The Sunday Morning Tune-up ~ The Last Church Standing

No Guts, No Glory!

“Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” ~ 1 Samuel 17:32

Each one of us has our own individual hourglass, with differing amounts of sands of time to fall…even with twins, known only to the Father. As is the same for His Revelation hourglass and hour of His final harvest.

I want to thank everyone who hung in there through the spiritual warfare series. I pray everyone found something useful to apply to their daily walk-in-faith. Because, my friends, we are now in that place where the proverbial rubber meets the road. A brother recently introduced me to Inductive Bible Study that breaks down into three phases starting with observation, followed by interpretation, ending with application. Welcome to the application phase for this, our finest hour…for some.

I will tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? ~ Luke 18:8

“Woe to the rebellious children,” says the Lord. “Who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin;” ~ Isaiah 30:1

Best-selling author Eric Metaxas writes in his latest book, Letter to the American Church, “,so have we in the American Church cheapened the ideas of belief and real faith. James in his epistle is talking to all of us who think there need be no connection between what we say we believe and how we live…But of course God is not fooled. He sees our hearts. And he sees our actions. He knows precisely what we believe by the way we live our lives.”

Human nature, from the day David took down the Philistine giant, to Bonhoeffer’s stand eighty-eight years ago, to the present day, has not change one iota. If we observe the majority mindset in the context of faith and relationship with God in 1 Samuel 17, and we compare it to the same mindset of the German Church in Bonhoeffer’s day, we can observe a pattern, interpret God’s message to us, and apply it to our present condition and circumstance.

We know the 1 Samuel 17 mindset before David took the field was more fear than faith. And here’s the mindset Bonhoeffer had to deal with:

There were 18,000 Protestant pastors in Germany when Hitler came to power.

  • 3,000 stood with the “confessing church” obedient to God-first.
  • 3,000 stood loyal to Hitler-first, the “Deutsche Kristen”
  • 12,000 lacking the courage to stand, let the 3,000 who did take the heat.

We can see the very same fear over faith mindset plagued the German Church eighty-eight years ago as it plagued Saul’s army in 1 Samuel 17. Now, let’s observe the mindset of the American Church of today. What do you suppose that could be when only 37% of American pastors hold a Biblical world view?

On one hand, that is a very discouraging statistic. On the other hand, what do we as Christians have today that our friends in the German Church lacked? A very important life-line cast to us by those who went before…The Spiral of Silence, coined by German sociologist and political scientist Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann, Bonhoeffer famously applied to the faith, or perhaps faithless would be a better way to put it, as Cheap Grace ~ When people fail to speak the price of speaking rises. If you do not speak you are not being neutral but are contributing to the success of the thing you refuse to condemn. Contrarily, when we speak out we encourage others to speak, decreasing the price of speaking.”

How many of God’s children went “with the flow” into the Egyptian Alliance despite the prophet’s warning, “Therefore the safety of the Pharaoh will be your shame…And the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation”, (Isaiah 30:3) thinking their dual citizenship actually meant they could be in two places at the same time?

Only the names have changed, human nature still the same. Watching a Christian brother I love, who happens to be stuck in the Cheap Grace bleachers, do mental cartwheels through his own cerebral corn maze to avoid Truth inspired the following analogy this week:

Truth is a beautiful young girl who delights in the sun on her face and to be seen by all, not a blemish to hide. Jealousy is the sister layered in makeup, always seeking to call her aside, out of the light, away from the public view.

As Metaxas puts it, “The fact is that because of their inability to see things clearly they clung to what was safe; and in doing so they markedly departed from leaning on God and trusting Him with what lay ahead. Bonhoeffer saw—and said—that those who call themselves Christians have an obligation to God to ‘get political’ if necessary, and to take a bold –and likely dangerous—stand against their own government. What had become of their faith so that it was now so flabby and unable to stand against the enemies of God in their time?”

The majority of today’s pastors have taken on the role of the jealous sister. Here’s a quote from one of them I refer to as the head-fake of the century, “I don’t mind dying for Christ, but I don’t want to die for politics.” That one reminded me of the old Churchill quote, “They will be the first to flee when the lead starts flying.” As the wisdom of Solomon pointed out in Ecclesiastes, there’s nothing new under the sun.

Woe to you American Church, knowing that grave error of the German Church, who say to the seers, “You must not see visions”; And to the prophets, “You must not prophesy to us what is right, Speak to us pleasant words, Prophesy illusions.” (Isaiah 30:10)

Brothers & Sisters… “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. ~ Ephesians 5:14-17

Well my friends, back to the hourglass and the remaining sands of our time. That’s a whole lot of observing, interpreting, and applying to digest. Speaking of sand, the future does not belong to those with their heads buried in it. MEN…its no different than our first dance, remember? The prettiest girl? Remember how good it felt when we summoned the courage, overcame our fear, and asked her to dance? The Cheap Grace American Church is like the mother of Cinderella. I don’t want to be in the German Church or the American Church. Let no man’s heart fail because of them, I want to be in the last church standing…for Him.

About Chip Murray

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