Tuesday, April 10, 2012

When is it...Time to Change Churches? Chapter 3



Get out the box of Kleenex and shed those tears as the soft music is played in the background during the pastor’s sermon. It is all done with a purpose in mind for you, the listener. It seems to be a sign of a loving pastor, a pastor who loves God so much that he cannot hold back his tears. It causes all who hear him to shed tears and to feel a special bond to him. It also is known as a “winner” for bringing people to Christ at the altar.

Read about a real life experience found in a church and see if this sounds familiar to your church or to your pastor.

Many years ago, a pastor left a church to move down south. He remained friends with some of the congregation. A pastor had replaced him and been in a church for a period of over nine years, faithfully serving God. His salary was too high for the amount of tithing being brought in on a weekly basis, his health bills were getting too high for the church to support so one of the members of the congregation took it upon himself to contact the former pastor (who was out of the ministry for a year by this time – unable to find a church to serve), and told him that God was calling him to his church. The agreement was made, now all that had to be done was to get rid of the current pastor. A meeting was held and the pastor’s salary was cut in half and his insurance was taken away. This, of course, caused havoc to the current pastor. He was basically shoved out the door. The church put together a pastor search committee to find a replacement. The church was told that they had only received one application so this must be the man God had sent to their church. In reality, the church never posted anything on the Internet for the pastor position and it was never advertised through the church’s denomination headquarters. The reason no pastor submitted a resume was because it was never known to anyone but this one pastor that was contacted by one man in the church. It was hidden from the church members as to how he found out about this opening. The church was asked to write down some questions they would like to ask the pastor. Strong questions regarding his belief on salvation, on faith, on sin and the need for repentance were never asked. Instead, the committee asked him generic questions such as “What gives you great joy in preaching?” and “What about our church intrigues you?” They pick a date for him to “tryout” and he gives his sermon. He goes on to preach while his wife quietly plays soft music in the background. He pulls out his handkerchief and wipes away some tears. The audience is crying with him. Mind you, there is no mention of sin, no mention of the need to repent of those same sins, no mention of obedience to God’s Word, no mention of God’s Wrath or His abundant Grace. In fact, what he did mention is that a woman in one of his churches, asked him to go talk to her dying husband in the nursing home. He was not saved and she wanted to make sure he went to heaven. The cancer was killing him and time was running out. This pastor told the congregation that he took six months to even mention Jesus Christ to him, because to talk to someone about something as important and intrusive as God, he must first build a relationship, a friendship with the man. He had to earn his trust first. After the service the congregation was given a chance to vote on this new pastor. People were given the opportunity to stand up and voice their opinion. All of the people who knew him from the time he used to serve at this church, all stood up, one by one and said he did a great job and that everyone should vote positively for him. A man stood up and said he was appalled that it took a pastor six months to mention Jesus to a dying man. He said there was no mention of sin and the need to repent of those sins. He read Scripture to the people detailing the role of the pastor and his duty to proclaim the gospel accurately and to do so in season and out of season. Once Scripture was read, the man who first contacted the old pastor stood up and said this was neither the time nor the place to be reading Scripture. Now mind you, this was done in church. The voting was stacked with a ton of absentee votes all voting positively for this man. The man that read Scripture said that he would like to have the man come back so he could hear him preach a biblical message before taking a vote. The man who contacted the old pastor, stood up and said, we have never invited anyone to come back for a second sermon. The vote was taken and the pastor failed to get enough positive votes to be accepted as the new pastor. The man who first contacted the old pastor, stood up and said, “we need to have him come back for a second time,” in which case a person seconded it and it was approved for him to come back. This time, the denominational leaders, the state pastor, got involved and gave his overwhelming endorsement to this pastor. So here you have an incident where a pastor gave a completely emotional sermon, that completely lacked any substance, he never once mentioned sin and the need for repentance, he never mentioned what he felt the requirements were for salvation to be obtained, and he was forced down the throats of the people. He came with the promise that the church would grow and the tithing would increase. The church has since dwindled down in attendance with the tithing also going down. This church has about $350,000 worth of debt and only has about 100 members which bring in about $1500 to $2000 weekly in tithing.

And the people will follow this pastor and be loyal to him without fault. They are following the man and not following God. They are blinded to the truth. It is right there in front of them and they do not see it. The pastor continues to shed his tears while the music is played quietly behind him during his prayers. The people are so moved by his tears that they just feel he is a true man of God. He continues to not preach on sin and the need for repentance. This is not a man of God. This is the works of the devil; he wants nothing more than to get people to follow someone who will not preach the whole gospel message of sin, repentance, and God’s grace to the people. Instead, what they are getting is only God’s grace without realizing “why” they need a Savior.

