I was lucky as a boy to grow up in the 50s where most televisions were black & white. Where horror movies were scary because of your imagination, not like the movies of today with blood and guts and every form of brutality that can be committed to a person’s body. Some of my favorite movies we’re about the invisible man. Every time he became invisible, I would yell at the television screen and say “there he is, can’t you see him”
The Bible says the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve was approximately 6,000 years ago. Adam walked and talked with God in the garden of Eden. Over the first 4,000 years of the Old Testament God appeared to many people. To Moses from the burning bush, he tells the Israelites I am the God of your father Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses asked, “if the Israelites ask who you are what should I say?” God told Moses, “say, ‘I am who I am.’”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell into the furnace willingly. When King Nebuchadnezzar saw that there were 4 men in the furnace the King said about the 4th man “It looks like the son of God.” There are stories in the scripture that I could repeat about God appearing to man over and over again. In the New Testament, we saw God in the human form of Jesus, who is the Christ. For three years men and women like us saw Jesus in the physical form. They were able to talk with him, touch him, hear him speak to them, eat with him and be healed by Him. In John 20:24 and 25 he talks about Thomas not believing the other disciples about the resurrection of Jesus, and would not believe until he put his fingers through the nail holes.
“ then Jesus said to Thomas, put your finger here see my hands reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Put yourself in Thomas’s place at one time or another have we, not all been a doubting Thomas? Consider this had Jesus decided to remain on earth and we in 2019 needed to talk to him we would most likely have to travel to Jerusalem to talk to him? Very possible with a line leading up to Jesus that could stretch 100 or 200 miles long? If our life span was 85 years would we only be able to speak to Jesus one or two times in our lifetime? Christ not only died on the cross for our transgressions but also through his blood we have atonement from sin. Jesus went to heaven so we would be able to have a personal relationship with Jesus who is the Christ! As a child I believed that the invisible man was possible. As a Christian for over 50 years I believe the invisible God is Jesus and he calls me his friend.
I would like to make a comparison between the time when Jesus walked the earth with the Pharisees and the Sadducees to the American church of 2019. The temple in Jerusalem on the temple mount was there when Jesus was alive and would not be destroyed for approximately 70 years later. Jesus was constantly confronted by members of the Sanhedrin on a regular basis. They challenged him on what he was saying, what he was doing, the people he was associating with and, of course, by whose authority was he doing these miracles? The Sanhedrin did not want anyone rocking the boat, even if he was the Son of God! Temples were all over the known world of that day. All through the book of Acts, Paul is seen going to Temples. When Peter was arrested and Paul also went before the Sanhedrin. They were asked what they were saying about this man Jesus?
Now let’s not talk about the Catholics or the Protestant Church. Let’s talk about the churches that were started primarily in America: the Baptist, Methodist, Assembly of God, Calvary Chapel and Vineyard Church just to name a few. If 5 men or women walked into one of these churches and said we are part of a Fivefold Ministry and we would like to share with your church at a convenient time that works for your church. The pastor most likely would say “by whose authority do you call yourself a Fivefold Ministry, what organization do you belong to, and you must meet with us first to find out whether you believe what we believe?” And I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to the pastor in this scenario that he loves the Lord. Most church leaders would kick us out and say you have no authority in this church. What’s interesting about this scenario is that once one of the 5 starts speaking to the congregation you will know quickly whether this individual knows the Lord and has authority to speak as an Apostle, Prophet, Evangelists, Pastor, or Teacher! What is the American church afraid of? Could someone come in and snare all the hearts of the congregation sitting in their pews.
