There’s little doubt that the force of Christianity isn’t what it used to be in this country, not its power or influence, and not even its popularity. We have an epidemic of anemia in the American Church these days—and I literally mean anemia, a deficiency of the Blood of Christ in believers, urging them to give their all for the Kingdom and spurring them to good works as their daily life. We’ll explore the reasons for it, and remind us of what our lives should look like.
Table Talk Notes
Reasons for the Anemia
- False converts, cultural “Christians” and “pew warmers”
- False converts: either were never born again or believed in a “false Christ”
- Said a “sinner’s prayer” but never counted the cost (“liked” Jesus)
- In a “works-based” or social justice church
- Worship a false Christ: Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, New Agers // Learn how to share your faith
- Cultural “Christians”: say they believe in general in “God” or are “spiritual but not religious”, maybe not exposed to God growing up so never think about Him, or God may be “mythical” instead of real to them.
- According to a 2014 Pew Research Ctr study, 70.6% of Americans consider themselves “Christians” (declining rapidly but still a big majority)—recent polls show only 20% regularly go to church
- “Pew Warmers”: put in their time every Sunday morning (or Saturday evening) in their church, have gone thru the “steps” to be members in good-standing, but faith is not a part of their daily lives—yet they think they are “good to go”
- Pollsters often make no differentiation between all these categories above and genuine born-again believers—you can call yourself a “Christian” and it’s never questioned or examined (I can sit in my garage and call myself a car—it doesn’t make me one) (https://www.barna.com/ )
- Vince & Lori Williams’ book “Falsified”
- Mike LeMay’s book “The Death of Christian Thought” (coming soon!)
The key is not that we know who God is, it’s that Jesus knows us
Matt 7:21-23 | “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
John 1:12 | But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Immature believers with “Near Beliefs”
Immature believers are born-again but never discipled or knew/cared about sanctification.
Hebrews 5:11-14 | About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Ephesians 4:11-16 | And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
“Near beliefs don’t inspire the courage to change a behavior or to press on against disapproval or opposition from “the herd.””
Believers who have been cowed by political correctness
The desire to be loved, instead of to love others by telling them the truth (people-pleasing)
Fear of arrest or lawsuits threatening all who take a stand
The IRS and the 501c3 law for churches
John 12:42-43 | Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
Matt 10:28 | And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Believers who are afraid of or deny the work of the Holy Spirit
Acts 1:8 | But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you’ll be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria & to the end of the earth.”
1 Cor 12:4-11 | Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
1 Cor 14:3-4, 20-26 | On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church… 20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.
What should we really expect from a life committed to Christ
Ezekiel 24:15-18 | The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke; yet you shall not mourn or weep, nor shall your tears run down. Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your shoes on your feet; do not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men.” So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded.
John 16:1-4, 33 | “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you… 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Matt 10:16-39 | “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malignthose of his household.
26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.