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Well, I just had a conversation about megachurches on fri, so it was rather interesting for auntie joyce's message today to have a part which did touch on it somewhat. It didnt speak of megachurches directly, but it certainly was something that is apparent in them.
In the second of the three temptations of Jesus in the desert, satan asked Jesus to throw himself off the top of the temple and land safely to show his power. In effect, satan was asking Him to 'wow' the crowd. Jesus however knew what He was called to do and what He wasnt and refused to take such 'shortcuts'.
Unfortunately, in today's society, perhaps that is what is happening to the church. Bring in the elaborate lighting, use smoke machines, rock the crowd. Without a doubt, people will flock in. After all, it feels good (they call it the presence of the Holy Spirit).
Are we wanting to fill the church with crowds that crave entertainment, or humble simple people who desire to live out the destiny of the Church?
By doing so, at the end of the day we are left with people who are weak in their faith. People who can only be Christians as long as they enjoy their party time in Church. Who are fed feel good messages that do not necessarily reflect complete biblical truth.
We are called to make disciples. That word inherently connotes work to do, things to learn, sacrifices to make. Not believers who sway as the wind blows.
I dont say all megachurches are bad, I havnt actually been in one, but I've heard their teachings, some of which are neither biblical nor reasonable. I know of people who flock to megachurches and of people who left them, those who went perhaps went because they wanted what Church could offer them there, those who left perhaps left because they realise it wasnt really much of a Church after all.
I cant remember where I read it, but the Acts Church was powerful in the midst of their persecution. However, its decline actually began with Constantine's rise to power, where he advocated for Christianity in the Roman Empire. It was the first time where the Church and the state became as one, and that in some ways actually caused the Church to regress. It loss what made it radical. With Christianity becoming 'easy' and even the 'norm', it caused the faith to grow cold. Even today, Christianity thrives in persecution, perhaps because the people believed truly in what they lived and fought for. In the comfort of our lives however, we now speak of living our lives with God in the centre but no longer understanding what it truly means.
There are many believers, but too little disciples. Even satan believes that God lives, it a matter of what we do with that belief.