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The Reality Church

By Ron Ryker

Life is “reality” to most human beings. They know only what they see and seek to deal with that reality. To live in a “dream world”, they say, is to be out of touch with reality. As a child in school, my teachers called me a “dreamer”. I often was rebuked for staring out of the classroom window and not paying attention in class. More than once was I told: “you can’t face real life dreaming out of a classroom window”. Our parents raise us to deal with the “real world”. Our schools teach us skills to better navigate our way through it. I was taught to seek a better life, to improve myself, and be the best I could be in this real world. I decided, finally, to continue to dream while trying to keep one foot in reality.

The gospel I hear mostly preached from our pulpits today is a reality gospel. It continues with this worldly theme to prepare men to live Christian lives in this real world. Many will argue with me that this is the Church’s purpose. It is not! The gospel of Jesus Christ, God’s purpose in His Word revealed to us through Him, is to prepare us for eternity. The purpose of the gospel is to prepare us for death; not for real life on earth.

This worldview is called “naturalism”. It is best defined by the scientist Carl Sagan who said:

“The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.” No Gods, no souls, no Heaven, no Hell, no miracles, no morality, no sin, no forgiveness, no transcendent purpose just molecules in motion. It’s the worldview of virtually all atheists and the methodological philosophy governing all science.”

While Christians reject this worldview openly, inwardly it is our human nature to live the Christian life that way. The change that takes place in a child of God at salvation, is having our eyes opened to the spiritual reality of God’s worldview. Where before salvation in Christ, our reality was that which we could only see; we now see a greater spiritual meaning to life and to death. Our focus is changed from preparing to live life to preparing to live after we die.

Our gospel message has changed in America over the last two-hundred years. We all want to go to heaven, but our focus is upon living life. Living the Christian life is to live it in a spiritual realm while having one foot in our earthly reality. Our gospel has changed to give us what we seek; to help us in living what we call a Christian life on earth. In the way most Christians live and in the gospel we preach; we live our lives as though we agree with Carl Sagan.

—Luke 18:24-27
24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? 27 And he said , The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

What was Jesus really saying here? Was He merely saying that it is hard for a rich man to enter into heaven? He was saying that a man whose focus in on only the reality they can see; it is impossible for him to enter into Christ’s Kingdom. The Rich Young Ruler had much. He relied on what he had and could not fathom a life without it. The reality of living life, for him, was relying on worldly means in which to do it. That was his focus and his only understanding. He sought to enter into heaven and he sought salvation, but he could not give up on his physical reality and rely on the spiritual reality of Christ, and Christ alone.

Those who were listening to Christ asked of Him: “Who then can be saved?” Christ’s answer was: no one can, but by the power of God’s Spirit unto salvation through Christ Jesus. It is so simple a child can understand it, but a gospel that makes it sound simple for a human being to do it; it is just a lie! It is impossible for him to do it! Only God can change a heart causing you to turn your back on the physical realities of life and believe in the spiritual reality of God’s Truths.

—Romans 1:18-24
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.

We, in America, are seeing the wrath of God revealed to us from heaven. The depths of our immorality and corruption is evident for all to see. The “reality gospel” that we preach/teach holds “the truth in unrighteousness.” It prepares men to live the Christian life on earth, but does not prepare them for life after death. Who God is has been made known to us; the bible says. We have lived in religious freedom for over two-hundred years here in America. We have had the freedom to search the “invisible things” of God to exhaustion, yet we are now more corrupt than when we began. They are clearly seen and simply stated, but not simply believed.

In all our wisdom, we have become to look like fools to a lost world that we preach this lesser gospel to. The power of God is not seen in it to affect our world. We seek to live successful Christian lives on earth instead of seeking Godliness and the righteousness of Christ. It is impossible for us, just as it was for the Rich Young Ruler, to take our eyes off of this world. To give up all we have in this world is foreign to us in America. We are without excuse.

It is God’s people, who have been shown the truth, that are to blame. We have corrupted the perfect image of Christ having it resemble “corruptible man.” We say that we worship God, but we worship reality instead. While professing to know Christ, the focus of our gospel message is on earthly realities and seeking God’s blessings in this world.

