Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1Tim.4:1)
It is one of the sad points in the human experience that when things are going well we tend to take life for granted as though it would always be this way. This is what happened to the people of Israel and Judah. They had short memories. Under Saul they were always at war. Under Saul they had lost the Ark and were without hope for a proper gathering place for community worship. Under Saul the kingdom never saw economic expansion. All these gains and recoveries were obtained under David’s rule but the people, with bellies filled and swords beaten into ploughshares, took their king for granted and even decided that a change in leadership might be in order. So they gave their support to one of the king’s upstart son named Absalom. With his good looks, enviable locks, and smooth talk he charmed his way into the peoples’ hearts (2Sam.15:2-6). Absalom bought votes with guile and idle promises but would quickly learn that it takes more than good looks, smooth words, and kissing of babies to run a nation. Predictably, the outcome was a bloody civil war. Thankfully the people were sensible enough to restore King David to his rightful place.
So how does this relate to us today? There is a lot of infighting in the churches about what program should be added and what should be relegated to the dustbin of obsolescence. We are even meeting to discuss ways of reaching our cities with the gospel. And while there is some merit in all of this it does not address the real issue behind the apostasy that is being felt in the kingdom. The real issue is not about the adequacy of programs or a better understanding of millennials or what it takes to make the church relevant as an institution in the 21st century. The problem and its answer are not complicated. Our King is in exile and we don’t care because we are being charmed by the ministers of Satan and doctrines of demons. The young and charismatic leaders have gained our affection and we can find no place for old men in this modern country. The young leaders can identify with us we say and have made religion more accessible to us, meaning more liberal, allowing us to serve both God and mammon, without fear of judgment.
Sadly, blindness has overtaken us and so we fail to connect the moral and spiritual chaos in and around us to our King’s exile. The world is in tension. Mental health is on the increase. Suicide is on the increase. Pharmaceutical industries are releasing new drugs every day. Adding new programs to our church calendar is not the solution to waning interest and declining membership in the church. Jesus is still the Desire of nations, not our fancy buildings and charismatic leaders. It is because we have exiled him from our lives that we are in despair and scrambling for solutions. If confusion and despair are the result of an exiled king, then his return will mean a restoration of order, peace, and prosperity. If there is infighting in the church it should be about the urgent need to have the King back in his rightful place – on the throne of our hearts!
Related Reading: Apostasy (Amazon Kindle)