Knowing About God But Not Knowing God

 

 

Today’s churches do a great job getting their parishioners to know about God, but statistics reveal they are doing a pretty dismal job of getting people to really know God.

KJV 2 Cor 5;17 Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Statistics show the divorce rate is the same inside as outside today’s churches 33% [Barna]. Many other statistics show no real distinction between church goers and society as a whole. Barna reported only 24% of Churchgoers rated God as their most important relationship. If this stat is accurate perhaps only 24% of church attendees are saved!

This does not mean the promise of a transformed life is no longer valid. It just shows us the fallen state of American churches. We truly are the rich lukewarm Church of Laodicea. Let’s take a look at the Laodicean warning;

YLT Rev 3:16 So–because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to vomit thee out of my mouth;

There is a great U-tube post that discusses this: YouTube – Luke Warm & Loving It. Francis Chang starts out with discussing how rich Americans are. He cites the verse about threading the camel thru the eye of a needle, and shows how difficult it can be for the worldly rich to come to God(1 Cor 3 ;14-22). Then he discusses the implications of the Laodicean Warning

We should not be surprised that our teachers have fallen into trusting rituals above God. The Bible gives us a clear warning that this will happen.

NLT Mark 7;6-10 Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ 8 For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” 9 Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law [NIV God’s commands] in order to hold on to your own tradition.

 

– Today’s Sunday services are perfect examples of this disobedience. Almost everything done every week in today’s churches is rooted in Pagan traditions [See Pagan Christianity, Viola Barna]. This is in direct violation of the Simple Commands of the Lord for Believer Gatherings. This is explained in:  THE MAIN Believer Gathering Must be a Believer Gathering

The following passage helps us understand how we are to cooperate with God’s plan, to let him complete the work he started, to complete and perfect out faith.

NLT Heb 12;1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.

– We are to keep our eyes on Jesus & trust him to both initiate and perfect our faith, to run with endurance the race that God sets before us, to live the life of faith and to imitate the endurance he exampled. I think the key here is to keep our eyes on Christ. The sad fact is that the eyes of most American Christians are on their Pastor, or the world, possibly their church building, or pagan rituals.OpenHeaven.com – Frank Viola Exposes Pagan Christianity

The Participatory Gathering Commands are spelled out in 1 Cor 14;26-40. Everyone is seeking the Holy Spirit and Sharing, yielding to anyone with a special revelation. There should be 2 or 3 Prophet/Teachers. [We should never rely on a single teacher.] There can be 2 or 3 tongues speakers if there are interpreters to translate what is said. We can never allow women to take authority over the men.

It goes on to say that these gatherings are Jesus’ primary method to grow and edify his flock. 1 Cor 4;3 warns us not to value one teacher over another. Unfortunately today’s church machine forces us to choose a primary teacher.

CEV 1 Cor 4:3 it doesn’t matter to me if I am judged by you or even by a court of law. In fact, I don’t judge myself. 4 I don’t know of anything against me, but that doesn’t prove that I am right. The Lord is my judge. 5 So don’t judge anyone until the Lord returns. He will show what is hidden in the dark and what is in everyone’s heart. Then God will be the one who praises each of us. 6 Friends, I have used Apollos and myself as examples to teach you the meaning of the saying, “Follow the rules.” I want you to stop saying that one of us is better than the other.

– This is telling us not to have favorite leader or favorite teacher. We still need to be discerning wether their teachings are correct, testing to see if it is true, to see if it agrees with scripture.

I don’t think it is possible to honor God in this fallen system.Are You ‘Playing The Church Game’?

Let’s take a look at a verse that discusses our ongoing struggle to stay loyal to the Lord and avoid loyalty to this world.

James 4;6 But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.” 7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

– When our loyalty is divided between God and this world, we need to shed tears of sorrow and deep grief, to be sad and gloomy so we can humble ourselves before the Lord. This helps us to get a glimpse of what God sees. Only when we can humble ourselves before the Lord can he begin to transform us. If we continue he can lift us up in honor.

I think all of us share this problem. Even when we are actively seeking the Lord, carrying our cross, doing our best to help others with our spiritual gifts, we can still can be ‘of the World’. We constantly battle between loyalty to God and loyalty to this World. This passage shows us how we can overcome. When we see God’s perspective on our divided loyalty, we can see the damage that this causes and the wedge it drives between us and God. Thru obedience to these directions God can change us.

