Why is Loyalty to Christ and not Trends so Important?

 

Our loyalty helps us lead the life that bears the life of Jesus, the character of Jesus and the theme of what it means to be a real authentic effectual Christ like Christian.

This is the essential mark, the most important thing we can accomplish in our life, to be Fruitful, to be faithful and be His and act like it. This means to allow the Holy Spirit to nourish and energize us, to speak to us and work in and through us.

Do you want to be safe and adequate or powerful and used in ministry and life? Really think about this. We do not have to lead the Christian life as a Christian. We can peach merely feel good messages do not instruct or edify.

We can be bullies in the boardroom or apathetic and uncaring and even obtuse to our families–frankly, most of us are. We don’t live with Fruits of the Spirit. As a pastor, may I say honestly, very few Christians do. Few pastors do. I met very few real Christ-like fruitful pastors in my thirty plus years in ministry. This is sad. Most of us just do not get it. We live our lives to ourselves. It may not be outright sin, but it is placing our desires first, and we do not want to learn and grow. We do not what to be convicted and grow beyond where we are.

Most pastors do very little time to build their spiritual life. That is why the cheap messages that tickle our ears and move our emotions are so popular-more popular than the meat of the Word of God.

It is why so many of us stopped growing so we stopped teaching. We created congregations who want to be told, we are OK, we want to hear encouragements and feel good stories, and we do not want to be taught the true Truth of Scripture so we can be used to further renew and transform the people in our care by the example and flow the Fruit of the Spirit.

Remember this very important point: sin and wrong desires, factions, and immorality bring us only “darkness.”

Darkness refers to having no peace, contentment, or happiness; chasing evils and pleasure, even our wants, only leaves us destitute of what is really important. This can be in a family, in a nation, in the world, and even in the Church. A defiant heart will only bring pain, chaos, strife, disillusionment, dysfunction, discouragement, distress, and grief. Who wants that? Remember, He will equip us with what He requires for us to live a triumphant, purpose-filled life ( Is. 57:15-21; 59:1-21; 59:15-18; 65:1-15)!

Do not refuse God. Teach, preach, be loyal, be fruitful, be faithful, be real for Christ and live it out.

By our example, we are used for His glory, giving people known and unknown to us a chance to repent and be saved.

Why are Christians so interested in chasing fads? PII

 

Read Revelation 17-18

Here in this passage, being a “harlot” does not just mean standing on a street corner soliciting for unlawful relations; rather, it means for church leaders that we are engaged in and promoting apostasy!

Thus, betraying our Lord as in being a harlot to Christ. And this gives us a vital depiction on how God feels when we false teach, become prideful, lead His children astray, we are in fact betraying Him, insulting His Lordship; thus, being a prostitute with His Most precious Word!

What does this look like? The bad pastor and church leader is into themselves, and they lead their people away from God’s path, becoming disloyal to God and His true Truths to the point they blaspheme God. They focus their people to trust in materialism and trends that neuter the Bible, water down His Word and in so doing replace discipleship with mere entertainment and lead others to do so, too. In so doing, a harlot, just as Scripture shows us, is not ashamed, but rather boisterous and proud of sin.

What about factions, gossip, and pride? These are the things that God hates the most and cause the greatest destruction to any given church, something even Satan himself could never do.

Point? We are the real enemy, our sin building and conniving and converging upon one another, while we ignore Christ and His supremacy, precepts, and call!

God is calling you and me–those who lead and pastor churches, who influence people in the church, who sit on committees, teach, or the like to flee from manipulating and gossiping behind the scenes-to wake up and SEEK HIM, not ourselves or ideas or plans or trends!

Are we being “harlots” with His Church?

If so, stop, pray, and get right with God. If you can’t, then get out of leadership until you are right with God and His call and His precepts!