We trust in religion; not Christ. We perform our Christian duties on Wednesday and Sunday; yet we will not spend five minutes reading God’s Word or praying every day. We have not washed Jesus’ feet with tears. We seek not a life of getting right with God. We seek a life getting right with the world. We are not the openly wicked in true defiance of God, but we are none-the-less defiant just as the Rich Young Ruler was; believing we can have faith without obedience.

We won’t admit it and we can’t see it, but we believe as the Publican did; in an outward conformity to God, but not being changed within. The reality of God is receiving the righteousness of Christ making us obedient to Him. His Spirit must change our hearts. The evidence of that change is living in a new spiritual reality rejecting the reality of this world.

This life is filled with evil and men corrupted by fleshly desires. Sin and the temptations of this world is a reality we all have to face and be prepared to deal with. I am not suggesting that the Church not prepare us for the reality that Christians, while set apart from this world, must be prepared to live in it. Dealing with sin and the reality of it, is forever before us. We cannot, though, prepare for it as if it is our final destination.

Preparing men for death is preparing them for life. If we say that we know God and glorify Him not in this world, we have not prepared ourselves for death. We are preparing ourselves to live life glorifying ourselves still seeking worldly gain.

If you ask most who profess Christ: “Why are you going to heaven?” They will answer you most often one of two ways: “I prayed a prayer” or “I accepted Christ.” If you asked a religious Jew the same question in Jesus’ day, he would have been offended. Professing Christians today are as well. The religious Jew would have said he was going to heaven because of his lineage or because he was circumcised. It was a false assurance.

It is the “eternal power” of God that changes a man. Spiritual reality is this: if a man has been truly changed by the power of God’s Spirit, he will live his life to the glory of God. He will not walk away sad when Jesus asks him to sacrifice all he has for the sake of Christ. He will glory in the cross.

—Mark 7:6-9
6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

One of the most successful deceptions Satan has used is a dead religion. It mystifies me when so many reject that today’s religion is largely dead of anything having to do with Christ. Paul spent much of his writings devoted to battling against false religions. Much of the New Testament deals with it, yet we deny this reality is true in our churches today. Look at the life of Christ and the life of Paul. Their struggles were not mostly with the openly wicked, for all knew them to be wicked. It was with those that professed to believe. It is them they mostly condemned.

My ministry is largely devoted to trying to convince us all of our hypocrisy. We worship God, but our worship is mostly in vain. We honor God with our lips, but our lives do not bear the fruit of our worship. We worship God with our bodies, but our hearts are far away from God. The traditions of our denominations and churches are valued more than the truth of God’s Word. We hold, in our churches, to the traditions of the world. We seek to live peaceable with men instead of seeking only to please God. We set aside obedience to His Word, preferring a simple and easy gospel requiring nothing of us.

If the gospel cannot begin without the God powered virgin birth of Christ, it cannot begin in us without the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” (1 Cor. 15:14). There is a faith and a hope in Christ that is in vain. It lacks the love of Christ born in the heart of men truly changed by His Spirit. One having a dead religion is dead of Christ’s love. There is no Christianity without the grave is empty. There is no true religion in us if we be not resurrected with Christ. To be resurrected with Him, we first die with Him on that cross. Our Church is built on this truth.

Having a dead religion means one has not been freed from sin’s rule. Though there may be a temporary change, or even a worldly change in behaviors, a lasting change is not seen. A dead religion lacks a true love for God and others. Self still rules. Worldly ends are still the focus. There is no joy and no peace in a dead religion; or the joy is a false sense of happiness brought about by worldly means. Peace is not known.

A dead religion is living a life full of hypocrisy. One professes to know the truth, but his life does not show it. It is a life that continues on much as before, but now religion is just been added to the mix. There is no real concern for the lost, no real “living sacrifice” is made to see that all know God, and loving God is just a pretense. Most of his life is lived pursuing everything else, but God’s holiness.

