AMERICA IS IN TROUBLE BECAUSE THE CHURCH IS IN TROUBLE

Do you believe that social problems are derived from the schemes of multinational corporations, class warfare, capitalist exploitation, or rampant racism? Everybody else does. That’s why we have such a proliferation of all the summit meetings that are in vogue today.

However, those things are not the cause of this country's problems. We buy the lie because we think that the Bible talks only about the blood of Jesus, salvation, and freedom from sin. However, the Kingdom encompasses far more than three basic truths. No doubt, these things are vitally important, indeed the crux and foundation on which Christianity rest. All of our preaching, teaching, singing, shouting, ministry, etc., must ultimately point right back to the Cross! However, we must live by the whole counsel of God which mushrooms out of those basic fundamentals of the faith. Every problem we face as the people of God and as representatives of the Kingdom primarily arises from broken covenant and a failure to promote the Kingdom. 

One of the primary reasons that America is in trouble is because the Church is in trouble! The Church has set the example for the country and the world of having no commitment! The Church has set the example of not having a commitment to Christ and His Church! I.e. - We have broken our covenant relationship with God! In so doing, we are opening the door to God's judgment and we have told the world (as in world system) that commitment to something is unimportant. Once we repent, turn around and again renew and re-establish our covenant with God, lift up Jesus the King and His Kingdom, then the world may see that commitment is, indeed, a vital part of life.

Why does the Church by and large, and pastors in particular, not have a stronger revelation of "covenant relationship"? I am convinced it is because of the lack of this kind of revelation and understanding in the Church and it's leadership is, at least, one of the primary reasons that this nation is in the terrible condition it finds itself!

Read this carefully: To implement a divine principle is to reap a divine resultSince the "Law of Sowing and Reaping" works both ways, we can also say that to implement a non-divine, or a demonic, hellish principle is to reap those kinds of results!

This world is in a mess primarily because we have broken our covenants with Almighty God. The Church has a serious problem: The devil is beating up its members as if the supernatural event at the cross never took place!

The problem is that the Church has been taught another gospel that is based on man’s wants instead of upon God’s covenant. Ignorance of God’s covenant sets you up for a rough time with the enemy. 

God has always been ready to renew covenants and fulfill His promises to man. He has never broken a covenant or failed to meet His obligations. Man has always been the offender. When man fulfills his part, God can always be counted on to do His part.  His gifts and callings are unchangeable (Romans 11:29).

Everything God says and does is based on covenant!

When God says something or takes some kind of action, it is never contrary to His Covenant Word. God will never contradict the promises outlined in His Word. God does not bend and certainly will not break His covenant.

MARRIAGE: ONE OF THE CHIEF EXAMPLES OF COVENANT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHRIST AND THE CHURCH

The institution of marriage is a covenant relationship which represents the relationship between Christ and the Church. When a man and a woman come together under the covenant of marriage, is it okay for either one to "visit" around or "sleep" around with other people, as long as they come back home? No!

When a believer joins a local body of believers, a church, assembly, fellowship or any other terms that describe it, that believer is entering into a covenant relationship with that local body. That local body is part of the Church universal, also called the BRIDE of Christ. Entering covenant agreement with a local church, symbolizes your relationship with Christ, through that local body, to the universal Church. 

When you take vows in marriage, you promise to love, cherish, protect, obey and be faithful to that person for better or worse, in sickness and in health.

When you join that local church, you make a covenant agreement that you will love, support and be faithful to that church, through thick and thin, good, bad, pretty or ugly - as long as that particular church is preaching and teaching the unadulterated Word of God! Again, that's one reason it is called the bride of Christ!

There are sometimes, extenuating Biblical circumstances that leave no other choice, but for a spouse to leave their husband or wife. Likewise, there are sometimes Biblical reasons for a member/supporter of a local body to leave that local body. However, I am convinced that these circumstances are the exception in the Western Church here in the U.S.

In this country, people have a "consumer mentality" when it comes to church attendance. They develop a spirit of familiarity, and when they haven't gotten the goose-bumps at the church they made covenant with in a few services that they were used to getting, they find somewhere else where they can get some new goose-bumps. 

Some move from a smaller church to a bigger, or mega-church so they can hide in the crowd and develop a cloak to hide from accountability. There is no need for commitment because someone else is handling all of that.

On the other hand, some may even leave a large church and go to a smaller church to make themselves "available" to help, when sometimes that just serves as a cloak for them to feel their importance or feed their power-hunger. Now, there is nothing innately wrong with large or small churches, I just mention some of the scenarios regarding the reasons that sometimes people leave their church to find something new.

Still others start finding fault with the pastor and leadership, the people, the music, etc., etc. And then some are just plain old, regular "church-hoppers". Some people have a record of changing churches an average of every two years, some more frequent than that, and some change at the shift of the wind that may be blowing at the time.

I can't tell you how many people over the years have come to our church and told me time after time, "I believe this is where God has planted me, this is where I am supposed to serve, God has led me here...," only to have them just disappear; sometimes in just a matter of days after saying these things.

I didn't ask them or put them on the spot. In every case, they came to me and said this. I did not twist their arm, put a gun to their head, or anything. For whatever reason, they just felt that they needed to tell me that. Then, poof - their gone. No explanation as to why "God changed His mind". Then later I hear all kinds of excuses such as, "the services are too long" or "the church doesn't have this particular ministry, or that particular ministry" or "I have to drive a little piece and I don't think I'll have the gas to go" or "my kids don't get to sing like other people's kids", or "so-and-so offended me", etc., etc., blah, blah, blah..." The fact is: None of those are Scriptural reasons!

