to those in their cities or towns who are hungry, or given a coat to someone who is cold and they wouldn't dream of offering one of the empty beds in their homes to someone who is homeless. I've heard preachers talk about their stock portfolio but have never heard those same preachers mention their interaction with the lost and hurting of their community. And many of those same preachers are quick to speak about electing a certain political party to office, condemning the other party to be filled with the lost, the evil and the demonic. What part of "be not concerned for the things of this world," do they not get? What part of "this world is not my home" do they not understand?

And, just like the Pharisees of 2,000 ago, we work way too hard trying to make those we believe to be unsaved act as we think Christians should behave. We spend much time, effort, energy and money trying to pass legislation in this country to outlaw what we see as sin. It's just another example of our cleaning the outside of the cup while leaving the inside filthy. What do we think we're going to accomplish by forcing the non-believer to behave as we believe a person should behave? Can we seriously believe by forcing the unsaved to behave according to our moral code that we're going to save the soul of that unbeliever? Or are we just trying to do these things to cover up our lack of action on the things the Bible commands us to be doing?