Our job is to bring the Bride home. We have been a great task, that is, a passionate love for the Bride of Christ, and the working with all our heart to bring her home and present her spotless and chaste. To this we give our lives, that Jesus Christ might be pleased with the one upon whom he has pledged His love. The battle is very difficult, and it is hard. It is on everyside; we were born and bred for every battle. This is what we are supposed to be doing. This is not the time for small hearts; a time for leisure. This is a time for men, the men of God, to take their place and work and labor and suffer and die for the church.
We are talking about missions tonight, but we must begin somewhere else–with the church of Jesus Christ, because the only way to do biblical missions is to through a biblical church. We must do everything according to Scriptures. It is true. The door is open more than ever before. I think about the countries that have not been reached, but if we are going to walked through the door, we must do it biblically. We must return to Scripture, not the methodologies of men.
First, I want to talk about finding the church, in other words, stopping the slander. If you want to be endeared to me, then treat my wife with the greatest respect. If you want to be on my bad side, then slander my wife. The accusation of infidelity and immorality is the hindrance in the work of missions.
“The name of God is blasphemed among you” – those who do not know God
It is argued that the church of Jesus Christ has always been full of sinful, idolatrous people, proof-texted by the idolatry of Israel, and using Corinthians as the standard for NT Christianity. Then we have experts who tell us over and over that there is little difference between the actions of the church and the actions of a fallen world. We hear experts that there is just as much immorality in the church as there is in the world. I am here to tell you that angers me because it is a lie. The experts do not even know what the church is. The church today is absolutely beautiful, and I will have words for anyone who says anything else. Because we are talking about Christ’s bride.
The church is in a process of sanctification. Yes she has her weaknesses; yes she has failings. Our bride is broken and humble and believing her master, and she is following him and being changed by him in a way that exalts the power of God in salvation. We are calling Christian that which is not Christian, and it has led to the slandering of the bride of Jesus Christ. Because of our watered-down view of the gospel, our superficial views of regeneration and conversion, because we believe that God is enough to save from the condemnation of sin but not enough to save from the power of sin.
It is not the fault of a liberal political party; it is the fault of pastors. Even conservative, fundamental pastors.
If you are going to carry this title, then it is going to cost you. This is not a place for men of leisure or care more for self-preservation than the glory of God. The true church of Jesus Christ is beautiful, but she is hidden under a twisted mess called American Christianity, and if the world is going to know true Christianity, it needs to see a true church. We need to cut a way all that contrary to a true church.
TEXT: Jeremiah 31:31-35
An Old Testament view of the New Testament church
Here we see the doctrine of regeneration–a doctrine that is lost in our regeneration. Salvation is the supernatural work of God whereby the person regenerated becomes a new creature by the power of God. That regenerate heart is where God writes His law, fixed inside of them which will guide them, control them, and change them.
There is nothing just hopeful about this passage. God does not hope that they will act like His people. We mistake many times by interpreting something as promise when it is a reality. God is going to create a new people and change their heart. This will happen. There is not a remnant in the church; the church is the remnant. Everybody in the church has God as their God, and we are His people.
They will not know God because of apologetical arguments or reasons why Jesus is raised from dead, but because God will open their hearts and bear witness to His own glory. He will grant them supernaturally the Spirit of God, and their minds will be illumined, and they will know the things of God. Everyone truly converted will understand the essential things of God in their salvation. One of the essential things is this:
The one thing they will know is that they are forgiven; they are God’s, and they are forgiven.
The lack of church discipline and the doctrine of the continuously carnal Christian has slandered the church of God and ruined her testimony.
Today, because men do not study their Bibles and do not study God’s Word, look at a mass of worldly, carnal people, and say that God is among them, and that is not true! When you look at the real bride, you see a bride. You see someone who hears the Master’s voice and follow Him. Isn’t it amazing that a normality today that the reason why Christians are not being Christians is because we are not discipling enough. It is not that they need discipling. They need to be converted.
“I will give them one heart and one way . . .”
Over the years, if I had one dime how many times I have heard about the lack of unity in the body of Christ, I would be a millionaire. Either the NT covenant promise has failed, or the prayer of Jesus in John 17 has failed. I want to tell you something: the church of Jesus Christ in this world today is one. She is united, and her members love one another. If you are hating one another, you are not Christian. We are one.
I am tired of seeing the bride of Jesus Christ slandered. I have heard preachers say that the bride of Christ in America acts like the prostitute. No she isn’t! She is beautiful! If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. This is so important because in it we see the reputation and glory of Christ in the church. Muslims laugh at Christianity, for they see Christians who have turned salvation into a matter of mockery.
“I will make an everlasting covenant with them . . .”
God is not a derelict father. He does not have children that he does not care for and does not discipline. We do not have a poor heavenly Father.
