“But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.” 2 Timothy 4:5 (NLT)
While writing to his spiritual son Timothy, the Apostle Paul, mentioned that there would be terrible times in the last days. Jesus said similar things when warned that because of the increase of wickedness the love of many would grow cold, and that people would go on deceiving and being deceived (Matthew 24:11-12). Paul continued to warn Timothy that in spite of false teachers and lovers of self, that instead of enduring sound doctrine people will chase after teachers who tickle their ears. Sadly, we are in this day!
In a recently released Barna study we discovered that we are in the midst of another reformation, but this is not a good thing. “Unlike the Protestant Reformation, whose goal was to return to the foundational teachings of the Bible, this modern movement is one where Americans are redefining biblical beliefs according to secular values.” In other words, the church is no longer influencing the culture, but tragically, the culture is influencing the church! This research was before the COVID caused shutdown in March and included four main groupings of people – Evangelicals, Pentecostals & Charismatics, mainline Protestants and Catholics. (For more details check out the full article – Barna: We’re Experiencing Another Reformation, and Not in a Good Way at https://churchleaders.com/…/383605-george-barna-another…)
The most alarming finding was, that amongst the Evangelicals 52% no longer believe that the Bible is inerrant or trustworthy in its content. When COVID hit, much of the church closed down. Some are still closed. But more shockingly, much of the church still has not returned. Those who didn’t stand on the word of God because they didn’t believe it, had nothing to stand on during this season and have simply fallen away!
So Paul’s words to his student, rings true to us who have remained, as much as it did to Timothy…
But you, are to be sober minded, endure hardship, make disciples and fulfill your ministry (2 Timothy 4:5). Many churches are seeing how they had not adequately prepared their people for the crisis we have gone through. Nevertheless, they are making necessary adjustments to become more intentional in making disciples, walking in the Holy Spirit and teaching the full word of God. Church services are not meant to make people feel happy and good about themselves, but to provide them an opportunity to encounter God’s presence and become holy through the preaching of the word of God (you know, picking up the cross, denying self, confessing sin, heaven and hell, type of concepts).
The recent months have exposed the disbelief that was already present in the church. But you, the remnant, are still coming! As Jesus said to the Church in Laodicea, He desires for a fiery hot people! Will you be one of them! God is going to use you in the coming days to light the fire of revival in the world around you. To give it away, you need to press into the fire of God yourself. Ask God to light you up with His holy fire and a hunger for the full meat of His word! Pray that for your pastor and church as well! Ask God to release a fiery hot anointing in your pastor’s preaching and a serious hunger by your church!!