Read John 9:1-41
No matter how many great miracles we witness and no matter how many great blessings God may bestow upon the saved or the unsaved, we cannot walk in deliverance or confess Christ in word and deed consistently if we are still serving man. We need to be delivered from people.
When we hold dear to us the things that others can control (their acceptance, approval or resources) more than we do our faith in God and the bigger picture of heaven and eternity with God, nothing God does for us will cause us to fully love and follow him with our whole heart. We need deliverance from people as well as things. (Matthew 10:36-38)
God knows that we love certain things and people and that we desire them deep down inside. Every functional human being wants to have a sense of belonging and acceptance. But God wants us to love Him more than we love other people and other things. Our Heavenly Father wants us to find acceptance with him more crucial than acceptance from others. When we desire acceptance in The Beloved more than acceptance from others, we will no longer be driven by our ego or insecurities. Instead, we are delivered and led by The spirit. (Ephesians 1:6; Romans 8:13-17)
Is your family’s eternal destiny more important to you than how others feel about you? Is keeping up with The Jones more important to you than keeping yourself in the love of God and unspotted from the world so you can be a light and example to others (especially those of your own household)? (Deuteronomy 6:6-8; Jude 1:21)
Let’s take a look at how the dictionary defines being assimilating and then how it defines being separate:
ASSIMILATE- to conform or adjust to the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like; to bear a resemblance. SEPARATE- to part company; withdraw from personal association; to draw or come apart; become divided, disconnected, or detached; to take or go in different directions:
We often chastise and punish our children for the things they do in order assimilate to other kids. But we ourselves are still driven by fashion trends, possessions, titles, peer pressure, relationships, and even the church. If you are not delivered after all these years, how can you expect your child to be free to follow God and be their own person in a shorter amount of time? You cannot walk someone through something that you have not gone through yourself. (Hebrews 5:11-14)
Beloved, even church can be a stumbling block to us if we choose to follow the so-called role models or vain traditions that often contradict God’s Word (if studied). We try to dress like the pastor’s wife who is in bondage and debt because she is trying to dress like other first ladies. We try to preach like the pastor who has patterned his style, ministry and vision after someone else’s who is seeking to have what some other pastor has achieved (sometimes, in the flesh). We try to impress the unsaved with how intelligent, refined, and anointed we are by looking like them on the surface and having the same appetites and ambitions as they do. We want the world to respect us when the Word of God already told us that it would not. Instead of being separate from them and their ways, we bring more of the world, bit by bit, into the church under the guise of winning souls for Christ when all we are really trying to win is their respect and acceptance. And when all our evangelistic schemes don’t work, we then pervert and diminish the Gospel to a doctrine of self-help and positive thinking where Jesus is only valued as one of several sources we can tap into to get us to our next level of whatever we are seeking. This way, no one is offended by the Gospel of Jesus, when 1 Peter 2:5-12 already told us that he is a rock of offence. (Mark 7:12; 1 Corinthians 2:3-5; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 2 Peter 2:1-22; Jeremiah 23:25-40)
We have allowed the enemy to deceive us into believing that if we leave little bread crumbs of worldliness where ever we go, sinners will find them and follow us to church and we can get them saved (in a covert way). But the sinners who are truly looking for God are looking for something that is not unlike the world; something that is pure, real and like Christ. Sinners can already get the world from the world; they don’t have to come to church to get it. They are not going to come to church for the true and living God by being lured by a little devilment. They don’t want to have to come to church and fight to resist the same things they were trying to resist out in the world (like, vanity, respect of persons, greed, fornication and adultery, politics, and the like). They are running from that madness!
Today, we seem to be totally amazed and dumbfounded as to why the world has no reverence for the house of God nor respect for the people of God. Why should they when we are no different than them? We have slowly moved away from sanctification and holiness as if they were prehistoric and a denomination. We have left our first love and we are so blind that we cannot see what even the world sees. They see a church that is highly emotional and mostly ineffective. They see a church that is dancing and shouting on Sunday and then Monday, falling into sins that even Ray Charles saw coming. They see a church that is laying hands and people falling down, but no miracles, signs and wonders as advertised in our 4-color promotional materials. They see a church that is manipulating the members out of more and more, yet giving so little to them in their times of need. They see a church that pays the musician as if he worked 40 hours a week and expects the janitor to donate his service to his church. They see a church where the pastor is a celebrity and Jesus is just a prophet come to show us the way to happiness (1 Peter 1:15-17; Galatians 1:6-12; Colossians 1:23; Revelation 2:1-5; Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 5:18)
Those seeking the answer that is salvation are seeking a place where …
• Holiness is taught and not just bragged upon. • Sermons leave you both challenged and encouraged. • The difference between clean and unclean is clarified. • Faith is taught and displayed beyond sermon or offering. • There is deliverance instead of a country club mentality. • Of prayer and reconciliation instead of just programs. • They win souls that someone else is called to shepherd. • Leaders compare their religious traditions to God’s Word. • The anointing is known by power and demonstration-not charisma. • The impoverished, incarcerated and institutionalized are loved. • The fundamentals of faith are taught so everyone can know and then go out and correctly preach the gospel with clarity, conviction and compassion.
In other words, those seeking Our Heavenly Father are looking for a church that is not afraid to win souls and reclaim backsliders. They are looking for a church that wants to help other saints return to their first love and will invest the time and effort to do so even if they are members of another church (or denomination). They are looking for a place where the leader is not obsessed with building a monument to himself and a legacy for his family. They are looking for an under-shepherd who is in love with God, who is passionate about reconciling man to God and helping believers reach their spiritual maturity. (Ezekiel 22:25-26)
Are we going to be that church? If not, we need to just take down the church shingle and put up a shingle that says “club”, “hang-out spot”, or “religious institution”, because that is all it will be.