For a while now the family knew that there was something wrong. Every so often the family would discover a faint burning smell somewhere on the South side of the house. It would come and go every few weeks, but they could never find where the smell was actually coming from. The parents even had conversations as to how dangerous the situation could become. What they didn’t know was that a rat had started to eat away the lining of their electric cords in the house.
Then the fateful day arrived. The rat bit off more than it could chew and caused a fire to start in one of the walls. As the mother was driving home from a long day of work, she could see a pillar of smoke as she drew closer to the house. Worry quickly turned to panic as the reality of the situation began to take hold. Pulling into the driveway she rushed out of the car and ran quickly into her smoke-filled home.
In the next few moments, the fire department along with many neighbors arrived and started to put out the fire. Making her way as fast as she could, an elderly woman from across the street quickly flagged down a fireman to say: “She just ran. I couldn’t believe it!” Everyone got quiet as they all wondered why anyone would run into a burning house.
If we take a moment to think, I bet we could all come up with a reason to run into a burning building, for there are some things that are worth risking our lives over. And not everyone would agree as to what would qualify as worth the risk. Is the last picture of a deceased spouse worth the risk? Is the family pet? What about our children or a live-in grandparent? I know some people that would run in for a hard drive or even a special Bible that journals their relationship with God. What would that thing be for you?
As a pastor, I am amazed to see so many fires blazing in our churches. Not the fire of the Holy Spirit, rather flames that destroy the true fellowship of God’s people. And like the firemen and the neighbors who watched helplessly outside, we cannot comprehend why so many choose to remain inside those churches (and denominations) that continue to move further away from biblical Truth.
If your church has redefined what immorality is, this is not just a simple doctrinal difference, they are bearing false witness to a holy God. And as the pastors know the truth, yet continue to preach their own gospel, the true Spirit of God is leaving those churches. In our nursing homes today, you will find those who can no longer make it to our churches. And these precious saints are the ones who spent 20+ years fighting in our assemblies and synods to fend off the things that are now accepted as holy. Many of them now sit in sorrow with no voice as they watch everything they worked for in their denominations destroyed, for even their children and grandchildren have fallen to these great deceptions.
Is your house on fire? What in it is so valuable that you are still risking your very soul for? Is it a hope that truth will somehow overcome and the voting majority will have a change of heart? Do you stay because of a loved one or because of family ties? Maybe you are a crusader and want to take on the wrongs you see. Yet, in reality, most people seek to remain in their denominational heritage because their religious organization has done a great job in manipulating them to remain as their spiritual identity is tied so closely to membership in the church. Yet are we baptized Baptist? Is communion only valid for the Catholic? Is our confirmation only ratified by Luther? The truth is, we are one in Christ and there is no Presbyterian or Eastern Orthodox when we get to heaven. Therefore, don’t let membership in an earthy organization keep you in bondage.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit tries to shake you awake to see the smoke and the flames and I pray that this is what you need to know that God gives you permission and is calling you out of these houses that are worshiping themselves. For if God did not spare those He redeemed from Egypt when they rebelled against Him in the wilderness, why would He now spare those that have tasted and seen the Holy Spirit yet continue to teach against His living Word?
The scriptures reveal that these times would come. And this is not just an American problem; the entire world is walking away from biblical Christianity to embrace a new form of self-love that places our wants and desires above God’s. The next decade is going to transform the spirituality of an entire world. And it is going to be harder and harder to find local fellowships that submit to the full counsel of God’s Living Word. If you feel and see these things, know that it is God who has revealed them to you. And He does not reveal things for our inaction. He is calling out the remnant of His people to seek each other out and gather in fellowship. He is calling us to leave the fires that are blazing in our denominations to once again find His joy and peace outside of them.
There are still some good denominations and healthy churches out there, but many are smelling the smoke while others are already set ablaze for the rats have been allowed to breed within the walls. There is a simple way to know if your church is on fire. Just ask God. For the moment you do, deep down the Holy Spirit has already answered your question. Therefore, the real question is: why am I still here? Find out what that reason is and see if it is worth the risk to say near the flames. For every year you remain in a compromised church is a year those you love continue to embrace the growing deceptions being edified there. Sometimes the greatest witness we can have is to walk away and pray that those we love shortly follow.
In today’s world, an uncompromising pastor should be the most important thing a person looks for in a church, for as we enter into the end of days, we will need pastors who are willing to share an unadulterated and living Word as they function as messengers of the coming King. Someone reading this today is in the midst of the flames. God is giving you permission to leave the building and He will not leave you homeless. Sometimes there is great freedom in losing all of our stuff in order to get back to the things that really matter in this life. Therefore, let Christ be your home.