Keep in mind in this passage–it is a stern warning that sin will cause ruin. Their sins are piled high, and God wants to remove the sin. Instead of seeking God’s grace and mercy, they pile on more sin and seek the evils of pleasure without responsibility, which will bring them torment, sorrow, and extreme helplessness. Those who sought favor and wealth from sin will mourn, but those who are righteous will be joyful and jubilant. Those who trusted in luxury and splendor will mourn; those whose trust was/is in Christ will praise God. In a single moment, what they thought was important will be gone.

What really is important will remain and increase. God’s glory and eminence is steadfast and proclaimed; the hope of the faithful comes to its fruition!

 

Why are Christians so interested in chasing fads?

Read Revelation 17-18

Do you chase bad trends, sins, and the ways of the world? I know I have.

Another question we need to ask is to whom and/or what are we loyal–fads, trends, ideas, personalities or the precepts of Scripture and the glorification of Christ?

A fad many of us in ministry tend to chase is trends on how to lead and manage His Church. Sometimes, we glean new ideas on how to do things better. However, most of these are like chasing the harlot while ignoring the beckoning of Christ and His Way.

When trends move us away from the Cross to something else we become obsessed, like with building projects and forget to build up people in Discipleship. We like to get so creative with our messages, we end up not teaching anything effectual. We become so guarded with our pulpit, we do not allow other good communicators of the Gospel to expound on Scripture. We become so busy with programs that we forget what the programs are for.

We seek to water down His Holy Word to attract people just as the devil manipulates people to trick them to his ways while we are called to disciple, teach, and worship Christ as Lord, His Way. The harlot in Revelation represents evil and the manipulations of forcing and tricking people to compromise–forsaking faith to embrace the devil. Such groups in the early church and throughout history sought to hide God and prevent people from knowing about true salvation.

Paganism, godlessness, false religions, and manipulating religion for personal gain and false teachings are all extreme corruption and hiding of the real God in the shadow of man’s pride and corruption.

By the way, chasing bad trends and compromising the teaching of the Bible does the same thing! Consider this as a form of corruption that destroys everything as it prevents goodness, cooperation, and growth in your church. It tears down rather than builds up. It hides people for God’s Truth and stagnates discipleship and the glorification of our LORD!

Look at the definition of the harlot, read the passage, be in prayer and ask Christ, how am I doing?

All too often, and I have done this, we try to use it as an easy way to their goals, but it never works; rather, it causes breakdowns of self and society whereas Christ cleanses us with His blood and equips us with His Word to help build up the world. Thus, “building” is a primary theme of Christianity that creates community and cooperation with the goal of faith and the building of the Church. This is our call and duty and purpose as church leaders, to glorify our Lord, make disciples be loyal to Him and be for Him! The contrast is the devil, as well as misguided megalomaniac pseudo pastors, destroys and tricks people to think that self destruction, the poverty of personal faith, and the breakdown of societal development are good things!

What does “Conspiracy” have to do with church leadership? A lot!

Read Revelation 17-18

Allow me to ask you this: Got Apostasy in your life and church?

Did you know that the term “antichrist” means anyone or anything that hides or hinders Christ, and/or prevents people from knowing and worshiping Him, even by Christians?

Consider what we are doing in our teaching and worship services, are we glorifying Christ or ourselves?

 

Is church about me and my goals and pride or about the Blood of Christ?

This can be from a misplaced word that attacks someone so deeply they leave and never return to a church, only teaching half-truths and feel-good messages with no substance to full-blown apostasy. Not so sure? Take a few minutes and read 1 John too!

Revelation, as most evangelicals understand it, is about the last days and the judgment of evil, and, for the most part it is. However, a BIG “however,” and a “however” most of us do not like to hear and will rarely study or teach on, this is also about how we are called to be loyal–how we are called to lead and manage HIS CHURCH! Because it was a letter to seven churches in dire peril, that 6 of them need reform desperately, as many churches do today!

So, the question we need to ask is, are we being “harlots” with His Church?

