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Published On : August 10, 2000

Last Updated : January 3, 2009

Other Gimmicks Of Modern Churches, All Noise But No Real
Substance, Spiritually-Dead Churches, Right On The Outside
But Wrong On The Inside, America's Spiritual Condition,
Ostracized For Preaching God's Truth, America's Coming
Judgment, Separated From The World, God Will Provide Our
Needs, Principles Of Answered Prayer, Murmuring Israelites
Seek First The Kingdom, Narrow Path, Do You Have An Ear?

In addition to hiring famous preachers to awe their members,
some churches resort to other gimmicks in order to retain
their membership, such as having cheerleaders, rock bands,
special outings, bake sales, bingo games, music concerts,
video presentations, etc.; not to mention all of the weird
manifestations which have been occurring in recent years. It
has become like a wild spiritual circus in some churches. In
spite of all of these things, from everything I have read in
recent years, it seems that people still continue to leave
the churches in very large numbers. Not only that, but what
I personally find alarming is the fact that in the so-called
'Christian' United States of America, they are turning to
Islam, to Wicca, to New Age thought, and to an assortment of
other pagan belief systems in increasing numbers. Now, if
Christianity has so much to offer, why is this happening?

While it would be easy to attribute this decline in church
attendance to the prophesied apostasy, or falling away, of
the Endtime, I believe that it can also be attributed to
another factor; and that is this: A lot of people are still
spiritually hungry, but their spiritual needs are simply not
being met in the churches, so they are going elsewhere; but
sadly, they are turning to the wrong things. There is a lot
of noise, a lot of show, and a lot of glitz in the churches,
but very little true spiritual substance. As I point out in
several other articles, such as in 'Where Are The First
Century Churches?' and 'Churchianity Or Christianity: Which
Do You Practice?', some churches have divorced themselves
from the truth of God's Word; and thus, just like the church
of Laodicea, while they appear to be alive and well on the
surface, they are in fact spiritually dead.

Jesus described the religious system of the Scribes and the
Pharisees in the very same way. Long before He had ever been
born, they had already become spiritually dead, due to their
lust for worldly power and wealth, and their desire to do
things their own way, instead of God's way:

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are
like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful
outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all
uncleanness." Matthew 23:27, KJV

Some churches today have likewise foolishly surrendered the
true spiritual riches, in order to adopt the false standards
of the world; primary of which are power, popularity and
wealth. They are just like the rich man who wanted to build
bigger barns, while within he was spiritually empty. Just as
Jesus said back then, they are spiritually dead; they are
the blind leading the blind. Furthermore, just as the Jewish
leaders of old killed their true Prophets in order to try to
silence the Voice of the Lord, today, certain sectors of
organized religion react in a similar manner by ridiculing
and discrediting anyone who tries to expose their sins as

Please ponder the following thought for a moment. At the
beginning of the First Century, the Sanhedrin, (or Jewish
council of Seventy Elders plus the High Priest), was the
authoritative religious voice of the day. As I mentioned a
moment ago, on the outside, everything seemed right. While
it is true that Palestine was under Roman oppression, the
Jewish religious system was still intact, and permitted to
be practiced; and the common Israelite accepted the word of
the Elders as coming from God Himself. Yet, in spite of this
seemingly 'right' outward appearance, God chose to send John
the Baptist with a strong message of repentance, in order to
prepare the hearts of the people for the Lord's arrival. So
while the crafty Jewish Elders were saying that everything
was fine, God's true Prophet, and later even Jesus Himself,
were saying 'Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!'.
Why repent if nothing was wrong?

Today in so-called 'Christian' America, a similar situation
exists. Once again, everything seems right on the surface.
We have churches, denominations, preachers, revivals, Bible
versions, and Christian radio and TV programs galore; and
every weekend, millions of people across America faithfully
attend Saturday or Sunday church services; yet as back then,
something is terribly wrong. Most churches certainly won't
admit that anything is wrong. Your average preacher is too
busy talking about God's 'wonderful financial blessings', or
about an upcoming building project, or about the so-called
'Second Pentecost' and the coming revival in which God is
going to do 'wonderful things'. Anyone who does not follow
this party line, or who dares to question the voice of these
false prophets, is immediately silenced and ostracized. In
worse-case scenarios, he may even be branded as a dangerous
cult leader, or as a brainwashed cult follower, or as one
who is mentally and emotionally deranged.

