Tuesday, October 22, 2013

“The Leaven Permeating & Destroying Today’s Fundamental Baptist Churches”

Preached at the Midwest Independent Baptist Pastor’s Fellowship meeting at Ravenswood Baptist Church, Chicago Il. August 12-13, 2013

1 Corinthians 5:6-7 “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:”

Let’s examine two things that are leavening today’s Fundamental Baptist Churches…

·        The Leaven of Broadmindedness & Tolerance

Never before in 40 plus years of ministry have I seen what I am seeing today: Once fundamental, Baptist churches distancing themselves from biblical separation and adopting a broadminded, tolerant, progressive stance toward the beliefs and practices of the world!

The call today is for open-mindedness and tolerance so that everyone is accepted and so that the unsaved won’t be offended!

By and large, the modern “church” is not emphasizing teaching doctrine, not preaching against sin, not promoting holy living, and not pointing people to Christ! They fear they would lose members and money. Today’s churches want people to “feel good” and “be comfortable.”

I have seen so many Fundamental Baptist churches and schools change their theology, though they claim they have not changed! They will blog till they are blue in the face claiming they are FUNDAMENTAL! However, they have turned their back on Biblical Separation! Separation has become a “dirty word.” If you are a separatist you intolerant, unloving, and narrow minded!

One example of many is Northland students are now “rapping” for Jesus and the school participated in the I am Redeemed CCM rock concert tour.

You don't have to be different from the world to be a church-member now. There is little about the average church to make men stand back in reverence toward God.

The Church has sacrificed depth for width and instead of being a deep well to draw refreshing, thirst quenching living water it offers stagnant swamp water polluted by sewage of the world!

We MUST remember that the New Testament Church started out on the narrow road and stuck to it!

Matthew 7:13-14  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The New Testament church was not broadminded and tolerant! It was the most exclusive fellowship on earth! They did NOT cater to the unsaved crowd! They did not integrate worldliness into their services to attract and please the world’s crowd!

As one preacher put it, “We face the peril of the wide gate and the broad way today, and it tantalizes us all the more because ‘many enter through it.’” And, today most Christians would rather be called almost anything on earth beside narrow and intolerant! The power of political correctness IS leavening an increasing number of fundamental Baptist Churches!

Preacher, don’t let the leaven of broadmindedness & tolerance get into your church! If it is there, purge it out! There are things you SHOULD have a holy intolerant of! (sexual promiscuity, adultery, child sexual abuse, cohabitation, incest, teen pregnancy, the murder of the helpless unborn, homosexuality, same sex marriage are but a few).

Far too many churches are sheltering sin in the Church. And, if a preacher cries out against it he told, "Don't be too hard, nobody is perfect," or they selectively quote -- "Judge not that you be not judged."

We are paying an awful price today for our tolerance of sin within the Church. “If the church of the Acts had overlooked iniquity and by-passed evil and smilingly looked the other way while the devil sneaked into every phase of her life as we have done today, Christianity would have died in infancy.” (Vance Havner)

Many churches are lack the power of God today because they are tolerating sin within. As difficult and distasteful as it is, we MUST exercise Church discipline when face with sin in the Church body. Paul exhorts the Church at Corinth – “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:” 1 Corinthians 5:6-7 

The second thing that is leavening fundamental Baptist Churches today…

·        The Leaven of Running A Show Boat Instead of A Life Boat

When Linda and I went on our Mediterranean cruise there was lots of entertainment available. We went to one ice skating show and went to just a few minutes of another show…it was not fit for Christian consumption!

Many churches are shifting from the Biblical model of ministry to a worldly model of ministry! Perhaps you are wondering what I mean by that. Let me explain.

ü The World’s Model of Ministry

The world’s ministry model for ministry is focused on entertainment. The Webster’s Online Dictionary defines entertainment to be – amusement or diversion provided especially by performers.”

I have seen it firsthand several times in churches I have attended, most recently in Florida. Two BIG screen TV’s were running information and clips constantly once you walk into the auditorium until the live entertainment started. Worship teams with choreographed music presentations were next. Actors gave their performances and finally, there was a short Cotton Candy message: That’s a message that is very sweet but has no substance.

The word “entertain or entertained is only used twice in the New Testament and that is in Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Obviously it has NOTHING to do with entertainment as defined above. 

In the late 1800 Charles Spurgeon wrote an article called – Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats. It is definitely applicable to our day! He wrote in part –

“The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the Church that part of her mission is to provide entertainment of the people, with the view of winning them…Providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function for the Church. If it was a Christian work, why did not Christ speak of it? ‘Go ye’…into all the world and speak the Gospel to every creature. This is a clear enough. So it would have been if He had added, ‘and provide amusement for those who do not relish the Gospel.’ No such words are to be found…. Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them.”

ü The Biblical Model of Ministry

In the Biblical model of ministry PREACHING & TEACHING the Word of God is central!

My 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defines preaching this way – “To discourse [formally talk] on the gospel way of salvation and exhort to repentance; to discourse on evangelical truths and exhort to a belief of them and acceptance of the terms of salvation.”

The words preach, preached, preaching, and preacheth are found 136 times in the New Testament.

Christians are told to “preach the Gospel” (Matthew 16:15); Christ sent the disciples out to preach (Mark 3:14); He commanded the his disciples to preach unto the people (Acts 10:42); It is by preaching that men are saved (1 Corinthians 1:21); For believers, preaching is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18); It builds up believer’s faith (Colossians 2:7).

That brings me to another preaching related issue. We have people who have recently come to our church because another large Fundamental Baptist Church will not deal with anything controversial. Their preaching has definitely been leavened, and corrupted.

Many once solid churches have adopted the stance that preaching should be non-judgmental and non-directive. That means, don’t call anything wrong and don’t tell them what is biblically right!

The Bible tells how to handle time like we are facing! 2 Timothy 4:1-5  I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  2  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

One preacher said - “Fearless preaching is all the more necessary in dangerous times. When people will not tolerate the truth, that’s when courageous, outspoken preachers are most desperately needed to speak it. Sound preaching confronts and rebukes sin, and people in love with sinful lifestyles will not tolerate such teaching. They want to have their ears tickled.”

Refuse to join the pastors today are either ignorant of or totally ignore Paul’s directive relating to preaching. If you are a believer, refuse to stay at a church that uses leavened preaching!

We must go against the tide. We must purge out the leaven of broadmindedness and tolerance. We must not look at church as a show boat but a life boat. Our preaching must be strong and direct!

Jude 1:3-4 “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.  4  For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We must never become one of those Churches that are so engrossed in trying to please non-Christians that many have forgotten their first duty is to please God.”