In so many ways, the 21st century church has failed to accomplish God's plan for her. When we look at the early church in the Book of Acts, we can see so many areas where we have fallen away. Twelve times in the book of Acts, the phrase "one accord" is used, but unity and community had a different meaning then.
There is so much talk today about community--living in oneness and unity, in one accord as the New Testament Church did. Having fellowship with one another seems to be the emphasis in so many churches today, but true community is found only in communing with God.
I am presently reading a book entitled Talk Less/Pray More by Matthew Skariah.He quotes Jim Cambala in regard to the true meaning of church meetings. "Recently, I was discussing the need of our churches to return to simple prayer with a leading pastor of a large church in the area of the country where super churches abound.He told me that in his entire area, the prayer meeting was virtually extinct and mere lip service was being paid to the power of prayer.He honestly confessed that time was made for visiting speakers who will help mature us, gospel concerts, youth nights, fellowship nights, etc., but no prominent place at all given to the church collectively to seek God with all their hearts. He, very perceptively, and yet ashamedly, pointed out that he knew the main reason why most churches (including his own) did not schedule and advertise a true prayer meeting! Why? Because it would never draw the crowd and the turn out would be so pitiful! How could those embarrassed pastors explain their large auditoriums being mostly empty on prayer meeting night as a handful of hungry souls waited on God, when the very night before many hundreds had attended a gospel concert or heard a famous Christian speak."
Think about it. This may describe your church--mega-church or not. We all want the fuzzy, feel good emotion of Christianity without paying the price. We are all about fellowship, programs, and methods to bring people in and keep them entertained. Since when has the purpose of church become that of entertainment? People want to talk about community, but community is nothing unless we commune around God Himself.
Yes, that fuzzy, feel good emotion has replaced the holy ground of the burning bush. We have traded the power of God for the programs of men. We would rather please carnal men than please the holy God of Heaven. My friend, something is wrong. Change has to start somewhere. It may as well be with you.
Jesus said of the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:16, 17 "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:" This is a true description of the 21st century church. We are so far away from true worship, but yet we are content to stay there, unmoved by the hand of God as He stands at the door of His own church and knocks (Revelation 3:20).
Mr. Skariah continues, "Where is the soul travail of yester years, the broken heart, the sleepless nights, the agony and tears, the awful conviction of sin,and the profound sense of godliness?"
When was the last time you spent a sleepless night in prayer?--no, not praying for God to intervene in a personal difficult situation, but just seeking the face of God, desiring Him and Him alone. When was the last time your heart was broken over your putrid sin? When was the last time you shed a tear for the lost?--no, not your husband or wife, son or daughter, but for those of a different race, a different color--for those that have never heard the Truth of the Gospel of Christ.. When was the last time you fell on your face in utter brokenness before God, helpless in your own might to do anything of lasting significance? When was the last time you cared enough to allow God to change you from the inside out?
I can hear someone say, "You're judging!" I am not judging. I have no idea where you are at in your walk with God. I am simply bringing the truth of Scripture to bear on your life--and if the show fits...well, you know what to do!
I have been the pastor of Lifegate Baptist Church in Bellefonte, PA for the past ten years. I have always had a heart for revival. In the last year God called me to head up The Great American Fast, a national day of prayer and fasting for our country. See more at www.thegreatamericanfast.org