All of us are waiting. Thornton Wilder, a dubious playwright expressed similar sentiments in the play Our Town during the final act. The deceased were portrayed in the ground carrying on a conversation that for the most part suggested that they too like the living above were waiting for something. So many people today are waiting on a sign whether it be concerning a job, starting a family, a move, or the trivia things like what’s for dinner? Today, let’s look at God’s thoughts on people waiting for a sign; specifically, the ones known as the wicked and their views on the state of all things. Before we are through, I’m fairly certain may of my Christian brothers will be angry with me.
Though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and regard not the majesty of the LORD.
How is grace shown to the wicked in Isaiah’s day? This prophet spoke at length about the coming Messiah. This is the grace spoken of. All throughout Isaiah are Messianic prophecies. So here is God’s prophet speaking about grace, but says the wicked do not learn righteousness in a land of uprightness and continue to doing evil and not regarding the majesty of the Lord. The Bible teaches that apart from being saved by the grace of Christ, no one is righteous. Sinful natures have not changed from BC to AD. Each generation has to learn the lessons anew! Today, our world is saturated with the largest amount of filthy masquerading as entertainment, self help philosophies, new-age pagan dispositions, and most damaging of all, feel-good gospels perverting the truth of Christ.
If we were to take a survey at this very moment considering this question: Why do we go to church? I would like to know the answer most people would give. I truly believe a large section of the Christian church (no one denomination), but the bride of Christ, us, people really don’t understand WHY WE GO TO CHURCH. If you ever-no, have you ever, griped about trying to get out the door on time carrying diaper bags and such, those of us with kids are saying, “Oh me,” instead of, “Amen”? Here’s the thing: Our worship experience should be focused on God from the moment we wake until we fall asleep hopefully after praying to him. The worship experience isn’t just a Sunday thing. But, when we, so-called washed in the blood of the lamb, Christians gripe, grumble, fuss, and carry on about silly things like getting there on time, place more interest on what the worship leaders wear, or stand during singing without singing or simply mouthing the words is a slap in the face of a loving God that gave His all for us! When we focus on us, we do exactly as Isaiah said and we regard not the majesty of the LORD.
WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING
CONTROVERSIAL STATEMENTS ARE ABOUT TO MADE.
The church doesn’t need any more members! What? That’s exactly right! The church doesn’t need any more members that just take up a space in the pew. The church doesn’t need any more members to head Reach Out committees when they don’t lend a hand. The church doesn’t need any more members that attend on special occasions to make themselves feel involved. The church doesn’t need any more members who view Sunday as a day to repent for every Saturday night! The church needs members who know Jesus as Savior. The church needs members who are spiritually on fire and alive for the Kingdom not spiritually frostbitten and on “afterlife” support. Listen close now people to what Isaiah wrote as inspired by the Lord, God Almighty!
The Lord says:
"These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is made up only of rules taught by men.
We know the type God speaks of. Many of us were that person before we came to know Jesus Christ as Savior. There is no telling how many people play church in this life. Honoring with lips I’m fairly certain isn’t half mouthing the words to the worship music. There are those who will argue that we are to sing joyously in our hearts, but really…If you are are standing up, half mouthing with zero passion in a monotone voice, How Great Thou Art, who is being worshipped and exalted?
The Christian body is polluted with entities claiming the title of Christian, but as God said,” Their hearts are far from me.” Right about now, someone is saying or thinking that I, Mr. Knowitall, am judging others. No. I am not. God is and does. The truth has never been judgmental, but rather a conviction on the souls of the children of God by the Holy Spirit. Who is to say what worship is? Perhaps a look at another question, who is to say what worship isn’t? I am not an expert, so I suppose we best just go with God. The Father says worship isn’t worship when, “Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”
There are people calling themselves a church that tell others that their salvation is unachievable if a certain kind of music isn’t played. We have churches that have to form committees to decide what version of the Bible is studied. We have churches that say salvation is acquired by using a mathematical equation!
