Like a Diamond

What glimmers more intensely than a diamond?

Jim Allen

Peter Whyte writes, "Although all believers have been transferred out from of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's Dear Son, we remain divided into thousands of denominations and disagreeing groups. This is the consequence of our beliefs, concepts and traditions, and we need to hold them lightly and be prepared to discard them if we wish to move on with God." [1]

Some of our beloved brethern find themselves in mega churches boasting of wealth and growth, a result of worldly thinking crafted from proven marketing strategies and big screen entertainment. These churches are shamefully dancing with the harlot of worldly influence, an unclean thing by any biblical measure. In fact, the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:27 refers to Isaiah 52:11 when he said, "Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you."

One example of what is unclean in the church is the growing number of planned programs tailored to grow church attendance. One popular pastor asserts the most important principle for church growth is to think exponentially by adding a 0 to whatever number you have in mind. If the church's new membership goal for the year is 100, add a 0. Does the Bible teach this principle? No, because the Lord Jesus Christ is the most important principle for church growth (Acts 2:46). Growth strategies and self-improvement programs are not part of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).

Another example of what is unclean in the church is the entertainment theme embraced by evangelicals who want to ensure everyone going to church has a good time. My former pastor often said, "Church should be fun!" Attending this kind of church is like entering a theme park at Disneyworld. Smiles, handshakes, and the proverbial VIP treatment greet all newcomers at the front door. Live entertainment and live animals parade across the stage only to be upstaged by a motocross demonstration. The choir sings and the pastor dances. Powerful strobe lights focus on people dressed as angels descending and ascending, and on and on it goes.

Regrettably, and as expressed by one blogger, "The pews are filled with people who are weak and totally un-established in the faith. Most really don't know what the Christian message is outside of ‘Jesus loves you and wants you to have a wonderful life.'" [2] While I believe the church has the best of intentions by reaching out to the community, their focus on growth and entertainment is an unholy thing that diminishes the Gospel message and worship of Christ.

While there are many more examples, I think you get the idea. The church has replaced the pure presentation of the Gospel with carnal gimmickry and simple narratives that promote fun, self-esteem, and the best life now. This new evangelical culture provides a "positive worship experience" by eliminating the heart of the Gospel. The reason for this change is that sin, judgment and repentance are disturbing truths offending many. The Gospel truth in these churches will end up on the editing floor to ensure the new worship production is a feel-good blockbuster hit.

Woe unto those who edit the Gospel preventing those with childlike faith from coming to Jesus (Matthew 18:6).

Satan, with his power over the world, has succeeded in destroying the witness of the true church by gathering all believers under one umbrella. From a worldly perspective, all Christians look the same. We are not the same and yet we are denied the opportunity to explain the true brethern from the false. Jesus spoke about this end-time sign in Matthew when he said the enemy will sow tares among the wheat and that both should remain until such time He separates one from the other (Matthew 13:24-30).

Is this separation taking place now? Is the Holy Spirit nudging genuine believers to come out from the "growth and entertainment" churches (2 Corinthians 6:17)? Disappointed and muddled, believers jump from church to church looking for the reality of the truth pulsing in their hearts. Some find what they are looking for while others continue the search. For others, small pockets of believers form and meet in homes to grow and start new assemblies, remembering the hard-learned lessons from the harlot of worldly influence.

What happened to the church is what Jesus and the apostles said would happen (Matthew 24:23-24; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; Galatians 1:8-9). While the gates of hell are prevailing against the church, these gates are powerless against the true church (Matthew 16:18). Jesus, the Cornerstone, has been building his eternal ecclesia from every tribe and nation since Acts 2. Believers in this church are living-stones abiding in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Though this true church is invisible, its spiritual presence in the world is like a cut diamond glimmering in the Son-light for all to see. This church has no need for wealth and growth and entertainment. It has no physical address, website, or email address. This church is made up from those who live in simple faith with the power to bend and refract the light of godly values as proof of their life in Christ (John 3:3; Luke 18:17).

While the light from the worldly church has gone out, the true church is the symbolic light on the hill Jesus mentioned in Matthew 5:14-16. The light from this church is unending because its spiritual source is eternal (John 8:12).

* Religious entertainment is a church sponsoring religious "fun events" that employ worldly tactics to attract and keep the unchurched and churched, often at the expense of whole Gospel.

1. Come out of Her My People – Peter Whyte – Published: Successful Christian Living – 1992
2. The Entertainment Driven Church – C Michael Patton – Parchment and Pen Blog - 2008

Photo Credit: Kevin H.; Some rights reserved

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Published 9-26-13