17 Therefore this I say, and testify in the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their mind, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart. 19 And they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. Ephesians 4:17-19 (LSB)
The vast majority of professing Christians in the United States and in other countries, whose churches are patterned after American churches, are enslaved to their flesh. Why? The trend that I have witnessed in our churches for at least the last 40 years or so is a de-emphasis of discipleship. Evangelism or outreach has crowded out in-reach and Bible study. Why?…
Church growth has become the golden calf of the new evangelism. Because of that, church leaders strive to be culturally relevant even if it means dummying down the Gospel and no longer putting any resources into biblical discipleship.
The cost for doing this is extremely high. Biblical ignorance is rampant. Because of that, few believers know how to rightly divide God’s Word and this makes them susceptible to false doctrine and dynamic leaders who are mere hirelings instead of true shepherds of the flock. As a result, believers walk in ignorance of how they are meant to walk through this life. I remember a Bible teacher in our church sometime in the late 1980’s telling us that the Beatitudes were unattainable in this life for believers. This teacher told us that the ultra-high standards Christ set in His Sermon on the Mount were indications of how we would live in the Millennium.
I had been a Christian for only a couple of years at that time and I believed him. It wasn’t until I learned to study the Bible myself that the Holy Spirit showed me the truth. The new life in Christ is a reality for those who walk according to the Spirit instead of according to the flesh. Those who are enslaved to their flesh walk in the futility of their minds, which are darkened in their understanding. Since they are mired in sins of the flesh they are separated from fellowship with God. Their hearts are hard, being calloused over because they are enslaved to their lusts, uncleanness and greed. When professing Christians see Church services on Sunday as something that interferes with them being home in time to watch NFL Football on Sunday afternoons then we must ask ourselves, “Isn’t this a problem?” Yes, Christians can live as if this new life in Christ never happened.
20 But you did not learn Christ in this way— 21 if indeed you heard Him and were taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 to lay aside, in reference to your former conduct, the old man, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and to put on the new man, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Ephesians 4:20-24 (LSB)