WHILE THE CHURCH SLEEPS by Pastor Shah
(54th Annual 2012 Fall Session, Cullom Baptist Association, Henderson, NC)
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“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.”
– Aldous Huxley (writer and thinker)
I want us to go back in time and look at what happens when the Church looses sight of the mission and the vision and gets caught up in the trivial. The results can be devastating.
Why did I give you this history lesson?
- To tell you that Islam is a threat? Not really
- To tell you that we shouldn’t have Church Meetings? Not really.
What is the lesson from history?
- When the Church loses sight of its mission and its vision, the repercussion can be devastating.
- When the Church gets involved in the trivial and the frivolous, the consequences can change the course of history.
- When the Church gets stuck in a rut and becomes complacent, lives are sentenced to Hell forever.
Did you know that it took over 700 years to retrieve the portion of the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) back into Christian hands. Thousands upon thousands went to an eternity without Christ—to a place called Hell—because the Church failed to make a difference. Even after the Christians gained control back, it still does not mean that everyone was now saved.
We are standing at the place where the Church of Toledo stood 1400 years ago. We are at the same spot in history. Is Radical Islam the threat to our nation? I don’t think so. As long as we vote for a President who will build up our military and not cut it back, we will be fine.
What is the Biggest Threat to our Nation? LOSTNESS. Everyday men and women, boys and girls are driving past our churches and saying “Church is not for me.”
For e.g. At one time we used to hear – once young people go to college, they walk away from the church; then, we heard – once they become teenagers, they walk away from the church. Do you know the latest report? I was at an Apologetics conference and the latest statistic is that kids 9-12 years old are walking away from the church. Why? Because the church is no longer answering the questions they are asking. At school they deal with the real issues and, at church, they hear stories.
What is the Answer? Listen to what Paul said to the Church in Rome and to the Churches of all ages.
1. We need a sense of urgency.
Romans 13:11-14 11And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
We do not have the time to waste on the trivial. Some of the things that church people fuss about—no wonder we haven’t seen any lost souls saved in months. Our children and our grandchildren deserve better. We should be doing whatever it takes to win the new generation to Jesus Christ. We cannot afford to sit back and criticize the culture; we cannot afford to sit back and reminisce about the past; we need to get busy reaching our neighbors in Christ-honoring and relevant ways to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. We need to walk in Holiness.
12The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
There is no substitute to a life of holiness before God. We have become so much like the world that there is no difference between the church and the world. By the way, it has nothing to do with your hairstyle or music style. It is about your lifestyle. We get caught in the superficial and fail to deal with the seriousness of sin. God demands “truth in the inward parts.” We need to deal harshly with sin in our own lives.
3. We need to put on Christ.
14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Meaning: When we receive Christ as our Saviour, we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ; but daily we put on Christ. Daily we remember that we are dead to ourself; it’s no longer we who live but Christ lives in us. Let the world see Christ in and through us. Only Christ has the power to change lives. Jesus said in John 12:32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
Application: People often say to me or ask me – “Do you think we are living in the last days?” Friends – I am not as concerned about whether we are living in the last days as I am about what if the world goes on! What if Christ does not return for another hundred or five hundred or a thousand years, what will our nation look like? Are we doing all we can to lead our children and grandchildren to face the challenges that our facing them? Are we leaving this world in a better state than we found it? Will our children and grandchildren thank us in heaven that we did all we could to help them come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, to have the Bible and Church vibrant, to have Biblical values and ethics intact for years to come. Will they look back at us and praise God that we were not asleep in the face of rising godlessness in our nation.
God has a secret weapon to handle this rise of godlessness in our nation. They are all around us – on every street corner. They are the medium – small churches of our nation. What if every one of these medium-small churches come alive with gospel of Jesus Christ. What if our pastors make a commitment to burn their ships and stop running to the “greener grass churches” and plant themselves into their communities! We will have revival!
We are afraid of “sleeper cells” in our country. The real “sleeper cells” are the medium to small churches all across our land. Can you imagine what will happen if they wake up!