Consider that prostitution is a form of adultery, not just in the sexual sense, but by being disloyal to God so we are committing adultery to Him and all the hurt and dysfunction it brings. It is unfaithfulness, corruption and disintegration of our lives, faith, and the family because of the breakdown of the Church resulting in the breakdown of society (Is. 57:3; Jer. 3:8-9; Hos. 2:4).

Is our church about a personality or a Person?

This is about who you pledge your life to. Is it to your own pride? Or, is it to His Church and the glorification of Christ?

Are you so concerned with your way of doing things that His Way is pushed aside or skewed?

If so, perhaps you are the “harlot,” or at least acting like it. Consider the struggles of these seven churches and the struggles in your life and church. You may have some confessing, praying, and repenting to do! I know I have had to do so!

Is our church being a Conspiracy against God?

Read Revelation 17-18

What most people need and want is to be tickled with what they need and what. We pastors tend to comply with this. And we do not want to be told to look to Christ the Shepherd when we want to look to ourselves and chase what we think are the greener pastures. Thus, sometimes we need a sheep dog to get our attention, to warn us so we refocus upon the Shepherd. Here comes the sheep dog…..

Have you considered that a group’s disloyalty is also a conspiracy?

How would I know, simple, answer these two questions in surrendered prayer and by reading Scripture: Is our church about a personality or a Person? Or, do you chase bad trends, sins, and the ways of the world?

Any human conspiracy against God, no matter how vast and well planned will utterly fail, as no evil effort on our part will bear out successfully against His Way. Nor will our prideful and obnoxious behaviors or apostasy in a church will pay out success. Why do it? We do, I did–I hope and pray I will not again. Perhaps you have not realized yet; in all of your focus, your time, your planning, your teaching, and your meetings, you may have utterly missed the point of worship, doing church and God’s call and precepts.

A call is being issued by God while, at the same time, manipulations on our part, our sinful nature and schemes battle for control of His Church from His own flock. While the immorality of the world is being constructed and promoted by the evil forces, each one beckoning the allegiance and loyalty of Christians to choose–follow the harlot of evil, or the Bride, the Loving Lord of Hosts. This is not just in the last days; it is being played out here and now, perhaps in your church (Rev. 21:9).

This “beast,” whether it is a specific personality or a theme, seems to appear and cause havoc and chaos, then manipulates the situation so it seems not to be directly responsible. From a chaos in a mismanaged church to the malevolent evils from the ways of the world keep us fighting against God. People are tricked, thinking sin is OK, and that Satan and evil are not to be blamed. Evil seemingly is not always present, but its effects are and will continue to be so, until God places His final stop on it. In the meantime we, the faithful should not bow to evil, apostasy, or even apathy. We cannot allow our prideful motivational speakers to play pastor and lead Christians with feel-good messages of no substance. Our eyes and words are to be on Christ and Him alone.

The main prostitution we should worry about as Christians is Church Leadership falling to pride, apostasy, and the ways of the world versus faithfulness to Christ!

Never think evil is just in the world and not in our local church.

Gossiping in God’s site is as evil as evil can be, just look up “gossip” in a concordance and see what He says about it! Pride is evil, as is leading people astray. We must know that leading a church our way and not His is evil! How we lead a church says what our real devotion and character is about, is it placating to pride, false agendas and trends or worshiping and glorifying Christ as Lord? How will your church be led?

The main call for us is to heed Christ’s love, grace, and call, and that any evil power–past, present, or future–is not to be feared by us Christians!

The phrase, God has put it in their hearts, refers that He is still in control. Even when the world seems to be in chaos and discord, He is there with us, ever faithful and still in charge. Our duty and call is to fix our eyes on Christ, not on the troubles. This is the key to dealing with suffering and when life does not seem to make sense. The answer is not making up our own Gospel or changing His Message to our own (2 Cor. 4:18; Heb. 12:1-3).

Woof! A true Church should not be fighting against God!

