Let me just preface that this is not particularly aimed at my church or any church that I visit – it is aimed at myself, all believers, and all churches equally – as it should be.
We are given warning about the last days –
I read this, and unfortunately, it aligns with much of what I see being “taught” to entice people into coming into a building once a week to share their money with a “wise” teacher:
Lovers of Self
Is it more about practical self improvement techniques and little about praising and honoring God with a repented life? Is it only about how much “God loves you” and little to nothing about our purpose and calling to love honor and obey His commandments?
Lovers of Money
Is it more about dollar goals or headcount of those tithing and little about touching the lives of widows, orphans, the sick, the poor, the bereaved? Is it more about promising blessings and claiming physical treasures here on earth and little about sacrifice now to lay up eternal spiritual treasures? Is it more about engaging in the circles of the rich and powerful and little about standing in the trenches with the broken and hurting?
Is it more about “look what I’ve done” or “look what we’ve done” or “look what XYZ church has done for this community” and less about what Christ is doing through the body of all believers? Is it more about branding and merchandising the name of a specific ministry or person in lights and great accolades and less about the name of the Lord and the sharing of the Good News?
Is it more about comparing “how much better we do it” to how another group worships or praises and less about being humbled over the areas where we still need to improve? Is it more about “look at how good we are at this church thing” and little about conviction and continual improvement?
Is it more about picking and choosing the sins that we can safely use to “point the finger at those outside the church” and little covering the dangerous sin that is working it’s way through those sitting in the pews, paying their toothed, and filling positions of authority within the church? Is there great condemnation spoken against the lost and sinners of this world from the pulpit, and people cast out of the church body for their offenses, and people condemned publicly and loudly from the pulpit who are not even present to defend themselves, while great mercy and latitude is extended when leaders stumble themselves?
Disobedient to their Parents
There are those put in authority over us in life. How many times have I heard messages from a pulpit that are political and not scriptural? How many times do I hear condemnation and disrespect being spoken from the pulpit about those placed in authority over them, whether it be about a governor, a senator, or a president? A body without respect for others, a body without respect for those in authority, a body filled with anger and hatred is NOT a healthy body at all, but is diseased and dying.
Wow. This one is pretty big. How many times do I hear murmuring and complaining. I hear more people asking for “more” in their lives than I ever hear praise for what they have already been blessed with. During prayers, it’s more about “do this, Lord”, or “fix this”, or “heal this”. Oh, we are a faithless people – relegating God to be our personal handyman, sensing Him a punchlist of requests – while we are unwilling to be faithful and obedient and a servant of His will. How much praise and thanks do we lift, or are we even grateful for what we already have?
Yep. The world has bought into this one, hook, line, and sinker. So many think, “Yep, I said that sinners prayer one time, so even though I’m living like hell now, even though I’m choosing daily to do things that I know aren’t right, I’ve got my heaven ticket saved up for that rainy day at the end.”
This one should scare us, folks. We aren’t meant to be free TO continue sinning, we are meant to be free FROM the captivity of sin. We are meant to resist sin, to seek His will, and to be becoming more like Christ himself.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
I hear –
Stay away from people like that!
And sometimes I wonder, how far do I have to run to get away, Lord?
How can I run from myself, because sometimes that sounds like me too, Lord?
So I’ll run into your arms. I’ll stand firm in my faith. I’ll focus on the work at hand.
Teach me to serve you, Lord.
Not just to hope to be served by you.
Help us in these last days, Lord.
Open our eyes and ears, soften our hearts. Have mercy on us, Lord. We know not, else we would change.