Thursday, October 8, 2015

I am Ruined

In our search for a church home, we have been visiting many different churches. We are having trouble, however, because churches are not preaching the Word, they are preaching a social gospel that does not represent God's Word nor His message for mankind. We are extremely saddened and frustrated by this. I have taken to listening to proper sermons I find online because my soul is hungry for God's Word and I can't find anyone preaching It.

They are preaching philosophy.
They are preaching ideas.
They are preaching secular humanism.
They are preaching nonsense.

Let me give you some examples of things we've heard from pulpits for the last 2 1/2 years:

Jesus is a replica of God.
If you put God in the copy machine, Jesus would come out the other side.
You own your spouse like you own your toothbrush.
A wife is just the husband in another body.
The entire book of Philippians is centered around the fight of those 2 women in chapter 4.
I am the pastor; I rule over your entire life and you have to raise your family the way I say. (This one wasn't said in so many words, but it was practiced with disastrous results.)
You have all the power to change your life.
God can't work without your cooperation.
You can stop God's plan.
I see things in the Scriptures that no one else ever sees.

Most churches we've visited are big on series preaching. They choose a theme and preach a series centered on that theme. One church chose "The Fight" and formed "Fight" clubs for men, women and children. One church chose "Unstuck" and is attempting to tell people how to get unstuck from what they perceive holds them back (from what I don't know because no one said). The list goes on. Churches are choosing these series and searching out God's Word for verses that support their series themes.

A series theme is chosen, then verses are looked up to support the series founder's ideas on what the series should represent. These verses, always taken out of context to fit, sound so good and so right and so reasonable that the people are blinded by their application. Their souls cry out, "Yes!" while their spirit, unbeknownst to them, is led astray and destroyed. Instead of going home from the sermon more acutely aware of how great God is and more keenly aware of how great a gift Christ gave, they are puffed up with "You can do this," "You can choose," "You hold the power," and their faith is chipped away by their inward focus. They begin to believe it's all about them and they look inward to themselves constantly to make sure they are exercising all that power the pastor said they have. Are you choosing the right response to your spouse? (God won't bless your marriage if you're not.) Are you making sure your tone is proper when you speak to your children? (They will grow up into ungodliness if you don't!) Are you using your time wisely and not being idle? (God will not answer your prayers if you don't.) And the list goes on. And while all this is happening and the saints are completely preoccupied with their own behaviors, no one in their circles is hearing the gospel from them and their message becomes "Me! Me! Me!" instead of "Him! Him! Him!" These are all lies. God is not bound by anything you do, say, think or feel.

Where is the cry of Isaiah? Where is the sure-footed doctrine of King David to exalt our living God instead of ourselves? Where is the terror of Daniel? Where is the boldness of Paul to preach only Jesus and Him crucified?

I am ruined. I cannot tolerate this shallow preaching and gross misrepresentation of God's Word. My husband was my pastor for 32 years. He does not preach this fluff. He does not allow a subject to determine a sermon. He only allows God's Word to determine a sermon. Right now, while we are working to plant a multi-ethnic church, we are searching for a church home to belong to, but it is  not to be found. We have visited every church within reasonable driving distance and have been repulsed by the preaching in every single one of them.

We fought for the gospel throughout our years of full-time ministry. I am astounded that some have never had to fight for the gospel. We had to fight hard to keep the Name of Jesus in the pulpit and on our lips. Amidst threats, assaults and character attacks, we kept on for Him. Once you fight that hard to even keep His Name on your tongue, you develop a complete intolerance for anything less.

Put every sermon you hear to the test. Hold it up to the light of the gospel and see if it measures up. If it contradicts even one attribute or character of God, it is rubbish. God will not violate His own attributes in His own Word and no sermon should do that, either.

If a sermon is not expository, I'm not listening. I'm done. I'm ruined.


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