Volume 19 Issue 7
Most of the Apostolic church folks I know are faithful and committed and are part of the most wonderful church family in the world. But I must admit to being extremely disappointed when I see some making shambles of the Faith. Perhaps you share some of these same frustrations when you see too many of our church folks, maybe even those from your “old home church,” adopting a casual variation of our traditional commitment to holiness and the authority of the Bible.
This causes me to ask: Are we presently witnessing a group-think mentality in which some are forsaking the Truth, pursuing false doctrine, denouncing morals, laughing at the idea of a holy lifestyle, rejecting separation from the world, pandering to the praise of men, dumbing down the Church, leaving the love of the Bible for the love of pop culture, and reducing grace to disgrace? Is there a growing faction of the “churched” who reject true Bible teaching with a smug attitude of superiority? I hope not, but it certainly appears that we are combating a conflicting and indifferent mind-set about how we should think and live. While I do believe a definitive solution exists for these concerns, my purpose here is not an attempt to outline that solution. I do propose, however, two easy suggestions for overcoming the personal frustration, weariness, and aggravation that seem to be increasing as we attempt to stand on what one might describe as the trembling ground of modern Apostolic convictions. These suggestions are not hard; in fact they are liberating.
First, stop allowing the apostasy of family and friends to bog you down. By now you know that you cannot convince them of the error of their ways. Most likely they are determined to fulfill their own lusts and are quite willing to take whatever risks are required for them to have it their way. If you do not move around them, soon you will be parked at this train wreck for the rest of your life. What you are facing is not an intellectual or true theological struggle but a spiritual battle. The problem is best summarized in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 which includes the phrase “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.”
So get out of the fussing mode and switch to glorious, overcoming living. Be happy. Your family and friends already know where they are and where they want to go. Most of those who are having a giant yard sale on doctrine and righteous living are seeking the praise of men and the intoxicating endorsement of the world. So you need to get on with your life, and your calling, and lift up Jesus. “Let not your heart be troubled.”
Secondly, to defeat frustration, let your answer to all who come against you be revival. Don’t focus on defeat. Focus on victory. Enjoy the Truth. Boast in Jesus. Exalt holiness. Be Pentecostal. Fill the house and declare the Word. Brag on the thousands of young people who are overcoming this world. Never be weak. Never even seem weak. Never give false teachers and carnal worldly seducers an occasion, an opportunity or a platform to influence your children. Be serious about this. It is not a good time to allow novices and silly entertainers to address your church. Be as the Apostle Paul who said, “But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion” (2 Corinthians 11:12).
Remember this scripture, and preach it! “God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away everyone of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:26). Bless us how? By “turning away everyone of you from his iniquities.” So preach against sin. Preach overcoming power. Preach holiness. Therein lie the joy and the power and the peace. Jesus proves His power in us by providing us a strong consolation: “That by two immutable things, in which [it was] impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:8).
In other words, He satisfies. That consolation seals the deal. Once people are filled with the Holy Ghost they end their search. This is not because a church provides a cool light show, shows a well-edited video presentation, or has an artistic worship team; but it is because they find the Power of God and its accompanying consolation. When people backslide against the comfort, consolation and leading of the Holy Ghost, it is because they lust after the flesh and turn back to what once brought them sorrow. The Apostle Peter describes this as a washed pig returning to the mire (2 Peter 2:22). It is not that the Holy Spirit has failed, but that they have failed to maintain their first love.
Neither the Church nor the preacher should ever apologize for the anointing of God – Neither possesses the authority to apologize. When one has experienced the transforming power of the Holy Ghost and then tries to make people feel they can be overcoming Christians without the baptism of the Holy Ghost, he has reverted back to what caused the failure of the early Christian church – denying the power of God! Relying on personality, clever marketing, fashionable atmosphere, and a compromised message, however successful it appears for a time, is in reality like turning out the lights in the church building one bulb at a time until finally the blackout is complete.
Furthermore, what is all this talk about being on some mysterious, metaphysical journey to which there is no real destination? Why do some insist that all we have to offer are questions without answers? This tango of empty rhetoric is contrary to what the Apostles taught and what Jesus came into the world to accomplish. Be encouraged, and don’t let this confusing language filled with double-speak intimidate you and cause you to doubt your own consolation in Christ. Be thankful because you know that you know the Truth (1 John).
The enemy would love to stamp out the fire of Pentecost, but he cannot. If those of us who presently claim a Pentecostal experience do not continue steadfast in the Apostles’ doctrine and allow our churches to be alight with the glory of God, then someone else will. If our children do not pick up the cross, then someone else’s children will. Expect to see many missionaries on their way to America soon. It is happening already and will happen more if we fail to take the Pentecostal experience seriously and expunge the love of the world from our hearts.
Do not compromise with your friends, your family, or your children. Seeking this approval can be a never-ending quest and a destructive addiction leading to the violation of core values and beliefs that will ultimately override the sovereignty of God in your life. Ultimately, the world’s approval means nothing and is not the key to revival. Our consolation, our salvation and our hope are in Christ alone.