Summary: Using Colossians and Acts, we explore the validity of what we are preaching to our congregations.
The question our churches need to start asking ourselves is, "What are we feeding to the congregation?"
We stand at our pulpits each week declaring the truth of God’s Word, and we tell people they need to start getting ready - and then we veer off and give messages that have nothing to do with their preparing their souls for a Godly eternal life.
Were you aware that history seems to repeat itself? Now that would be okay if what was being repeated was a good and worthwhile thing, but too often, it isn’t. We make the same mistakes over and over again, just to suffer the same calamities over and over again. And this is not just seen in our personal lives and in our governments. It is seen just as rampant in our churches.
Why do we do this when we know from past experience that it is not a healthy thing for us to do? I believe we do this for one basic reason: We are a selfish people by nature and we love the spotlight on ourselves. Think about it; why would politicians always seem to do what has failed in the past? They do that because that is what “they” want, not what our country “needs”. It always comes back to what the individual wants.
In our personal lives we often repeat past mistakes because we tend to take the easy way out, and not the uphill road to improvement. Let’s face it; we humans are a lazy group, too, aren’t we? If we have a choice to go to church on Sunday morning, for instance, or a choice to sit home and watch TV after a hard week’s work, too often people will choose to sit in their recliners saying they are too tired to get ready for church. Yet, an hour later, they are in their back yard stoking up the old bar-b-que for an afternoon of fun with their family and friends.
But that tendency to repeat unhealthy actions is also found in the church; for a variety of reasons.
For instance, we are given this account in the Old Testament.
“ 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, "This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!" 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers forever and ever. 8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. 9 Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal, and follow other gods you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, "We are safe - safe to do all these detestable things? 11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the LORD. 12 Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel.”
Jeremiah describes the conditions found in the houses of worship in Judah, just before God let Babylon invade them. There were several causes that led up to this invasion.
In verse 4, we find a casual and almost self-arrogant attitude that led to ungodly conduct, but since they were fellowshipping in “church”, they thought everything was fine.
Sometimes, we do the same thing. We cheat on our income taxes, or we lie to our bosses, or even our spouses, and think all is okay because we are just doing what everyone else is doing, or it isn’t really all that bad. Even so, God let them be attacked and taken captive. Membership in our local church does nothing to stave off punishment for ungodly actions. Those people were not living up to God’s expectations for them. In truth, they weren’t even trying because they were too busy living like they wanted.
Verses 5-6 illustrate that their judgment of how to apply God’s Word in their lives was way off mark. They proved that they did not love their neighbor as themselves; they were totally self-centered. Is there more evidence here that we might be the same? And I am not just talking about us individually. I am also talking about how our churches operate and what they do – all in God’s name, of course.