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Relationship With Jesus
The Key To Effective Ministry

Section 7, Chapter 1

Four Reasons Why the Church
Is Failing
in the World Today

Chapter Illustration

Study Questions:
  1. What are the four major reasons the church is failing in the world today?
  2. According to this chapter, what are some of the reasons God judged Israel in Jeremiah's time and sent them into captivity to Babylon?
  3. As applied to this concept, what does it mean to delight ourselves in God?

horizontal rule

The Apostle John writes in the first Epistle of John, "You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4). The Bible plainly tells us that Jesus, our Savior and influence for good, is greater than Satan and his influence for evil and destruction in the world. Yet, as we look at the world today this does not seem to be the case in the reality that surrounds us. Evil seems to be becoming more dominant than the influence of the Church; and the Church, though growing, is shrinking in size in proportion to the growth of atheism and humanism in light of the increasing population in the world today.

If the Bible is true, and we believe it to be true; that is if Jesus is greater than Satan, then why is evil seemingly becoming more dominant in world affairs and the Church seemingly becoming more weak in its influence to put restraint on the increasing growth of that evil? There are four major reasons: First, because there is no such thing as a safe and costless Christianity. I cover this topic extensively in my Basic Textbook on Evangelism titled, Evangelism: The Time Is Now!, in Section 9 Chapter 4 with the same title. The Bible tells us plainly that Satan is the God of this world. The Apostle John writes in 1 John 5:19, "The whole world lies in the power of the evil one." This is why the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:20 tells us that our citizenship is in heaven. This planet is not our home. Heaven is our home. Because Satan controls the world, he controls its flow of money and material goods. If you walk with God, trust me, Satan will take it all away. He has from me more than once. But that is the whole point! The only way you have the things of this life and stability in this life is by compromising your confession before men and your moral righteousness before men. Yes, go to Church on Sunday and worship God, but with the rest of the week and Your free time live for yourself as if this life is all there is. Take this attitude and position and Satan will bless you. You are of no threat to him and his kingdom.

What happens, though, if you do what Jesus has called you to do? What happens if you give your free time and extra resources to the preaching of the Gospel? The first place Satan will hit you is in your wallet. He will do everything he can to frustrate you financially. If this does not defeat you, you will be rejected by relatives and friends. If this does not do the job, then he will bring even your brethren against you. Finally, if this does not defeat your commitment to Evangelism, he will attack you directly, demonically. How do I know? Because he did it to me and still does. If you are going to obey God and use your life to win souls, you are going to suffer the loss of all things. Satan will make sure of it.

What does all this have to do with our discussion here? Why does America reject Christianity and the Church? Because when they look at Christians, what do they see? They see that they are willing to sacrifice any conviction to keep what they have. Take for example the battle against the killing of defenseless children in the womb: many churches were told their insurance would be canceled if they allowed anti abortion Christians to gather in their churches. Many, not all, of these churches chose to sign a peace pack with the devil rather than support what was right and lose their property. Property and things become more important than the murdering of innocent children, more important than the truths of Godís Word. The world looks at us and sees that we are no different than they, that we really do not believe that heaven is more real than this temporary earthly existence. The Apostle Paul wrote,

"For many walk of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." (Phil 3:18-20)

They see by our life-styles that we believe that this life is all there is because at a sneeze we are ready to give up our Christian witness to keep it. Until America sees that Christians believe that heaven is more real than this earth and sees this when we are willing to lose it all to stay true to our confession and convictions, they will not turn to Christ. They wonít turn to Christ because they do not see by our life-styles and by our hanging onto the world that we really believe this life is only temporary and that heaven and hell is forever. They will not turn to Christ because they see us doing the same thing with our free time that they do with theirs: pursue our own selfish self-centered interests, not those of our Lord Jesus Christ which is using our free time and resources to win the lost. So, the first reason why the Church is failing in the world today is because we are not willing to suffer the loss of anything in order to convince the lost that yes! heaven is for real, more real than anything this life has to offer. If you want to be successful in winning the lost for Christ, the first thing you must do is give up all that this life has to offer and commit your freedom of time and resources to the preaching of the Gospel to the lost. You must give up all your rights of this world and let Jesus decide what rights you need to have to be fruitful for him.

Second, in the past century the Church in light of the flood of humanism, liberalism, and proposed evolutionary scientific facts has instead of standing its ground on the literal propositional truth of the Bible, which includes the account of creation, have instead taken the defensive and compromised the Scriptures to fit in with the popular trends of today. The end result is the world views the Church as a group of people who do not actually believe in what they try to defend, but rather defend it romantically, with the hope that it is true, because they cannot face the reality of what truly is as viewed by the humanist which means that this life is all there is and thus no after life. To the secular man it is only an escape from what truly is. Church people are people who cannot face reality without a crutch called God in the person of Jesus Christ.