Let’s talk about the “once saved always saved.” Look what we do. We look at only one side of the coin. We fail to tell them that God will “put the fear of God in their hearts so that you will not turn away from Him.” If there no fear of God in your heart to keep you, you are not in God’s covenant of salvation. God will rejoice over them and to do them good. He will do it will all His heart and all His soul and will perfect His bride.
Because we no longer believe these things, the name of God is blasphemed among the nations. Not because of the church, but because the wheat is hidden among the tares, the fruit of God’s vineyward is overgrown with bushes and the vine is entangled and strangled with weeds. How has this happened?
Who is called to look after the bride of Christ? To present her as chaste? Is is not the ministers? As ministers of God, we seem to be preoccupied with everything but that which is most precious to God–His bride.
Very few churches are built today asking God what kind of church he wants; we ask carnal people what kind of church they want. Throughout the years and on our watch gentleman, the gospel has been reduced to an evangelical ritual, four spiritual laws and five things to learn, to say yes, a superficial view of conversion and assurance, trusting in a prayer and not in a risen Savior.
The kingdom has been built on the bones of unconverted sinners. The church is slandered for crimes she has never committed. We doubt the sufficiency of Scriptures and turn to the false fire of church growth and man’s methodologies. We adapt our ministries and the ministry of the church to cater to the carnal majority, and the precious lambs go unfed.
In most places, the church functions as a democracy, and the majority rules. The majority is usually carnal; the carnal determine the direction of the church and becomes vanity fair and six flags over Jesus. Over the corner, the weak, anemic, and neglected is the bride of Christ. All she wants is her husband. All she longs for is to hear words from Him. She doesn’t need entertainment or a circus. She doesn’t need self-esteem.
I have seen so many people languish because the pastor will not stand against the carnal majority because of self-preservation. Do you remember when the Word of God was lost in the Temple? The bride of Christ has been lost in this circus of American Christianity. It does not have to be this way.
What is the cure? Intercessory prayer. Have we forgot to pray? Battles are won by God. Show me your knees. Would you dare roll up your pants legs and show me your knees. Show me your Bible. Show me the stains on the pages as you have wept over the text, that the power of God might fall on your ministry.
Missions is not about sending missionaries. No man in Peru needs your life. It’s about sending truth through missionaries, otherwise it becomes nothing but a peace corps. 95% of the time, mission conferences is about methodology and strategy. But what about the message? It’s the message! It’s the gospel, and we must preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must have it burning in our hearts and lived out in our lives.
You will not be anathema if you did not plant churches, but you will be anathema if you did not preach the true gospel.
One of the greatest contributions Calvin ever gave the church is, alongside the offices of Christ: “How can we walk into a place where no one even knows where Jerusalem is and expect men to be saved. Calvin said, “Because the Spirit of Almighty God will bear witness to our words. God will bear witness to his own message and validate the gospel.
God delights to vindicate His gospel!
Missions is founded upon Scripture. We must believe they are sufficient, and therein lies the problem of the conservative movement. That means we do not have to go the anthropologist and sociologist; if we want to know how to do missions, we go to the Book.
2 Timothy 3:15 – to find salvation, we find it in the Scriptures, wisdom leading to salvation! I believe that if I open this book and explain it as I ought, the Spirit will work on men’s hearts, and men will be saved.
We have Aristotle and Freud walking through the church more than Paul? What has Jerusalem to do with Athens? Go back to the Book! Everything you need is found in this Book. It is sufficient, and if you don’t believe that, you don’t believe nothing. Everything you believe about inerrancy is rot if you do not believe that it is sufficient.
There has never been a time that the door as been so open for missions. Countries that 1500 years ago, 10 years ago no one has ever dreamed would be open. We are the most privileged people on the face of the earth. The opportunity to live for something worth dying for, to live for our Master, to have the great joy on the day when all the children are gathered home!
Live for that day when that great Bride of Jesus will be with her Bridegroom, when everything is brought to fruition, a bride from every tribe, every tongue, every nation before the throne worshiping the Lamb who was slain!
I am overwhelmed, not by the lostness of the world, not by guilt, but by privilege–that God would raise people like us up from the dungheap.
One of the most horrible things about preaching is that you walk out of the pulpit and you have failed. The gospel is too big; God’s glory is too big; Christ is too great. I remember praying at the hotel one night in tears, “God let me preach Jesus Christ as He really is.” I remember the Lord replying to me, “Even then, you will not preach them as you ought.”
There is without a doubt no man I know who preaches harder and with more passion than Paul Washer. His message is intolerable for some but necessary for all. He is the subject of criticism for being too harsh, and perhaps that may be the case in some sense. Nevertheless, one message from Paul Washer does more for my soul than dozens from the men I listen to these days. Here is a man arrested by the gospel, possessed by the glory of God, consumed in the pursuit of the nations–that they may know Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. His love for the church is convicting; his conviction is humbling; his humility attracting us to Jesus. And in the end, as John Piper says is, he leaves us with God. And that, I surmise, is the greatest gift a preacher could leave a congregation.