Monday, December 07, 2009

Is there Fraud in your Church?

Look at John 7:1-24, see how the crowd and the leaders reacted to the Truth of our Lord. Now how do we react to this Truth? How is it practiced in our quite times and then taught in our churches?

Jesus was avoiding the pious, fraudulent, Jewish leaders who were seeking to kill him, so He could focus on training His Disciples. Then He goes to a Feast and challenges the people and leadership: Then Jesus told them, I do not teach you my ideas and doctrine; rather plainly state what God, who sent me, tells me to say. If you are doing the will of God, then you should know I am for real. If not, you just want praise for yourself and do not care about Truth; therefore, all of you are disobeying God and His precepts. Why are you trying to kill me? This caused the crowd to react negatively, saying he was demon possessed, as they sought to please their leaders. Jesus defended His actions and chastised their lack of faith, false teachings, and character.

How would they receive God’s great news? Would it be with contempt, a fear of conviction, or an acceptance by faith? What about us, what about you? How will His Truth lead you and your church?

Usually, real true Truth is met by our “Whispering” the seeking of one’s own view first and disregards the purpose and veracity of God’s Word and precepts. This is also the formula for power plays in the church. People want their way, their vision, and their direction and issues placed first; these all converge into conflict as each one’s will is put to the test against another’s. Ironically, each may think he/she is doing the right thing, but in fact, the more likely result is dysfunction and missing the point of worship and church. In so doing, self-will placed first will prevent one from truly seeking how to honor Christ, which is what Church is supposed to be about.

This is also a form of our lack of faith, even unbelief! Unbelief, for the Christian may not be a disbelief in Christ and what He did, but a lack to acknowledge His call or Will. This is usually a symptom of a deeper issue like a refusal to give up one’s will and mindset, or a person who likes to be in control and thus will not acknowledge the One who really is in control. People, even us Christian leaders and pastors do not want conviction or to be moved from our complacency. Jesus’ mission for His children is for us to move our rears off the pew, to get us to stop hiding behind the pulpit and into the engagement of life, faith, and reason. He calls the non-Christian to know and trust Him. He then calls the Christian to grow deeper in Him, and lead others with conviction and confidence so that our daily schedules and mindsets display Him, so our churches will do too. If we do not know and teach the Truth of Christ from His Word and instead proselytize our own truth and vision, we commit fraud! Teaching real true Truth and living it out is how we must lead our faith, families and fellowship! If not, we are the pious frauds and make the Pharisees, fair as it seems!

Questions to Ponder

1. How do you see pastors today promoting God? How should they?

2. What happens when church leaders spend their energies on prompting themselves for pride sake?

3. How can your church better convince and model to its people the seeking of truth as opposed to self-seeking?

4. What happens when Christian leaders do not care about truth?

5. What should a church do if her leaders or pastor wanted praise for themselves? How does this dishonor our Lord? What can you and your church do about this?


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