'Oh no!', they say. 'You are wrong! America is beautiful!
America is wonderful! America is the most God-fearing nation
upon this Earth! We are His children! He won't allow any of
those things to happen to us! Go away, you false prophet!
God bless America!' Well, the Jews made the Old Testament
Prophets 'go away'; and they made John the Baptist 'go
away'; and they even made Jesus 'go away'; but eventually,
God made THEM 'go away' in 70 A.D., when Jerusalem was
invaded, and their sacred Temple utterly destroyed by the
Romans! In similar manner, these false prophets of modern
churchianity are so wrapped up in their patriotism, and in
their materialism, that they don't have a clue as to what is
about to happen. They can't even see that God's mighty Hand
of Judgment is about to fall; and it will indeed fall one of
these days soon unless there is a great deal of repentance!
If God loves America, and I believe that He does, then He
must punish her for her many iniquities which have reached
unto Heaven! As we read in the Book of Proverbs:

"Open rebuke is better than secret love."
Proverbs 27:5, KJV

So the warning is clear. As servants of the Lord, we must
each remember that we are called to center our lives around
the True Standard of God's Word, and NOT around the false
standards of the world. We must make certain that we are
seeking first His Kingdom, and not the false, materialistic
kingdom of Satan and of the world, which will never truly
satisfy, and which only offers death, and not life. We must
always remember that while we are currently in the world, we
are not a part of it; and that we should only interface with
it, as much as may be necessary, in order to accomplish the
task which the Lord has given each of us to do. Please
consider the following verses:

"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but
because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out
of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
John 15:19, KJV

"And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the
fashion of this world passeth away."
1 Corinthians 7:31, KJV

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,
saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will
receive you," 2 Corinthians 6:17, KJV

"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God,
without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse
nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Philippians 2:15, KJV

"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of
this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be
a soldier." 2 Timothy 2:4, KJV

"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the
friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever
therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of
God." James 4:4, KJV

From personal experience, I can tell you that if you have
been called to serve the Lord in some capacity, and if you
are truly seeking first His Kingdom by denying yourself, in
order to unselfishly meet the spiritual needs of others, He
will provide for you in some way; He will take care of you.
I cannot say exactly how He will do it, but He will do it,
because He has promised to; and it will amaze you when you
begin to see the Lord's Hand begin to work. As I mention in
the article 'The Fruit Of The Womb', as children of the
King, we are each a part of God's holy Household; we are His
sons and daughters. Surely, the Creator of the universe is
more than able, and willing, to provide our needs when we
are pleasing in His sight.

The Lord is not one to say, 'This is the way; walk ye in
it', and then not provide for His children along that way.
Didn't He drop Manna from the sky, and send flocks of quail,
and make water spring forth from a dry rock for the children
of Israel? It is sometimes through His provision, that we
know that we are in His Will. Of course, it is possible that
the Lord may test our faith first, in order to see if we are
still willing to believe and obey, even when things seem
contrary to what we expect; however, if there is one thing
of which I am certain, it is that we are not to worry about
the future, because He will provide if we are pleasing Him.
Please consider these wonderful promises found in both the
Old and New Testaments:

"Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot
save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:"
Isaiah 59:1, KJV

"Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee
the desires of thine heart...I have been young, and now am
old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his
seed begging bread." Psalms 37:4, 25, KJV

"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may
be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the
LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven,
and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room
enough to receive it." Malachi 3:10, KJV

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow
shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto
the day is the evil thereof." Matthew 6:33-34, KJV

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that
asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him
that knocketh it shall be opened...If ye then, being evil,
know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much
more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things
to them that ask him?" Matthew 7:7-8, 11, KJV

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer,
believing, ye shall receive." Matthew 21:22, KJV

"Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one
of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of
your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of
more value than many sparrows." Luke 12:6-7, KJV

"And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you,
Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither
for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than
meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the
ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have
storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are
ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking
thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not
able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought
for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil
not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in
all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God
so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to
morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe
you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall
eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
For all these things do the nations of the world seek after:
and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things
shall be added unto you." Luke 12:22-31, KJV

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us
all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all
things?" Romans 8:32, KJV

