A Newsletter of Opinion on Current Australian Christianity

The Church at Sardis

In this newsletter I am almost certain I will be misunderstood by some people.  So if you find a part you don’t like please refer back to the opening sentence or two and search yourself – your preconceptions, your misconceptions, your Christian conscience and especially your Bible.

From the perspective of the whole world, our country, our Christian heritage (such as it was – certainly not perfect or ideal), and our Christian ambitions, lifestyles and general wealth, we should take note of the major issues confronting Christian belief and activity today.

1.  The threat of Islamic actions, terrorism and creeping sharia.

2.  The threat of homosexuality to society and the Church.

3.  The threat of sexual chaos, abortion and adultery.

4.  The threat of spiritual deadness in the Churches, let alone the world.

5.  The threat of Christian persecution in Islamic countries.

As I see it, these are some of the major issues confronting Christian activity today – but what do you find when you enter a Christian Church? How long has it been since you heard a sermon warning Christians about adultery?   When was the last time the preacher taught the congregation about what the “peaceful religion” of Islam actually teaches about women, about the rule of law, about democracy or about its antichrist attitude to Jesus as God’s Son?

Have you ever heard anyone preach about how homosexual marriage is so directly opposed to God’s laws and has such a devastating effect on marriage, the family and the forgotten ones, the children?  Are these issues declared as sinful or is it just assumed by the preacher that people know?  Have you been told what Jesus meant when He said, “Watch and pray?”

What about the terrible plight of persecuted Christians in other countries, and how Christians here can help by frequent prayer and giving?  Just last week I came upon this list of headlines put out by Barnabas Aid:

INDIA – CONCERNS FOR CHRISTIANS AS HINDU NATIONALISTS WIN ELECTION

SUDAN – PREGNANT CHRISTIAN WOMAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR APOSTASY

NIGERIA – ISLAMISTS RELEASE VIDEO OF KIDNAPPED GIRLS

TANZANIA – TWO CHURCHES TARGETED IN SEPARATE ATTACKS

UZBEKISTAN – CHRISTIANS FACE STATE HARASSMENT AND RESTRICTIONS

SYRIA – BELIEVERS DRIVEN OUT FROM CHRISTIAN VILLAGE

PAKISTAN – CHRISTIAN GIRL GANG-RAPED BY MUSLIM MEN

INDONESIA – CHURCH AND CHRISTIAN SCHOOL TARGETED IN SEPARATE INCIDENTS

Do the pastors actually keep up-to-date on these things or are many of them just as blind as their congregations?  I know of one Church where, on many occasions, the main prayers offered by the worship leader cover local issues only and deal only with the sick members, the need for helpers, the Church business and the delight it is to be part of the Christian family.  There is no mention of any of the weighty issues affecting our society, overseas Christians or our 21st century lukewarmness that only can be cured by returning to the Lord, our first love.  And from the pulpit it is little better.

Now, here is where you may misunderstand me.  None of those issues mentioned in the previous paragraph are wrong.  All have a legitimate place in a Church family prayer.  But to concentrate on someone’s routine operation in hospital, without even mentioning the sickness of our society, the spiritual warfare we are all in and how to handle it, as well as our sinfulness and our weak faith, is ignorance at best and thoroughly reprehensible at worst.

I am afraid some Churches are quickly drifting into the model of the Church in Sardis: “… you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”  [Rev 3:1]  Jesus continued His warning to this Church: “But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” [Rev 3:3)

I can close in no better way than to quote Rev 3:6: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.”

 

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