The Lord Jesus gave me this open letter to pastors to write February 19, 2005, so 17 years ago. Today he led me to go back and look at some of these earlier writings, and this one jumped out at me, and I believe I am to share it with you today, Monday, May 23, 2022.
Open Letter to Pastors
“’At last the time has come!’ he announced. ‘The Kingdom of God is near! Turn from your sins and believe this Good News’” (Mark 1:15 NLT)! Jesus is coming soon!
I am not an End Times Prophecy expert, but if we follow the news, we can’t help but see the signs of the times happening right before our eyes, not only in nature, but in government, in war, in the decline of morals, in our economy, and in technology. The signs are everywhere we look. I also see signs of the End Times in our churches. I believe Satan has gotten many Christians in the USA to believe several lies that he is perpetuating and God wants us to hear and to believe the truth:
The Lie: All one has to do is say a prayer to receive Jesus as Savior and that person then has a ticket into heaven (bear with me here) – like a man told me recently, “I don’t have to repent. I just have to believe.”
The Truth: Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’” “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Nonetheless, many of our churches are leaving that part out of the gospel message. The book of James says that if a man claims to have faith but there is no evidence to support that such a faith exists, then he really has no faith at all. James also says that even the demons believe in God and they shudder.
The Lie: We need to downplay our need to be crucified with Christ and focus solely on God’s grace and love. Like a pastor told me, “We have removed your logo from our newsletter because it does not represent what this church is about.”
The logo depicted the crucifixion with the cross of Christ empty and an arrow pointing to the cross stating, “This Space Available” – based on Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. …” The pastor suggested that instead we show a bunch of coke cans with one empty. The church staff was concerned that the message behind our logo might offend people. A friend of mine hit the nail right on the head in a statement he made to me recently: “People want their Easter without the cross.”
[Update 5/23/22: I am not promoting the celebration of the holiday called Easter, only the celebration of what Jesus Christ did for us on that cross and of his bodily resurrection.]
The Truth: Jesus said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”
The Apostle Paul said: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” “Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.”
If we are not offending people by our message, then perhaps we are not doing something right.
The Lie: In order to get or keep people in our churches we have to offer them a Christian version of what the world is offering them in entertainment – like another pastor told me, “you need to be thinking about whether or not your praise band will draw in large crowds of people.” He wanted to talk with the members of our praise band about considering whether or not they were in the right place of service, because he did not feel they were good enough to draw large crowds, and that was important to him.
The Truth: The gospel is not about us or our building or our band or our programs or even about our traditions. It is about a cross. It is about death, and it is about life everlasting. Most of all, it is about Jesus!! The Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York began with 20 some people in the early 70’s and by the late 90’s they had four services each Sunday with about 1600 people at each service plus they sent people out from their church to start 17 other churches. Do you want to know their secret for church growth? Prayer! That’s it!!
They just called on God in humility and in repentance and asked for a mighty outpouring of God’s Spirit in their midst and God blessed. This is not to say that all people who call on God will have large numbers of people in their churches, but rather that the secret to the numbers of people in their church was that they called on God and he is the one who drew the people there. They did not put their focus on what they could do to draw large crowds of people, but rather the focus was on obeying God.
The Word says that no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him (John 6:44). We are just to fish where Jesus tells us to fish, and he supplies the fish. It’s not our job to draw the people, it’s God’s job. We’re just supposed to obey God and leave the results in his hands.
[Update 5/23/22: I am not promoting the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York as a model New Testament church or as representing the true church, the body of Christ. What stood out to me then was how they shared that their church gatherings were built on prayer not on human marketing schemes and gimmickry that so many are using today.]
The Lie: The church is definitely going to be raptured out before the tribulation (again, bear with me) and God is going to spare us that kind of suffering that he is going to bring on the world. Now, that may be true, but it may not be true.
I think the lie is in the fact that we Christians in the USA feel we should somehow be spared what Christians throughout the world have had to suffer for generations and are presently suffering. We are spoiled. We think being a Christian means going to church on Sundays, singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School, going to church socials and living a good life during the week, and that one day Jesus is going to come and swoop us all up to heaven and then all this bad stuff is going to happen after we are gone.
The Truth: What happened to “sharing in the fellowship of His sufferings”? He is coming for His Church, no doubt, but let’s be sure we are not filling people’s minds with false hopes of no suffering.
