"No Steeple, Just People"

Janelle Leonard, 2005 (and Ray Comfort)

     Today, we live in a fallen world.  In this observation, I compare the teachings of Jesus with what is believed by a lot of people in our modern world today.  I cite unholy things that are happening in our world today that are finding their way into our churches and compare those with what Jesus taught when He was on this earth over 2000 years ago.

     First, I have to say that I am a "watcher;"  I watch how people live their lives, right or wrong.Several months ago on a Saturday night, I was asked to accompany a group of women to a local bar.  I went.  As my friend and I came into the bar, we watched a young man performing what is known as a "lap dance" on a young woman while a song was being sung.  I discovered later as the night wore on that this young man attends a church in our area and was planning to get up the next morning to go.  A "lap dance" is sexually exciting and not something that I thought a Christian would be caught doing.  I began to think about how God must feel about this.  Young people in this day and age think that "lap dancing" is all in fun.  They think that there's nothing wrong with it!  I would say this young man's behavior was just plain ignorance or perhaps this young man had never been taught the Ten Commandments.  This act was, in effect, breaking the 7th commandment.   "You shall not commit adultery" found in Exodus 20:14.  I wonder, if he knew that Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 that "whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery in his heart" let alone performs a "lap dance" on her.

     I have witnessed in churches that women are dressing provocatively to go to church.  I've noticed it in other places, but it stands out to me when I see it in church.  By provocative, I mean allowing some of their cleavage to show.   I know that most men are VISUAL.  I can imagine what goes through a normal man's mind when he sees that.  Do these women know that they are causing men to commit adultery?  {Cite: Matthew 5:28} Why should a man have to "take his thoughts captive" while attending a church service?  It shouldn't be something a man has to necessarily think about when he goes to church. There's enough of that when a man visits the mall or the grocery store. That manner of dress by women in church causes men to break the 7th commandment as well.  {Cite: Exodus 20:14}

     I've also observed that the number of young girls in the church who are becoming pregnant out of wedlock is up.  Isn't  abstinence being taught in church youth groups?  Or is it something that youth groups just don't find needs to be discussed in the new millennium?  The Bible tells us that "fornicators" will not be welcomed into heaven.  I Corinthians 6:9 and 10 says: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?   Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, not sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, not revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God." That is not to say that they cannot be forgiven if they ask the God of Heaven for forgiveness, but nevertheless, they are bound for hell, if not.

     I have just read a book called Revival's Golden Key by Ray Comfort.  He talks about this very thing.  Mr. Comfort says that we are guilty of a "fast folded" gospel.  He compares it with how during a great war, a man invented a parachute that was one hundred per cent trustworthy.  The KEY was in the folding.  The proper folding of it was very hard and tedious, but was certainly worth it.  When it was used, the person parachuting could trust his life with it.  Later after the war began, there were some young men who called themselves the "fast folders."  They took less time to fold the parachutes.  But, when these chutes were used nine out of ten failed to open correctly!  Nine people fell to their deaths and only one lived to tell the tale.  The results were shared with the "fast folders."  Some were heartbroken and began to follow the directions exactly as they were supposed to with much care.  Others continued to fold the parachutes in the same "fast" way refusing to follow the instruction book and totally ignoring the "mass of mangled bodies" for which they were directly responsible.    They just said that they were justified in doing what they did because it didn't take as much time!

     The author said that we as Christians are guilty of "fast folding" the gospel.   For centuries those evangelists who have gone before us have preached the gospel using the Law [the Ten Commandments] to prepare proud, arrogant, and self-righteous hearts for the gospel citing that people needed to repent of their past sins first.  Then, they were presented with the Good News of the cross that forgives us of our sins.  For the most part, many people who are "led to Christ" are not even aware of their sins.  They come into the church and still continue in their sin not realizing their need to repent.  They have not truly repented of their sin, so they continue to be involved in it.   It is true that many people have made "commitments" but, it just doesn't "stick."  I wonder if this is why young people today who have "made a confession of faith" are now leaving churches in droves.  They see people in the church behaving no differently than those who live in the world:  lying, cheating, committing adultery, fornicating, stealing, getting drunk, etc.  Why should they stay in church?  What's the difference in how those in the church live?  There doesn't seem to be any difference.  They are not being taught that they are sinning and you can go to hell for those very sins.  And if you do continue to sin, you will stand before God on Judgment Day and He will hold you accountable for continuing to sin.

    Comfort also says that many so-called converts are not told about Judgment Day.  They are not told that people who have not repented of their sins and have continued to live in their sin will be told on Judgment Day, "Depart from me. I never knew you!"  The Bible clearly states that adulterers, liars, drunkards, and thieves will not be welcomed into heaven. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, not sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, not revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."   This is what it says in I Corinthians 6:9, 10.  These very people will be turned away from heaven if they continue in their sins.

    People are sold a bill of goods that they can be happier if they "come to Christ."  Christians can be happy in Jesus, but there may be suffering along the way and new converts are not told that.  They are told that God wants them to "prosper."  There is also no place in the Bible that says God wants you to "prosper" as the world thinks of prosperity.  It says in III John 2: "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers."  The key words there are "as your soul prospers."  If our hearts are not right with God, no amount of money or health will satisfy.  They are told that "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life."  That is not to say that Christians will not be happy or prosperous or that God doesn't love each one of us, but sometimes well-meaning pastors stop there.  They don't tell their flocks that they may have to suffer for Christ.  They don't tell them that everything may not be rosy all the time.  So, when these people face problems in their lives, they are shunned by the church.  Some churches tell them they must be guilty of some awful sin to be having such problems.  The church doesn't know what to say to them because they have told them that life will be wonderful if they "come to Jesus."  When life falls apart, some churches basically turn them away.    Some churches are so focused on what "new converts" can have just by "coming to Jesus" that they neglect to tell these people that they may still have problems.

