Many people today have what amounts to a “Semblance of God” in their lives, such as a figure of Christ in their churches, or a cross in their homes. In churches, Bibles have been replaced in the pew-back pockets by offering envelopes, social activity schedules and pencils.
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines semblance is as, “an outward and often specious appearance or show.” Specious, in turn, means “having a deceptive attraction or allure”, and “having a false look of truth or genuineness.”
What will happen to “semblance churches,” which are deceptive and give a false appearance of what Christian living is all about? Will they survive in their fallen form, or go the way of many European churches which are now restaurants or museums—left standing solely to maintain the architecture and design of a historical time period? No more do the church bells chime. No longer do praises of our heavenly Father emanate from the holy sanctuary—they are only a memory and a remnant of days gone by.
“Sad” is the only word I can use to describe this situation.
Today there are still distraught and needy people the world over who seek the one true God. There are still shoulders that need embracing, hugs that need to be given, prayers that need to be heard—and a Savior who longs to reign in His church.
We show up for funerals, and leave unaware of the final resting place of the deceased. We mourn for those left behind, but not for too long, as we don’t want to face where our own eternal destination might be.
Christ is the only answer for the people, and Christ is the only answer for the church. Christ is also the only answer for our own eternal security.
How to Bring Christ Back into Our Churches by Relinquishing a “Semblance of God”
- Teach that it is the Holy Spirit who draws people to Christ. It is only through repentance of our sins and acceptance of Jesus Christ as our personal Savior we are rescued from hell. Only when this is done will we be ready for our eternal life with Jesus Christ.
- Invite to leadership positions only those who have accepted God’s gift of salvation, proven their integrity, possess the fruits of the Spirit, and are actively growing in their spiritual lives.
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to enliven our churches. Dead churches produce religion. Live churches, on the other hand, produce hope, comfort, assurance, and peace.
- Stand up for what is right. Talk about it. Whether you are the preacher or not, there are topics about which we can speak up when confronted, such as abortion and evolution.
- Stop bribing people to come to church for a free meal, a big performance, or with other such gimmicks. Get back to the basics of teaching God’s Word, praying, and seeking Him above all else.
- Stop segregating church attendees into age groups. Seniors have a lot of wisdom they can share with younger generations, while children and millennials offer their energy and vitality to their elders.
- Stop using church growth as the main metric of successful evangelism. Be more concerned that converts to Christ are truly repentant of their sins, and that opportunities exist for discipleship.
- Stop allowing weak and false doctrines to seep in and dilute church teaching. Many churches and their members choose to believe only the parts of the Bible that fit into their already-established lifestyles and cultures. Other churches may participate in Eastern therapies during the week, through certain forms of yoga or guided illumination.
Throughout the Old Testament God’s people went through continuing cycles of loving Him followed by periods of rejection. God had finally had enough and punished them severely. This punishment often caused factions and disagreements within the church and among the people who called themselves believers.
But Jesus Christ never gave up on His people or His church. He came to Earth to live an honorable and reputable life as an example to us. He suffered and died, then rose from the grave as propitiation for our sins, so that we may live godly lives.
And when we live godly lives, resembling His ways, our churches will come to resemble God, and not just be a semblance of Him.
So, Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.” John 8:28
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:13 KJV
Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited. Hebrews 13:9
Dear heavenly Father, let my heart and mind be sold out to You. Let my church family be sold out to You also. Let’s grow together—keeping You foremost in our minds. Let us learn to follow Your Holy Spirit in all You say and do. Make my priorities Your priorities. May I be ever careful to follow Your laws and rules with love. Give me the courage to speak out for You and to love You more and more each day. In Jesus’ holy name. Amen.
Patti Greene, Member Inspirational Writers Alive
Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses taken from the NASB.
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Books by Patti Greene
A 90-day devotional prayer journal for all ages; This informative and how-to book on prayer is for seekers, new believers, and mature believers. It encourages a commitment and devotion to the art of prayer. Learn how God reveals himself through Bible study and prayer. ISBN: 978-1512760453 (Paperback) $11.95 on Amazon.
A 365-day devotional prayer journal for in-depth Bible study; Fun words or phrases from the Old and New Testaments! Perfect for mature believers. ISBN: 978-1490893181 (Paperback) $27.95 on Amazon.
A 181-day devotional prayer journal for growing individuals; The Bible and social issues. Perfect for new believers. Comes with a group study guide. ISBN: 978-1490893174 (Paperback) $19.95 on Amazon.