Tuesday Morning, March 13, 2001
Article: 41% of U.S. Churchgoers are NOT SAVED, even by the lowest standards of measuring such things.
Oh, how I grieve to make this point again, when my heart is toward more Lofty things... BUT, for us all to experience fully “the unsearchable Riches of Christ,” we must also Discover the “ADMINISTRATION of the unsearchable Riches!” Paul said as much (Eph. 3:2-10; 1Tim. 3:15; 1Cor. 3:10-20) and demonstrated this in things he chose to write about in 90% of his letters. Jesus spoke of His own Work as “the Builder of the House” and the Chief Cornerstone this way: “I will build My Church, upon the Rock of a Revelation to each that has come directly from the Father Himself, of who the Son of the Living God truly is. And the Church will devastate the power of the enemy and set captives Free Indeed. The gates of hell will not stand against the Church that *I* build.” “Be very careful HOW you build!” saith the Lord. So, bear with me, for the sake of so much of the “church world” that hasn’t seen it yet...
After reading the article below in Maranatha News Watch and Charisma Magazine, perhaps some will begin to realize that there is a Paradigm problem in our “church world” today of immense proportions. “See this great structure, Jesus!?” (Mat. 24:1-2). If the visible Church is really daily manifesting and embodying the Risen Christ, then He is REALLY in their midst, Alive with Power and Love and Wisdom and Truth. So, if He IS, then how could most be sound asleep by our own statistics? Another explanation is this: If the Lampstand has been removed, He doesn’t “circulate” in those places, according to His own Word.
The Paradigm problem breaks down this way:
1) The Nicolaitanism issues—Sauls, from above (up front, as officially in charge), instead of Samuels, from within. Clergy/laity assigned or official “leaders” or “teachers” is a bad idea. Jesus said, even to the Twelve, “Call NO man” as officially in these positions “for you are all just brothers amongst brothers” (Mat. 23:9). When we learn to appreciate and respect GIFTS in our midst rather than (big and miniature) CEOs and assigned Talking Heads, we will be far closer to seeing Jesus ALIVE again as Head of His Church, Leading and Teaching, Himself! “When Revelation comes to the second, let the first one sit down!”
2) Lack of true daily relationships (Heb. 3:12-14; Gal. 6:1-4; Jas. 5:16; Acts 2:42-47) amongst 100% of those who call themselves Christians (Acts 2:44; Heb. 8:11). This disjointed quality of life, where everyone “leads their own life” and then adds God (instead of 1Cor. 12; Acts 2:42-47, and “Seek FIRST the Kingdom”), will always result in much leaven in the batch. In such a self-centered state there would be too little Light to see or help with the leaven issues God Commands us to resolve (1Cor. 5:7; 12; Jos. 7). Many who are weak will remain weak their entire lives unless they get the Help God planned through His People and His Gifts in those People. More knowledge won’t help without the many Gifts of the Body of Christ interacting with them “DAILY!” And many that are pretenders or unconverted will think they are outstanding Christians and never have the chance to meet the Real Jesus as long as we continue Building poorly. The man-conceived and convenient “time and place and pre-programmed” way of building—unBiblical to the core—has obviously resulted in much tragedy, by their statistics. It is no wonder so much damage is done to the children and to the marriages and lives.
Can we reconsider, as Paul said, “HOW we build”? For Jesus? For our children? For ourselves? What will it take for those with a heart for Jesus and His Fruit to See the need for more than a new program or a new “preacher” or building, or a new living room or guitar or Bible Study? As God said in Jeremiah’s day—as we weep together over issues just as serious as he faced—we must together “uproot, tear down, destroy, and overthrow that He may build and plant.”
When we allow Jesus to truly be Head of His Church, functionally, rather than a figurehead (as Tozer put it) or a “topic”...
JESUS is so, so, so attractive that everything CHANGES!
Consider the article below from the Christian news service, and then an alternative...
Issue #184 3/12/01
Study: Churches Have Lost Their Spiritual Passion
(CHARISMA)—Despite having more born-again Christians today than ten years ago, America is spiritually stagnant. A new study on the state of Christianity in the nation has revealed that Americans remain interested in faith and consider themselves to be religious people—but it concludes that believers are seemingly mired in spiritual complacency.
The verdict was delivered in the State of the Church report by the Barna Research Group (BRG), a California-based Christian organization that annually conducts a nationwide study of the country’s faith practices and perspectives.