As a result we have a virus of non-committed, selfish, spiritual adulterers that just keeps multiplying with each generation. The vaccine for that virus is a good dose of faithfulness and commitment to the cause of Christ!

I want to pose a question to you: Do you think that God didn't take any of that into consideration when, or if He planted you in that local body? Do you think God told you "I want you here, but if the services are a bit longer than you like, you're free to go." Do you think maybe God wasn't quite up on the gas prices? Do you think that God possibly planted you in that body to be the one to start the ministry that you complain about that church not having? Perhaps God may want you to get delivered from the "consumerism" mentality and let Him build spiritual fidelity within.

It's time to get real! Either God placed you there, or He didn't! But, I've got news for you: Someone missed it, and it wasn't God!

This world is in a mess primarily because we broke our covenants with Almighty God. Every problem we face as the people of God and as representatives of the Kingdom can, for the most part, be traced back to broken covenant.

Do not think it is so easy to leave and join a church. You should never join a church and submit to its "headship" or leadership unless God sends you there!

You need to find out what church body it is that God wants you to yoke up with, or covenant with, and then let Him plant you deep in the soil of that congregation so that you can help produce a fruitful harvest year after year. Don't let the wind and water of these other fleshly things blow you away or wash you away. God sent you there to be part of the long-term solution instead of contributing to the problem.

The Theme of Hebrews: To present Jesus Christ as deity, and as better than all human beings and angels; to prove that Judaism and the law have come to an end; to confirm Jewish Christians in the faith; and to set forth new covenant doctrines for all people. A better covenant.

The Book of Hebrews was written to the Church. In it we find the New Covenant in Christ not simply mentioned, but the writer breaks that covenant down in a number of different aspects and we see the multifaceted characteristics of this New Covenant.

God Will Not Commit Himself To Those Who Will Not Commit Themselves To Him!

John 2: 23-24 - "Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs [miracles] which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men,..." 

Too many today have the notion that God is such a good, caring and loving God, that He is willing to just do anything, anytime in any way. They feel they do not have to commit their lives to Christ, but Christ is still going to be committed to them. But, it does not work that way!

In these verses it says that "many believed in His name when they saw the signs [miracles] which He did."  A great number of people believed in His name. Now, that sounds great, religious, super-spiritual even. However, these people, like many people today, used the name of Jesus as some sort of incantation to conjure up things for their own selfish desires. These people, like many today, believed in Him for the wrong motivations, for what it would do for them. They saw all of these miracles being performed and thought to themselves, "wow, if I just believe in this guy, I can have anything I want."

Also, notice, they "believed IN His name" but, they did not believe ON Him; there is a difference. Some may think I am splitting hairs here, but hang with me for a little bit. In John 2:23 the phrase, "believed in His name..." means that they identified themselves with His party. 

Now, please understand, you can "identify" all you want with Christ, but if He does not identify with you, you have a problem! These are the kind to which He says, "depart from Me, I never knew you."

However, in Acts 16, when the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved, they answered him in verse 31, "Believe on (emphasis mine) the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house [that is, this applies to your house doing the same thing]." Now that phrase, "Believe ON the Lord Jesus Christ,..." means to give yourself up to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping. Now, that is the kind of person that Christ commits Himself to.

Sadly, the Church in America does not understand this type of commitment.

GOD NEVER BREAKS COVENANT!

Judges 2:1 “And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.”

God never breaks covenant, but unfortunately people do. God has kept and always will keep His part of any covenant with any people. Israel was not cursed with defeat, captivity, dispersion, and judgment because God broke the covenant; they were to blame. He told them plainly what He would do if they broke the covenant, so He could not do otherwise (Leviticus 26; Deut. 28). Even yet, God promises that when they repent and keep His covenant, He will restore them as in days of old (Deut. 4:25-31; Deut. 30:1-10; Isaiah 11:10-16; Jeremiah 23:1-8; Jeremiah 30:1-31:40; Jeremiah 32:37-44; Jeremiah 33:3-26; Ezekiel 34:11-31; Ezekiel 36:1-38; Ezekiel 37:1-28; Amos 9:9-15; Zeph. 3:8-20; Zech. 8:3-8,20-23; Zech. 12:10-13:9; Zech. 14:14-21; Matthew 24:31; Romans 11:25-29).

We must understand, God honors covenant. Most of the promises, i.e. covenants of God are conditional. They are almost always unconditional. God always says that we must do something to receive the benefits of the covenant. Now, let me be clear here: I am not teaching or preaching a "works-salvation", in other words obtaining our salvation by works or working for our salvation. Neither am I a hyper-grace believer. I am simply pointing out what is plainly in the Word. God always says "if" you'll do thus and so, then I will do what I have promised. 

For example, 2 Chronicles 7:14, which we have heard quoted, taught, preached and even sung multiple millions of times over the last several years, illustrates such a conditional promise: "If [denoting the condition] my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then [denoting God's reciprocation regarding meeting the conditions] will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Even salvation is conditional. We're told that we must do something - believe - in order to receive salvation from the Lord.

Please understand, I am not saying this is the only problem the Church has, but I feel it is one of the major problems that is causing it to lose effect and impact on our society.

The Church in America must get back to a firm understanding of covenant relationship! Covenant relationship with God and the Church. I believe a return to walking in covenant, especially the New Covenant established by the blood of Jesus, will begin to have an effect on the direction of this country and possibly be used by the Lord as a catalyst for national revival!

Pastor Mike

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