WHAT CAN SAVE THE CHURCH? (In America)

II TIMOTHY 3:1-5: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” NKJV
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OBSERVATION: Is there any hope for the church in America? As we witness major denominations leaving the tenants of the faith and young people turning their back on the church – is there any hope? Is the current trend a result of using the wrong approach to reach the next generation or is it something entirely different?

When I read the first five verses of Paul’s second letter to Timothy, I must confess, I have generally thought of the condition of the world during the end-times when I have read it. Yet, Paul is not writing to Timothy about the conditions of our culture.

Paul is writing to Timothy about the conditions of the Church!

The warning is that much more to be heeded and understood in this light. The time would come when there was little difference between the world and the church. The fruit of the Spirit would be sparse but the fruit of the flesh would flourish. Much like Israel’s history, it would be business as usual in the life of the church, all the while the walls would be burning down all around us. Paul summarizes the future spiritual condition of the church when he writes,

  • “…Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.

The veneer of godliness would continue. Pews and seats would still be filled. Worship would continue as usual. There would be church socials and potluck dinners. Philanthropic works would be pursued as a means of outward righteousness. Yet, the true heart condition would be grave. In all of this pomp and circumstance, man’s heart would be far from the Lord. Like the church of Laodecia, services would be taking place, but Jesus would be on the outside knocking at the door!

  • “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—”. Revelation‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭NKJV‬

Is there any hope? What do we need to do to turn the tide? Do we need to change our style of worship? Do we need to alter our approach from the pulpit to reach the present culture? Do we need more social justice and a greater sense of tolerance in the expression of our faith? Or, are we searching for the answers in all the wrong places?

The hope for the church today, the hope for its purpose and mission, has not changed from the day Paul wrote this letter to young Timothy. The mission of the church, the message of the Gospel, has never been about style or presentation. It has always been about content. When the message from the pulpit becomes watered down, when our popularity becomes more important than our purity, we see the effects of this in our hearts and lives.

So what does Paul recommend to young Timothy to stem the tide? Does he counsel Timothy to change worship styles or to focus his messages on popular topics and themes?

NO! Paul calls young Timothy (and today’s church) back to the basics!

  • “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” II Timothy‬ ‭3:14-17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Paul calls Timothy back to the Holy Scriptures. Paul calls Timothy back to the foundation of his faith in Christ Jesus. When the focus of the church becomes redirected from the Holy Scriptures we see the manifestation of this in the heart and lives of its members. There is only one thing that can bring us to a knowledge of our sin and our need for a Savior. There is only one thing that can lead us to salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. There is only one thing that can teach us, correct us, and lead us into righteousness.

IT IS THE WORD OF GOD – THE HOLY SCRIPTURES!

Only God’s Word divides between the soul and spirit, the joint and the marrow, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Only God’s Word keeps us from error and excess. Only God’s Word convicts our hearts and keeps them from growing cold. The church does not need larger worship teams, more media, polished presentations, and graphics.

The Church needs to return to – GOD’S WORD!

Whenever the church has positioned itself in repentance, humbled itself in prayer, and turned to God’s Word – there has been a revival. I believe God is calling us today to do the same. We need to see a revival in church today where the Scriptures are not merely put on the screen but are carried, cherished, and read by every person who enters the door of the church. The reading of Scripture must be given priority once again. Pastors and leaders must realize this important truth,

The power of God is not in our presentation. The power of God is manifest only by the Spirit of God working through – GOD’S WORD!

  • “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Lord, turn my heart toward you in sincere repentance. Give me a humble and contrite heart. Renew within me the joy of Your salvation and give me a renewed hunger for Your Holy Word!

In Jesus’ Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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1 Response to WHAT CAN SAVE THE CHURCH? (In America)

  1. eldermike547yahoocom says:

    I cannot log in to post my comment. I have tried and tried. So, if I could, here it is.

    You state: “The Church needs to return to – GOD’S WORD!” I agree wholeheartedly. However, I believe most or all modern churches are missing something very important. Most read the Scriptures, but miss this very important fact entirely! How did the early Church operate? How did it win, change most of the Roman empire from pagan to Christian in a few hundred years; and that, during times of great persecution? Christianity spread far and wide, by walking, horse and buggy, ship, and other very slow means. 

    There were no Church buildings for almost three hundred years. They had no need for pews, pulpits, or all the other things people think of, when they think of a church. Home Churches were the order of the day. Tithing was not a part of Christian giving. There was no mandatory tithe as is taught in many Churches. And yet, they fed, clothed, and helped multitudes, and spread the message to many nations. The early Christians gave generously and abundantly. And they had no “Church” buildings.

    A number of years ago I taught adult Sunday School classes. I wanted to do a lesson on Christian giving, and of course, that meant tithing. This time I dug deep into everything about tithing, I read every verse and other verses pertaining to it. I was so surprised at what I learned. Here are a few things.

    Not everyone tithed.

    The tithe could only come from the ground (or animals), things edible.

    The tithe could not be money in any form. Thus, the tithe could not come from someone’s business, employment, or job. No one ever tithed from their income, Never!

    No one tithed before the Law was given on Mt Sini.

    I am writing a book on Christian giving. In my book I deal with much more than this. I deal with, how should a Church operate. How should Christians give. I don’t have all the answers, but I think it may give an idea or two on how to get back to the Scriptures on this issue. If you would like to look it over, I can send the file.

    Like

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