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Written by Patrick Hawthorne @ http://servinggrace.com
Could it be That Your Church is Dying Because…?
By Patrick Hawthorne
Lately I have been on a rant against the Church of the Forever dead. Just for the understanding of any readers coming into this post late, my criticisms have been levied against a fictitious church in an attempt to help spread the word that it is time for the Body of Christ to wake up out of its slumber. I pick on no one denomination…well, that is not quite true…I pick on them all.
Now, don’t get upset with me. My intent is not to start a fight, but to open eyes to the fact that we are living in a time where walking the fence between right and wrong is no longer an option, especially in light of the level of persecution that is ramping up against the Body of Christ at this very moment in time. And yes, my finger is equally pointed back at me.
Many churches today have no power and are dying off one by one…but why? Could it be that Legalism has slipped in through the side door while they were sleeping? Has the doctrine of their church replaced the power of the Word? Sadly, I believe this to be the case in many instances.
Having forgotten or not experienced the goodness of God’s grace, these churches attempt to express their willingness to follow God through works or actions. Rules and regulations are routinely preached from the pulpit with just a modicum of the Bible or the name of Jesus ever being spoken. Yet, it is this same church that wonders why membership is dropping off, young life is not replacing older life, and the altar has not seen a conversion of heart in so many years.
In other cases, I’m convinced that the pastor wishes the circumstances were different but has become weighed down by the concern of losing a consistent revenue stream. Instead of trusting God to meet the needs of the church through the support of the congregation, the pastor instead looks solely to the congregation for support, bypassing any messages the Lord might have that will allow for much needed pruning and growth to take place. “If I preach that message, Mr. Money Bags will get offended and leave the church.” So, let him leave…
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some churches such as The Forever Dead Church that would not allow Jesus entrance into their country club even if He shaved, got a haircut, and wore an expensive Italian suit. I’m not writing about them. I’m writing about those who love God but have gotten a bit off course. As written by Paul in Romans 7:18, the will to do good is present with them, but HOW to perform what is good, they do not find. This is mainly because their teachings serve to produce condemnation rather than freedom.
So, how do these churches get that power back and rejuvenate a dying church? The answer is really quite simple. It is found in Romans 1:16-17.
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for IT IS THE POWER OF GOD unto salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For IN IT (The Gospel) the righteousness of God is REVEALED from faith to faith; as it is written, the just shall live by faith.”
Arguing your doctrine will not accomplish anything. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God…
Pleading your doctrine will not accomplish anything. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God…
Threatening your doctrine will not accomplish anything. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God…
To restore power to a dying church, PREACH THE GOSPEL! And, by preaching the Gospel, I don’t mean preaching the notes of the notes of the notes of your former pastors…Read the Word for yourself, pray about what to preach, listen to the Holy Spirit about what to preach, and then be obedient to preach what has been given you. It is that simple.