    The Bible tells us that Christians will have the peace that comes from knowing God, but they can expect persecution/tribulation. "These things I have spoken to you, that in me, you may have peace.  In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" according to John 16:33.  Life may not get better as far as the material and physical is concerned.  But, we can have the knowledge that through the hard times we can have His Peace.   Christians know that this earth is NOT their home. That knowledge is worth turning our lives over to Him.  We are never, as Christians, to get too comfortable on this earth anyway.

    The church has done "new converts" a disservice by telling them that they can be happy and prosperous, and then not teaching them how to live without sin in their lives.  These new babies in Christ must learn how important it is to keep the Ten Commandments.  The Bible tells us that "broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many who go in by it.  . Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it" in Matthew 6:13, 14.  It's too easy for "new converts" to "make a confession of faith" and go on living in sin the way they've been doing.  With what a lot of churches teach today, they have "fire insurance" that will "keep them out of hell."   The church neglects to tell them that it's very important to OBEY the Law of God and it's more important than most people realize.  Churches today need to be preaching adherence to these commandments.  Let's look at what the commandments are: {found in Exodus 20}

. You shall have no other gods before me.
. You shall not make for yourself any carved image; you shall not bow down before them and serve them.
. You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God in vain.
. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
. Honor your father and mother that you may live a long life.
. You shall not murder.
. You shall not commit adultery.
. You shall not steal.
. You shall not bear false witness.
. You shall not covet your neighbor's house, wife or anything that is your neighbor's.

    As Christians, we are to keep all of these commandments.  The first four are sins against God and the last six are sins against our own body.  But, if you LOVE God and love your neighbor as yourself, it's not hard to keep every one of these commandments.

    Christians need to know that we need to turn from our sins and not sin anymore.   Jesus told the man who was healed by the pool at Bethesda, "See. You have been made well.  Sin no more, lest a worst thing happen to you" is what He says in John 5:14 for if they continue to live in their sin, He may allow something much worse to happen to them. For those of us who live in America, we may develop the attitude of "Don't Worry!  Be happy!"  If life ever does get bad, we think the rapture will take us away from it all.  In America, we think we won't ever have to go through the suffering we read about in Revelation.  That is not true.

  Matthew 24 says that we can expect tribulation.  We can expect persecution and to be hated for Jesus' name's sake.  Many will be offended by the stand we take and will betray us for what we believe.  But, the Bible says in Matthew 10:22   "he who endures until the end shall be saved."  With God's help, we can endure persecution if need be!   The only way we can is if we are filled to the BRIM daily with the Holy Spirit. He not only gives us power to witness, but also to withstand persecution.  Look at Stephen when He was standing up for his beliefs.  The Bible recounts that in Acts 7:55 and 56  "But, he [Stephen] being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God Jesus standing on the right hand of God and said, 'Look!  I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'"  They stoned him for his beliefs.  Christians need to be ready to face persecution as we come to the close of the age.  Churches need to be helping their flocks be ready for this by preaching the Ten Commandments and repenting of our sins.  We are to be holy and that needs to be taught.  It says in I Peter 1:15, 16 "but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.  For it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy.'"   Contrary to what most churches are teaching, we will have to face persecution for what we believe.  We will NOT be raptured before this occurs.

  The churches in America have strayed from teaching their flocks about sin. Sin is rampant in the churches in America.  America's churches have fallen short of the mark of holy living that God expects of all Christians.  The Bible speaks clearly of an end-time "shaking" coming to the churches FIRST! I believe that TIME IS VERY SHORT.shorter than most of us here in America think!  The other shoe is about to drop and it's NOT GOING TO BE PRETTY!! Those who preach and teach need to be "toeing the mark" very carefully! Preachers and teachers are held to a much higher standard than other believers.  They can either cause people to get closer to Jesus or cause them to fall away from serving Him at all!   If they are not telling their flocks that they must repent of their sins and not live in their sin anymore, they will be held accountable to God for the results of their teaching or preaching.

    When I read Jeremiah 51:13, I can't help but think of America.  "O you who dwell by many waters, abundant in treasures, your end has come, The measure of your covetousness."   I believe this is talking about America. We're the only land "by many waters" who has great wealth.   9/11 was a "wake up" call, but we didn't wake up.  We may have woken up for a little while, but now we're back to sleep in our SINS!!   Most of us just don't care.  Most aren't aware at all that our government isn't the same government that most of us grew with.  America is no longer the "land of the free; home of the brave."  It can't be.  If it was, the Florida judge wouldn't have allowed the woman to die in Florida.

    If it was, the monument for the Ten Commandments would have been allowed to stay in the courthouse in Alabama. If it was, we wouldn't even need to vote on an amendment that says marriage is the union between one man and one woman.

    If it was, there would be no such thing as "separation of church and state" the way those in government see it.  It'd mean that the government would stay out of the church's business not the church would stay out of government.

    If it was, then nobody would be offended with "under God" in the pledge or "in God we trust" on certain pieces of money.

    If it was, people wouldn't be thrown into jail for praying or reading their Bible in a public place because someone is "offended."

    I say:  "Check your own heart!  Are you breaking the Ten Commandments?

Have you repented?  And.....are you still sinning?"  If you are still sinning then, you need to turn and go the other way.and not sin anymore and make Jesus LORD and be filled with the Holy Spirit!!


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