Not everything is gloomy. The study of 1,005 Protestants and Catholics found that the percentage of adult born-again Christians increased from 35% in 1991 to 41% in 2001. Since 1995, there has been a five-point increase in the percentage of adults who say they are “absolutely committed” to the Christian faith.
But the report found a decline in other significant faith areas. Regular Bible reading dropped over the last decade from 45% to 37%. Volunteering at church declined from 27% to 20% over the same period. Church attendance has slipped from 49% to 42%.
The study also revealed other disturbing findings. Four out of ten Christians do not attend church or read the Bible in a typical week, while seven out of ten are not involved in a small group that meets for spiritual purposes. The report also confirmed that there are more than 10 million Christians who are unchurched.
BRG’s president said the findings point to America’s need for a spiritual shake-up. According to George Barna, “in a typical week, 41% of the adults attending Christian churches are not born again. More than one-third of the Protestant churchgoers are not born again.” He added: “Most of those people have been attending Christian churches for years and years, without really understanding the foundations of the Christian faith and its personal implications.”
Reiterating comments based on previous BRG findings, Barna said, “America certainly did not experience the spiritual revival that many Christians hoped would emerge as the new millennium began.”
He added: “There are magnificent exceptions throughout the country, but overall, Christian ministry is stuck in a deep rut.... Like the churches of Laodicea and Sardis, described in the Bible as distasteful to God because of their complacency and spiritual deadness, too many Christians and churches in America have traded in spiritual passion for empty rituals, clever methods and mindless practices.
“The challenge to today’s church is not methodological. It is a challenge to resuscitate the spiritual passion and fervor of the nation’s Christians.”
Barna’s views contradict those of Christian Broadcasting Network founder Pat Robertson, who told the Virginia Press Association last week that a religious revival was under way in America. He said the revival was significantly impacting America’s politics because religious people were working together with politicians to make the country a better place. The involvement is “a very healthy trend,” he said.
© 2001 charismanews.com (Post date: March 8, 2001)
Contrast what you just read with this...
What then does the Kingdom of God really look like? What will a Church today walking in God’s Presence and full of Grace look like? How can I recognize the Spirit of Christ, and His best Way for His people and for me?
Jesus’ Bride, His Church. She’s a special Lady, a “Bride PREPARED for the return of the Groom,” the King of Glory. She’s “a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and without blemish.” She is an equal yoke for Jesus—compassionate, yet filled with fury toward hypocrisy; sensitive, yet relentlessly pursuing the completion of Her Father’s business. This is the Church that Jesus bought with His very Blood...
She’ll be a Church that is not bound by time and place, but “daily in public and from house to house.” She’ll be “joined and knit together by every supporting ligament,” “everyone members of one another,” “confessing sins one to another,” “admonishing one another daily so that none are hardened by the deceitfulness of sin,” always loving and serving and “bearing one another’s burdens” in joy and thanksgiving. And with a few tears. Her corporate gatherings will only be the overflow of what is happening on the streets and in the homes of all of her people. “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own” (Acts 4:32).
The Church will be characterized by “mega power” and “mega grace.” Sin will be exposed and eradicated with “ever-increasing Glory” in the lives of those in the Church. Captives will, at long last be set FREE. The singing of songs to our God won’t be written in a menu printed a week in advance, but will flow out of what God is doing in our midst at the moment. Watch out! Those joy-filled, faith-filled Saints of His may even erupt into song in a Burger King parking lot as the Church descends on the restaurant for a meal. What’s real in one place must surely be real everywhere! (That New Wine, that Living Water has strange effects, you know. It’s just Biblical, normal, filled with Jesus Christianity!)
Together, with intimacy of relationships, we’ll LIVE as our Lord did. Jesus, the Christ of God, now lives within us, individually and as a People (Col. 1:26-27, 3:4; Gal. 2:20; Acts 17:28; Eph. 5:18; 1Jn. 2:6; Rom. 8:9).
This passage is the Eternal pattern of the Church Jesus established, and is for every generation that will walk with Him by His Spirit:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
“And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.
“You shall be named the Priests of the Lord, men shall call you the Servants of our God” (Isaiah 61:1-6; Luke 4:18-19).
Now God’s version is better than man’s any day, isn’t it?! And such Churches do actually exist! If you’d like to get in on it, rest assured, “We must through many tribulations enter the Kingdom of God.” Will you “go for it” no matter what everyone else is doing? Will you pay that price? I know you will. It’s entirely worth it.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be GLORY in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).