The church continues to get defined by society. An argument can be created against this concept, but never won.
Men in Ministry, look at the church in Acts, which is the church as handed to us by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. It is defined right here in this book and not meant to change.
- We are told to wait to receive the power of the Holy Spirit. The disciples waited for 10 days unified, praying together in a room for the Holy Spirit. We should agree that unity and prayer brings the power of the Holy Spirit.
- The church's first move was to testify to the public what Jesus had done. The power from the Holy Spirit is vast as evidenced first in a simple but bold message, which resulted in 3,000 people accepting Jesus and being baptized.
- They devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and prayer. They held everything in common. They studied the Bible; they shared all their experiences; they ate together and they prayed.
- They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had a need.
- Every day they continued to meet together. They ate in each other's homes. They were glad and had sincere hearts, praising God. They took care of the needy they met with sincerity. They did not lie to each other-no gossip, either-and they were cheerful. They praised God. God added to their number daily. (The church grew every day.)
- God performed miracles through them all the time. They used the miracles to bluntly testify in the love of the Lord and more were added to their number. When was the last time your touch healed someone?
- After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.They Prayed and were refilled with the Holy Spirit. When was the last time the ground shook during a church prayer meeting?
- The apostles continued to testify.
- God's grace was so powerfully at work in them, there were no needy persons among them. God provided for every need. There was so much purity, sin had no place, to the point that when Ananias and his wife lied, they died. Sin cannot live in the presence of God! Fear seized the entire church. Does the fear of the Lord exist in the church today?
- The Apostles continued to heal every day.
- When the disciples worshipped in the colonnade, no one else would enter.
- The apostles appointed men from the complaining faction to serve the people while they focused on testifying and preaching the Word. When there is a need for ministry work, the congregation should step up to do the work. How is this working in the church today?
So what is the elephant in the room? The church has slowly lost all its effectiveness because it has slowly stopped doing what it was created to do: Study the Word, Praise God, Pray, Fellowship, Evangelize, take care of the needy, meet continually in homes and the gathering place, and tithe.
Men in Ministry, the church looks like society: can you imagine a person lying to a pastor and dropping dead? Why doesn't that happen? Is there so much sin in the church that one more sin does not make any difference? Has the Gospel been watered down? Our acceptance of a watered down Gospel and sin in the church is supporting the slow decline of the church. How many people actually pray and study the Bible everyday?
If you put the frog in the water and warm it slowly, the frog will enjoy himself swimming and splashing until it is cooked.
It is not too late. II Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
Let us pray.