Entrusted with the Gospel

1 Thessalonians 2:3-6 ESV

“For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.”

Market-Driven “Churches”

I doubt that many pastors of institutional market-driven “churches” in America today could proclaim what Paul proclaimed here about his ministry, and to say it in all honesty. For what Paul stated here goes against the whole concept of the market-driven “church,” which is not the true church, the body of Christ. For it is all about patterning the gatherings of what is called “church” after marketing schemes and for the purpose to draw in and attract large crowds of people from the world.

And if you know anything about marketing, most of it involves deception and trickery, from what I have seen, and it is all about pleasing the people they are trying to reach with their product. But it is certainly not about pleasing everyone. It is not about pleasing God and his servants and messengers. For you can’t please the people of the world and please God, too. And usually they have a target audience they are trying to reach, and there are people they want to exclude, too, like needy people and those who don’t buy into the whole marketing the church to the world scheme.

My husband and I were involved in institutional church ministries over a span of about 40 years, and about 6 years of that was in these market-driven churches. And many of those years we were involved in the inner workings of the church ministries, and so we got a good hard look at what is going on behind the scenes. Plus we were church planters twice, and so we went through the training that many of these pastors go through, so I am speaking a lot here from personal experience.

And so these market-driven institutional “churches” are businesses and they are being run like businesses, and since they are being marketed to the world, they indeed are trying to please the people of the world so that they will want to come back to their gatherings, and so they will feel comfortable and at home there. And so their pastors will use marketing techniques in order to attract the world, which involves flattery and greed, for they are building their earthly kingdoms, not God’s eternal kingdom.

And that is why they are diluting and altering the gospel message, too, so that they don’t offend the people of the world with the truth of the gospel. So they teach that you can make a one-time profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and now your sins are forgiven (past, present, and future), and heaven is guaranteed you when you die, but regardless of how you live your lives on this earth. For most of them are also teaching that you don’t have to repent of your sins and you don’t have to obey the Lord, for they call that “works salvation,” which clearly it is not (read the Scriptures in context).

Integrity in Christian Ministry

Now, what was described above, with regard to these institutional market-driven “churches” is not biblical. The Bible does not instruct us to use marketing books and schemes to lead us in how to conduct our gatherings so that the people of the world will be attracted in a fleshly way to our gatherings. And it certainly does not give us leeway to dilute our Lord’s gospel so as not to offend the people of the world with the truth of the gospel and in order to appease human flesh.

Instead our pastors, if they are godly men, should have the testimony of Paul. They should be men of integrity and honesty and not manipulative, and not charming, and not ones who use marketing tricks and schemes to draw in large crowds of people from the world. For our gatherings, if they are biblical, are for the body of Christ to build herself up in the faith to maturity in Christ, for the teaching of the word, for prayer, for fellowship, and for the breaking of bread. And they are so that we can encourage one another to walk in holiness in obedience to our Lord, and not in sin.

[Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Jn 4:31-38; Jn 13:13-17; Jn 14:12; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:42; Acts 26:18; Rom 10:14-15; Rom 12:1-8; Rom 15:14; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Php 2:1-8; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13; Heb 10:23-25; 1 Pet 2:9,21; 1 Jn 2:6]

And the truth of the gospel is not what so many are teaching in these market-driven “churches,” but it is that Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of Jesus Christ we die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, then we have eternal life (Luke 9:23-26; cf. Romans 6:1-23; 1 Peter 2:24).

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Pray, Pray, Pray

An Original Work / September 6, 2012
Based off Various Scriptures

Pray that eyes may enlightened be,
So they may know Christ.
Pray that they may Him better know,
Strengthened by His pow’r.
Pray that they may grasp
How wide and long
And high and deep
Is Christ’s love.
Pray that they may be filled
To the fullness of God’s love.
Pray with thanksgiving.

Pray for an open door for me,
So I may share Christ.
Pray when the gospel is proclaimed –
Shared with clarity.
Pray words are given me so
I declare the gospel fearlessly.
I pray for you to be active
Sharing your faith, too.
Pray continually.

We oft not know for what to pray,
So we ask for help.
The Spirit intercedes for us –
Words cannot express.
Just keep on praying for the saints
With all kinds of requests to God.
Pray they may have faith to
Please their God in ev’ry way.
Pray with joyfulness.

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