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The Church is Meant for the Saved

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And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. - Acts 19: 8-10 (ESV)

Did Paul cater his message to those who did not believe? Absolutely not. In fact when they became obstinate he left. He took his disciples, those who were already saved, and left. By changing his location and not appealing to the lost, everyone in the region got to hear the Word of the Lord. That is supposed to be the goal beloved. Preach the Gospel. When the saved come together in fellowship each week and hear the Gospel they will grow together in unity of doctrine. They will go from spiritual milk to spiritual meat. The pastor is therefore tending to his flock.

But Preacher, what about the lost? What about them? They need to hear the Gospel as well. They need to hear it preached. When they come to the church and they hear the Word of God they will be drawn. The Bible says only those that the Father draws may come. They will either respond to that drawing or they will not. The cold hard reality is far too many preachers today have no faith in the Gospel. They think they have to entertain the goats. They think they have to use smoke machines and strobe lights. They think that sermons need to be short and related to the lives the lost lead. Are you kidding me? Jesus message was repent for the kingdom of God is at hand! The lost do not need tips on how to improve the life that is consigning them to hell. They need to hear that they must give it up:

Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. - Matthew 16: 24-27 (ESV)

You will not hear these verses in many churches today because they would not be deemed seeker friendly. Yet they are truth. When the truth is no longer considered "seeker friendly" then you must realize that what is being sought is a lie and you are a willing liar. At the core of these problems though is the overall faulty premise that the church is for the lost. Not if you read the Bible. Yes there is the Great Commission but that is us going into the world, not us inviting the world into our community. Beloved let me be clear. I am all for the lost coming to church if the Gospel is really being preached. The Gospel that has the words of eternal life. The Gospel that can save their lives eternally and forgive their sin sick souls. If they are coming however to hear a rocking band, witness a grand stage show, and hear three sermon points about relevance and a cloud of dust I would just as soon see them stay home.

I know this rubs against the grain of how we were raised to believe in our faith. I know from a carnal humanistic perspective it makes more sense to go after the people who need the salvation of God. The way God operates however is above our ways. Here is what is really going on. When we target the lost with our marketing schemes, relevant sermons, and entertainment we are thinking we can save them. We cannot beloved. Only God can. Only the Gospel can. The entertainment distracts them from God. The sermons relevant to their lives focus them on things that cannot save them. The marketing schemes are as empty as the promises they will hear. They need to see the community of believers who are unified by correct doctrine. What would be the benefit if churches started to correctly cater to the saved? First of all we would have a more mature body. There would be more on spiritual meat than milk. You cannot argue that the current state of the body of Christ is beyond malnourished. We are raising a generation of biblically illiterate churchgoers. Besides a more mature body we would have a stronger unity based upon correct doctrine. As God intended. You think you have unity at your church? Try leaving it and see how woefully thin those relationships are. The purpose driven model is designed to build the individual church building, not the kingdom of God. Thirdly, we would have far less false teaching. It simply would not be tolerated because the unified mature believers would have better discernment and would not allow it. It is staggering to look out across Christendom and see what Christians fall for. Gem stones, glory clouds, holy laughter, drunk and stoned in the spirit, gold dust, false signs and lying wonders, clairvoyance and ESP passed off as prophecy. Is it any wonder? When they hear every Sunday about six life principles for how to be more significant instead of hearing the Gospel that will help them grow in Christ? Lastly, we would see more real conversions for Christ. The fastest growing mission field in the world is in the pews of America. Because false gospels preached by deceived men result in sham altar calls without any true understanding of sin and repentance. Millions of people walking the broad path while thinking their darkness is actually light. Preaching the real Gospel however will lead to genuine conversions.

So, pastors - feed your sheep! They have been entrusted to you from mighty God! Feed them the Gospel every single week. Do not use the pulpit of God for politics, cultural nonsense, or the outrage of the week. Remember the church is supposed to be different. Teach your sheep how to be that difference. Do not worry if there are unsaved visitors in the pews. It is the preached Gospel that saves them! Not you! God will add to your number as He sees fit! I know this is a hard lesson but the church, your church, is meant for the saved.

Reverend Anthony Wade - February 14, 2015

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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