Christians currently make up the largest religious group in the world. As of 2015, a staggering 2.3 billion people claim to be Christian. These individuals claim to have put their faith in Christ as their Lord and Savior. With so many different types of denominations popping up, it is hard to keep track of which ones actually worship the true Jesus Christ. We have churches now that feature techno music during their service, or sprinkle gold dust from the vents claiming the Holy Spirit is filling the buildings. This mockery of the Christian worship brings a thought to mind of the current state of Christianity. Every couple of years, Ligonier releases a state of theology report. In this report, evangelicals are survived from across the United States and asked questions that any professing Christian should be able to answer. This blog post isn’t about that report, but the deceitfulness that has filled Christianity. If you are interested, the report can be found at www.thestateoftheology.com, and you can see the alarming situation we are in.
Matthew 7:21-23; ‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Examining these couple of verses should awaken any lukewarm Christian and force them to analyze themselves. Many will come, not just a few or some, but many. Many will walk up to Jesus to hear these frightful words, “depart from Me.” But who are the many? These individuals, referenced earlier in verse 13, are those who will enter the wide gate that leads to destruction. These same people think they are doing the work of Christ, casting out demons, or prophesying in His name. Churches are filled with these lukewarm or even cold Christians. People who are distracted by big flashy productions, or smooth-talking preachers are deceived into believing elements of Christianity that are not actually a part of the faith. They fall into the trap of New Age Mysticism, or the words of a preacher claiming to be the risen Messiah. With so many variations of new age thinking, or hyper-spiritual churches today, it is easy for someone to be deceived, or lost within the very. They do not open their Bibles or pay attention to the warning signs all around them.
These 2 verses should be a guideline for all churches, to examine themselves. (2 Corinthians 13:5) “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourself. Or do you not realize this about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you? -unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” This should be a common practice within the church, to examine itself and ensure it is walking according to the Bible. It doesn’t take much for a church to become lukewarm, or to fall off the narrow path altogether. A small nudge in theology here, or a change in practice there, and soon enough, the church looks more like the world than a church of Christ. The church should heed the warnings of Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians, in the 6th chapter, verse 14. “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” A church should not fall into line with the world. If the world is allowing gays to marry, the church needs to hold a firm ground. If the world is pushing to move away from God, and towards science, the Church needs to continue to establish and preach that God is the rightful ruler over all, including science.
The unfortunate thing is, many will be deceived. Many will think they follow Jesus, but are actually following a false god, one that magnifies themselves rather than Yahweh. Our job is to always test ourselves, and test others who make such claims. We must examine the fruits of our works and the works of others. For those who claim to follow Jesus yet live for the world, we can assume they fall into the trap of being deceived.
Encountering these individuals should sound an alarm, that they need to hear the real Gospel. That Jesus, being God before time, came to Earth to live a sinless life. He died on the cross to pay the penalty of sin. Only His death can atone for the sins of the fallen. While many do reject this, God’s sheep will not. Many will continue to believe they are good in and of themselves and that they will earn their ticket to heaven, but Scripture says otherwise. Salvation is found only in Christ (Acts 4:12). The command from Jesus in Matthew 28 is to go into all parts of the world and preach the Gospel. We shouldn’t fool ourselves into believing all those who attend our churches are saved. Preach the word to everyone regardless of stature.
Written by Alex Zenk, @reformed_lifestyle