I am reminded of a large group of Christians (CWLF) that were ministering on the streets of Berkeley CA, they felt led by the Lord to attend a Teen Challenge meeting in Oakland California. This was a very large meeting because they rented a huge auditorium. We were standing outside early before the meeting started passing out our newspaper, Right On, to people who were coming to the meeting. Staff members from Teen Challenge came out and told us we had to leave. We explained to them that we were a Christian organization in Berkeley California and we worshipped the same Jesus that they did. Under no conditions were we allowed to say “you will have to leave!” We went back to one of our houses in Berkeley and we began to pray! The Lord told us to go back, and so we did. Long story short, we were invited back in after the meeting had already concluded. Let me ask you. the readers of this message, what about those individuals who heard the word and possibly even receive Jesus into their life that night. There were no local churches or bodies of Christ that could come alongside those newborn Christians and walk them through those early days of being born again (I had only been a Christian for 1 year at that time).
Another story, one of our brothers from Berkeley was attending college in San Jose. We hadn’t seen him for about three weeks, so two sisters and I got up early Sunday morning and drove to the church we knew he attended when he was in San Jose hoping to find him there. After singing a few songs they had announcements and ask if anyone else has anything else to say. I stood up and asked if I could speak, I was told “absolutely not” and “please sit down.” What I had wanted to say was we were from a church in Berkeley and we drove down to fellowship with your church. After Church was over with we stood out front again passing out our newspaper, Right On. We were told to leave immediately, they weren’t even interested in looking at the newspaper to see if it was Christian or not! (I was 2 years old in the Lord.)
Those are just two stories and I could share many more that occurred in my early life as a Christian. I found out firsthand that the American Church was terrified of anything new that might come into the church! What is utterly amazing to me is this happened during the time of the Jesus Movement!
The American Church 2019 thinks it’s the ‘Beacon Of Light’ Unto the Unsaved Throughout the World!
So, what has changed in the 50 years since the Lord reached down and pulled me out of the gutter? Some churches have changed wording such as board members to elders, and staff to deacons. We have Christian rock ‘n’ roll musicians now playing in churches and we have guest pastors from all over the country sharing their wisdom with us. And let’s not forget we now have Senior Pastors! That’s found in Ephesians 4:11 right between Evangelist and Pastor (very small print!) Researching the Internet, the average church pastors last 5 years in a church, and members last 3 years in the church. Let’s take an average Sunday morning in an American Church. First, you sing 2 the 3 songs, then you have announcements, then the offering, then maybe 1 more song. Then the pastor comes up gives his message for 20 to 30 minutes. We sing 1 more song and we go home. Now if I can be so bold as a Prophet let me show you how the Lord sees that Sunday morning service. Someone is sitting in the pews who just found out she’s pregnant and she’s 15 years old! Somebody was raped last week! Someone is struggling with homosexuality! Someone just lost their job and has no money to purchase food for their children’s dinner tonight! A Prophet in the church has a word for the church that there is sin in the congregation and the church needs to repent and ask for forgiveness but, unfortunately, your church doesn’t recognize Prophets! There’s a Teacher that has a specific message that Holy Spirit has given him to bring to the church that morning. But he can’t because the pastor has his 20 or 30 minutes guaranteed every Sunday. The congregation comes in sad and leaves depressed. Saints, let me ask you one question for those of you who are reading this message? Did Jesus who is the Christ come into your life 5 or 50 years ago just so you could sit in the pews in a church and listen to church for one hour? Where is the life-changing experience in your Body of Christ? Where’s the joy? Where’s the sacrifice? Where’s the peace that surpasses all understanding? Where’s the power that our Lord talked about what we would have as his children? Read John 14:12-14. Satan, the great deceiver, has deceived the American church! There are no Apostles or Prophets, there are no gifts for the Body of Christ. They ceased to exist after the first century. Republicans are good – Democrats are bad. Anyone that doesn’t go to our church most likely isn’t that strong as the believers in our church. Is this all Jesus called me to do sit here in this church in this pew and listen for one hour? I know this is a strong statement and I know that I will be blasted by pastors reading this message. Maybe I have OFFENDED you so much that you get up from your pews and start acting like Christians, and begin ministering to your Body of Christ? Most American churches are DOA! If you fail to do this your church will have a new name, it’s will be called LAODICEA!!!