The Worldly Entertaining Church
By Pastor Nick Bibile
But where is the old, old story today?
March 27, 2005 — Americans are known for their love of "super-sizing" — from French fries to cars to houses — and on this Easter Sunday, many Americans are celebrating on a much larger scale, in huge congregations known as "mega-churches," where people can do much more than just worship.
These mega-churches are places where members can not only pray, but also work out in a gym, eat at a food court or browse in a bookstore. And they are becoming more popular across the country. One person said, “There's just a lot of fun things up here.”
Isa 30: 9 For they are a
lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord;
10 who say to the seers,
“Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak
to us smooth things, prophesy illusions,
11 leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
Today people desire a popular Jesus. Jesus that is appealing to the masses. Jesus who understands my feelings, Jesus who understands my weaknesses. Jesus who loves me even if I am in sin. Many are looking for a Jesus who appeals to their flesh rather than the soul. They will not want a Jesus who will rebuke sin, they don’t want Jesus to be a Judge. The church has departed from sound doctrine and they see a Jesus whom they like listen.
2Ti 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
C.H Spurgeon in his time said the following.
“An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.”
Hollywood can never compete with what comes out of the Word of God, entertainment and amusement can never bring true conversion, it may bring an emotional enlightenment but not true conversion. It is only the word of God that has power unto salvation.
Was Jesus appealing to the masses?
Jesus was very appealing to the crowds because of his miracles and their immediate needs.
Joh 6:1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. 2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
In John chapter, six we see Jesus feeding a great multitude of people, about 5,000 with only five loaves of bread and two fish. What did the people say when they saw this miracle of multiplying the bread and the fish?
Joh 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
There are many people today who believe in Jesus, the Jesus who can help them in their immediate needs. The people of that day, they were hungry so Jesus fed them and they were filled with food. They believed Jesus not because of the miracle they saw but their immediate needs were met as Jesus fed them with bread. Were they truly saved?
Let us see the scriptures.
John 6:24 So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
How many people are seeking Jesus for the wrong motives? Many are seeking Jesus for their flesh, for carnal passions. On the other hand, the Bible says,
Ro 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Then why these people were seeking Jesus? They were seeking Jesus because they are hungry again, their motives were not right, they want another miracle. They believed Jesus because Jesus made a miracle. What happened when they found Jesus?
John 6:25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
But these crowds will try to trap Jesus for more food as they said the following.
John 6:30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
But Jesus knowing their wrong motives hit the nail on the head by saying he is the bread of life. Also, Jesus points out just because they are seeking him they are not saved. Salvation is not of man but of God.
John 6:65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
What happened to the vast crowd who believed in Jesus before?
John 6: 66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
Let us see another incident. Turn to John 12
John 12:12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.
Now again this was before the Passover, people come to remember the deliverance of God’s people from the bondage of Egyptians during the time of Moses. Here again we see a large crowd coming because the news spread like wild fire, Jesus is coming to Jerusalem. Again, we need to understand Jesus did a great miracle previously that was raising Lazarus from the dead and this miracle spread all over.
John 12: 9 When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
Because of this miracle, many people believed in Jesus. He became popular among the masses. He appealed to the masses.
John 6: 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.
12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”
There were also some Greeks who were at this event and they wanted to have a personal audience with Jesus.
John 12:20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
What was the answer of Jesus to these people who wanted to see him?
John 12: 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Lu 9: 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?
Georg Michael Pfefferkorn 1645-1732 (Germany) in his hymn said
Joh 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Believing and following Jesus is to die to your flesh. Just like Jesus died, if we believe in him we must die with him. We need to crucify our worldly desires and pleasures.
Rom 6: 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
Ga 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Ro 6:8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.
If we are going to reign with him, we need to suffer with him.
2Ti 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.
Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
No one likes to suffer for Jesus, these same people who believed and followed Jesus for the wrong motives, when they saw they did not get what they wanted, they shouted with one voice they cried out saying.
Lu 23:21 Crucify him, crucify him.
Many believe in Jesus and many are following him for the wrong motives. Many desire after the comforts of this world and the pleasures of this life and they loves this world but they are going to end up in hell. How many professing Christians end up in hell? Jesus will answer, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Mat 7:23)
There is no worldliness in the true church but purity and holiness.
Eph 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:
We cannot add the modern culture and change the meaning of God’s word, as the word of God remains the same. We cannot add human wisdom to the word of God, we cannot candy coat the word of God, we cannot dance around the word of God, and we cannot twist the word of God for our own opinions or play gymnastics with the word of God. The old, old word of God and its message is still the same. C. H. Spurgeon said, “I cannot agree with those who say that they have 'new truth' to teach. The two words seem to me to contradict each other; that which is new is not true. It is the old that is true, for truth is as old as God himself”
O How I love Thy holy Word,
Thy gracious covenant, O Lord!
It guides me in the peaceful way,
I think upon it all the day.
What are the mines of shining
the strength of youth, the bloom of health!
What are all joys compared with those
Thine everlasting Word bestows!
There is a Day of Judgment coming where everyone will be standing before the Great White Throne of God. How many popes, priests, ministers, pastors, evangelists and masses of professed Christians will be condemned to the eternal fire as they trusted in their own religion because it was popular and people like it. John the Baptist did not wink of the popular religious leaders of his day but when he saw them coming to him, this is what he said.
Mat 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.