In “America’s Dying Resolve: the Christian Church (Part I),” there were three main themes that were discussed. First, the resolve of Christians and their churches was responsible for stressing a Christ-centered approach to getting unsaved people to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Second, the Christian’s determination to live a committed lifestyle of faith in and worship of Jesus Christ, God’s Only Begotten Son was responsible for Christians having a sterling testimony. Finally, the type of faithless lifestyle lived by lukewarm Christians is responsible for destroying their own personal lives, their churches, and the nation at large. In “America’s Dying Resolve: the Christian Church (Part II),” the discussion of the characteristics of lukewarm Christians will be continued. Also, the vision that the Christian Church had in the 20th Century will be compared with the vision of the Christian Church of the 21st Century.
Now, let’s continue the discussion of the characteristics of lukewarm Christians.
*Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focused on today’s to-do list, this week’s schedule, and next month’s vacation. Rarely, if ever, do they intently consider the life to come. Regarding this, C.S. Lewis wrote, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” In Philippians 3:18-20, it says,
18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
* Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. They are quick to point out, “Jesus never said money is the root of all evil, only that the love of money is.” Untold numbers of lukewarm people feel “Called” to minister to the rich; very few feel “called” to minister to the poor. In Matthew 25:34, 40, it says,
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
*Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to do the bare minimum, to be “good enough” without it requiring too much of them. They ask, “How far can I go before it’s considered a sin?” instead of “How can I keep myself pure as a temple of the Holy Spirit?” They ask, “How much do I have to give?” instead of “How much can I give?” They ask, “How much time should I spend praying and reading my Bible? instead of “I wish I didn’t have to go to work, so I could sit here and read longer ” In Matthew 13:44-46, it says,
44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
*Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God. In1 Timothy 6:17-18, it says,
17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
*Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America. Just as the prophets in the Old Testament warned Israel that they were not safe just because they lived in the land of Israel, so we are not safe just because we wear the label Christian or because some people persist in calling us a “Christian nation” In Matthew 7:21, it says, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
*Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don’t have to trust God if something unexpected happens-they have their savings account. They don’t need God to help them – they have their retirement plan in place. They don’t genuinely seek out what life God would have them live – they have life figured and mapped out. They don’t depend on God on a daily basis – their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God. In Luke 12:16-21, it says,
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
*Lukewarm people probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren’t very different from your typical unbeliever. They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn’t be more wrong. In Matthew 23:25-28, it says,
25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Ultimately, as Christians in America become more lukewarm each day, it is evident that true Christians in America are decreasing at a rapid rate, since too many Christians have lost their resolve to live a dedicated life of holiness before the Lord, and as a result, they undermine any so-called testimony that they might have. Of course, without a sterling testimony, no professed Christian is going to be able to get the unbeliever and the unchurched to accept the same Lord Jesus Christ that they daily deny by their actions and deeds. Therefore, lukewarm Christians are responsible for the decline of Christianity in America and are responsible for forgetting America’s Christian vision, as ordained by God.
But, what was the vision of Christian churches in America for most of the 20th century and why is it important to return to that vision immediately? According to Proverbs 29:18a, King Solomon said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” This is exactly what is happening in the United States. Too many of America’s Christian populace have become faithless and have turned their back on God. They are more concerned about materialism and personal gain than spreading the unadulterated Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the masses. Their pastors promote a social gospel rather than a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. Many of these lukewarm Christians attend churches that permit the culture of the world to creep into the four walls of the church, which is responsible for the worldly Christian alternative music that is played and the politically correct messages that are preached that do not come from the throne room of heaven. Therefore, since much of Christendom in America has lost the true vision that Jesus Christ gave to His Church, it has lost its purpose for existing. As a result, too many churches and their members have sacrificed the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ for a phony Christianity that is man-centered and that permits Christians to live a sinful lifestyle and still go to heaven. These same church members and their church also promote a liberal government that legislates laws that are contrary to the dictates and teachings of God. Ultimately, this is proof that much of Christendom in America has lost its resolve to live the true Christian life that was described in the last verse of “I Am Resolved” that says,
I am resolved, and who will go with me?
Come, friends, without delay;
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,
We’ll walk the heavenly way.
Therefore, since Christians in America have lost their resolve to live by the simple truths of being taught by the Bible and being led by the Holy Spirit, a new generation of lukewarm Christians has emerged on the scene. As a result, many Christian churches have become a storehouse for “dry bones,” similar to the Valley of Dry Bones discussed in Ezekiel 37:1-11. It reads,
The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.
2. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry
3. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
4. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord
5. This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.
6. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
7. So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.
8. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
9. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’”
10. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
11. Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’
Of course, even though these scriptures pertain to the House of Israel and its future restoration to God, it can also be symbolic of America’s Christian Church today. Sadly, many of the lukewarm Christians that attend postmodern, Christian churches in the United States have become spiritually dead and go through the motions of worshipping God in a “dry bones” atmosphere. However, God would now want these lukewarm Christians to partake in the same vision that Ezekiel had. He would have lukewarm Christians to return to their first love and rededicate their lives to worshipping God and Jesus Christ. He would have lukewarm Christians to come alive again, just like the dry bones did in Ezekiel’s vision. As written in Ezekiel 37:11-14,
11. Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’
12. Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.
13. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.
14. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”
Unfortunately, though, lukewarmness in the Kingdom of God would be as hard to eliminate as it would be to get a fly out of a jar of ointment. Nevertheless, lukewarmness must be eradicated from the churches in America. Also, the people in these same churches must rekindle the flames of God’s Spirit in their lives and live by the message contained in Matthew 6:33, which says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” Finally, if lukewarm Christians and their respective churches do not make a new resolve to serve Christ faithfully, regardless of the cost, the word “Ichabod” should be written above the front door of those churches. The word “Ichabod” means “the glory of God has departed, which is used to describe God’s favor and blessings towards His people (Got Questions.Org). Of course, without the glory of God operating in a person’s life or in a church’s worship services, the church as a whole or the individual church members cannot expect to receive the favor and blessings of God. Therefore, when a church and its members lose their resolve to live faithful Christian lives and put God first and when the glory of God departs from an individual’s life or from a Christian church and they lose God’s favor and blessings, that church has died spiritually and is of no benefit to the Kingdom of God. Sadly, this is exactly what is happening in too many of America’s Christian churches. They died spiritually when they lost their resolve to live by the dictates of the Bible. Instead, they decided to live by the dictates of an immoral and godless culture, which is the main reason that the Christian Church is drowning spiritually and the nation is drowning economically, socially, and educationally. AS THE CHURCH GOES, SO GOES THE NATION.
P.S. Hopefully, this article gets your attention, even as it got mine as I wrote it.
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