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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
“The show must go on” is a well-known phrase in show business, meaning that regardless of what happens (such as the lead performer breaking a leg), the show must still be put on for the waiting patrons. The other day a church invited teenagers to come to church and play an allegedly ultra violent Play Station 3 game Halo3 with the hope that they would in so doing, some how love coming to church. This is modern day evangelism for you, its called connecting with the youth in the name of Jesus. Another church was offering flat screen Tvs another offered Harley Davidson Motorcycles and cars to first time visitors or any body who accepted “Jesus into their hearts”.
Is it possible that in the last days there will come times of difficulty? People will be lovers of self… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power? What ever happened to the power of the gospel? What ever happened to the cross? What ever happened to the name that is above any other name by which men are saved? Are we still tongue in cheek because of Jesus Christ? Does Christ have to be disguised to a point where we use sleight of hand? Is this the level to which friendship evangelism has fallen?
When love begins to sicken and decay it uses an enforced ceremony. [Julius Caesar]-William Shakespeare
Many great men of God in the Bible kept “the show going”. Putting on an out ward façade that all was going well despite having long lost the anointing. Having every form of godliness but denying the power there of. So take heed. Samson the strongest man in the Bible; lost his hair, the symbol of his anointing while he slept and woke up saying, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. Was the departure of his anointing so subtle that he did not know it or did he become so numb that he didnt realise it? Spiritual malaise either way made him not miss the one thing that made him special. The Spirit of God on his life. In modern day church life there are loads of activities and programmes. Programmes and activities do not mean growth. Counterfeits and hypocrites cast the same shadow of deception. Deception can bring in many “converts” because it is appealing. Indeed deception has got to be appealing. To maintain the numbers it has got to preserve its appeal. People flock to preachers that offer socially acceptable “gospels” or “fish and loaves” messages of prosperity, self help and motivational sermons as they say. Well, the show just keeps going on. The numbers grow and quadruple but there is no fruit of the Spirit. No genuine repentance; no abhorrence of sin.
That is the reason we have so many mushroom converts. – George Whitfield
They will never accept grace until they tremble before a just and holy Law -Charles Spurgeon.
The story is told of the prophet Samuel and the king Saul of the Israelities. Saul was told by God to get rid of the Amelekites and kill all of them and all their livestock. But Saul after invasion of the enemies of Israel kept back the best of their sheep and oxen. His excuse was, “… for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God.” Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me this night.” And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to listen than the fat of rams.” Saul was boasting of the numbers. Oh have you seen the numbers? Oh have you seen how well fed the cattle look? Isnt it so lovely?
Samuel feels saddened and disappointed as a prophet toward a king he loved and had had the privilege of anointing. This was the first king of Israel. Now he was rejected by God as king. What do you do when God’s presence is lifted from you? Repent I suppose. What do you do when you realise that error and fallacy have been introduced into teachings of a minister or a ministry you once loved and supported? As Samuel turns around to go away, Saul seized the skirt of his robe, and it rips apart. “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day, Saul.” Saul its over. There is no show. Ichabod!
But wait Saul pleads, I know I have sinned but hey the elders do not know. The people don’t know.
Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honour me now before the elders of my people and before Israel…” 1 Sam 15:30
Let’s act as if. Let’s keep things going for the crowds. The crowds, the people, the spectators and the whole world is watching; dont let me down infront of them…lets keep this thing going even if you know i dont have “it”.
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. -Matt 3:15
Does the church still have that “it”? Is it possible to water down the gospel message, sin, righteousness and judgement? The church’s worth is in her retaining her saltiness. That ingredient that keeps and preserves is, the Spirit of God. Jesus said, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you, he will bear witness about me.
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. John 16:8-11
What a big show we have to run when we try to run the show without the Spirit of God. We then try to “convict” sinners by our own forms of unbiblical godless delusions, let a lone try to keep, tirelessly entertain and try to preserve converts in our ways of “godliness”.
Its virtually impossible and tiring to disciple such false converts. They come to Jesus because they have seen and heard of a” fish and loaves” gospel. They wont have desire for the things of God or the deeper thigs of God or even His Word.
They are not born of the Spirit. They only came to church to play a goofy Play Station game, watch the Rockstar church band and they mumbled a half hearted “sinners prayer” so as to reach the next level of Halo 3 . Didnt hear about sin, righteousness or the coming judgement. How would they hear if nobody preached to them so, how would they believe if the one sent to them didnt tell them so. They faithfully attend church month in and month out for more “fish and loaves”…having a form of godliness indeed.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matt 7: 21-23
When the Spirit of the Lord departs, the show is over. Ichabod! It is time to go back to God in repentance.
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chr 7:14
Finally, the term Ichabod is a sad one. It appears in first Samuel chapter four. Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give birth. And when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. And about the time of her death the women attending her said to her,
“Do not be afraid, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. And she named the child ICHABOD, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel.” 1 sam 4:21 ESB
Editor’s Note: “If we do not preach about sin and God’s judgment on it, we cannot present Christ as Saviour from sin and the wrath of God. And if we are silent about these things, and preach a Christ who saves only from self and the sorrows of this world, we are not preaching the Christ of the Bible . . . Such preaching may soothe some, but it will help nobody; for a Christ who is not seen and sought as a Saviour from sin will not be found to save from self or from anything else”