The third reason why the Church is failing in the world today is because we are not rightly relating to one another in the Church as Jesus intended. This is basically centered in a misunderstanding of what the Bible means by Jesusí Lordship over our lives individually and what it means corporately as we have been discussing in earlier Sections of this school of Evangelism. Secondly, this centers in a misunderstanding of the work of the Holy Spirit in relationship to the Church which is really centered in what is meant by Jesusí Lordship over our lives in relation to ourselves, others, and in our relationship to Jesus Christ Himself. The end result is that when we try to present Jesus to the world as the answer to their needs, they look at us and say, "You cannot solve your own internal problems and you are trying to tell me that you have the answer to my problems!" And they turn around and walk away. Jesus said in the high priestly prayer for the Church,

". . . that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, that the world may believe that You did send Me." (John 17:21).

Again He states in verse twenty-three,

"I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that You did send Me, and do love them, even as You do love Me." (John 17:23).

The fourth reason why the Church is failing in the world today is because it does not know how to properly relate to the world to show the world that Jesus is the answer to their needs. This problem is centered in the first three problems stated above. The first two problemís solution is self explanatory and the fourth problemís solution is centered in the solution to the third problem and thus the topic of discussion in this sixth section which is the Interrelatedness and Psychology of Body Ministry.

Os Guinness, in his book, The Dust of Death, states that there are several requirements which any contending solution must satisfy: First, it must provide a basis that will define and demonstrate the individuality of man as human. Second, it must provide a basis for the fulfillment of an individualís aspirations. Third, it must provide a basis for the substantial healing of manís alienations in terms of an individualís becoming more fully himself. And fourth, it must provide a basis for community, combining social unity and diversity, and it must avoid the chaos of relativism or the swing to control seen in many modern states and intentional communes.32/38-39 The first and third of these requirements was touched upon in the first six Sections of this Textbook. The second and fourth requirements, though not exhaustive, are the intended discussion of this present Section.

Several years ago while in school, I was going through some frustrating experiences. It seemed that there was a block in the release of Jesusí power in my life to succeed in the areas He had called me. I began seeking Jesus as to what the problem was. It was not to long after this that Jesus led me to a passage in the Psalms, "Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart." (Ps 37:4). There are probably hundreds of applications to the meaning of this passage of Scripture and to the best of my knowledge, at the time, I was delighting myself in the Lord. At the time I thought this referred to spending time in the Word, letting Jesus speak to me through the Word; and spending time in fellowship with other believers so that I could receive the life of Jesus through His body. I also thought it meant sharing the message of the Gospel with people as Jesus was giving me the opportunity. I believe these are all different applications to the meaning of this passage of Scripture. But at that moment it seemed Jesus wanted to reveal a new aspect of its meaning to my heart, so I prayed, "Jesus, I do not know whether you are really showing me this passage of Scripture in relation to my need, but if you are, please show me the application?"

A week later I was sitting in my Hermeneutics class (the science of interpreting Scripture) and a student teacher was giving us some back ground information concerning what motivated God to lead Isaiah and Jeremiah, the prophets, to write their two books, and why God judged Israel. The teacher proceeded to explain that though this was only one of many reasons, one of the reasons God judged Israel and sent them into captivity of Babylon for seventy years was not because necessarily they were not moral and religious, though this was a factor; but mainly because of a lack of justice, mercy, and a reaching out to the less fortunate.

Jeremiah writes,

"ĎBut this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and departed. They do not say in their heart, ĎLet us now fear the Lord our God, who gives rain in its season, both the autumn rain and the spring rain, who keeps for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.í Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have withheld good from you. For wicked men are found among My people, they watch like fowlers lying in wait; they set a trap, they catch men. Like a cage full of birds, so their houses are full of deceit, therefore they have become great and rich. They are fat, they are sleek, they also excel in deeds of wickedness; they do not plead the cause, the cause of the orphan, that they may prosper; and they do not defend the rights of the poor. Shall I not punish these people?í Declares the Lord, ĎOn a nation such as this shall I not avenge Myself?í" (Jer 5:23-29)

As I was listening to this teacher lecture, the Lord spoke to my heart and said,

"This is what it means to delight yourself in me, when you see your brother in need and you have the means to reach out to his need, reach out to his need!"

The Lord then brought a New Testament passage to my mind to confirm what He was saying to me in my heart,

"But whoever has the biological-means-of-life31, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth." (1 John 3:17-18).

It was like the Lord was giving me a blank check and saying to me,

"When you see your brother in need, and you know you have what he needs and can help him, you do not need to wait for a message from heaven. Reach out to his need and you will be delighting yourself in me."

Study Questions
Chapter 2
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