Here is one more example. A pastor was traveling around to different churches. He was sent by his denominational office. He stood in the pulpit and in the middle of his sermon, he started crying. The cries sounded so sincere and they were just pouring out of him and then like a faucet, the tears stopped. This man had made it a science to be able to turn on his tears at will. It was so obvious to everyone watching. He was just doing what many seminaries today are teaching new pastors, and that is to use emotions to get a response from the people to bring them to Christ. But nowhere in Scripture does it tell us to use emotions to bring people to Christ. In fact, we are to use God’s Law to the proud, arrogant person to bring them to their knees and to have them cry out for God to save them. Bringing people to Christ through emotions will only give them a temporary high. It will only present them as we see in the parable of the sower.

But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. Matthew 13:20-21

Those people, who come to Christ through an emotional high, will receive the word with joy, and they will receive it immediately, they have no root, but will endure for a season; but, when persecution comes, they will be offended and fall away. They will not have a true understanding of “why” they need a Savior. When we know why we need a Savior, our circumstances will never cause us to fall away because we know that God is in control. We know that there is nothing that man or circumstances can do to us to take away our standing with God.

So, how should a pastor behave from behind the pulpit? Is crying appropriate to use as a “tool” to bring people to Christ? Was it done in the days immediately after Jesus ascended up to heaven? Those church leaders spoke with great confidence that what they were saying was the truth. They prayed for God’s boldness to preach His word. They took His word into the world preaching the gospel. They did not wait six months to develop a friendship with everyone first. A pastor that waits six months to share Christ to a dying man in a nursing home is a derelict in his duties. He has no business being a pastor for to do that is to show absolutely NO LOVE for the dying man. But more importantly, it is showing absolutely NO LOVE for God. What it shows is that he does not believe that God is correct when He says; GO into all the world preaching the gospel. He does not believe when He says, BE READY in season and out of season. He does not believe Paul when he says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” For this pastor is ashamed of the gospel. He is more worried about what a man thinks about him after he tells him about Jesus (which is why he has to do “friendship evangelism”), than he is in being obedient to God’s Command to fulfill the Great Commission.

Should a pastor cry?

But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. Psalm 13:5-6

Happy [is that] people, that is in such a case: [yea], happy [is that] people, whose God [is] the LORD. Psalm 144:15

A pastor that cannot show the happiness is someone who does not have the Lord in his life. Why should there be tears? Here is an example:

Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry; For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. Psalm 88:2-3

A pastor will have times when tears will come down, so please do not misunderstand what is being taught here. It is not the occasional tear that he sheds that is a problem; it is the pre-scripted tear that is meant to evoke an emotional response from the listener and cause them to want to come to the altar to give their life to God. He is creating false converts because they do not know “why” they need a Savior. Are you listening to what your pastor is actually saying? Or are you just following along with the emotions that he displays? Think about it…

The devil does not want you to hear the Word of God!

And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth [it] with good will at your hand. Malachi 2:13

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death. Proverbs 16:25

As you sit in your church service and you see your pastor crying, just realize this is scripted many times. The pastor is taught to display emotions to get the congregation “moved” to a point of conversion. This goes against God’s Word. For a more detailed explanation of how seminaries are not always the best way for a pastor to be taught, the book titled, “Locked Doors of the American Church” is a great source of information. It is a desperate attempt to make the word of God come to life. What it really shows is that the pastor has no confidence in the Word of God to change lives, so he feels it is necessary for him to be the one to make it happen. This pastor is one who feels that it is “he” who saves people. Let us never forget that it is the power of the Holy Spirit that people get saved, and not of ourselves.

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; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 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; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth,

and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 KJV

This Scripture will continue to be mentioned because it is important for the reader to understand what the job of a pastor truly is. He is to PREACH the Word; be instant in season, out of season; REPROVE, REBUKE, EXHORT with all longsuffering and doctrine. It does not say that he is to cry in an effort to get people to come to Christ. It does not say that he must garner an emotional response. NO. In fact, by preaching, reproving, rebuking and exhorting, it will cause the listener to understand where he stands in God’s eyes. It presents God’s standards to the listener and he will know what he must do to be saved. In fact, he will truly understand “WHY” he needs a savior. A wimpy pastor behind the pulpit is a sorry excuse of someone who has asked God to give him boldness.

We then, [as] workers together [with him], beseech [you] also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.) 2 Corinthians 6:1-2

Now is the day of salvation. Do we really want a wimpy pastor leading the way? Find a pastor who knows God’s Word and believes in the power that comes from it, do not find a pastor that has to “add” to God’s Word with his tears.

For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…

And we have pastors who want to cry and take away the power of God’s Word. It is time that we allow the Word of God to cut us asunder so that we will come to the throne of God with the right attitude.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

The church of God needs to be bold. It needs to preach God’s Word without compromise and without fail. You might be a new believer and are not sure who or what to follow.

Follow Jesus Christ and Him alone!

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