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his
riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19, KJV

"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we
ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if
we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we
have the petitions that we desired of him."
1 John 5:14-15, KJV

Before concluding this article, allow me clarify that our
Heavenly Father promises to provide all of our needs; but
this does not necessarily mean that He will provide every-
thing that we ask for. Some people pray, and then become
disappointed when their request doesn't materialize. They
erroneously think that God has either not heard them, or
else that He has failed to answer them, or that He may even
be mad at them, when this may not be the case whatsoever.
Perhaps He really did answer, but not in the way in which
they expected. The Lord usually replies with 'Yes', 'No' or
'Wait'. Notice that in the last verses above, John very
specifically writes 'if we ask any thing according to his
will, he heareth us'.

In other words, what we need, and what we want, may not be
the same thing. God will surely provide what we really need,
but He may not provide what we simply want, because it may
not be according to His Will. Perhaps it is something which
may end up being harmful to us, either in a physical or a
spiritual sense, so the Lord refuses to allow us to have it;
or maybe it is something that we are simply lusting after.
As James also wrote:

"Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may
consume it upon your lusts." James 4:3, KJV

As I explain in other articles, a primary example of this,
is the Israelites whom the Lord freed from Egyptian slavery.
Following the initial excitement of their liberation, they
became one rebellious, moaning, groaning, complaining group
of people. They complained about their loss of comforts in
the land of Goshen. They complained about how hot it was.
They complained that they didn't have a lot of food to eat.
They complained that water was scarce. They complained that
Moses wasn't a very good leader; and on and on they went.
Consider the following verses:

"And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we
had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when
we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the
full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to
kill this whole assembly with hunger...And Moses said, This
shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh
to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the
LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him:
and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but
against the LORD." Exodus 16:3, 8, KJV

"And all the congregation of the children of Israel
journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys,
according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in
Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.
Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us
water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide
ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD? And the people
thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against
Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us
up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle
with thirst?" Exodus 17:1-3, KJV

The Lord finally got tired of their constant complaining,
and decided that it was time to teach them a lesson. While
we are told that He provided Manna for them for forty years,
and quail in abundance, and water from the rock, we are also
told in Psalm 106 that He sent leaness to their souls. This
Psalm is an excellent summary of what the Lord had to deal
with regarding those stubborn Jews. As I explain in such
articles as 'The Fruits Of Disobedience', He was forced to
punish them over and over again due to their lack of faith,
their constant complaints, their stubbornness, and their
backslidden condition. Part of their initial punishment was
that they were forced to spend forty years wandering in the
wilderness until the older complaining generation had died
off; and in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul tells us
that we are supposed to learn from their poor example, lest
in our pride we think that we are any better than them:

"Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant,
how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all
passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in
the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual
meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they
drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that
Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well
pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now
these things were our examples, to the intent we should not
lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye
idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The
people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them
committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted,
and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some
of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and
they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of
the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he
standeth take heed lest he fall."
1 Corinthians 10:1-12, KJV

So as I explained in part one, we must learn to be thankful
and content with whatever God chooses to give us; even if
His answer is 'No' sometimes. We must simply trust that He
knows what is truly best for us; and what is usually best
for us, is giving us just what we need, and no more than
that. As I noted earlier, when we have too much, it serves
as a distraction in our lives. We become too comfortable,
too self-confident, we take too much for granted, and we
begin to lose our fear of the Lord. We don't appreciate the
things He has done for us and given us, and we soon drift
away from Him.

So what about you? Are you truly seeking first the Kingdom
of God in your life, or are you following the deceptive ways
of the world? As Jesus said, we cannot do both; we cannot
serve two masters; we cannot serve God and mammon; that is
to say, material gain. It must be one or the other; our
heart must not be divided; our eye must be single. As King
Solomon wrote twice in the Book of Proverbs:

"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end
thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 14:12, KJV

Jesus made similar statements in the New Testament when He
cautioned us with the following:

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and
broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many
there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate,
and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few
there be that find it." Matthew 7:13-14, KJV

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow
me:" John 10:27, KJV

Are you one who is listening to and following the voice of
the Great Shepherd? Are you following His path to Eternal
Life? I certainly hope so. I pray that this article has been
a blessing in your life.

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