Sunday 7 August 2022

Matthew 16 v 18 

Jesus said, I will build my Church and the powers of hell will not conquer it

I was listening to a service from a Baptist Church in the United States, where a very fine Biblical preaching Pastor was quoting a story about a survey being carried out, which asked people to answer one of two questions. Is the world doing all right? Or is it going to hell in a hang basket. The result was 60% for the second question.

I would like to paraphrase that survey, and offer three questions for you to choose.  Is the Church doing all right?  Is it going to hell in a hang basket?  Has part of the Church already got  to hell ?

Before I start to respond to the question, I understand some people may be upset and take offence by what is written, which would be regrettable, for I cannot imagine any sincere preacher wanting to cause offence, but I recognize a lot of people do not want to hear what the Bible states, (that is God speaking). If anyone is offended, I must ask you why?  My duty as a Minister of the Gospel is to tell you what the Bible states, and can be verified by reference to any Bible.

What an individual person believes is a personal matter, and will be judged by the supreme judge when we face Him one day.  But I strongly believe all Christian Ministers must teach, preach and advise, according to Holy Scripture.  This is what Jesus commanded and God expects. Sadly, as I will detail, there are misleading teachings being given at all levels within the Church.

Jesus stated, I will build my church and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.  There are many parts of the world where the Church is strong and growing fast, as in Africa, China, Asia and other places in the Eastern hemisphere. In Western countries, there is too willing a desire to line up with society, and the consequences are showing in places,

It is helpful to turn back and look at the first Christian Church.  The Apostle Peter made a stirring sermon to a crowd of 3,000 people, and such was the effect, they all were ready to follow Jesus. Without coercion, they listened to the teaching of the Apostles, all of which is recorded for us in the New Testament, and they devoted themselves to that teaching, and the Church was blessed by God and grew daily, and spread through the ancient world.  This was solid, unsoiled Christianity, before men started to add their own preferences, and distort the gospel.

The Church is more than a building, it is a place where the redeemed people of God, who have confessed and repented of sins, and have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, meet to worship, praise and glorify God.  It is where we try to lead others to find Jesus. He is the cornerstone of the Church.   I have often felt there are those who want to challenge the words of Jesus, and destroy it; they are certainly giving a good impressions of doing so.

An advertisement was once placed in the Guardian newspaper, where else, for someone to lead and be passionate about spiritual growth, but the applicant does not need to be a practicing Christian.  It is like inviting a member of the Conservative Party to lead an election campaign for the Labour Party. You must really wonder what sort of mind would place such an advert.

We have to understand we face an aggressive and determined secular faction, who are far more dedicated to their cause than Christians are to the Church. They are extremely well organised and funded. One method they use is to destroy the traditional family; another is to infiltrate the educational system, and have the press on side.  Of course all Bible teaching is to be ignored.

I have said many times, what individual persons do, or two people of the same sex do, is a matter entirely for them.  I accept there are those who are very nice people, friendly and helpful to others, but there are great many who are intolerant of any opinion other  than theirs, and can be vengeful to opponents. We should be able to exist together, and God will sort things out in His way.

The function of the Church is to teach and spread the Christian gospel. For that to be successful, we teach only that which is recorded in the Holy Scriptures, the Bible, and  promise to banish all false doctrine; men and women ordained as Ministers mustl faithfully fulfil vows made at ordination..  If a Church is to fulfil its function it has to be based on the Bible.

I have been most impressed by Churches in the United States. I have watched services at five Churches, and at each one, where the congregations are large, when the Pastors call them to turn to the Bible passage, every person has their own Bible to refer to, and some make notes of what has been said. I know they are personal bibles, as they are all different in size and kind.  This is why the congregations are large.  I am sure there are Churches on a smaller size, who do so here in the United Kingdom, I just haven’t found any.

It is disheartening to read what is happening in the Church, and a lot is occurred by senior members of the clergy.  A leading bishop was asked if the Church would define ‘a woman’ and the quoted reply was that the Church does not have a definition of women. The Bible does, but perhaps he never reads it. On the second page on opening the Bible it is stated, so the Lord God caused the man to fall asleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took one of the man’s ribs and made a WOMAN. She will be called woman.  What an insult to half of God’s creation, who do so much for the Church, to deny a definition. Could it be to avoid the criticisms of those who challenge God’s order of creation?

