About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Singers Of Love Songs


The Lord told Ezekiel the following about Israel.  " son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, 'Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord'.  My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice.  With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain.  Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice". (Ezekiel 33:30 32)


Israel had all the appearances of being religious, much like many Christian groups that most, but not I, call churches today.  The Lord said that His people gather to hear His word as they "usually do".   The words "usually do" suggest a religious people who are trapped in tradition and rooted in routine.  They meet together because that's just what they "usually do". 


In the eyes of God, Israelis viewed Ezekiel as a singer of loves songs and a master of musical instruments.  Their gatherings were meant to be a time of worship and instruction, but from God's standpoint, they were all about being entertained, as I believe the words "singer of love songs" suggest.  Therefore, Israelis who attended these meetings left the same old religious sinner they were when they came to the meetings because they failed to obey the Lord's instructions.   


I can't help but compare Israel's approach to their  gatherings as described in Ezekiel 33 to many 21st century Christian gatherings.  I'm almost 60 years old and I've lived in and around Evangelical circles all of my life.  The Evangelical world is well on its way to a new liberalism as seen in such movements as the Emergent Church, seeker sensitive churches, purpose driven churches, mega churches, prosperity churches, and now, Chrislam churches who mix Christianity with Islam.  The way God viewed Israel's gathering of the saints in Ezekiel's day is fast becoming the norm in Evangelical circles today.                         


Even though the words "go to church" aren't Biblical, most Christians say they "go to church" every Sunday.  Whether they admit it or not, when asked why they "go to church", the honest answer for many is, "that's what I usually do".  The words "usually do" suggest tradition and routine which many Evangelical groups settled into a few decades back.  Tradition and routine in church eventually leads to boredom, which I've certainly experienced.  Once boredom sets in, people want change.  Change is what we're now getting in performance based meetings that are designed to entertain an audience.  The word "audience" is far from Biblical when it comes to church, but that's what people "attending church" have become.  The audience is entertained by the performance on the platform.     


To escape boredom, and to make church gatherings more appealing to non-Christians, many Evangelicals have turned their Sunday gathering of the saints into something resembling a well rehearsed variety show, with rock bands, dancers, and comic sketches.  Now I like a good concert, whether it's rock, folk, blues, or whatever, but a concert is not the Biblical mandate for a gathering of the saints as described in 1 Corinthians 14.  


Instead of gathering for worship, instruction, and encouragement, where everyone participates, Evangelicals relax, sit back, and enjoy the show.  If the show isn't to their liking, they find one that is.  As in Ezekiel's day, it's all about the singer of loves songs and a well tuned band.  It's pure entertainment.  Granted, the music is good, but it's not necessarily worship.  Paul McCartney and John Lennon would feel right at home in many Sunday gatherings, especially where Beatle songs are sung and performed by a so-called worship team.  Believe it or not, I know Beatles songs are sung in some Sunday meetings.  I just can't see how a song inspired by LSD and free sex can be sung in worship to the Almighty God.  And, when it comes to a pastor, he has to be a part time comedian just to keep the audiences' short attention span entertained. 


This isn't the first time in Christian history such secularization of Christian gatherings have taken place.  This happened in the fourth century to accommodate pagans into a state run church.  That devastated the church back then, and it's doing the same today. 


The apostle Paul warned us of this when he said, "the Spirit clearly says that in the later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons".  (1 Timothy 4:1)   He also said, "they will be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God having a form of godliness, but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them".  (2 Timothy 3:4 and 5)  The Evangelical Sunday meeting is turning into a self seeking pleasurable experience that's based on entertainment and not the power of God.  I think the comparison to the Israeli mentality found in Ezekiel 33 to what Paul says about today's church is a valid comparison.  God wasn't happy with Israel
in Ezekiel's day, and I'm convinced He's not happy with many of us today.  If you "go to church" to be entertained, you'll leave church the same old religious sinner you were when you went to church.    


In the spirit of a prophet, those who see and understand these trends must stand up and proclaim the word of the Lord as Ezekiel was told to do.  After telling Ezekiel how He felt about Israel 's gatherings, God told Ezekiel to proclaim the following words of judgment.  " prophesy against the shepherds of Israel prophesy and say to them woe to the shepherds of Israel you have not taken care of the flock so they were scattered because they had no shepherd I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock "  (Ezekiel 34:1 and following)  Many shepherds in what we call the church today are like the shepherds of Israel in Ezekiel's day.  They thrive on the attention that comes from being the latest pop star in Christendom.  It's time to call the church to repentance lest the judgment that came on Israel of old comes on our entertainment based church. 

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