"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. - John 3: 16 (ESV)
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." - Hebrews 12: 5-6 (ESV)
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. - John 15: 12-14 (ESV)
There is a great verse in the Bible where an apparently exasperated Jesus asks why bother calling Him Lord if we refuse to do what He says! We can sing Friend of God every Sunday until Jesus comes but unless we are doing what He says - we are not His friend. Love is not this sappy puppies and unicorns version of Christianity. Love is the discipline from the Father too. Love more importantly - begins and ends at the cross. Taking Calvary out of our church in the interests of drawing people, removes the love of God.
The second thing here we lose sight of is our salvation. Modern Christianity has turned salvation into an event. Altar call? Done that. Sinner's prayer? Check. Keep it moving. No beloved. The Bible says we are to work our our salvation with fear and trembling and the cold hard reality for us today is the fear of the Lord within the church is in desperate need of revival. How can people make sport of the sheep of God? No fear. How can we fall so far away from our salvation? No fear. Someone asked me once why I would want to serve a God I need to be afraid of. My answer is this. I am not afraid of God hurling a lightening bolt down upon me because I know He loves me. I am afraid of forgetting that He can if He so desires. I am afraid of losing that reverent awe.
Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.
The Lord desires to speak peace to His people beloved; to His saints. But the revival of that peace will not come as long as we are turned to folly and folly we most assuredly have turned to. We see a church today more concerned about wealth and material prosperity than they are about spreading the Gospel. We see a church more enamored with following charismatic speakers than they are with hearing Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We see a church more willing to read something called "Destined to Reign" or "Seven Steps to a Better You" than they are their Bible. We would rather be purpose driven than spiritually motivated . We would rather be seeker friendly than biblically literate. We would rather be entertained than challenged. We hold prayer meetings without prayer. Sell salvation without repentance. Hold church without Christ. Revive the nation? Dear Lord, we cannot even revive ourselves from the folly we willingly sit under week after week. Not my church preacher! Yes your church! The true peace of God awaits us but not until we turn back from our own folly. Forget the sins of the world. They are walking in darkness and the things of God are foolishness to them. We however have tasted what is good and know the Lord yet still walk right to the edge and pitch our tents towards Sodom, hoping God will relent and spare what we ought not be inflamed with.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.