Why are churches having such a difficult time getting their members to participate? Why are so many of our young people giving up their faith and pursuing their own fleshly desires?
Something is terribly wrong with the picture that we Christians are portraying of Christlike commitment! In previous years, there were missionaries who would go into countries that were severely infected with malaria and other diseases that were very life threatening. Most of these missionaries died after one to two years of sharing Jesus to the natives so the proceeding missionaries would have an unusual item that they brought their belongings in…their coffins! They were living for a cause that was worth dying for.
The story is told about a group of believers, who were worshiping in their church. A group of men with guns came in and commanded everyone to line up against the walls. After everyone did as they were told, they ordered all of those who were true believers in Christ to stay inside while they allowed the others to go outside. Sadly, many were too scared to take a stand and quickly departed the building. The gunmen went outside and those within the church heard gun shots. The Christians soon realized that they indeed had no hope to avoid being killed. They, however, knew that they were ready to die for Christ. When the assassins returned to the church they told the believers, “We’ve just purified your church. You are free to go! We admire those who are committed.”
Many churches in today’s culture have a common thread that is disheartening and, I believe, is a disgrace to God’s name. It is a lack of commitment! Churches have many uncommitted and passive Christians who find their security by attending Sunday mornings but have a strong disconnect between who they are on Sunday mornings and the priorities they embrace the other days of the week. Pastors are sharing how difficult it is to get participation for any evening or mid week services. Most of these churches keep attempting to make their activities more appealing or they change their style of worship to draw the younger generation. Is this the answer? Why do we feel the need to appease the flesh in order to help someone grow spiritually? Does this make sense to you? Do we really think that this method will produce strong Christians who will have a lasting faith? Appeasing the flesh is a tactic that the world uses all the time. Many items are advertised and sold because of a sensual photo that is being used to attract.
It is time that we have strong Biblical teachings in our churches, where sin is exposed and repentance takes place. When we allure with “worldly” things, we set the environment to grow “worldly” Christians. Satan isn’t too disturbed with this because he sees them as an easy target. Their commitment won’t last because when they face a difficulty, they will begin to question God’s goodness. It is only a matter of time until they defy God.
When the standard is raised in your church, you may have people who are offended, however, those who are serious about their relationship with Christ, will be convinced of their need to grow and will desire greater discipleship. Nonbelievers are always intrigued and challenged when they see committed believers who are more than just a slight improvement from themselves. In Rev. 3:15-16 it says, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
What is the definition of a lukewarm Christian? I believe they are the ones who are satisfied to profess a relationship with Jesus, but they rarely share Him with others. They think they are doing their part by giving their tithes each Sunday. After all, they are supporting others who are sharing the gospel. Don’t ask them to personally share about Jesus, because they just aren’t gifted in this area! Lukewarm Christians may do a great job teaching Sunday school class but their priorities demonstrate that financial success is more important than relationships. Maybe they are the pastor of a church but their sermons are on an intellectual level instead of it being an over flow of what God is doing in their own heart. The emphasis is placed on increasing the count level in the church rather than on the commitment level within the church. “The success of a church is not determined by how many they seat, but on how many they send.”
A lukewarm Christian may spend more time on Facebook or sports than he does reading his Bible. He may also justify some of his sin by this reasoning…It was just a little immorality or just a bit of materialism. After all, I have worked hard for everything I have! We, women, may rationalize our gossip by saying, “I’m just telling you this so that you can pray for them.” A lukewarm Christian is truly “the worst of the best and the best of the worst.” Therefore, he is extremely nauseating to God. Now is the time to make the deliberate decision to be committed to Christ before He “vomits you out of His mouth.”
The world has seen enough of our selfish and dead faith. It is time to rise to a higher calling and live our lives so those around us can see that we are committed to God and that we have a living faith that is worth dying for!