It seems that church-going believers want something different, new, and exciting in their worship, something fun to mask the pain, uncertainty and pessimism of everyday modern life in America. More and more Christian congregations, in an ever-growing and popular alternative to the traditional hellfire and brimstone services of the past are offering alternatives, even substituting the word 'Center' instead of using Church, as well as serving up a smorgasbord of options for worship; including participation in "virtual churches" and cyber-congregations thanks to the Internet. Not only that, but some of the Mega-Churches offer refreshments [coffee, pastries, donuts, etc.], and sell various items in the bookstore, guest reception/fellowship area or auditorium [especially, promoting the Pastor's books, DVD's and CD's]. While these things and others may have the appearance of piety and reverence for God, how do all of them match up to the word of the LORD?
Matthew 21: 13
And He [Yeshua] said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a den of thieves.' "
John 2: 13-16
Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business. And when He had made a whip of chords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. And he said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!"
Exodus 32: 6-8a
Then they rose up early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. And the LORD said to Moses, Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molded calf, and worshipped it and sacrificed to it!"
1 Corinthians 10: 6-7a, 9a, 10a, 11
Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil [or vain] things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as some of them. Nor let us tempt [put to the test] Christ [Moshiach], as some of them also tempted. Nor complain, as some of them complained. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
1 John 2: 15-16
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world.
Romans 12: 2
And do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Titus 2: 1, 7, 11-12
But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.
Philippians 3: 18-19
For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ [Moshiach], whose end is destruction, and whose god is their appetite [lust], and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
2 Corinthians 11: 3-4
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ [Moshiach]. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received [from us], or a different gospel which you have not accepted; you may well put up with it!
Galatians 1: 6-7, 9
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Galatians 5: 9
A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
COMMENTARY: Jesus says in John 15: 18-20, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it has hated you. "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If [since] they persecuted Me they will also persecute you. . .
Persecute 1: to harass in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict; specif: to cause to suffer because of [one's] belief.
This is not criticism but rather an admonition to be careful because one can be mislead with all the dozens of programs, ministries, activities, missions, technology, and the BARNUM & BAILEY circus-under-the 'Big Tent' type atmosphere; which can be a distraction from the simplicity and genuineness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and godly reverence due to the heavenly Father. The sacred assembly should not be the religious equivalent of "AMERICAN IDOL" or "AMERICA'S GOT TALENT." In the words of the LORD Jesus Christ: "The world loves its own;" therefore if something is popular and widely accepted and since the whole world is in spiritual darkness, when the gospel shines the light of truth upon it, the reaction should be a lot different; and not so accommodating and pleasing. As a last point, remember that clowns, entertainers and performers belong in a circus not in the Church. Also, let it not be said of the clergy as in Micah 3: 11a: Her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money.
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July 11, 2011
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