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The Way Back? -
November 19, 2005

What's wrong with the church and is there a way back? We witness so much mishandling of the word of God and so many trends in the church that go unchecked. If we once lead people into shallowness there is little chance that they can be recovered again.

Most of the church today is only concerned with fixing what's wrong in their life or how they can achieve the most excitement possible in their Christian experience. Hence, the "relevancy" message has invaded the church along with the "purpose driven" message.

I feel sorry for you that have been so easily persuaded by this kind of teaching and preaching. You have already fallen a long way from the true faith of the gospel if you are moved by these shallow, Christ-less, sales methods. If you're looking for what sells in the world and in the life of the wavering Christian, look no further. Christ is not for sale. If you want Christ you must sell all and follow him (Matthew 13:44-46; 19:16-21). He doesn't need to be propped up by vain, trendy philosophies.

The church is a culture that moves and exists in a timeless, world-free realm of spiritual reality. That's right, the church is spiritual in nature. All of its significance and motivation is Christ-ward and for God's glory.

Don't be so quick to try and fit Christ to the church, but rather, reconcile the church back to Christ. Any platform we use for teaching and preaching should not be applied to meeting the felt need of the church, because the felt need may not be the need at all. Our principle need is to glorify God almighty.

So what shall be done for all the problems, troubles and needs of Christians and those of the lost world. Granted, the Bible is embodied with many practical answers to man's situation. However, the emphasis of the word of God is spiritual and the answer to our need is consequential to the power of his word at work but not apart from his person.

Most ministers teach "principles" from the Bible, that is, general truths or laws, rules of personal conduct, or moral standards. They then go on to reduce the word of God to a method or an application. However, the word of God is a directive, not a good idea. It moves man out of the way in his own efforts and directs him to do what God requires. Its only appeal is that men repent, obey and invoke faith in the finished work of Christ. Any practical directives from the bible are for the purpose of bringing man to submit to the will of God and to expose that person to God's perfect righteousness.

Let's get to the meat of what God is saying to us from his word. "Jesus Christ and him crucified" 1 Corinthians 2:2 is the message of the word of God. Take your precious time to preach and teach what Christ and the "cross" is all about and then the ills of the church and troubles of the world can be remedied.

This is not to say that you'll have church growth. Christ is "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence" 1 Peter 2:8.

We hear less and less of Jesus name in the pulpit, and that's because the "cross" (1Corinthians 1:18) is not preached. If God's people were addressed on their sin they would see their great need of the cross. The preacher must incite the great need in the church and the great need is Christ. He must upset the Christian and cast him again and again into the throes of crisis: righteousness vs. sin and then present again and again Christ and the cross as the remedy. The message does not evolve into something else.

Already, we see the way back is too painful for most. They have lived for and touted a false idealism. They are not great lovers of Christ; he will never be enough for them (see Galatians 6:14). He will fade from their consciousness more and more if they deny that their need is Christ alone. You shall have no other gods before you (Exodus 20:3). Is the modern message your god?

Pride of life and love of the world (1 John 1:15,16) will keep us from turning to Christ as our only source. Fragmentation is taking place in the church because most Christian's allegiance is primarily to themselves individually and to their families. Our church union stems from our need of Christ and our need of Christ stems from our need of righteousness. Together, we need Him.

After that we have obtained the free gift of righteousness (Romans 5:16-18) we have stepped on board, for a ride of our lives. "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" Romans 6:18. You will have to leave your "Purpose Driven Life", "Enjoying Everyday Life", "real life", "success in life" and your "Christian Twelve Step Program" at the door, to only name a few of the trendy doctrines in the church world today. We have been made free from the law of sin by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2).

Can you now find your way back or are you in too deep? We got saved on the notion that Christ is all we needed. Who has corrupted your minds from the simplicity that is in Christ even as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety (2 Corinthians 11:3)? Eve's need was the "Tree of life" but she resorted to the "Tree of knowledge of good and evil" (Genesis 2:9, 16 & 17; 3:16). In typology, Jesus Christ is our "Tree of life". There is no other knowledge good for us. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" Galatians 5:1. Do you think that the modern philosophies and trends are exciting and adventuresome? If so, Jesus is knocking at the door asking you to let him in (Revelation 3:20).

Sincerely in Christ,
Mike Andrews

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