by CharlesRobey
(Trussville, AL USA)

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)

Is Christianity boring? Has the light gone out in the church? Better still, since we believers are in fact the church, is the light of Christ and the principles of the Gospel still shining brightly in us, and does it then transfer over into our local church, and into our community?

Seems that in this 21st Century the church structure has evolved from that of the true Gospel (I Cor 15:1-4) into what is referred to as a "social gospel." The by-product of this new gospel is a "name it and claim it" form of religion.

One need only read the local newspaper, watch TV, search the internet, or simply talk to one's next-door organized church member to realize that our religious psychology has turned to the values, beliefs, and pleasures of our society's worldly-inspired system. This is causing the light of the true Gospel to grow dim or even go out in the church and invariably its members.

When this social progression happens in the church, ever how slowly it may be, the light of the church's testimony tends to wane in the various sections of our population, even reaching back oftentimes into the influence of our church antiquity.

Scripture is quick to point out that one of the Holy Spirit's duties is to enlighten the believer respecting the various preachers of the Gospel. Simply put, our inner spiritual Compass will definitely let us know if there is wrong teaching as we listen to the preachers and teachers. (I John 4:1-5) Sad to say, I have tuned out many TV preachers and teachers.

You see, the Holy Spirit bears witness to the genuineness of a pastor or teacher in two ways. One attribute is a true and genuine spirit of love as is expressed in the "the fruit of the Spirit." (Galatians 5:18, 22-23) And the other characteristic is a displaying of the doctrinal truth about Jesus Christ. (John 14:6)

Have we, as a church population, become preoccupied with this age's material possessions? Do we worry more about such life aspirations as our health, wealth and other family matters than we do about turning our desires, or should I say needs, over to our heavenly Father? And we often have an envious or boastful spirit. (Galatians 5:26)

Or do we tend to turn to today's news media, which is often none other than a broadcast of rumors, hearsay gossip, and sensationalism, for our stability? Such things will tend to draw us further from the light of God's principles.

So in opposition to today's mindset, Jesus asks us to give serious thought to the Gospel light of our hearts, a testimonial light that truly honors Him. (Luke 11:35)

Thank God, in (Matthew 16:18) our Lord tells us that the influences of Satan will never overpower the true church. For from the very inception of God's church at Pentecost, (Acts 2:1-4), the church will always be a presence in the world until God chooses to rapture the church out of the world, as we now know it to be.

You see, if this fact of the church instability were not so, why then would the Scriptures prophesy that the church at some point in history, would be experiencing this Rapture or catching away, to meet the Lord in the air? If there were no church, at this point in time, there would be no need for the Rapture. (I Cor 15:51-54) (I Thess 4:13-18) (Revelation 4:1)

We also know from history that the forces of evil have always influenced the church's organization, the same as it has the entire world structure. (Ephesians 6:12) However, we also know from history that we will always have a true Gospel (I Cor 15:1-4) remnant within the world.

In our metro area, you can find a church on just about every corner and as many steeples as clouds of the sky. So why are we, as a people, in such disarray? Why so much uncontrolled crime? Why so much distrust? Why so many skeptics? And the list could go on and on. Could these scenarios be prima facie evidence of the church lights diming? I trust not.

In taking inventory of ourselves, as members of a local church, we are to be humble in our living and in our Christianity. Our love must not have a pretense about it; (Galatians 5:24-25) it must be genuine. Sincere love must be a dominating attitude. Affection and respect for one another should be the very mindset of the congregation.

Enter our first church. The prerequisite, for the membership, of this church, was that they had to believe or have received the Word. They were then baptized and added to the church.(Acts 2:41) The members continued devoting themselves to the Apostles' teachings, and having fellowship and by the breaking of bread. (Acts 2:42) Everyone had a sense of awe and many wonders were performed. (Acts 2:43) They had all things in common. (Acts 2:44) They shared their possessions with those who had need. (Acts 2:45) And day by day they continued with one mind worshiping, breaking bread from house to house and taking meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart. (Acts 2:47) Finally, they had favor with all men and joined the church as many as were saved. (Acts 2:47)

Now fast forward to our twenty-first century. What should be the purpose of the church? This purpose is the salvation of the lost souls; the edification of Believers through the teaching of God's Holy Word; the worldwide proclamation of the gospel; the promotion of Godly worship; the defense of the "Faith Once Delivered"; and the study of the Scriptures, until He comes again. In other words, the main purpose of the church is to see the lost saved and to grow the saints.

So then it should be our belief, faith, and practice that we can best worship God and serve mankind through a congregational form of praise and worship. (Hebrews 10:25), At the same time we should remain loyal to the fundamental principles recorded in the Holy Scriptures, (II Timothy 3:16-17) according to the heritage that is ours in and through the New Testament faith.

Thus, has your church light dimmed? I pray not. If so, how can this light be relit? Since the church is made up of people like you and me, it's up to us individually and collectively, to resolve the concern, through prayer and supplication. (I John 1:6-7)

Our main concern should be, has the conduct or false doctrine so opposed the true church's life and faith as to destroy the possibility of having true fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? Again, I pray not. However, the Bible's Scripture solution is the only solution. (I John 1:8--10) (II Cor 2:5-11) Amen!

Author's Postscript

Please excuse the "Holy Boldness" of this blog. And go ahead and label me a "Religious Dinosaur" if you may. As a retired church lay leader, I still believe in that Old Time Religion. I can't help but ponder those old brush-arbor revival meetings where the Amens and the Hallelujahs echoed, as the Spirit led.

I still believe in those old time free and easy services, where prayer would be offered throughout the congregation on bended knees, where testimonies would be given between hymn verses, where holy hands would be raised during worship, and where repentance would be requested at that old church altar. Yes, I have many memories, growing up as a PK (preacher's kid) in the church.

Sad to say, in these modern times, I happened to have some depressing memories as well. One church in particular, that prompts my memory, is a large main-line denominational church located in another nearby county. Being a university music major, my grandson, as part of a university music ensemble, would oftentimes be asked to participate in various churches' special programs as a way of obtaining spending money. And we would often go along to enjoy the programs. My memory was prompted, as the pastor's message centered around the activity of his pet cat. We were certainly educated on the goings-on of his little feline but very little on the Gospel.

My question: When the Rapture does occur, how many churches will not miss a beat? And on the day of Christian judgment, what will be the reactions of the members of the cloth? I know we are not to judge, but we are called to be "fruit inspectors." Amen! (Matthew 7:15-20) Please pray for God's universal church.

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