December 24, 2005

The Mixed Multitude

I remember as a child during the Cold War my parents used to quote the dreaded leader of the USSR, Nikita Kruschev, who made a threat to America: "we will bury you without firing a shot." My mom interpreted the rise of the drug culture in the 60s as part of that plot to ruin America. She used that to inspire us to stay away from marijuana. But as I pointed out in past Reflections, America’s undoing has been the influx of immigrants (both legal and illegal) from non-Christian countries who have brought in their false religions.

I have seen a clip poking fun at Benny Hinn who made mention of this saying "they’re bringing in their demons with them, and demons don’t need a green card." But he was correct. Now because of the influx of all these religions, America is no longer a Christian nation, but the God she now trusts in is a pantheon of gods. And if you don’t represent your faith as only one of many expressions of truth, you are considered intolerant and a threat to the New Babylon’s pantheon.

While this is going on in our country, a similar invasion is happening in the body of Christ, the church. It is being flooded with outsiders – those not born-again -- who want to come into the church and bring their demons with them. Rather than adapt their opinions to the word of God, they expect the church to adapt to them and not be judgmental on their opinions. And seeker-sensitive churches are springing up everywhere to make these people comfortable, while failing to build up the saints. We are being conquered without a shot being fired.

Has your pastor asked you to bring your unsaved friends to church? You’ve probably heard that before and especially during the holidays like Christmas and Easter. But have you ever asked yourself if that is the New Testament pattern?

Without getting into the discussion of whether people should gather in homes or temples or other buildings with "altars," what is the New Testament understanding of church?

Believers got together the first day of the week – bringing a psalm, hymn, or a spiritual song with them. Each of them had a gifting from the Holy Spirit for the building up of one another that gave each one, from the lowliest to the most gifted, an important part in the whole. Because they were all of the same mind they could meet each other’s needs and be a corporate example of the love of Christ to outsiders.

Evangelism was not appropriate inside the gathering of the saints – they were already saved. It was something done out in the marketplace of ideas – go out to take the gospel – don’t create mixed multitudes – don’t bring an unsaved person to church – we’ve destroyed the fellowship of believers in doing so. Many pastors today stay in the milk of the word, in order to reach those unsaved friends and end each service with an altar call. But we should go out to the world, spread the Gospel, and bring in the converts, making disciples of them – true Jesus followers.

God doesn’t like the mixture – his wrath will be poured out unmixed on the mixture. This might have something to do with why we’re not seeing His Spirit poured out on the gatherings – their worship has become a mixed sacrifice not pleasing to Him.

"Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities…in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her" (Rev. 18:4b-7).

Churches have turned into businesses, doing everything professionally under one roof – no more going out and getting up on speaker’s benches. People should be hearing the gospel preached at their local community centers and libraries. Has the night already fallen, when no man can work? (John 9:4) Where are the evangelists? Why do pastors think they are the evangelists? These are two different functions and gifts.

How can a congregation weed out the goats? They can’t judge between the wheat and the chaff – or they risk pulling up the wheat. After all, there are mature Christians and there are immature believers – the Church at Corinth had both. There are some unsaved people who act on the outside better than a lot of immature believers just because they were raised in homes that taught them common courtesy and how to be men-pleasers. Some put on very convincing performances. There are grouchy sheep and smiley goats and if you choose them on that basis you would be using a worldly scale. We can’t read another’s heart.

No – the way to weed out goats is to have uncompromising teaching and admonishment from the pastor-teacher. If the church leadership stays true to the Head of the church, Jesus Christ, that will act as a goat-repellant. That means they don’t avoid controversy – even if it’s unpopular. They don’t hobby-horse on only the so-called positives of the faith, but also talk about the negatives – hell and judgment for the lost, and God’s chastisement of His children. They say it like it is, remain faithful to the Word of Truth, and let the chips fall where they may.

When the New Testament pattern is followed, those looking to have their ears tickled will go to a "church" where they get what they want. And the group they leave will be left more purified. Or, as the Apostle Paul put it: "For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you" (1 Cor.11:18-19).

In most churches today, the mixed multitudes have become dominated by the goats, changing the entire landscape of Christendom; in the same way that America’s open arms to the Third World immigrants has changed her identity from a Christian nation into a Godless one. The two resemble each other. The evils of homosexuality, feminism, abortion, evolution, are tolerated and voices of reason are stigmatized. Both "church and state" are ripe for God’s judgment.

Dear Heavenly Father, we know that church is not for perfect people, but at least it is for saved ones. Please raise up more evangelists to go out into the Harvest as we see the land is in desperate need of your Gospel of Salvation. In this hour of famine in the land for the hearing of the word of God, send your mouthpieces to shout from the rooftops to people to turn away from their wicked ways and repent. Give us the baptism of boldness to proclaim your truth, even if it offends. Help us to link up with others who are unafraid of speaking the truth in love, even when it is not a popular message. Equip us and empower us for the task. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

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