Thursday, July 28, 2016

JULY 28 "POWERLESS, IMPOTENT, CHURCH IN AMERICA"

"If the natural branches were not spared, but broken off because of unbelief, you have been grafted in by Faith" (paraphrased). You may or may not know, the natural branches Paul is referring to, is the Jews. The unnatural branches are the Gentiles, you and I (unless of course you are Jewish). God still have a special promise for the Jews, but for you and I, Faith is critical. Paul writes that they (the Jews) have been rejected because of their unbelief. I believe this is more proof that Paul wrote the book of Hebrews (there is debate over who wrote Hebrews) because the author of Hebrews also mentions that the great sin of the Israelites was their Unbelief and the reason they did not enter the Promised land was because of their Unbelief. The Israelites mirror the American Church of today, we are devoutly religious, but we are full of unbelief. Paul also writes, "in the last days, men will acknowledge God, but render him powerless". Which is partly because of unbelief.  I run into more religious people, filled with unbelief than I do; atheists, satanists & agnostics, all combined together. Our problem in America is not the Homosexual Agenda, nor the Right Wing Agenda of the Democratic Party, nor the ACLU, the problem in America is the great sin of Unbelief. We are still filling Churches every Sunday, but walking out unchanged because of unbelief. The warning Paul is giving in our reading today is that if God rejected "The Natural Branches" because of unbelief he will surely remove us if we fall into arrogance and unbelief. "Do not be arrogant, but tremble", Paul writes. Can we still talk about God doing a Miracle, to our Christian Brethren, without having them "roll their eyes at us"?  Are we still allowed to quote "with man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible to them that believe" without being considered, some crazy Charismatic Christian?! It seems that to the church, these are becoming "Old Cliches" rather than God's unchanging promises. Christians today are, pragmatic, rational, practical and function by the 5 senses. Is that really Faith anymore? Will we still give our last penny, take our last bit of oil and cook our last meal, will we still step out of the boat, pray for someone to be healed, walk by faith and not by sight, believe for a coin in the fish of a mouth, believe God to deliver the demoniac, forgive and change the adulteress, heal a marriage, save a sinner, rebuke the devour, etc..etc....If we continue to mirror the Israelites/Jews with their unbelief, we (the Gentiles) will find ourselves worse off than them, because God has no special promise for us. We were grafted in, when the Jews were rejected because of their Unbelief, but yet "we had Faith", if we lose our Faith, we have nothing left, but Powerless/Impotent Religion, which is where America finds itself today.  Soren Kiergaard was a prolific 19th Century Danish Philosopher and Theologian. He wrote this parable to describe the state of the church, it’s called “Duckland”. It was Sunday morning in Duckland, and all the ducks dutifully came to church, waddling through the doors and down the aisle into their pews where they comfortably squatted.  When all were well-settled, and the hymns were sung, the duck minister waddled to his pulpit, opened the Duck Bible and read: "Ducks! You have wings, and with wings you can fly like eagles. You can soar into the sky! Use your wings!" It was a marvelous, elevating duck reading from the Duck Bible, and thus all the ducks quacked their assent with a hearty "Amen!" . . . and then plopped down from their pews and…..waddled home.