I think that many times we find ourselves as believers almost hopelessly out of touch with what is happening in the world around us. We have a definite tendency to tag mundane things with sinister labels and then almost completely ignore real dangers that are sitting directly in our backyard. I suppose it has always been this way to one degree or another.
In the 11th century, Cardinal Peter Damian denounced a new invention as “un-Christian”. He called it an “excessive delicacy” and “an immoral implement, fit only for courtesans and Persians”. The invention was the common table fork. When the fork arrived in Europe in the luggage of a Byzantine princess, the church was quick to proclaim that “God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks – his fingers.” After all, they noted, the Devil himself carries a pitchfork. It then took that church over 70 years to lift the ban and begin to allow parishioners to eat with one without being in danger of hell.
I would dismiss this kind of thinking as only attributable to the dark ages if I did not see evidence of the same thinking around me every single day. From Cabbage Patch Kids to the Teletubbies, we seem bent on declaring silly things to be evil while totally ignoring the real evil that we cuddle up with every single night. We rail against cartoons that some say are opening our children up to demonic forces while all the while we “open them up” to our own apathy and complacency when we do not evangelize, we do not give, we do not love our brother and we do nothing at all while our nation sinks further and further into a spiritual darkness rivaling that of Europe. How much more Pharisaical can we possibly be, when we strain at these gnats and yet swallow such camels?
The enemy counts on us being this way, I guarantee it. And the very fact that he does not even mess with most of our churches clearly shows his absolute indifference to our efforts to glorify God. Because all of your building programs, social programs, sermonettes and worship atmospheres do not do the one thing that we are designed to do.
Amazingly, some of the church has ended up celebrating their besieged state rather than be horrified at it. Teachings abound out there about “bridal intimacy” and how Christians were “created to worship”. This all sounds very cute, albeit kind of feminine. But we were not created to worship as our prime purpose for existence; I hate to be the one that breaks the news to you as you run around your living room with a banner trailing behind you, but I am willing to be the bad guy, I guess.
In fact, let me take this a step further and tell you that when all that you do is chase after intimacy with God and yet fail to produce offspring off of your unions, you have treated the God of the universe as a common whore. Maybe next time you engage in “deep worship” and then refuse to witness to your neighbor maybe you should leave a tip on your nightstand and show God what you really think about Him.
Before you get too mad at me, let me give you some Bible to show you what I am talking about.
6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar.
7 And Er, Judah‘s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.
8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.
9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.
Genesis 38: 6-10
Consider with me the fact that Luke said in the beginning of the book of Acts “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach”. Please note that he said all that Jesus BEGAN to do and teach. Jesus began a work when he was here on earth, a work that was intended to save the world. The Law stated in the Old Testament that if a brother should die without bearing children, the obligation to have those children falls on his brother. And Jesus died that day without seeing a single person added to the Church that His precious blood had bought.
Er, in the story above, was wicked in the sight of the Lord and the Lord slew him. Jesus as we know, had no sin but became sin for us. And as it says in Isaiah, it pleased the Lord to see him suffer on Calvary’s hill. And so it fell to his brethren to raise up seed for him. And that is you and me, church. Here lies our eternal purpose, here rests before you the cause that you are to set before your eyes- to raise up seed for your brother.
But this is the generation of Onan, who wanted to be intimate, but didn’t want the baby. Oh, he wanted to party with her, for sure. He wanted to have all the benefits of intimacy with none of the obligations that come with it. And you, like him, want to feel his presence, get enraptured in worship, intimately tell him that you love him, but you don’t want to witness, don’t want to go into all the world to preach the Gospel, don’t want to be inconvenienced in any way. Generations ago, men left hearth and home and suffered to see the good news taken where it was darkest. Missions were the primary focus of the church and we covered the world with brave souls that no longer lived for themselves but for him who died for them.
Juxtapose that with today. The kids growing up in church want to be Christian rock stars, not missionaries. Your churches focus on new building funds, not the lost. Your Evangelists are itinerant preachers, bringing teachings to church after church, not out saving the lost in the world. You are Onan, to every degree that it is possible to be. You are only interested in yourselves; and your churches and ministries stink to high heaven of the whole mess. Selfishness is the hallmark of the American church system and you do not have time to worry about anything other than your small part of the body.
Someone asked recently “Whatever happened to the power of God?” Silly question, if you ask me, especially when the church has treated the power of God with as much disdain as you have his presence. The preachers aim it at themselves and market it, package it and sell it to Charisma and TBN. They take it from church to church so that you can be worshiped by adoring fans that will send you lots of money. And as you do this, the world burns with violence and crime and rape and murder. As you position yourselves to becoming the next big thing, hell fills with the souls that you should be winning. But the simple fact of the matter is that you can’t because you are too busy running a Jesus business to get involved.
Ask a Pastor why he doesn’t preach a straight word in this country. Ask why he cuts out the really offensive bits. He will tell you that he would no longer have anyone to preach to, they would all leave. Good, I say! Open the doors of the balcony wide and let the Jezebels be tossed down like they deserve. Let them all leave with their petty offense, their desire for a politician in the pulpit, their hero worship and base idolatry. Let them all leave and we have more seats for the sinners, who we should be focused on anyway.
God help us in the country. God forbid that the last ministry that America sees before falling in judgment is banners and portals and gold dust and worship gatherings. There is a purpose in our intimacy; it is what gives us the power to take the anointing out where it is needed most- to the lost.
And now is the time for God’s church to rediscover this. Let’s find his presence, then take the residue of power that comes upon us and go and win a world that is dying without him.
And we will all discover that He is the same God that He has always been. But we must stop focusing on the intimacy and cry out with our whole hearts, “Give me children lest I die!”