In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5
America has gone from the Great Awakening to Woke generation. And the one entity that, up until the last few decades has turned to apostasy. The church was the guardian of morality and the American conscience. The church pews are full of those that ask ‘why is there no revival’ while subverting, demonizing, and denying the edicts of our Creator. Like my grandmother used to say ‘you can’t guard the hen house by letting in the fox’, which is exactly what the men behind the pulpit has done.
The first Great Awakening during the Colonial Era of our nation was brought into a complacent church. Men like George Whitfield, who had a voice that Ben Franklin said he could hear a half mile away. And probably the greatest preacher of that revival time, Jonathan Edwards. He preached a sermon that came to be know as the greatest sermon ever given. It was called ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’. It was based on the scripture of Deuteronomy 32:35 “Their foot shall slide in due time”. (https://www.ccel.org/ccel/edwards/sermons.sinners.html)
The first Great Awakening had 5 major points of discussion:
- All people are born sinners
- Sin without salvation will send a person to hell
- All people can be saved if they confess their sins to God, seek forgiveness and accept God’s grace
- All people can have a direct and emotional connection with God
- Religion should not be formal and institutionalized, but rather casual and personal
The second Great Awakening came post American Revolution and lasted until about 1830. It brought with it Camp Meeting. In 1802 Kentucky the camp meeting counted 20,000. (https://www.ushistory.org/us/22c.asp) The best known concept to come from this revival movement was the concept that freewill prevailed. The idea that one could choose to be saved, and salvation was for everyone. It also had greater roles for women and the black community.
It was at this time, men like Charles Finney found his salvation. In 1821 he said he was going to the woods in New York to determine the reality of his soul’s salvation. He is quoted as saying “I will give my heart to God or I never will come down from there”. In 1824 he was ordained. He had a unique way of reaching those that heard him and a message that didn’t tickle the ears. Ending one of his sermons he told the listeners, “You who have made up your minds to become Christians, and will give your pledge to make your peace with God immediately, should rise up”. The congregation sat still. His reply was “You have rejected Christ and his gospel”. This made the congregation, and the community angry. To the point of anger, the next evening a gentleman was intent upon killing him.
The next evening he preached again. This time, those present at the end of the message stood up to give their pledge. While others fell down groaning and bellowing. Sorrow for their sins and the understood need for repentance took over the congregation. (https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/evangelistsandapologists/charles-finney.html).
Other great revivals have hit our nation when needed through the ages since then.
- The Great Prayer Meeting Revival 1857 (at least 1 million were converted)
- Civil War Revival (an estimated 300,000 converted, both USA and CSA)
- The Urban Revivals 1875-1885 (DL Moody saw the conversion of hundreds of thousands)
- The Welsh Revival of 1904-1905 came to America (Billy Sunday preached to the conversion of at least a million)
- Azusa Street 1906 started as a home prayer service (lasted for 3 straight years, everyday all day and night)
- From WW2 to the 90s , America saw great preachers like Henry Blackaby, William Branham, and Billy Graham.
These men (and women) planted the seeds that converted millions in the US alone. They preached the recognition of sin and need for salvation through Christ. The bible was their only used material. God said it, the writer’s wrote it, so these preachers preached it. They gave no quarter and did not worry themselves about what people thought about them or their message. They understood that God’s message of sin and repentance was like a sword, not cotton candy.
Today we have weak preachers that seek to fill the pews and not offend. They want to be liked not hated. They want to be seen as friend to the masses not the continuance of the Apostles. Because of the loss of power in the pulpit message and compromise of the Word of God, Christian churches have become social clubs where sin and repentance is not discussed, and the love of God requires nothing but to be kind. And we are warned of these types of preachers. ‘Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away’. (2 Timothy 3:5)
The men praised today and almost worshiped are men like Kenneth Copeland, Joel Olsteen, and Creflo Dollar. These types are called prosperity preachers. Their message is simple. If you are not healthy and wealthy you lack faith. If people hate you, you are preaching wrong. Send us your money as a seed (many have lost all they have to these charlatans) and God will bless you. No call to repentance, no calling out of sin, and no need to go into the prayer closet.
Churches today allow homosexuality to flourish because the rules of God’s morality does not matter, just love each other. Go ahead and commit abortion because the command to not kill (murder) does not apply, just be nice. The use the verses that say do not judge and sliver in the eye to justify a weak worldly message. They care more about tickling the ear than the state of the soul.
Of course Christians are not perfect. However many claim to be so or have given in to the concept is love is all that matters. A true Christian will search his /her heart, see where the sin is, repent, ask for forgiveness and grace from God. A person who only claims to be a Christian says there is no need to because “God loves me and I said one time I believe so I’m good to go”.
Christ and the apostles answered this question. ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments’ (John 14:15). ‘Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.’ (John 14:21). ‘I am amazed how quickly you are deserting the One who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel–‘ (Gal 1:6). ‘But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea’ (Matthew 18:6).
Today we are seeing the Church of Laodicea. To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev. 3:14-22).
The church is ineffective because it is dead. It is dead because it has compromised the teachings of the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus the Christ himself. This compromise has happened because of the weakness of the message from the pulpit. The message is weak because those preaching have decided that being popular is more important than the souls of the sheep they are suppose to tend. In nations of Africa and the Middle East, Christians die for their unwavering faith in the the message of Christ. The apostles were jailed, beat, killed, and banished for their faith in Christ. In America, these preachers fear mocking and ridicule. Imagine what will happen when Christ makes his glorious return and sees the church in America.
‘Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!…’ (Matthew 7:21-23)