Monday, November 28, 2011

I Have A Weapon, And I Use It

I do not need Rick Warren, Joel Osteen or Andy Stanley to tell me about God. I have a BIBLE.

I do not have to defend myself with my denomination's doctrinal statement. I have a BIBLE.

I don't need a Seminary-educated agnostic with a PhD to tell me how to have Church. I have a BIBLE.
 


I have read and studied my Bible dozens of times from cover to cover. I know what is in it, and I know what it means. I am not afraid or reluctant to live according to what I know is in this book. 

I long-ago stopped expecting people to understand my actions, especially since most people do not study the Bible, do not genuinely know what it says or means, and thereby have no accurate point-of-reference by which to judge.

As I see it, the biggest problem in so-called Christianity today is that almost nobody really knows the Bible or uses it anymore.

Rarely does a preacher in this generation have a mature comprehension of the contents of the Bible
, or live a holy, Holy Ghost-filled, fire-baptized lifestyle that is in agreement and compliance with its teachings.

One of the reasons we now have so many mega-churches is because a handful of "great communicators" have tapped into the near-universal mindset in this generation that the Bible and traditional Christianity are full of draconian rules and regulations that they simply do not want to hear or have any part with.


The great "communicators" have offered this generation an alternative to "regimented" Christianity. "COME AS YOU ARE!" religion - which, as I have observed, ultimately means "DO AS YOU PLEASE" religion.


They don't want the King James Bible. It is too inflexible and oppressive. The new versions of the Bible give them ammunition to contradict their forefathers.


They don't want pulpits or pews. They have reinvented the wheel. It is a sin to use furniture that reminds them of the old-time religion. They simply will not go to a church that has pews. That makes them feel that they are consenting to something that is from the past, and that would be too un-hip.

They behave as if the former generations were stupid and did not know or understand God as clearly as they do. The arrogance of this generation is suffocating. Their despite for their forefathers is wicked. They have almost completely shut out the voices of their elders. Their Churches have almost no elders, if any.
 


They don't want to dress up for Church. Nobody is going to tell them how to dress. Dignity is so 80s. Dress down. Grunge. They don't want to sing any song that smacks of old-fashioned, life-changing consecration. They don't want to go to Church twice on Sunday. They don't want a preacher who tells them they can't do this or they can't do that.

They don't want CHURCH that FEELS like CHURCH. They want Church that either feels like a ROLLING STONES CONCERT or a POSITIVE THINKING SEMINAR. Almost nobody carries a Bible anymore.
 

They want rock-and-roll religion. They want to dress like they are going to the beach. They want McDonald's PlayPlace in the Church foyer. They want Starbucks before class, not prayer meetings. They want corporate trainers to help them reach their ambitious wealth goals. They want family trainers to help them with their tax-planning and soccer leagues.

People want feel-good religion. Positivity. Anything negative, and they are OUT THE DOOR.


Give us BANDS! Give us SPORTS! Give us world-class ENTERTAINMENT! Give us SOCIAL NETWORKING! Or we won't go to your Church. And don't dare "Preach" at us. "Preaching" is anathema. No clear-cut black-or-white stuff. Just smoke machines and spinning lights. They want a Church that makes them feel like they are watching the Disney Channel or ESPN.


An entire generation of new preachers and pastors preaches a Zero-Calorie "Gospel Light."


At best, they pick up the hottest new sermon from the hottest new books at the Christian bookstore, or from a famous football coach or some internationally acclaimed corporate trainer. They really are not interested in the specific details of what God wants.
They consider rules a nuisance.

They want to find the lowest common denominator with the world.


They are trying to build a successful Christian empire as fast and as profitably as they possibly can. They are trying to pull in the largest crowds possible, and it makes no difference what they have to do to get them. If they can get a thousand people to come out to their "worship" concerts, that is good enough. They don't care what kind of lives the people live or if they are genuinely born-again by a scriptural process. Just get the crowds in, collect the cash, and build the empire. 

THIS IS NOT NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANITY.

This does not even remotely resemble the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost where everyone in the building had fasted and prayed for ten days, and had made agonizing choices to separate themselves from the local citizens who had just crucified Jesus, and in many cases, to utterly forsake family and friends in order to become a Disciple of Jesus.

This "new" Christianity does not resemble Biblical Christianity. It knows little or nothing of genuine sacrifice, of self-abasement, of suffering for the cause of Christ. No more book burnings. No more renouncing and forsaking the world. No more tears of remorse for wrong living. No more confessing of sins. The altar of repentance and personal sacrifice has been moved out to make room for "the dancing generation."

You can and should believe this:

The WORD OF GOD is a sharp, two-edged sword against such carnal, worldly thinking.


The Word of God is GOD'S weapon against worldliness, carnality, sin and Satan. The Word of God assaults and destroys everything that is of the world, the flesh and the Devil.


Paul said, "The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," Hebrews 4:12.


Paul described the Christian's armor. All but one piece of the Christian armor was DEFENSIVE. (Helmet, shield, shoes, etc.)


But the Word of God is a piercing sword. It is an immortal weapon.


A soldier without a WEAPON is not a soldier. A soldier who will not FIGHT is not a soldier. A soldier who patronizes the enemy is not a soldier. A soldier who will not DRIVE BACK HIS ADVERSARY is not a true soldier.


The ONLY WEAPON that a Christian has is "the SWORD of the Spirit, which is the word of God," Ephesians 6:17.


If the modern "Church" has one, it does not wield it. It will not lift the Sword against its adversaries. It quotes humanistic sources when it should be quoting the TRUTH of God's infallible holy writ. It refuses to attack sin and Satan. It compromises when it should confront and contend.
 


In the face of diabolical forces, the modern Church retreats. In the face of lies, it cowers. In the face of worldliness, it relents. In the face of carnality, it accommodates.

But when unbelievers hurl their arguments, I take up and wield the Sword of the Lord. When the world attacks, I quote the Bible. When carnally-minded people verbally assault, I answer with the Bible. When Satan comes accusing, we should quote the Bible.

The Bible is my God-given WEAPON. It is the SWORD of the LORD.

It is the divine WEAPON that enables me to withstand every foe. It is my ultimate protection. It is the only weapon that God gave me.God gave me HIS weapon to resist evil.

And I use it.


I am determined to drive back and drive out every lie with that Sword. I will aggressively refute every false doctrine with that Sword. I will defy every heresy and heretic with that Sword. I will assault every adversary of Truth, Righteousness and Holiness with my Sword.
 

It is time for the Church to lift the Sword.

Put a PREACHER in the Pulpit, and let him preach the WORD!


Drive out Lucifer, Apollyon, Jezebel, and every demon prince with its minions. The RAW, UNADULTERATED WORD OF GOD is the most "relative" thing that can be offered to this generation.One thing I know. If the Word of God does not protect and preserve me, nothing else will. It is my God-given protection. It is my God-given offense.

Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword," Matthew 10:34.

I have a weapon, and I use it. 


Ken Raggio