A Call to Purity
What sort of wicked, lazy, idolatrous church have we become? We claim to know and love God, but by our very actions, we prove ourselves liars. The distinction between the world and the church has become so hazy as to be nonexistent. Our professed devotion to God can be summed up in a 15 to 30 minute daily cursory Bible reading and a hit-or-miss prayer life. With devotion like that, we show our true love...and it is not God.
No, our true love is that which we spend every waking hour hoping to entertain, pacify, and comfort: ourselves. As Paul prophesied, we have become. "People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:2-4). And the most heinous fact of this prophecy is that these sins have become rampant in the church, the Bride of Christ, and we do not even realize what we have become. No longer are we the salt of the earth because, in an effort to be in the world, we have become the world.
We were told not to be of the world, but to transform ourselves by the renewing of our minds. We were told not to let the cares of the world choke out our devotion to Christ. We were told that if we truly loved God, we would obey His commands. But, how can we obey His commands and devote ourselves to God if we do not truly know Him? And, how can we call ourselves Christians if we do not correctly follow the commands of Christ?
The Bible is not a work of fiction, to be read casually as entertainment. To truly understand this revelation and to dredge the depths of the wisdom and love of God, we must devote ourselves to the diligent study of God's revelation and to consistent prayer. And the work does not stop at Bible study and prayer. To be effective, we have to apply God's word to our lives. Faith without works, and knowledge without application, are both dead.
The church is so much the product of this lazy society that we expect the blessings, but do not want to work for them. We look toward our genie in heaven for love, blessings, and protection, yet refuse to become "a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). Athletes correctly understand the truth of "no pain, no gain". But, modern Christians have become so obsessed with the "free gift" of salvation that we assume this means that we have no responsibilities. Again, however, this is the pitfall of not correctly handling God's revelation. There is a cost involved with being a disciple of Jesus. Just one look in the book of Acts will show some of the price that was paid for being a devoted follower.
But here, in our fast food, entertainment driven society, we enjoy the fellowship of the church, the preaching laden heavily with humor, and, of course, the food. But, do we truly know the God of the Bible? Without proper study of God's word, it is impossible to know God. There is no way that we can know God personally with only a second-hand knowledge fed to us from our Pastor. And, without that Personal knowledge of God, we will only end up as one of those calling to Him, "Lord, Lord". Yet He will not know us.
To regain our footing, we must purify our actions and return to Biblical basics. No longer can we afford to have a form of godliness but deny its power. If we desire any hope of revival in this land, we must start the revival in our churches. And, to start the revival in our churches, the revival must start in our own lives. The spiritual revolution over our cultural Christianity begins with the study and application of God's word.
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