Jesus + Baptism+ x amount of good deeds=salvation as long as x is a continual progression of goodness.
Is that offensive to anyone? You should be offended. Double it if you believe anything other than the GRACE of God can save you. Yes, I know James chapter two says, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” If I say I’m a duck, I should waddle like a duck, I should quack like a duck, I will essentially act like a duck. The same simple analogy applies to the Christian. A Christian is one who acknowledges Christ as their Lord on Sunday, and the rest of the week, emulates the teachings of the Messiah, and daily carries the cross, always remembering that they represent Christ. That being said, the Christian’s faith, will be manifest and on display so to speak by their actions toward not just brothers and sisters, but to the lost.
There are those who will argue baptism must occur to be saved. This comes from Mark’s Gospel when Jesus says, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
When I was a kid first learning to swim, the older cousins always asked if I had been baptized when they themselves had not. They would go through the motions of dunking one another and me not to imitate the actual process of baptism, but just the fun of going underwater. My point is this, what does baptism represent? If I accepted Christ as my Lord, but died on the way to the baptism, there are those Christians that say without a doubt that I would be in hell because I did not get baptized. My only response is to be shown in scripture where that concept is located. The verse reads anyway, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” The condemned people spoken of are those who do not believe.
Again, let us go back to the original walk like a duck thought pattern. Are there any reasons for Christians not to be baptized? Christ as I have said many times before starting His earthly ministry underwent baptism. Why shouldn’t we? Baptism represents the death and resurrection of Christ. Our baptism outwardly represents the inward change.
The moment we as Christian people start dictating who can be saved and how is the day we are now longer God’s children, but sorry excuses of Christians. This brings me to my next point; the biggest stain on the face of the church is the attitude of its people.
These are rebellious people, deceitful children,
children unwilling to listen to the LORD's instruction.
10 They say to the seers,
"See no more visions!"
and to the prophets,
"Give us no more visions of what is right!
Tell us pleasant things,
The worship experience should not be dreaded or held with distain. So many people drag themselves to church just out of habit. Is it better to be there with no passion or to not be there at all? I have an answer, but it is based on my own failed reasoning. People should be in church, but my egotistical rant leans toward, “Get out of the Lord’s house if the love for Christ isn’t in your heart” to those church members of x amount of years. Sorry, had to express it. Now, let’s turn back to The Word.
These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD's instruction.
This covers all of us before we know Christ as Savior. After we know the Lord, if our commitment to Him is real and more to the point, if He is real in our life, we will no longer be rebellious in the sense that we purposely offend God. Christian people read The Bible, they study it, learn it, obey it, and live by it!
They say to the seers, "See no more visions!" and to the prophets, "Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.
Those who perpetually rebel against God are divided into two groups in my opinion. Those who truly are ignorant of the ways of God and those who just don’t care are the headliners. When sinners are told of their misdeeds, they get all defensive saying, “You can’t judge me!” But see, those people who know they are doing wrong really cannot stand to be told the truth. If the Holy Word of God is preached and exalted by the people, we will not be like those mentioned above. We will not want to hear a diluted, feel good message about how sin is a natural part of life, Christ’s sacrifice was not real, everyone within three miles of the church is Heaven bound, and how it’s okay to sin on SATURDAY NIGHT AS LONG AS YOU SAY, ‘I’M SORRY, GOD’, Sunday morning.
What about those who just don’t know any better? How about them? Where are we church? Are we doing all we should for Christ. He gave His all for us? Shouldn’t we as loving children lift Him up in admiration and thanksgiving? The Bible addresses those who do not know. We are told through the Word that God has made himself known to all people. There’s the Bible, There’s all of creation by the way. Just look around! The changing colors are not random. Do you think the human body with its design came together randomly by chance? So those that do not know have the Word, all of creation, and of course, us, the children of God if we are dedicated to His cause; increasing the Kingdom.