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2 Timothy 4:1-5:  I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.


These instructions were some of the last that the apostle Paul would give to his disciple and spiritual son Timothy before being executed by Rome. Timothy, though youthful, was already a pastor and a devout man of God. Just think, when 2 Timothy was penned, sometime in the middle 60’s or so AD, the Church was less than 40 years old, and in spite of the fact that this young Church was dynamic and Spirit-filled, even then there were problems which plagued it: Divisions, false teachings, and so on. If this kind of admonition and warning was necessary back then, how much more so is it needed today?


And yes, today it is needed badly! While in reading and hearing from others we can get a gauge on how the Church is faring in other countries, we who live in America can experience it personally and anyone who has any discernment can tell you it is in pitiful shape. There are churches where legalism is endemic, making the walk with Christ seem more like a cruel master-oppressed slave relationship than anything else. Probably more widespread in today’s Christian churchscape in America, however, are prosperity preaching and especially the seeker-friendly Church movement.


What can you expect to find in these places? For one thing, entertainment. Lots of entertainment. Undergirding and backdropping the false teachings and half-truths being touted in these places are activities that are more like theatrics. Listen to a prosperity preacher bend and twist the Scriptures to explain why you should give their church your money and you would think you were hearing a story. One of the biggest stories I have personally ever heard was the fictitious account of Adam being cursed because he ate his tithe instead of giving it to God. This is not a joke. Kenneth Copeland preached that one awhile back and it might still be available on YouTube. The number of examples of perverse preaching are far too many to share here, and there are others a lot more recent that you can find online—if you can bear to listen to these blasphemous tales.


And then there are the seeker-friendly churches. Almost invariably they will have a café and perhaps even a small eatery, a small library/bookstore, a band, membership classes, and small groups. The preachers usually preach sermon series and for the most part stay away from preaching on sin and hell, using pathetic Bible translations from the pulpit on top of everything else. The worship music is choreographed to create a certain mindset or atmosphere. There are sometimes plays or skits done. Churches like these are all over the place, and having experienced them, I have no desire to go back.


Is it wrong to have a band instead of a choir? No. Is it wrong to sometimes preach sermon series? No. It is not even necessarily wrong to have small groups, a café, and a church library, really, provided that what is in the library is solid Biblical teaching. Is it wrong to sometimes have a skit or a play? Of course not. If that were so, then we would be deprived of Christmas and Passion (not Easter!) plays which can be both entertaining and informative. But these membership classes? Questionable. And from the pulpit the whole counsel of God needs to be preached, not just comfortable and cozy topics that tickle the ears and make serving Christ all about the believer instead of about Him.


Praise and worship music do help set the tone for a service, but these should be done by the leading of the Holy Spirit, not by the efforts of man. A good reliable Bible translation should be used by the preacher, and while there is sometimes room for humor from the pulpit, a church service is basically serious business. It is a place where we should be fed by a preacher operating in the power and anointing of the Spirit. There should be freedom for the Holy Spirit to move, Biblical teaching on the Five-fold Ministry, salvations, healings, deliverances, and so on. The Church is not a theater! It is grossly irreverent and blasphemous the way the things of God are twisted and misused today. No wonder we have so many people who profess to be born again but are either not really saved or who are spiritual ants, fed with “Churchianity” junk food, mystery meat, and pop psychology, all in the name of church growth and also done to keep each minister’s little “kingdom” paid up and propped up. What an insult to Jesus Christ, who paid for the Church with His blood!


So what will you do, Christian? Do not look for a perfect church because none exist. Find one where the whole counsel of God is preached and the Spirit of God is moving. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and you will find out before long where God is welcomed as opposed to where the church is merely a theater with a cross on it. Additional information and guidance on finding a church can be found on our ministry’s website in Lesson 6, Level 1 of the Remnant Bible Study Course (Lesson 6, Phase 1 in 1st Edition). It might take some time to find a good one, but the effort is well worth it. Better to be discipled at a real church than to be stuffed with spiritual pablum at a lukewarm church theater risking the chance of being forcefully vomited out of Jesus’ mouth!



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