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Are We Focused On All the Wrong Things?

I'm getting really tired of hearing "Because church is not done in a way I'm comfortable with, THAT is why it's declining." What we're really saying is "I'm not used to the songs, I don't like the technology, I don't like the color of the carpet, and the translation of the Bible isn't what I like or am used to" ...or something like that. The reality is that everything, especially since Christ left 2000 years ago, is relatively new, and has little to do with the rise or decline of churches. Our older hymns are between 50 and 400 years old, Our buildings (Some of them old) are not the church, nor is whatever nation you're in the only church. Declining church membership has little to do with the externals. It has nothing to do with music and translation. It has everything to do with the lack of gospel preaching and ignorance of the Bible.

The early church didn't have hymnals, and no one would know who King James was for about 1600 years. They didn't care about the color of the carpet, but they did seek Christ, champion and die for the Gospel, and clung to the Scriptures. In fact, many churches across the world do the same! Many churches have no buildings to meet in, barely have one bible among them, if any, and sing songs of praise by memory. Many meet in secret, as to be a Christian is illegal, and yet, in spite of not having everything we have, their churches are growing, as did the early church.

What is the point of all of this? Why am I offending your sensibilities? Because it's time to, as the church always has, and is in many parts of the world, get rid of anything that's a distraction, fix our eyes on Jesus- the author and finisher of our faith, depend on the Holy Spirit for every thought, breath, and action, Preach the Good News, and be grounded in the scriptures. We need to devote ourselves to the Word of God, the breaking of bread, the fellowship and prayers. We need to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves. To do anything else is to celebrate, even elevate, our tastes, traditions, and comforts to a level equal to, or even greater than the church. Matthew 22:37-40 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 28:16-20 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Acts 2:42-47 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Ecclesiastes 12:13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

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