The Church of the Lord which He purchased with His own blood should treasure His words and commands seriously if it has to please its Lord and Master. While the admonition to keep His commands if we love him still stands, we often note that most believers are quick to manifest mouth only love! By this I mean that most believers in the church profess to say and sing “Lord I love you, Lord I love you” in their spiritual worship, yet, God is also concerned with their attitudes and the works that show such kind of love in manifestation.
In the Old Testament, some believers in Israel had introduced a culture of trying to impress God by their sacrifices as devout and committed people. The true essence of the spiritual worship and love that God required had been lost as Israel sought to please God only though ritual and cult. As a result, God sent prophets who warned them that He was not pleased with their sacrifices and offerings. He detested them because they became a stench in His nostrils. Yet, because they sought to have a cover-up for their obstinacy and disobedience, they stoned and killed those whom God sent to them. This is the spirit of religion; it makes you do evil deeds in the name of God, trying to do God a service yet, what you are fighting for is nothing but dross!
The Bible recounts the story of King Saul who disobeyed a direct order from the Lord, the Commander in Chief of the armies of Heaven. Saul was properly instructed that the Amalekites were to be totally destroyed and everything that belonged to them. The Lord gave Saul the victory he needed but, when he saw the handsome Agag, he chose to spare him and willfully disobeyed the Lord’s command to put to death every Amalekite. Moreover, he made a selfish decision to choose choice animals from the accursed animals that God had judged and condemned for destruction. He thought God would be more interested in sheep, goats and cattle as offerings in worship rather than Saul’s obedience and faithfulness. We read, “But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly” (1 Samuel 15:9). From a simple reading of this story, it appears that Saul thought he had done his best because he had not utterly destroyed all that was good, but everything that was vile and refuse.
This kind of rebellion is still manifest in many churches today. We know what God has required of us. We know why God has called us and we know what He needs done. However, we have seen some things in the religious world that really seem good to us and we want to have them too and partake of them. However, the refuse, the bad and the worst (judged by our own evils), we tend to destroy. Yet, has God really said we out to spare the goodies of the religious world and the world for ourselves? Not so, when God commands, He expects total obedience. Much to the dismay of Saul, his doings were not in line with God’s command and he disqualified himself for kingship. God saw a heart that loves him, that was willing to do anything for God to such an extent that it would not serve or worship God with simple cheap things unlike that of Saul who wanted to worship God and offer him goods meant for total destruction. He found David, a man after God’s own heart. Saul met God’s serious judgment and the prophet Samuel told him, “Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?” (1 Samuel 15:19).
While we sit in our churches and seem to be enjoying all spiritual good things and the satisfaction that comes from knowing that we are saved, yet, when we do not go out there and fully obey the commands of the Lord, then in the words of Samuel, the church is doing evil! Is this word a harsh word? Certainly not! In the eyes of the lord, all manner of disobedience and unfaithfulness to the Lord are evil and cannot be condoned. There is seriousness in God’s eyes concerning the evangelization of the world and the salvation of the lost and whenever the Lord spoke of saving souls, he neither minced nor used simple terms devoid of a great sense of urgency. He compared the lost world to a ripe harvest that did not need to be wasted because it was already ripe and yet are few laborers.
Jesus himself said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.” (John 4:34-39) Jesus’ food was to do the work of Him who sent Him and to accomplish His work. What is our driving factor? What motivates us to do God’s work today? Or rather, what motivates us not to do God’s work today? Is it that we have entertained the attitude of Saul that says “Even in my disobedience, I can still go and give God gifts”? Or have we entertained the spirit of Cain that refuses to be our brother’s keeper? What has gone wrong with our church services and worship that does not instill in us the passion for the lost and ignite the zeal of the Lord within us? What has become of the church in this age? Have we lost sight of the compassionate Christ and are we following another Christ who no longer has compassion for the lost? The evangelist Matthew wrote, “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:36-38)
Have we followed the footsteps of the prophet Jonah who felt it unfair for God to save other sinners because he himself had found salvation? What has happened to us? We started well but who has bewitched us to lose sight of God’s most important agenda: the salvation of precious souls? Today, the churches concentrate on building those cursed houses where they think are God’s holy habitations. They spent millions of dollars building physical buildings as if the lord is concerned about the physical structures we have made ourselves to believe are the sacred places of the Most High. Yet, God does not dwell in temples made by bricks and iron. He lives in the spiritual houses that are built when we bring sinners to Christ, thereby building His temple and kingdom. I have seen believers that so dedicated to their physical place of worship because they have been made to believe that, this is the place where God dwells. They give their monies, their tithes, their offerings and every other gift to make such places heaven on earth.
Sadly, these believers cannot give a single dollar to the cause of mission work. There is no money for evangelism; there is no money for missions except for the support of the church buildings!!!! What would Jesus have done had he been living in our time? Does it surprise you that the first 300 years of the church had no physical church building and the gospel was preached in almost every place? When the focus shifted to a place and a building, people lost sight of God’s universal grand agenda of having a people called out from the world to be his building and his house.
There is nothing wrong with giving money and offerings and attending church services at a particular place and in a particular building, but when that building becomes a hindrance to God’s major plans, it becomes evil no matter how much spiritual service is done there. Have I again become a heretic because I see no value in having well furbished church buildings at the peril of missions support? No, on the contrary, I see a valueless Christianity that seeks to reach spiritual satisfaction in worldly things and materialism at the expense of lost souls. It is time to re-examine ourselves to see if we are still in the faith!
We should be on guard lest we become like the church of Laodicea, which locks Christ outside its church and yet claims to be worshiping Him. He is seen knocking on the church’s door but no one is listening and is willing to come and open the door for Him (Revelation 3:15-20). If such a scenario develops, beware, your house will be left unto you desolate! However, the Lord is still calling us to repentance, to come back to him and have the same love and passion that we once had as the Zimbabwean church in the past decades before materialism entered our churches and drained the life and zeal of the lost in us. God still offers us a chance to come back to Him and go back to the work. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Revelation 3:19)