This next passage helps us to understand how Jesus will judge us, and gives two clear directives. We must first make sure that we build on the Foundation that Paul established. Then we advised to ensure that we build only with Godly material (never Worldly).

Building on the Foundation that Paul Established

NLT 1 Cor 3;10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. 12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames. 16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? 17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 18 Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” 20 And again, “The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.” 21 So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

I see two possible errors. The larger error is Building on the wrong foundation, not building on the foundation laid by Paul. These builders will not even be able to claim the ‘escaping thru the flames’ promise. Their level of righteousness does not exceed that of the old Pharisee and Sadducees.

NLT Matt 5;20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

The old religious leaders had this problem, but I think todays Church Pastor’s are in the same boat.

The second far lesser error mentioned [1 Cor 3;13-15] is building on Paul’s foundation with wood hay and staw, with worldly stuff, human wisdom, or wise sounding preaching. These buildings will be burned. Although these folks will not see any reward for their efforts, these will not totally lose their salvation. They barely escape through a wall of flames. I believe this verse goes hand in hand with the warning for teachers. Here’s that passage:

NLT James 3;1 Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers [AMP censors and reprovers of others] in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.

This passage goes on talking about the problems of jealousy and selfish ambition. It urges us to be peaceful, loving, gentle, and willing to yield to others, full of mercy and good deeds, never showing favoritism and always sincere. It ends with the promise that peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. I suspect that the teachers with jealousy and ambition in their hearts, are these ‘escaping thru the flames’. If we are not putting God first then we can not please God.

Recap:

The reason today’s churches fail to lead their parishioners into a relationship with Christ centers on their disobedience. In 1 Cor 14 the bible describes a simple time when believers gather seeking the Holy Spirit and share. This is God’s plan to grow his flock, but today’s churches summarily ignore this command, and deprive their flock of the opportunity to collectively grow their relationship with Jesus. The promise of a transformed life is still there but few (perhaps only 15%) at today’s American churches have been able to hear and respond to Jesus knock on the door. They are confused because they are looking for Jesus inside the Church but Rev 3 tells us [Laodiceans] Christ is outside knocking. Individual must hear & respond to his knock because their leader refuses to let Christ & his Holy Spirit control their worship services.

We should not be surprised that this is happening. The Bible warns us that many will worship uselessly[NLT Mark 7;6-10]. Other verses promise that if we can keep our eyes on Jesus and follow his example, we won’t give up [NLT Heb 12;1-3]. We are not to value one teacher over any others, but always weigh what each teaches against the Bible. [CEV 1 Cor 4:3] We must ensure that our loyalty is only to God, never to our teacher, never to men or to this World. [James 4;6-10].

Teachers are warned that Jesus judges them more strictly than other believers, that they need to be extra careful to avoid jealousy and selfish ambition, to avoid favoritism, to yield to others [James 3]. 1 Cor 3;10-12 cautions all believers to build only on the foundation that Paul laid [the Tent maker Priesthood of believers, servant leadership, & participatory gatherings] Those ‘Whom God Knows Not’. If we don’t build on that foundation we may not even receive salvation! We are then cautioned to build only with Godly materials [Holy Spirit, Jesus ,The Word of God; never the things of this world; the wisdom of men, wise sounding preaching, prosperity teaching. [1 Cor 3;13-15]

I think today’s teachers suffer from the same problem as the teachers of Jesus’ day. They lacked the level of righteousness necessary [NLT Matt 5;20]. They valued their traditions over God’s commands and so their worship is useless to God [NLT Mark 7;6-10].

We do see some fruit @ today’s churches, but rest assured, any truly good fruit is the product of those around the Pastor. I close repeating the passage declares God can not use these men who honor their traditions above him.

NLT Mark 7;6-10 Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ 8 For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” 9 Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law [NIV God’s commands] in order to hold on to your own tradition.

Dear God,

May We All Turn From Worldly Persuits And Traditions Of Men To Loyalty To You, Keeping Our Eyes On Jesus, Following His Commands, And Trusting Him To Complete And Prefect Our Faith.

Glenn

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