August 17

2 Chronicles 13-17, Psalm 75

Without revival, we as a nation, and many who call themselves "Christians" are without hope. The main reason for starting the One Year Bible Challenge three years ago was to serve as a vehicle to bring the Word of God to many who have never read it in its entirety and to revive many who had ceased reading it. The term "Christian" should be a clear term with a clear definition. But like so many other things which have been corrupted over time so has this term been changed. As the Christian faith has desired to become increasingly tolerant to things that God would never tolerate among His people, and with a strong desire to become more relevant and attract more people, most Christian places of worship have morphed into something different than Christian. For revival to take place I wish that these "Christian" alternatives would be more honest in their statement of faith and what they place on the stage in front of the congregation. For the many churches that choose to normalize LGBTQ, sex before marriage, and living together, they should be more honest. In Biblical times these groups would be worshiping the false god, Asherah or Diana. To clarify things, if these churches were to be more honest, they should note the worship of both God and Asherah in their statement of faith, and display this large demonic idol alongside the cross. For those churches which applaud a woman's choice to abort the unborn, they should also be more honest. In Biblical times sacrificing one's unwanted children to the god of Molech was celebrated. These churches now, should change their statement of faith and have the large demonic god of Molech alongside the cross on the stage at their church. For the many megachurches which emphasize prosperity and a "name it and claim it" mentality which is filled with a congregation seeking to gain power and wealth, their statement of faith should also change and on their stage alongside the cross should be a large god of Baal (the god of power) and Mammon (the god of money). Lastly, for those who like to consider themselves "spiritual" and have taken to the New Age movement, on their stage alongside the cross should be the "abomination of desolation" along with life-size selfie portraits of everyone in the congregation since they worship themselves and believe they can achieve god-like status. This may seem extreme, but revival will never take place unless a Christian is truly a Christian.

Realize the northern kingdom under Jeroboam chose to worship God and other things. We read in 2 Chronicles 11:15, "Then he appointed for himself priests for the high places, for the demons, and the calf idols which he had made." Notice these false objects of worship are not harmless, innocent lifeless forms but objects which allow the worship of demonic entities. We read about the southern kingdom of Judah in 12:1,14, "Now it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom and had strengthened himself, that he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel along with him...And he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord." Rehoboam probably attended many of the sacrifices and worship services, but his heart never really sought the Lord. Notice the difference in Jehoshaphat in 17:3-4,6, "Now the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments and no according to the acts of Israel...And his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord; moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah." Jehoshaphat brought about revival to the Jewish nation.

In those days as well as today the Jewish people were called Jewish whether they worshiped the One True God or not. The same holds true for Christians. Our banner has become blurred. Christian is now applied to those who are born to parents who profess a Christian denomination, to those who care nothing for God, to those, as I mentioned in the first paragraph who worship a blended God of their own making, along with those Christians who follow the essentials of the Christian faith. Revival can never and will never occur if people don't know what Christianity is. How does anyone follow a movement, if that movement is not defined. Some essentials of the Christian faith are: the deity of Christ, salvation by God's grace and not by works (we do not get to heaven by our good works), the resurrection of Christ, the Gospel, monotheism, and the Holy Trinity. Along with this is the reliance and authenticity of God's Word in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."). Jesus said in Matthew 12:25, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand." The Christian church has allowed Satan to enter and divide. We must not seek uniformity but unity. We, who call ourselves Christian must uphold the essentials of the Christian faith, but allow liberty in those non-essential areas. But non-essentials are those areas not clearly delineated in Scripture, such as how to dress, how to worship, which days to worship. Areas which have been clearly established in Scripture such as areas of sexuality, abortion, greed, etc. must be not accepted. Jesus said the road to heaven would be narrow (Matthew 7:13-14), so perhaps we should focus more on establishing a true and faithful remnant instead of worrying about numbers. Many will mistakenly place themselves under false shepherds who will teach tolerance to their sinful behavior, only to hear the chilling words from Jesus at judgment in Matthew 7:23, "...'I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" We, as Christians should not look down on anyone, for we are no different than anyone in that we are all sinners. The only difference is that by grace we have been saved. We must be very tolerant of all of our fellow sinners, just as Jesus, Himself, was a friend of sinners. But we must be intolerant, just as Jesus was in Matthew 23, to those who profess to speak for God but do so in a way that God would never tolerate. It's time that we Christians stop saying half-heartedly that we want revival but do nothing about it. The truth is we must stand upon our Savior as the source of our power, and upon God's Word as our source of truth. If we who call ourselves Christian continue not to stand for anything, then we will stand for nothing. The banner of Christ must mean what it means and nothing else.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster