Earlier today a friend called me to share some news he heard on NPR. Hearing some good news for a change sparked his interest. And the topic being discussed immediately reminded him of me. The story was about a religious organization applying the parable of the talents to their lives and it made the news because of the results it spawned. If you don’t know this parable, grab a bible or look up online Matthew 25:14-30. It is about being a good steward of what you have been given. My friend is not a Christian but I’m always sharing with him stories from the Bible and other biblical matters. He never ceases to ask questions and always seems interested and I love him for that.
He invited me to check out the article on the NPR website. I curiously searched it out to read more fully about what this religious organization did to put the teachings of the parable of the talents into action. After reading this article I did a quick search of this organization’s website and found out some more information on this newsworthy event. Sadly, I was quickly reminded of the erroneous view that the secular world holds of the Lord’s Church and also how deep in apostasy manmade religious organizations have gone and continue to go.
The story read like this: a megachurch in Michigan who has felt the economic thump had to lay off 3 of their 39+ paid employees and now have various offices open such as the pastor of celebration arts. To combat this hard economic hit, they came up with a novel idea! Drawing inspiration from the parable mentioned above, their “Pastor”, after preaching a sermon, pulls out $5000 in one hundred dollar bills and invites 25 people to come up. He then passes the cash out and encourages them to use that money to raise as much money as they could. The members immediately went to work. “The ideas ranged from a chili cook-off and a music extravaganza, to a doggie day spa and a jewelry-maker,” said the journalist who wrote the article. One of the events even raised $12,000!
Doesn’t this story just make you all warm and fuzzy inside? Doesn’t it inspire you to want to give to the poor or donate to a good cause? It may do all of this, but friends, where is the biblical authority for these things?? In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, Paul sets out the structure for raising money for the church. He explicitly states that church funds are to be raised for the church, by the church. Members of the Lord’s church are commanded to give as they have been prospered period. Not give a little and seek to make up the rest in extravagant fund-raising, money making schemes. There is no biblical authority or account in the Bible of the New Testament Christians looking outside of their own congregation for funding. The act of giving is also illustrated as an act of worship. How, may I ask, is a doggie day spa worshiping God? The answer is simple, it’s not! In the past few decades these feel-good, ecumenical community churches have sprang up all over the country. They are growing so fast and are so popular for the sole reason you don’t have to have any kind of belief or conviction at all! Just show up, sing and dance and have a good time feeling all good about yourself and you can go to sleep at night and think you God will welcome you with open arms on that final Day of Judgment. Friends, think again! A familiar passage comes to mind:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matthew 7:21-23
What is this lawlessness that you speak of Jesus? This is disobedience to the law. What law? The law that Christ and the apostles have laid down in the New Testament. Jesus is stating a well known fact that all worship isn’t acceptable in the Lord’s sight (Gen. 4:4-7)
Asides from the teachings in Matthew 6:25-34 which speaks about seeking God first and He will take care of you, there is much wrong with what this so called church is doing. Also it is wrong that the world views this as a church. Friends, this infectious misconception is corrupting our nation, and it has to end. The truth must be known! Jesus teaches that there is one church; The Lord’s Church (Eph.4:4-6). The Lord’s Church is distinct and completely separate from manmade and therefore false churches. The Lord’s Church was founded on the day of Pentecost following Christ’s resurrection. The Lord’s Church uses the Bible as the only and complete authority in their lives (2 Tim2:16). The Lord’s Church speaks where the Bible speaks and is silent where the Bible is silent. They do Bible things in Bible ways and call Bible things by Bible names. The Lord’s Church is not a denomination of any kind. The Lord’s Church focuses on worshiping God in the manner that God says to and not in any way that they feel like. It will be a sad, sad day for many on that day when our Lord returns.
Jesus says “…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” (John 14:6). Well you might ask, how do I come through you Jesus? This is simple, by loving Jesus. Well, Jesus how do I love you? Just keep reading down to verse 15. “If you love Me, keepMy commandments.” The Bible has set forth a pattern; a blueprint if you will, that we are to follow. The Bible tells us that if we follow this pattern, we will receive a Crown of Life (James1:12), but if we don’t, we will suffer in eternal torment.
My friend might have had good intentions in sharing that story with me, and I applaud him in remembering the parable of the talents, but the conversation we had reflects the views of a large majority of our society. Many have an erroneous conception of religion and of God and could care less about finding absolute truth. Many think if you are sincere and live a good life that God will grant you pardon. Many believe this, but this is not what the Bible teaches. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23); this sin separates us from God and ultimately eternity in paradise. There is only one way to this Heavenly gift of salvation and that is through Christ.
To those of you who see yourselves as true truth seekers; those of you who have good and honest hearts; who are willing to follow the evidence wherever it may lead you; I challenge you to ask questions, test all things and hold fast to that which is good (1 Thess. 5:21). Don’t settle for jumping on the worldly bandwagon the media creates! Haven’t we been put on Earth for something more? Don’t we have questions and needs that just can’t be quenched by popular belief? Do you search for wisdom beyond worldly comprehension? If so, and you’d like to know more and see for yourself what Jesus has to offer, feel free to contact me anytime. May God richly bless you as you search for Him. Remember “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Mat. 7:7)
In His service,