The Call for the Church from Colossians PII

…if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel… Colossians 1:15-23

Christ is Supreme! That means He is also the Head of the Church! We tend to run our churches as if we were in control, basing our decisions on gathering needs and developing programs to fill those needs. Yet, as good as this may sound, the main thing in church leadership is left out. Where is Christ and where is His purpose and direction? We close the door to our Lord! He is the head; that means we must line ourselves up to Him and His Lordship, not our ideas, trivialities, and agendas. We are to seek Him as Lord over all—over our lives as well as our churches!

Remember the Dead Sea; if all we do is allow Him to flow into us and not out, we will stagnate. If we just try to go it alone without our Lord, we will fail. We cannot flow out if nothing flows in.

The responsibility is clear; we are to allow His Spirit to flow in and out, as we are His tools, His children, and His love. When our faith becomes strong, we will not be moved from it, and that means we will not be moved away from Christ. This is what steadfastness is all about: not being shaken from our beliefs and faith in our Lord. When we stray off our path, we tend to substitute steadfastness with stubbornness that takes us far from the purpose and responsibility of the Lord’s church. Being firmly rooted in Christ means keeping to the integrity of Scripture and His teachings, for when we stray from that path, our church will stray away from His opportunities and call. Christ gives us the hope and opportunities to grow, learn, and abide in Him; we are to respond to the call and opportunities He gives with hope and joy.

We must do this in all things—worship, relationships, our thought processes, how we make decisions, and how we institute and instigate the work of the church.

It all must flow and come from Christ our Lord, our Leader and God, and from nowhere else. When we stop experiencing Jesus as our Lord, and He becomes only a figure in the sanctuary, then we will not be a purposeful or called Church for Him. When we are singing praise choruses and hymns that point to His Holiness and Greatness and as Head of our lives and church, do we mean it? Or, is it merely rhetoric and repetition that has no meaning behind it?

The church exists as a response to the grace of our Lord. Because of what He did, we are to glorify, magnify, praise His name, and then respond further from our worship of Him to our works for Him. Remember that works have no saving construct; they are only the appreciation and response we are give to His majesty and redemption. Grace working in us will produce the work and will of our devotion and holiness to set us apart for His plan. Our response is to accept His teachings and love with joyful excitement, and replicate it in our lives, thoughts, and actions, and to grow and perfect the relationship and work He gives us.

The Call for the Church from Colossians PI

…He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy…. Colossians 1:15-23

The chief characteristic of who we are in Christ is the fact He is the living Supreme God who has existed for all time, who transcends space, time and thought, who knows us intimately, and who loves us. Christ is Lord; Christ is Supreme! Christ is the tangible aspect of God who is beyond sight and comprehension. He is the God who created the universe, who made all things. He made all that we see, and all that we do not see! He is the God who created the molecules of substance, formed the ground on which we stand and the wood on which He was crucified. In all of life, in whatever we will face and know, He has gone and still goes before and with us. This world was created by Christ and for Christ; He is indeed supreme. We need to learn to live our lives in Him for His glory. In so doing, we will be much better as stewards of His Church.

Church life is not about our ideas, presumptions, or expectations—it is about Him as LORD!

When we finally achieve this mindset, we begin our journey of growing in faith, maturity, character, and becoming more content in life and of better use to Christ and others around us. This is realized when we see the hope we have in Him, and allow that hope to be a foundation; He will carry is through all things.

What does this passage have to do with the responsibility of the church?

A lot! This passage is about reconciliation, and the church’s responsibility is to mirror the character of God who reconciled us to Him! Christ has and is revealing the invisible God to us, and we cannot and must not look for God anywhere else. If we look for God in ourselves or anywhere else in the world, we will fail as a church and as believers. This is because the church is the body of Christ, and as believers we are to believe. We are to follow and lead as examples, surrendering to His Lordship and not our own.

One of the big issues and problems is that most Christians just do not get this passage. Our Lord is the head of His Church, including our church, yet our churches are run as if we were in total control and we reign supreme.

