It is my personal deep conviction that Christianity must change. Why? Among professing Christians is a fundamental misunderstanding of the true nature and original purpose of the New Testament Church.
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said that He would build His Church. His Church is a unique organization, founded on a unique connection between Christ and His followers.
Jesus preached repentance
When Christ founded His Church, He sent out His twelve apostles, at another time seventy disciples, to preach about repentance, conversion, and the kingdom of God. These were the main themes of the Gospel.
He commissioned His apostles to go into all the world and to bring to all nations the good news that He had taught them. Read the Gospels, the message of Jesus, and compare it with the things that are taught or omitted today. Jesus said, “teaching them to observe all things…” (Matthew 28:20).
Jesus began with a sermon of repentance. Some “Christians” by name have not heard a traditional, powerful sermon on repentance for a long time. People often hear that they should try to become better, that they should overcome fear and stop worrying and start living. But Jesus taught repentance! He says, “But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:3, NIV). Peter says in Acts 3:19, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.”
If any church preaches salvation without repentance and faith in Christ, then it needs transformation because it does not represent Christ and His gospel in the right way.
Sin must be overcome
Secondly, the Church must teach and emphasize the New Testament principles of Christian living. The toleration of sin in the lives of professing Christians must cease, for the New Testament Church stands in constant rebuke to sin.
Jesus came to save people from sin. May the Lord give us more preachers who are called by God, equipped by God, and inspired by God to dare to rebuke sin and unrighteousness, regardless of where it is found!
Peter could have let Ananias and Sapphira get away with their hypocrisy. However, he rebuked them publicly. It is made far too easy for many professing Christians to get away with their habits and views, even though they are not right before God. They must be rebuked, both rich and poor! If sin is not overcome, it spreads more and more and multiplies unstoppably.
Never take the Gospel lightly
Stephen, the first martyr, exclaimed in the anointing of the Holy Spirit: “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you” (Acts 7:51). This was an open speech, and Stephen was stoned for it. But it takes clear, open preaching for people to see the truth!
The Church must never take the Gospel lightly! A gospel that is not for discipline, consecration, and a full surrender to Christ is a disgrace and mere pretense. A gospel that does not stir a man to his innermost being and inspire him to the highest aspirations is deceit. Church membership without conversion is dishonorable for Christianity, for it misrepresents the Gospel of Christ.
To present the Gospel as a path that is easy is a distortion of Christ’s message. Jesus spoke of leaving father and mother and giving up houses and lands if you want to be His follower (Matthew 19:29). He spoke of taking burdens upon oneself, turning the other cheek, and walking the second mile (Matthew 5:39,41).
Money and possessions
Christianity must change its attitude toward money and possessions. The church is not a social club where members pay a small fee to remain in good standing. The church is the army of the Lord, equipped for a fight to the death against the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Everything that is important to us, and that means something to us, should be consecrated to the commitment to the battle of justice against injustice. Such a war cannot be financed with mere cents or alms. The Church’s agenda – whose goal is the liberation of the whole world – cannot be achieved through second-rate efforts or ambiguous loyalty.
Christ demands our best! It is tragic for Christians to consider goods as their own, which are entrusted to them only as temporary administrative property. Their financial plans should be made by looking over the shoulder of God Himself.
As good stewards of God, we should work in such a way so that God has 100% control over our assets. If the world is to be won to Christ in this generation, our own convenient agenda must be replaced by one of consecration and self-denial.
We must not make a half-hearted surrender but should completely consecrate ourselves and all our wealth to God. Christians who live for themselves and their selfish purposes must change!
Bad feelings and resentment
Yes, Christianity must change! People who harbor ill will and bad feelings must let them melt away by the love of God. The Christian spirit is a spirit of forgiveness. Oversensitive people must put their proud, self-confident selves to death. People who wallow in self-pity need to throw off this childish attention-seeking and wake up, for they are not able to fight the spiritual battle the way they should.
Further, Christianity needs to change some ideas in its planning and worship services. All planning in the church should be aimed at winning souls and establishing them in the truth of God. A healthy Christian salvation experience, worshipping together, and working together for the Lord deepens the fellowship of God’s children. In this, all three elements are needed together. Our spiritual experience must be lived out in practical service to God and fellow men. We must be the hands and feet of the Gospel, solidly equipped and faithful in service.
Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that worship services seem to fall far short of showing reverent glorification of God and worship of His Son.
Worship must once again become the center of our common encounter with God. In order to do this, we must know His will and worship Jesus Christ for the great work of redemption. In worship, the eternal grace of the Father must be revealed to us; He must penetrate our souls with the revelation of His immortal love and show us His holiness. Worship must show the worthiness of God again and must not merely be about following religious formulas.
Religious rituals and habits can easily be perceived as worship, but sometimes they have nothing to do with worship at all. True worship leads us to holy ground where we “take off our shoes” and stand before the Almighty, deeply moved and trembling in love and adoration!
In worshipping, we should always hear the bright trumpet call to service and faithfulness, to offer God an overflowing love, and to have a Christ-like concern for fellow people.
Worship must again become a clear, refreshing stream flowing from the heavenly source – a stream that cleanses our soul, clarifies our view, and provides us with all-sufficient grace, courage, faith, and strength, for whatever cross we have to bear or whatever work we have to do.
True worship is like an oasis in the desert of sin, like a quiet forest meadow, like a still water where the soul is refreshed in the Lord before going back to the battle line.
The Bible – the empowered guide
Lastly, thousands of Christians need to change their attitude towards the Bible! This ancient book, inspired by God and still inspiring today, must be taken off the shelf, dusted off, and put into daily use.
We may have read a lot about the Bible. Now it is time to study it in depth, because this is the book of God, the revelation of His will for us.
The Bible is the heavenly blueprint that shows us the way of salvation. The Bible is God’s response to sin. It shows us the purpose of Golgotha and the empty tomb. The Gospel is “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
The Bible must again become as something never seen before in our generation: the Christian’s manual and the Church’s authorized guide. Preachers and listeners must again recognize the values and powers that are revealed only by hearing and accepting the truth – God’s truth.
“Preach the word!” Paul said to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:2). No other preaching has as much power as biblical preaching! Christianity must change!
The fires of a holy revival can be rekindled. New strength can be found, and new victories can be won.
How much do we want to work and give? How much do we want to risk for stirrings to begin and to have souls find God? Where is our place when the final battle is fought between right and wrong, between God and the gods of this world?
Are you a member of the New Testament Church? What stance are you taking? Is God calling you to change, and are you willing to do so?
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