We really ought to thank and praise God that people are sensing something of the Lord’s dissatisfaction with the way things are. Thank God for that disillusionment. People think disillusionment is a bad thing, but to be disillusioned means you have been stripped of your illusion. You had a fantasy about something, a false impression, and now that false impression has been exposed. You have seen the truth, and you have been dis-illusioned.
When people come to me and say they have been disillusioned with the church, I say praise the Lord – now you can make some progress! And when they come to me and say, “I’m so disappointed with God, I can’t make sense out of my Christian walk. I’m so disillusioned,” I say that is wonderful – now you’re really beginning to grow up spiritually. You cannot see the truth about God, or about the church, or about yourself, until you stop living in the world of illusions. The opposite of illusion is reality and truth. Authenticity is the opposite of hypocrisy. We have already mentioned how much Jesus dislikes hypocrisy. Jesus is the one who disillusions people so that they can see the truth behind the illusion.
But some people are so in love with their illusions that they can no longer recognize the truth when they hear it. I was teaching in a home group one time and talked for forty-five minutes about the difference between Organized Religion and the Church that Jesus is building. There was a long silence at the end of what I had shared, and an older woman to my right said, “Well, you better not speak against the Church, because it is the house of God.” I thought I must be a terrible teacher to speak for forty-five minutes and still not be able to show people the difference between the church building and the house of living stones. Then I realized the problem was not with my mouth but with her ears. Jesus said he who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Anything that does not give Christ the preeminence, or gets in the way of that preeminence, or distracts people from that preeminence, is under judgment. First Peter 4:17 says, “It is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” Does anyone take the Bible seriously? Peter said judgment begins with the household of God. That’s because God cannot, and will not, judge the world, or the people who do not know Him, until He has judged the people who claim to know Him.
When God judges His own household, and purges and refines His own people, the world will finally see that God means business, and He is righteous, holy, just, good, fair, and impartial. And when His Household is judged, the world will see it and be saved. God will accomplish more in two seconds than we have been able to accomplish in two millennia. Now, if you have trouble with that, if that’s a little more than you can handle right now, then please pray about it and ponder it in your heart like Mary. Search the Scriptures and just keep it before God for now.
The substance of my message to you is this: that whatever good you may find in Organized Religion does not change the fact the Jesus continues to express His dissatisfaction with the things that He is not pleased with. He will have it all according to His terms or He will have not have any of it. It is called unconditional surrender; there will be no negotiation, there will be no terms. He will not allow you to keep something of the flesh, something of tradition, a little bit of legalism. Not one bit of it. Judgment begins with the household of God. You have been warned.
Jesus says “I rebuke the ones I love when I see them going astray” (Rev. 3:19). So He says to repent. And I say to you, repent. Change your hearts. Change your minds. Change your attitudes and perceptions of things. That’s what you need to be concerned with; not changing the way you “do ministry,” but changing the way you see God, and see the church, and see yourself.
I don’t care if you are in church or out of church. That really doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is that wherever you are, you will remember that God’s Ultimate Purpose and Intention is for Christ to have the preeminence in all things. And the reason why I must speak out and give this hard word about what’s wrong with the church is because Christ does not have the preeminence in Organized Religion. At best it is a distraction from Christ, at worst it is a substitute for Christ. That is the bottom line. Put Him first and see what He says. Test this word. Ask God to show you the truth. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these things to you.
If something has been said to encourage you, then praise God. If something has been said to upset you, then ask yourself why you are so upset. This message may very well be a tool that God wants to use to bring some much needed disillusionment. Be willing to be adjusted to Him. Don’t resist the Holy Spirit. Don’t harden your heart. Don’t think it is just Chip Brogden having issues with the church. Lay aside your opinions, open your heart to God, search the Scriptures, and let Him show you the truth Himself.