So today I walked out of the military chapel service before it started because I saw they had invited that female chaplain of whom I spoke of several weeks ago. I just could not succumb to that again. I instead went back to my room and watched a sermon delivered by my old pastor Mark Chanski. It was entitled False Conversions: The Suicide of the Church and was based upon a sermon delivered by Washington D.C. Pastor Mark Devers. My how that message spoke to my soul.
I contemplated why lately especially I have been so desirous of sound, Biblical, expository preaching and outside of the obvious I-crave-what-I-no-longer-have; I realize I crave it because of what it does to me. When I leave a service filled with the empty vapid, God is love fluff and stuff drivel peddled by ‘preachers’ concerned only with the number of seats filled on Sundays, I find myself, even subconsciously, buying in to this mess. When I do not hear the word sin, nor the word Christ… let along hell, in a message, I once again forget the true nature of myself apart from Christ… that of a worthless, hell deserving sinner incapable of good aside from God’s rich grace. Into that slump I fall and wonder why, days later I feel so empty, lost, and apart from fellowship with my Savior. When, however, I am consistently reminded on Sunday of how wretched we all truly are; how completely lost and hopeless we are; how justified God’s wrath against sinners truly is; and how precious, full, and free the gift of Christ is; I leave with a true, balanced understanding of who I am, joyous of the richness of grace in Christ and overcome with a sense of the debt of love and gratitude I owe that compels me to walk faithfully in His footsteps.
This is the real, personal reason why I cannot abide to be among and in these so-called churches that neglect that kind of teaching. And the heart-stopping moment of the sermon came when Pastor Mark clubbed me with 2 Timothy 4:3, 4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”
I have rarely been struck with how current a passage in the Scriptures can be. This was one of those times. Paul could have written those very words sitting in Savannah, GA, on the 3rd of May 2012, rather than from some prison in Rome to his protégé Timothy in 66 AD.