As far as the responsibility of the church goes, what more can we say, other than Christ is the head and our lead, thus the vision and call can only come from Him and not of ourselves and our effort. If Christ is our “all in all” then we must respond to His teachings as marching orders and not a list of suggestions or ideas. We are to see and know Him as our Creator and Lord, as our Redeemer and Savior, as our God. Then we can respond as the church that our Lord died for.

 

Be caught up with Christ!

Christ bears our stupidities. What are those for you and your church? 

How can you and your church do a better job at bringing out the best in your people, be a blessing, and not to seek self-gratification at the expense of others? 

The bottom line is this: God is in control of your church. His hand is intervening—in us, in time, in the situation—and in His timing. We will have the bad, and we will have our setbacks, trials, and our human frailties; but most important of all, we have the ultimate Good—we have Christ when we are in Christ! The application for us is what He seeks in us—the distinction of real, effectual faith that makes us able to lead and teach (if one is a Bible teacher). For a leader, it is discernment between good and false teaching, and/or good versus bad love, Fruit, and character, and/or a good versus a failing church.  

What do you think the honest reputation of your church and leadership in the pews and in your neighborhood is? 

One of the deficiencies and fickleness of character that we humans possess is the propensity of being shallow. We are like a charismatic speaker over being told the truth, a flashy dresser over something practical, and a celebrity over an intellectual or even a friend. We want a religion that does not convict or teach because we want to indulge ourselves with our desires and a pat on the back. We want our ears tickled and our problems solved; we want to feel good but we do not want to grow in faith or learn from adversity. We want comfort and not have to bother with the time and work that true spiritual formation takes. In the Gospels, Jesus walked away from the people who were flocking to Him to go after the pious, fraud leaders. 

The question we must ask, is how shallow am I? What about the people in my church? Where do I need conviction; in what areas do I need to grow? Then, we need to get up and follow Christ comforts us and assists us to do the same, to lead others out of their shallowness into the depths of His presence and Word. Jesus knows our thinking, motivations, will, and heart; this is something only God can know. Jesus has supernatural knowledge and will see through any pretentiousness and shallowness; He is not concerned with the fad and excitement, but rather how we are leading others in growing their faith. Jesus did not trust the people who were so eager because He knew they would be just as fleeting (1 Sam 16:7; Psalm 139; John 2:13-25; 4:29; Acts 1:24). 

What can be done to deepen one’s faith and life?  

What are the challenges indicated in this passage for us today? What is our true priority in how we do our church? Where is our focus, rational, and purpose? Is it all about God’s glory—or ours? Is it about what we want—or what He requires? What is the purpose of your church? 

Do not be caught up with the stimulation of trends, hype, and speculations; rather, be caught up with Christ. Do not ignore the veracity of God’s Word. His Word is explicit; He tells us what we need to know and that is that. It is a tragedy to chase what is meaningless and fleeting then miss His wonders and Truth! We have nothing to add to His Word and nothing about which to improve it; rather, it is we who need to be approved.

How does your church glorify God?

Why is it impossible to glorify God in the midst of envy and strife, or in anger and bitterness? 

We, as Christian leaders have a debt to pay out of our gratitude for what Christ has done. We must consider reaching others in our care as well as the lost as an opportunity to obey our call. The whole purpose of the Jewish nation was to model God’s redemptive plan to all of humanity. Now the baton has been passed to Christians—both as individuals and collectively as the Church (Gen. 12). 

Keep in mind this imperative from God’s Word. We are to be rooted in Christ and to display humility, as our Lord exemplified. This means mutual acceptance of others, even those whose culture and beliefs are different. Yet, it is amazing how we Christians exclude one another over trivial matters, causing many church splits and schisms. This is what causes a lot of our problems in the world; we have created a poor reputation in the world. We often are the butt of jokes that we have well earned. It is not always satan or worldliness; sometimes we can be our own worst enemies (Matt. 23; Mark 10:45; 2 Cor. 5:20)! 

How do we as Christians cause church splits and schisms when we exclude one another over trivial items? 

