An early sobering sermon by John MacArthur illustrates "the false church incorporated within the true church". Please do not misunderstand my purpose in noting this lesson. I believe in "church" and "church" attendance. I think it is imperative, however, that we truthfully ascertain the identity of the church we attend. Is it a place of "comfort" (think Joel Osteen) or is it a place where believers are confronted with the truth of their sinfulness alongside the path to and joy of redemption? Do you see and hear nothing but "Praise the Lord" or are those praises joined by squirming seats and low volumed "amen"s and "thank you"s? Is your church a place to attend or a place to mend?
"This morning I want to present to you a discussion on the particular verses, Matthew 7:21 to 23 and talk about...well as the subject was advertised...how to play church, church...or the false church incorporated within the true church. Because I think that we have to examine ourselves to begin with to see where we really are before we know what we need. And so, this Sunday and next Sunday I'll be presenting messages dealing with the church and the ministry."
"The Church Age then comes up in Matthew chapter 13. Having set Israel aside because of her unbelief, Christ begins to institute a group of parables that discuss the Church Age and they present the Church Age as a very unique age. He talks about the fact that in the Church Age there is going to be the wheat and the tares, that is the true and the false. And they're going to be so hard to tell apart that you won't be able to tell them apart until God who is the final judge decides between them."
"And then we read about the fact that there are various dimensions of the church. The mustard seed illustration gives the idea that the church is going to explode and it's going to be a great big thing including real and unreal, true and false. And so the Church Age is going to be a very strange era and truly it is. For under the name church, quote/unquote, we have all kinds of things going on today. Christ commanded John in Revelation to write to the Sardis church, "I know thy works that thou hast the name that thou art alive and art dead." What a commentary on most churches today. They have a title, they have a name, but they're dead. And why are they dead? Well they're dead initially because the people within them are dead. I would say that the great majority of church members in America today probably...probably and according to Billy Graham statistics this is pretty accurate, probably the majority of them don't even know what it is to be a Christian and they're dead spiritually. Paul says in Ephesians 2, "They're dead in sin." Consequently dead people are going to constitute a dead church and the church is not suffering today or dying today because of a tax from the outside, most churches Satan wouldn't even waste powder and shot on them, they're dead from the inside. "
""Very important to understand this and Paul elucidates it in 2 Corinthians chapter 6 beginning in verse 14 where he brings up the fact that the love of Christ is a very basic issue and that what is really important is that the church is involved in making new creations out of these dead people. A church that is a real living vital church is a church that is in the business of taking dead people and communicating to them the gospel that alone can make them alive. That's the mission of the church. There is no way biblicaly under the sun that the church can ever court the world. The church must be the conscience of the world. The church must be so well defined that it becomes the antagonist of the world. For those outside of Jesus Christ, this church I trust, I pray, this church will be the most uncomfortable seat in the world because we present a gospel that divides.
How To Play Church