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 essential way to grow a church is to be faithful with our Fruit!

Remember: Christ did not give up on us when things went from bad to worse with our sin. His grace, forgiveness, and perseverance came to us anyway!

A Fruitless Church is a Big Problem!

One of the main problems I have seen in the churches I have served and consulted for or have researched is the lack of Fruit from its leaders and members. We have to see this as a travesty before our Holy God. It can come from the over-focus on the personality of a leader who is prideful or a preoccupation with a trend, giving no regard to the percepts of the Word, or the basic lack of kindness when you visit such a church. Some churches are good at one or two of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit to the exclusion of the rest of the Fruits. Maybe you will see big smiles from the pastor who is a good teacher, but sometimes impatient and cold—perhaps even smug. This can be from focusing on the Gifts of the Spirit while ignoring His call and Fruit of the Spirit. We have church leaders and pastors concerned about being deliberate and intentional, thinking that “my church is exclusively my ministry; this is all about me.” They are all about building a legacy to themselves and how they want to build their church to and for themselves, something which they rationalize away using statistics, pop psychology, and business trends while ignoring the Word.

How many people, in an average, good church, practice the Fruit of the Spirit in that church? Well, we do not know yet. The initial research is all over the map from a mere twenty percent 20% to a quantity of eighty percent (80%) of church leaders who deem themselves fruitful. In the mean time, those under their leadership show a small deviation; a measly eighteen percent (18%) to an over seventy percent (70%) see their leaders as bearers of fruit. How many practice it at home? How many practice it at work? This is the research we are seeking. When we know what we are doing with our faith and fruit and see what Christ calls us to do, perhaps we can improve our church’s workplaces and our homes!

It seems, from our initial research (our partner the Schaeffer Institute) and experiences, that most Christians respond to their faith with a rear end firmly planted in a pew that goes nowhere near fruitful service or glory to Christ. They hold on to a will that does not allow conviction or change to their routine or life. Thus, church is just a club for comfort and not a “huddle” to strategize and put forward how to play the game of Christian life after receiving our orders from the Coach. We need to know that Christ calls us to change our minds like we change the oil in the car. Look what Romans twelve tells us to do: “devote themselves to him; and avoiding conformity to the world.” In other words, we are to be changed, fruitful people so we can be change agents to others. Not to be infected by the world, but to help it along toward His purpose. We cannot do that when we are poured out to our will and desires only and not to our Lord. Oh, that we can be: “…conformed to his holy will”… “to think humbly”… “to exercise faithfully”… to mutual love, diligence, patience, hope, prayer, hospitality, compassion, and condescension …. “and becoming conduct towards all men”! Our devotion to Christ must be rooted in the mind and then let the Fruit translate it to the feet and the rest of our bodies in between—the body of us as human beings and a body of believers in relation to all those around us, which is our duty (Rom. 12:9-13).

The Essential Role of Fruit in the Church

Does your church have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control pouring from its leaders and most of its people, on your campus and into the streets where its people are? If not, something is terribly wrong!

Christianity is not just the proclamation of the Gospel; it is also the example of the Gospel!

This begs for a question: why do so many Christians see their faith as “on hold” until when it may be needed, and/or are doing nothing or just what they can get away with?

Is the Fruit of the Spirit in you and in your Church?

How many of us have ever ventured into a church that was filled with unkindness, where we were ignored or even mistreated and where the church seemed more like a thorn bush than a fruitful vine…a church filled with a bad atmosphere from the bad spiritual breaths of its people making smog instead of the sweet fragrance of God’s presence and love?

As a pastor, I have a tough battle to make sure my flock behaves so that Christ would be pleased. And of course, I need to set the tone. I can try my best to set an example so I am not a thorn bush, and I can teach; but I cannot make them behave! I can model, teach, disciple, urge, and pray. But, real, authentic Christian love comes solely from a real, authentic Christian formation. This is caused from the Fruit of the Spirit growing in each of us. If someone is not growing in the Lord, he/she is not willing or able to treat others with love and respect, nor is he/she able to model and do and be as Christ exemplified and taught. Care, compassion, and a real affection for others will be moot, love will be stifled, and kindness absent; and no matter how good the campus, teaching, or mission are, all that will be noticed is an annoying noise. The church will be an irritating and frustrating club of stubborn prideful people, devoid of harmony and brotherly love—devoid of Christ! Do we really want that? If not, what are you willing to do about it?

No one wants to come to a club where the people are angry, bitter, immoral, impure, corrupt, into idolatry and witchcraft, and full of hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness…and so forth!

These are the key words Paul talked about in Romans, chapter one. It is the same with a local church; who wants strife when care and friendship are called for and needed? People will come to a place where there is love and joy, where they are treated with kindness, cared for, allowed to work on themselves while being shown patience and the composure of Christ from the leaders. We need to know that we display Christ by our attitudes and actions. If we do not do this right from what Jesus modeled and taught, we will get our churches all skewed upside down and wrong. We will be the church of the thorn-bush, a fruit-stand devoid of fruit, a place of dysfunction instead of a church of Jesus Christ and His transforming power!