” And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His Heart.”(Genesis6:6)Does God have emotions? Of course He does! In John, He expresses Love. In Genesis and many New Testament passages, He has compassion. In Nehemiah, He is joyful, and we see Him Rejoicing In Isaiah. And yes, we see Jesus weeping in John at the death of Lazarus.(11:35)So how does He respond emotionally to our apahetic response towards His chief vessel, the Church- in this present church era?
What if I’m breaking the heart of God and don’t even realize it. Please, from my heart to yours,consider my words, because I believe that they reflect the very heart of God towards the Church that Jesus, God’s Son, gave His life for. And whether you are struggling with making sense of life right now or merrily going about living life, these words are for you.
How can I ever forget the unspeakable joy that I experienced just seven weeks ago, as I celebrated with 200,000 Ukrainians in Maiden Square, in downtown Kiev. They were not only celebrating the 500 year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, but the freedom to attend church and worship without the fear of going to prison or a re-education camp. Tens of thousands of teen and college age youth, family units, older people with Cains and walkers-they were all there to celebrate their freedom to worship-to be the Church, and boy did they party and celebrate that freedom!
As I shared in my last post, I will never forget that day, September 17th 2017. Eight hours before, we had begun our journey from L’viv, Ukraine on the train, and now we were about to witness the very first declared Day of Thanksgiving in the country of Ukraine. What were they being thankful for; the freedom to worship the one True God, as the body of Christ, without paying a heavy cost.
Now, seven weeks later, as I try to come to grips with what I witnessed, many thoughts and feelings are competing for my mind’s attention. But as I prayerfully have tried to think through just why God took me there-one overwhelming revelation stands out-THE CHURCH. And so, I want to share with you what He showed me; namely, what is breaking His heart concerning the church at large today.
Let me begin by saying that if you, the average American “Christian”,consider church as being irrelevant or not at the top of your priority list, you are increasingly, in this culture, in Spiritual danger. Now- hear me out. A recent reputable poll found that it is becoming commonplace today for the average believer to attend church only one in five Sundays! Hey- I’ve heard all the arguments;”I can do church at home. I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian or even a good person. There’s too much drama in church and hypocritical attitudes. I don’t have to be told how to live my life. Ive been hurt by Christians.” While there can be found fragments of truth throughout these arguments, how do our human imperfect responses impact an all loving but justice seeking God? Are we breaking the heart of God by our rebellion towards His Plan and why He birthed the church in Acts chapter 2?
I am increasingly seeing people coming and going to church on Sundays at their own convenience; showing up just enough to be sure that heaven still recognizes them but not enough to plant their flag, so to speak, while picking up the blood stained banner of Jesus Christ and taking the fight to the enemy along side of their fellow brothers and sisters who are counting the cost. The writer of Hebrews could not have made it any clearer when he wrote in chapter 10 verse 25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhort one another, so much the more as you see the day approaching. The times and ages never change. Let’s make his charge very simple-“THERE ARE THOSE WHO SAY THEY ARE BELIEVERS BUT SEE AS IRRELEVANT AND UNIMPORTANT THEIR COMMITMENT TO THE CHURCH THAT JESUS DIED FOR. LET THEM KNOW THAT DANGER IS ON THE HORIZON, AND SOON, WE WILL NEED ONE ANOTHER MORE THAN EVER!
Doctor Tony Evans, in dealing with the state of the church today, had this to say.” The church is God’s primary agent for achieving His chief Goal-namely representing and advancing God’s Kingdom Rule. (Matt. 16: 18-19) That is why it saddens me when I meet Christians who are detached from the church, because I know that they are operating outside of God’s Plan and as such , are not well positioned to hear His Voice. Since He speaks the loudest within this Divinely established community, disconnected Christians are less likely to know His agenda and their part in it. The church is much more than a place where we go to get information, but it exists to cooperate and expand God’s Kingdom Agenda. The Bible refers to the church as a body (I. Cor. 12:13). Christ, as the head of the body, (Eph. 1: 22-23), communicates to the various parts of the body their function-that their Kingdom Purpose Role and Function might be lived out. But no individual part can receive instruction from the head, if it is detached from the rest of the body. Being connected to the church, as opposed to just attending occasionally, allows the Holy Spirit to speak into your life in ways that being detached could never accomplish. I truly believe that when God sees that He can work through us to be a blessing, He is much more apt to speak to you , trusting you with with His insight and instruction. This takes place in communion and the unity of the brethren.”
Well there, I have shared my heart! Let it never be said about us that we Broke the Heart of God by being indifferent towards His Greatest Chosen Vessel to establish His Kingdom Rule. Could it be that Revival is not engulfing our country because rebellion towards the Church, with all of it’s human imperfections, has hardened our hearts? Will we be like Israel and continue going around the same mountain until persecution and evil force us to love one another, stand with one another , and support one another again?
If you consider this an important message for the church at large, please feel free to re post!