WHY ARE SO MANY CHRISTIANS
IN THE STATE THEY ARE IN?
Why do I pose this question? I look at Jesus and God’s Word, then I look at His people, the church, and I see a great disparity. We believers are to be transformed from this world and into the very image and likeness of Christ. This should be the standard, but it appears to be the exception – WHY?
Romans 12:1-2 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Ephesians 4:13 – Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ
Romans 8: 29 – For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Galatians 4:19 – My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
Instead, the majority of Christians look and act like the rest of the world; which we are to be separated from. As a result, we have a church that has lost its influence and it’s power to bring change the world. The apostle Paul described the state of the church in the last days:
2 Timothy 3:1-5 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
How did believers loose their positive influence on society, especially in America today? It is due to preoccupation with selfish desires, the lusts of the flesh and material pursuits rather than seeking and living in the Kingdom of God. How did this deterioration come about? The answer in the Bible:
1 Corinthians 2:6-16 – But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Here we see that natural man does not understand nor accept spiritual things of the kingdom of God. Dependence on limited human knowledge and understanding is in stark contrast to spiritual knowledge and understanding. Unfortunately, even the education most believers are subjected to in their churches is based on physical, natural human understanding. As a result, believers have no discernment of what is of God and what is of the world. Why, because their desire for knowledge is focused on the things of this world and not on the kingdom of God. Such people are referred to as carnal – carnal means being fleshly or full of self. These then become followers of men and their teaching, or so-called ministry, rather than followers of God and His Word:
2 Corinthians 3:1-4 - And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
This is particularly obvious with all the preaching and teaching on the “name it and claim it”, and the success and prosperity doctrines that have permeated the church over the past three decades. Such doctrine appeals to the natural lusts of the flesh that the apostle John identifies:
1 John 2:15-16 – Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
The apostle Paul warned against such in his letter to Timothy:
2 Timothy 4:3-4 – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables
Catering to the lusts of the flesh; the “I want, I will and I am” is what draws many to forsake the things of the creator and instead focuses on creation; this material life. Consider what James wrote to Christians:
James 4:1-4 – From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Paul also addressed this when he wrote to the church in Rome:
Romans 13:11-14 – And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Paul told us to avoid carnal lusts of the flesh which manifest in selfishness and produce what he foretold in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 as stated previously.
Romans 8:6-7 – For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Both Jesus and Paul spoke strongly about the need to forsake the way of the old nature, the “old man” of the flesh that must be died to and put on the cross daily:
Luke 9:23-24 - And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Galatians 5:24-25 – And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
James identifies the process of falling into sinful practices by the enticement of the lusts that the apostle John identified as lust of the flesh, “I will”; the lust of the eye, “ I want”; and the pride of life, “I am” or one’s own position in life:
James 1:14-15 – But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
So what do we do about this deplorable condition of Christians in these last days? Simply do what we are told to do in the Bible. This requires that those responsible for preaching and teaching in the church to focus on the kingdom of God and not on the things of this world, or how to get “this and that”. Instead, preaching against sin needs to resume.
The first place to start is a return to the first message of the kingdom which is REPENTANCE. It seems that many preachers feel it is no longer necessary to identify and preach about sin. It’s a negative message and they don’t to make people feel bad about themselves. After all we are supposed to build them up; make them feel good about themselves and enhance their self esteem. Unfortunately, building self esteem is catering to the flesh and its lusts. If sin is not addressed, then it becomes accepted and excused ; and such preachers continually declare, “God loves us just the way we are”. But Jesus died because of the way we are; so we must change. Repent means CHANGE.
Acts 2:37-38 – Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This is how the church began: the Holy Spirit moved, people heard the true gospel message of their condition, and they believed when their hearts were convinced (pricked as it says in the King James Bible). At that point they asked for further directions and were emphatically told to REPENT – CHANGE.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new
This verse states clearly the result of repentance. A new life has begun; it is a life in the spirit and requires spiritual growth, gaining spiritual knowledge and understanding – much of which seems to be languishing in the average church today.
Every believer should be pursuing God first, not their material needs. God knows what we each need and has promised to supply them; however, He did place a condition on our receiving our needs being met. God requires that we order our priorities because our priorities show where our heart is:
Matthew 6:21 – For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Believers need to be more aware of the Kingdom of God since that is our spiritual residence in Christ.
Matthew 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
The example of prayer that Jesus gave us places first priority on desiring God’s Kingdom; then His prayer ends with an affirmation of God’s sovereignty over the things of His Kingdom and our lives:
Matthew 6:9-13 – After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Perhaps we need to understand what is meant by the word “kingdom” and how it applies to believers. A kingdom is where the king has dominion – it is the king’s DOMAIN; it is where he rules, where he is sovereign - LORD.
The Kingdom of God is not a future place we hope to experience. The Kingdom of God is here and now – it was brought to earth by Jesus, the KING. However, at present it exists in us by faith. It will manifest in its totality when Christ returns; but it is here now nevertheless:
Luke 17:20-21 – And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Colossians 1:13-14 – Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
The typical Christian does not appear to be living IN the Kingdom of God as we should be. Why? Because it is not our first priority as Jesus said it should be. One of the main reasons is because we are so distracted by “the cares of this life”:
Luke 21:34 – And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
Instead of bringing the Kingdom of God into our daily affairs, we should be bringing our daily affairs into the Kingdom of God to be under His Domain and loving care. The following boxes give an illustration of this:
Kingdom of God (outside of your affairs) My daily Affairs (outside the Kingdom of God)
My Life's Box God's Kingdom Box
| My Daily Affairs | | Kingdom of God |
| (Cares of this life) | | (God’s loving care) |
| our selfish lusts | | dependence on His grace |
| | | mercy, provision & protection |
| Kingdom of God | | & protection
| (moved inside} | My daily affairs |
| | | (moved inside)
Here, my affairs dominate. I give the Here, the Kingdom of God dominates and Kingdom of God a small place within influences my affairs which are brought in.
my daily affairs. I am Lord over my God's sovereignty is Lord over my daily
affairs. My will is primary. affairs. His Kingdom is primary
After repentance, then believers need to walk faithfully being led of the Spirit of God who will lead and guide us in the affairs of this life since He does not want us to worry, fear or fret.
Matthew 6:31-33 – Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Then Christians will be seen and recognized as they should be – the sons of God:
Romans 8:16-19 – The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.