God is a Lover
Looking for a lover so He fashioned me
These are from Misty Edwards from IHOP, where the heretical bridal paradigm is taught. Besides sick and twisted lyrics like this we also see petulant lyrics described as "worship." Songs that demand blessings from God. Screaming at God that you are going to get your inheritance is hardly worship. Mind you, this is not a contemporary versus old school thing at all. There are plenty of new worship music that is God honoring and Scriptural. Unfortunately, a great deal of it is not. A lot of it is rooted in eastern mysticism and chanting. The hook is repeated ad nausea for 10-15 minutes. Beloved, worship is not for us. It is for Him. Yet because of the entertainment factor of what modern church has become, we care more about how it makes us feel than what it actually says to God.
4) When it comes to a return to worship, it must be accompanied by a return to righteous living. What good does it do to raise your hands to God on Sunday and live like hell the rest of the week? Jesus Himself once lamented, why do we bother to call Him Lord if we refuse to do as He says? Consider these words from God spoken through the Prophet Amos:
"I hate all your show and pretense--the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won't even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living. Amos 5: 21-24 (NLT)
I say we need a return to righteous living because the church today pays it no mind. Often they will preach against it. Hyper-grace teaches wanton sin, no matter what they claim. There is so much carnality in the pulpit it is no wonder it is how the people live. It is no wonder we see pastor after pastor fall. It is no wonder the church has no power against the infiltration from the enemy. We are impotent because we think we can ignore the very essence of God - holiness - and still prosper spiritually. Consider us akin to the Laodicean Church from Revelation:
"'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. - Revelation 3: 15-17 (ESV)
Oh beloved, hear the Word of the Lord today! Lukewarm? We wish we were lukewarm because we are downright tepid! Stagnant standing water. Polluted by the world. We look at the magnificent splendor of the temples we have built and the ministries we have erected and think they signify success in the Lord. We build our own carnal Babel tower and think it is a sign of God's provision. Our pastors drive in luxury, live in avarice and fly in lavishness and we think this symbolizes God's providence. Oh woe to the church today who thinks it is rich beyond measure yet is so pitifully poor in the sight of God. The wretched church that cannot see its own wretchedness. Pitiable, poor, blind and naked. We cannot continue in our utter and brazen carnality and think we are doing the will of God. We must return to righteous living. Do not listen to the cheap grace salesmen. Do not listen to preachers who are selling you three sermon points about your temporal prosperity and a cloud of dust. Do not think you can speak of following Christ and care not for what He has commanded us to do. We must return to the way Jesus wants us to live if we are to truly be His church.
5) Lastly, for 2015 we need to return to the Acts model for what the church was supposed to be. We have to resist the urge for the mainstream logic. The "church planting" models. The prevailing wisdom of seeking out non-believers, catering to them, starving the sheep, and growing the carnal church at the cost of the eternal kingdom. Read the second chapter of the Book of Acts and you will discover the secret that purpose driven leaders do not want to share. The church was not meant to be for the unsaved. Not at all. It was meant for the sheep of God. It was meant for us to grow in the Lord. To fellowship, have communion, and learn the Gospel week in and week out. What about the unsaved preacher? What about them? God deals with the unsaved:
praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. - Acts 2: 47 (ESV)
This is the closing of the portion of Scripture that describes how the church is supposed to be. God adds to the number saved, not man. Not some slick marketing plan. Not a dazzling light show, classically trained singers, the finest musicians and the greatest orators. Not some feel good preaching followed by a useless sinners prayer that saves no one. God and God alone adds to the number being saved. How? Through the preaching of the Gospel! That is what the church is supposed to be doing! When people hear the true Gospel they will either respond to the drawing of the Holy Spirit or they will not. We must return to the model God gave us, not Rick Warren. Preach the Gospel, feed the sheep, watch the church grow vertically and God will add the horizontal growth as He decides.
That is it beloved. The top five list of things the church must return to if we are to start to see the results God expects from us. These things first of all apply to us individually in our walk with God. We must return to a real relationship with God through regular reading of His Word and prayer. Right now the church cannot discern what teachings and spirits are from the Lord and which are from the pits of hell because we have such poor grounding in Scripture and prayer! We must take a serious check of what we say to God in worship. Is it truly about lifting His name up or is it about us? We must return personally to righteous living. Not perfection beloved but truth be told many of us are barely trying. This is not me preaching to anyone. This is God preaching to me first. Of these I am the least. Lastly in our walk we need to check where it is that we call home in this church system. What are they teaching? Are we there to worship the pastor or the church? Or are we there to truly worship the Lord? I know many well intended brothers and sisters who think nothing of staying in an apostate church for varied reasons but none of them are for the Lord. At some point we will have to choose beloved. Are we in this for God or for something else?
These personal items apply corporately as well. Our churches need to return to the Word of God. Expositing it for the growth of the believers. Turn away from these topical sermonettes that save no one. We grow in our discernment by learning the Word. The church needs to return to prayer also. Not just as a body but as an instructional unit. We need to teach and encourage prayer. We are entering into the darkest days ever for this planet and the people of God need to be prepared spiritually. It is the responsibility of the church to take charge of that preparation. The church needs to get back to reverent worship that inspires awe in the God we serve. Stay away from the petulant worship. Stay away from the overly sexual worship. Stay away from the things that bring no glory to God. The church needs to return to instilling righteous living again in the people who attend. We must flee from the carnal church that teaches the opposite of what Jesus taught here on earth. Lastly, the church must return to the Acts model. We must be in the sheep feeding business again and let God be God. We need to throw away our fancy theories and human logic. We must walk away from the purpose driven lies and the seeker friendly heresies. The answer has always been the same throughout the centuries. It does not need to be changed. It does not need to be made relevant. It is as always the Gospel and it just needs to be preached. Let him who has ears hear what the Lord is saying to His people for 2015.
Reverend Anthony Wade - December 31, 2014