God accepted you. You, in turn, must accept others! He did not save us to be self-centered; He saved us to be His ambassadors wherever we are, whatever we are, and whenever we can! 

What have you or your church done in the past six months to promote or model peace and unity? 

Consider that a bad leader is like a wild animal that will tear at another animal’s weakness and frailty. Do we do the same with others, and still praise the Lord? Yes, Christ bears our weakness and our stupidities, and He has patience with us when we are totally undeserving. But; what about our responsibilities? What about our call to be better? We need to make sure that when we lead, we are pointing others to Christ. We are to seek and bring out the good in others, as our Lord did with us, and be a blessing to others. We are not to seek self-gratification at the expense of others. Did you know that it is as impossible to be a Christian hypocrite as it is impossible to be half pregnant? Either you are—or you are not. The Fruit will show our true colors. We indeed have hope and purpose, as hope is the effect of obedience and trust in our Lord (Heb. 6:18). If you have no hope, then you have no vision and purpose, and no trust in the One who loves you ( Gen. 12:1-3; 17:7; 26:2-4; 28:14; 46:3; Ex. 29:45-46; 2 Sam. 7:9; Isa. 40:10; Mal. 3:1; John 1:14; 4:22; Gal. 3:8-16; 26-29; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 7-10; 13:20; Rev. 7:9; 21:1-3).

Our debt to Christ

As you lead, consider your debt to Christ for what He has done for you. Be careful not to put down others whose faith is not strong or whom you may not like. Be willing and able to disciple others in the faith with real guidance, support, and in prayer. In so doing, you can live your life as an encourager to others. A more experienced and mature Christian is called to walk alongside new and less mature Christians to help them grow so they can glorify Christ. This is leadership prime! In addition, Christian leaders are to remove all aspects of pride and arrogance from their thinking and actions! The leader or pastor has the obligation, the imperative command, to disciple others with time, love, and patience, not merely to exercise one’s own version or vision to the exclusion of Christ and His precepts. Additionally, we are not to flaunt ourselves because of our position or maturity—or lack of it.  

Have you been able to remove all aspects of pride and arrogance from your thinking and actions? If not, what do you still need to work on? 

Leaders are to be dedicated to unity rather than to strife and envy!  

There are major enemies and threats that will take down the best leaders and destroy the most fruitful churches. First is pride, which was discussed previously; now, consider that our Lord suffered for the benefit of others, and to the exclusion of Himself. Since Christ was able to deny Himself, it is ludicrous to think that our pride is bigger than Him, so that we do not need to be humble; without humility we will have envy, which is one of the most destructive forces on earth, and will bring down leaders and ministries faster than imagination can allow! How do we combat this? Look to our Lord! His focus was pleasing God and helping others. What is yours? If your vision and attitude are not about pleasing God, but you are in it for yourself, you are not a leader called by God; rather, you are in the wrong position at best or perhaps a parasite at worst who is a clear and present danger to the Kingdom and must step down until you are right with God! In real church leadership, no pretenders or phonies or prideful people are allowed! Get out and get help (Psalm 69:9; 1 Pet. 5)! 

Christ must be our model and pattern in our service to others, and the reason for the importance of being humble. Yet, many Christian leaders act as though this were not true! 

Do you acknowledge God’s Word the way you do money? 

From our studying, to our mentoring, to our governing, to our hospitality, or to our public encounters, all must be done with one mind and mouth. We must work as a body, maintaining our individual personalities, but having unified vision and purpose to glorify God. If this is not so, the result will be chaos and strife, Satan’s favorite playground. So, we must look to the Scriptures, which were written for us—for our benefit, for our learning, and for our growth—all by divine inspiration. We cannot glorify God in the midst of envy, pride, and strife, or in the presence of anger and bitterness. We cannot be known for our negatives, for they will accomplish nothing. Our focus must be on the positive; our focus must be on Christ as LORD (1 Cor. 10:11; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; 1 Pet. 1:10-12)!