If one were to take even a passing glance at today's church, it would be obvious that preachers, evangelists and pastors are as caught up in the rat race of life as any other citizen of the world. The spirit of competition is alive and well within the house of God, and it is not a competition for something as noble as saving souls, or bringing people to Christ. It is a competition to see who can accumulate more stuff, then brag about it on national television, who can build the most lavish buildings, and who can come up with newer variations to an old, tired, and now cliched message that spirals in reverse, further and further away from what should be the essence of every message we preach.
Because many consider feeding the sheep a career choice, rather than a calling they attempt by their own wisdom, and relying on their own strengths to outdo the preacher across the street, or the one with the following time slot on christian television. Their hearts are not for the lost, since their hearts have never been circumcised, and so their desires and aspirations are purely human in that their only goal is to fill the seats of the mammoth tabernacle, unconcerned with the state of the souls that sit there for a few hours a month, taking in a watered down message, that does nothing to stir them to repentance.
Yes, I've used the word that is no longer edgy, hip, that has no place in the vernacular of the world we have become so accustomed to speaking, repentance.
I have often studied the sermons of both John the Baptist, and Christ, comparing them, seeing the similarities and the differences. Although John was a more straightforward sort of man, although he pulled no punches when speaking of the Kingdom, or the need for sanctification, and Jesus used parables and stories to enlighten those who would hear, the essence of the message remained the same throughout their ministries. The message was simple, realistic, the only message that had the power to change the world, so its essence was always the same, it was always repentance. Repentance from dead traditions, a turning away from the world and a turning of their faces toward God. It is not the change of denomination, or the change of religion, but a change of one's life, not a patching up of the old life, but a new birth, and a new life in Christ. Without repentance, all that remains is the axe buried deep in the root of the tree, and the heat emanating from he eternal fires of judgment.
It is truly amazing to realize that we can encapsulate the life and ministry of both men, every sermon that they ever spoke, into one word, 'repent'.
For some reason, many preachers today have chosen to dismiss this startling fact, and have guided their ministries and their sermons as far away from repentance as humanly possible. Yes, it is inevitable that some may leave the church, or no longer support your ministry if you start making the essence of your messages repentance, but then again, when you stand before the eternal judge of all that is, when you are face to face with the Creator of all that exists, you can show him your hands, absent of guilt, knowing there will be no blood.
The one message that is most necessary in today's church, is the one message that we rarely hear, namely that without repentance and a new life, birthed of said repentance, all that we've struggled toward, all that we've aspired to, all that we've been able to amass amounts to nothing. In the end, all the cars, boats, homes, and savings bonds will be nothing more than a fistful of ashes, and for many it will be too late, as they realize the error of their ways on that most blessed, and most vengeful day of the Lord.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.