But that is minor. We have had cries from high voices, to abandon biblical marriage as it offends  same sex people. Vicar told no place for him in the Church if teaches biblical terms of sexuality; Bible not a necessary book to assist the community. There are so many other instances.

The Archbishop of Canterbury held a meeting of 650 bishops  of the Anglican Church across the world, and several from Africa declined the invitation, as they knew bishops from Canada America and others, were not following Scripture regarding sexual matters. It is reported the Archbishop stated he would not alter the published and established decision of the Church of England, that marriage was between a man and woman, but amazingly added he would not punish Vicars who performed such ceremonies.  Such was the deep belief of African bishops they declined to share services with those who were allowing the Word of God to be ignored.

I have been amazed at how blindly ignorant many good people are regarding marriage, so let us turn to God’s Word.   A  man shall leave his father and cling to his wife and the two shall be united as one.  All other sexual relationships are condemned.

Same sex relationships have grown, as in a free country they are entitled, and transgenderism has come in to play, and the Church has not spoken out for God, but showed sympathy and some tolerance.  An Archbishop stated he could not sleep at the thought of people  being helped to convert back, yet there was no mention of him complaining when they converted from normality.

The most eminent medical surgeons have stated,  that no matter how a  person’s body is altered, a male or female chromosome cannot be changed, yet young women are having mastectomies performed in an effort to become male, and young men having bodies mutilated, and yet Church fails to tell such is wrong, but instead offers support,

The Bible states, there is one faith, one baptism, yet the Church has created a service for those who have changed sex, and want to be re-baptised in the new sex. Such is in effect being stated by such Church actions,  that God has got His whole creation order wrong.   Could anyone imagine an Army where Generals were colluding with the enemy?  How would investors in Tesco react, if the directors stated their products were inferior to Waitrose.

But it would be proper for those who support such practices, to be as tolerant to those who believe different, as we are to them, rather than be intolerant. This is moving from God’s design, and is rebellion at what is embedded in our biology. How a heavily built men, some with a beard can be classified as a woman is beyond comprehension. Such instances are causing difficulties, and concern, to biological women, and leading politicians have not the courage to speak out.  A woman nominated for the American Supreme Court stated openly, she could not define a woman as she was not a biologist.

The Methodist Church, once a great evangelical Church,  led and founded by two great names of Christian history, John and Charles Wesley, has betrayed their heritage and held services in support of gay pride in the most revered Chapel in Methodism, the John Wesley Chapel at Bristol.  This was in direct contradiction to the teaching of John Wesley in his preaching of Romans 1, when he emphasised the teaching of marriage as one man and one woman.  However, all the main denominations except the Roman Catholic Church, have adopted same sex marriages and cast aside the Bible.

The time has come for Christians to be as devoted and faithful to the teaching of the Apostles, as those first Christians were.  We must teach all biblical doctrine, and proclaim how God wants us to live, to teach what is true, and show what is wrong in life. We preach that perfection of life can only be obtained by people turning to Jesus Christ, who alone can bring us to God, for there is no salvation in any other name by which we may be saved.  Jesus is the only way to the Father. The Bible is a complete manual of how God wants us to live.

It is the duty of  the Church to teach the gospel and not be budged from it, not to be blown by every spiritual wind, so that we drift from our moorings. Don’t be superficial believers, hold fast to the gospel, which was given to the Apostles by our Lord Jesus.

Going back to the question of our survey, do you think the Church is fit for its purpose?  Is it making disciples and leading people to worship?

Is it teaching that Jesus is the only Saviour of mankind? Does it abide by the teaching of how Christians should live, as set out in the Bible?  Does it accept the Bible is the full and complete authority.  Liberalism is tearing the Church apart, by trying to supplant biblical authority for cultural expressions and denying the infallibility of the Bible, with trendy issues replacing the Cross of Christ.

Like a lighthouse shines its light over trouble waters to steer ships to a set course and safety, so should the Church be a light not hid under a bushel, but from a hill top to steer people away from sinful waters to the course set by God, and made possible by the giving by the Lord Jesus of His life on the Cross  to make us righteous in God’s sight.

To paraphrase a famous saying, do not ask what God can do for you. Ask what you can do for God 

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