Somebody Wake up the Church!
by Kevin Cook
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Ezekiel 34: 1-5
And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy; and say unto them, unto the shepherds, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Woe to the shepherds of Israel that feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool; ye kill them that are fattened: but ye feed not the flock. The weak have ye not strengthened, nor have ye healed the sick, and ye have not bound up what was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought for that which was lost; but with harshness and with rigour have ye ruled over them. And they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, and were scattered.
As I read this passage recently the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and showed me that the majority of the Christian churches today are guilty of the same sins that the religious leaders of Israel were in Ezekiel’s day.
These shepherds that are mentioned in Ezekiel 34 were the spiritual leaders of that time, and they were oppressing the poor, neglecting their needs while they themselves were gorging themselves with the best they could get their hands on. They forgot that their job was to make sure that the people under their authority were taken care of, that their needs were met physically, and spiritually.
How does this apply to us today? Well, when I read this passage the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I myself and my Christian brothers and sisters are not truly fulfilling the mandates of Scripture. It seems that believers today have built a wall up between us, and the world outside, we do everything in our power to keep sinners out, and ourselves in.
Do you see what I am getting at here? There are people all around us that are on their way to Hell, and it is not a joke friend! There is probably people living right across the street from our church buildings who are lost, hurting, and in need, and we wont get our duff’s off the pew and go to them and minister to their needs.
In America the trend is bigger and better church facilities, which in itself in not wrong, but we spend millions of God’s of dollars on our own comfort and well being, while people right down the street need to know the Savior. I believe we can apply Ezekiel 34:1-5 to the church today because we have also neglected the needs of many people outside of the church, who we tend to keep at bay because they don’t look or smell as good as we do. Or they are not from the same side of the tracks as we are, or they do not measure up to our standards of morality and virtue.
We preach about God’s love for a sinful race, and the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin, these subjects are great, and are what the Gospel is about. Nevertheless, we have turned our backs on millions who have been discarded by society, who live on the street, and do not know our Lord.
I believe we are as guilty as the leaders of Israel were, in that we have not strengthened the weak, nor have we healed the sick, or bandaged their wounds both physically and spiritually. We have driven away those that are lost in their sin, and have not sought them back into the fold. We wonder why nobody wants to listen to the Gospel anymore, why people have such a dim view of the church, and consider us all hypocrites.
Fellow Believers we have not done what God has commanded us to do, we have not clothed the naked, fed the Hungary, and visited those who are sick and in prison.
We have not healed the wounds of those who are wounded, we have left them to die on the street, and we even dared to say to ourselves “they deserve what they got”.
We have kept out those lost in the lie of homosexuality, yes this lifestyle in sinful, and God says in His Word that their judgment is not sleeping. However, we ourselves have tolerated sexual sin within our own ranks in some cases, and in others, we have watered down the Word of God to accommodate societies demands.
It seems to me that the church is still asleep; the giant needs to be awakened, NOW!
We are all getting fat just like the shepherds of Israel were, we go out to eat way too often, and enjoy all the great things that life has to offer. None of these things is necessarily wrong in themselves, but when we see someone in need, we are instructed to meet their needs, and then see to our own needs. If we all looked hard enough we would find people even in our local churches that need a helping hand, how can we go out and clean up society when our own back yard needs work.
Christ is the answer that society is in dire need of, and it is our responsibility to make sure they get it. However, at the same time, we need to be operating outside of the stained glass windows where it counts the most. There are people hurting all around us that we need to tend too, in the love of Christ we need to pour the healing ointment on their wounds, and bring them the good news of Christ. The church is to be a hospital for those who are lost and hurting, and a lighthouse to the local communities where we live.
Our culture is a giant mass casualty incident, with many hearts that are bleeding out right our streets, it is time for the church to wake up and swing into action, it is time to practice some spiritual first aid. Let the following passage of Scripture be our mission in these last days before the return of our Messiah, Jesus.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
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I agree. Most of the body of Christ is 'asleep in the Light' as Keith Green put it, including me most of the time. How do we wake up the church, though?
Well said. We need to rediscover the zeal, courage, purpose and unselfishness of the Early Church. May your writing be a spark to ignite it.