Thoughts of this world still consume him. Seeking to please God in everything that he does and living his life empowered by God’s Spirit to share the good news of Christ is an afterthought. His priority is still himself. God is important, but He will get whatever is left. His priorities are without because his heart has not been changed within. The condition of his soul is not his main priority. The condition of other’s soul is a priority for him not ever. Life is lived for his own glory, though he will believe in his heart what he does, he does for Christ.

What reality are we living in? Having only a “form of godliness” is the greatest threat to Christianity. It always has been within the Church. Satan’s great lie has not changed since he first deceived Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of that tree. Our Church must awake to this reality if we are ever to see a great revival of God’s Spirit poured out on His people. I pray God opens our eyes to the spiritual reality of the harm “The Reality Church” is doing to the cause of Christ.

It is easy for me, or anyone enlightened, to point the finger at the Church. Simply to attack the Church or those who reject this truth would be fruitless. I seek only the unity of the Body of Christ and want only to see God’s purpose fulfilled in her. God’s people must awake. The Church must awaken to the truth of God’s Word. Satan will continue his attacks as he has always done seeking to divide the Church and seeking to hurt the relationship between God’s Church and Christ. He will try as he always has to hurt the relationship between God’s people.

We can no longer deny he is doing this with much success in God’s Church in America. It is a spiritual reality that cannot be ignored any longer. False religion is a reality in our Church. We must have eyes opened to see it and be courageous enough to address it; no matter the persecution we might receive when we, in love, point it out. vs,

My Soul Will Not Be Silent

You continue to deliver me from myself and my enemies
I won’t praise You in my tent alone
I will praise You at the gates for all to hear
It was the commandment of David A true man of God
Once in the grave Who will remember You
Only the dead who rise will praise You

When I remember Your holiness
My heart rejoices
When I remember Your goodness
My tongue is made glad
When I remember Your righteous judgment
Even my flesh finds rest in You

With what superior glory I have been graced with
With what excellence You alone have imparted
As Christ glorified You in His perfectness
Even as He suffered and died for Your sake
To the end of my pitiful life
I will praise You

Even on that “day of rest”
When all my toil

My sorrow And my labor is done
I will yet praise You in the grave
As long as I have a being
And then for all eternity
To all the creatures of the Earth I will praise Your holy name

My soul will not be silent
I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live
Your wondrous works in me I will declare
I am a sheep of Your pasture
I will sing Your praise till all the world Knows Your name
I will tell them of Your greatness

When I call upon this wonderful name
You come to me
When I groan to know Your mercy
You give it to me
When I receive Your righteous judgment
Even then I am made good

Many have laid their necks down for me
In this life and before
Many have given their lives that I might know You
None greater than the greatest name of all
Jesus Christ The name above all other names
Oh To be found worthy to suffer for Your sake

Offering their necks for the testimony of Israel
Doing this so that I might live
Because they did
Because Christ did
I will dwell in Your presence forever
Even the beasts will give you glory

All my help has been laid at the feet of Christ
All my hope is found in Him
All Your power to save me
All Your power to keep me
All the power in Heaven and Earth
None of it You spared from me

Oh Lord my God Almighty
Which art Which was And art to come

Your greatness
Your goodness
Your majesty
Your terror
Your judgement
All this was made known to me

To the name greater than any other name
To the power greater than any other power
To the only One strong enough to bear my pain and sorrow
To the only One who died and was resurrected for me
To the only God that lived so I might live
To the only Son of God that yet still lives In me

I will offer my thanks and my praise to only You

Because Your mercy endureth forever
Why I died?
Because Your mercy endureth forever
Why I live?
Because Your mercy endureth forever

What hopelessness would endure for me

If Your mercy did not endure forever!!!

Vasquez Savage

I am a layperson with 35 years of teaching, studying, and sharing the love of Christ. I am a thirty year Social Worker. I have preached, led bible studies, taught Sunday School, sang, and acted in dramas to the furtherance of the gospel. My website vasquez savage.com features my poetry and writings.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITER

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