God’s intent, based solely on Biblical context, was to restore His chosen people to a place of prominence in the world. But due to their rebellion, the way to kingdom reality was blocked by the hardening of their hearts. The Jews wanted a status position where they become the conquerors instead of the conquered. As one studies the Scripture, one can readily see the intent of Kingdom building in God’s plan, but due to the sinfulness of His people, God had to first deal with their rebellious heart. Zachariah’s prophesy was a basic continuation of Old Testament prophesies that Israel would be delivered from their physical enemies. When that was accomplished, the Jews would be able to serve Him without fear. They would be before God in “…holiness and righteousness,” all the days of their life. (Luke 1:67-75) That was God’s plan, but due to the sinfulness of His people, their physical deliverance would not be achieved until their hearts were changed. To bring about that change, Jesus would come as a Savior, not a physical deliverer. For the Jewish people to understand what the ministry of the Messiah would be, a forerunner would come to change the people’s concept of why the Messiah was coming. Instead of looking for a physical deliverance, they needed to see the importance of a changed heart. John the Baptizer would present Jesus as the “lamb of God” who would take away their sins. (John 1:29) John was stressing the importance of changing their preconceived notions by way of repentance.
The Apostle Paul, understanding the foundation of the Christian faith, made a proclamation that the only thing that really mattered was, “… Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (I Corinthians 2:2). Whenever the Church loses sight of the Cross, its foundation will be in jeopardy. Whenever the Church manipulates Scripture to promote an excitement transfusion, it has lost its power. Whenever the Church proclaims financial prosperity while ignoring fiscal responsibility, it has misdirected the use of God’s money. Whenever the Church stresses physical healing over spiritual healing, it has lost its vision. Whenever the Church seeks signs and wonders instead of displaying Holiness, it has become a broken vessel.
The majority of agnostics and non-believers are witnessing the displays of the “people’s church”, rather than God’s Church. The alarming thing is the actions of the people’s church are getting all the attention, while God’s Church experiences collateral damage. One of the problems that face the Church today is how it responds to the “rebellious church.” If it fails to address false doctrines by not promoting Biblical truths, it will negatively answer Jesus question, “…nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) The true Church will be defined by how it responds to its identity crisis.
The conduct of the people’s church invites ridicule. It hurts to see God’s Church the recipient of ridicule because of unbiblical actions by those who claim to be Believers. The media, from the news conglomerates to the entertainment industry, are exposing the people’s church for what it is, but the tragedy is they think that it is God’s Church that they are exposing. Believers are anticipating an external challenge to the Church, when we need to look within the Christian circle. Satan realizes that the best way to derail the true Church is to build new tracks on which the people’s church will travel farther and farther away from God’s intent.