Honestly, I think there are a whole lot more scriptures that support a post-tribulation theory than do support a pre-tribulation theory of the timing of Christ’s return, and I would rather believe I am going to have to live through the tribulation and that I will be persecuted and perhaps even be martyred for the gospel, and then if Jesus does rapture out the church prior to the tribulation – wow, what a nice surprise!
But, if I believe in this pre-tribulation rapture and then it doesn’t happen that way, I am in for a much bigger surprise, and on top of that, I am not spiritually or emotionally prepared or equipped to handle it. I believe Jesus wants us to be prepared to suffer for the sake of the gospel, not just enjoy our Christianity.
[Update 5/23/22: I believe in a post-tribulation rapture but I don’t believe this is something we Christians should fight over, for Jesus is going to return when he decides and not before, so please refrain from arguing on this subject on my post. Thank you kindly.]
My purpose in writing this letter is that, although many of you are telling your people the truth, many of you are not, because you don’t want to offend people with the truth of the gospel, perhaps because you fear their rejection or that your numbers will decline.
Jesus is coming soon! He wants people to be ready for his return. He wants them to turn from their sins and turn to God and believe the Good News! Please tell your people the truth before it is too late!
Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ
13 thoughts on “Open Letter to Pastors 2”
[…] Open Letter to Pastors 2 […]
I really like you paragraph:
“The Word says that no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him (John 6:44). We are just to fish where Jesus tells us to fish, and he supplies the fish. It’s not our job to draw the people, it’s God’s job. We’re just supposed to obey God and leave the results in his hands.”
Jesus very clearly tells us our job is to cast the seed, and leave the rest up to him. (Matthew 13:3-9)
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Thank you. Glory to God. Yes, He gives the increase.
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Thank you for this message.
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You are so welcome. Glory to God! Thank you for reading and for responding.
Like many, I go back to the illustration of the bride-to-be who kept her lamp ready for the bridegroom’s return. Thank you for reminding us that though we may not know exactly and precisely the when of his return, we can be certain He will keep his promise and come back. We can try to prepare ourselves for what we think will happen first, second, and so on in that day of his return, yet so much of our preparation is in doing what we should all be doing…in serving Jesus daily and trusting in His power to carry us through whatever may confront us. There are many Christians, those in heaven and those on earth who certainly have lived or are living through tribulation that we in the U.S. have never had to experience. And that doesn’t necessarily mean conditions will always be like this in the U.S. We ask you, our Lord, to grant us your boldness when we are called upon to bear witness to our devotion to you and your salvation. In the midst of fear, remind us that you are sovereign above all! Steady our hearts with the proclamation that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
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Glory to God! Thank you! Amen! I agree with you, Marti. And I appreciate you reading and commenting on this blog, too. Yes, the important thing is that Jesus is coming back and that we keep our lamp’s ready for his return. Yes, our preparation is in daily serving the Lord and trusting in his power to carry us through whatever may confront us. Yes, indeed! And I love your prayer so much! Thank you! Amen. ❤ I have been praying for you and Don much. Love you!
Sue, I have to remind myself every day that if I follow Jesus, and if I’m doing it right, I will be hated, and I have to be OK with that. Right now, I am blessed to be in a wonderful church where the Atonement is preached every Sunday, people are admonished to repent, and the Resurrection is celebrated. I’m not sure what you meant about not celebrating Easter. (I call it Resurrection Sunday.) We certainly shouldn’t skip over Good Friday and celebrate JUST the Resurrection, but neither should we end the story with Jesus’ death. The recent production of “Jesus Christ, Superstar” ended with Jesus on the Cross, just sort of fading into the background, and I had a huge problem with that.
I do think your letter is as relevant as ever today. With all the new versions of old lies being spread like wildfire, we need to tell the REAL story of Jesus, complete with a call to repentance and commitment. Those who are serious about finding God will come, and as for those who don’t, that’s between them and the Lord. We shouldn’t blame ourselves for telling TOO much truth.
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Annie, thank you. I appreciate all that you shared here. I am very happy for you that you have found a church family where Christ is honored and where the true gospel is being taught. Glory to God!!
I don’t have what I wrote in front of me, but I believe, with regard to Easter, that I was stating that I was not promoting the celebration of the holiday Easter, but that I was indeed promoting the celebration of the death and the resurrection of Christ and what all that means. “Easter” entails much that is not a celebration of Christ so I don’t celebrate Easter but I do celebrate Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection. I hope that makes more sense.
Again, thank you for all you shared here. Glory to God! Yes, we must press forward in telling the REAL story of Jesus and the REAL gospel of our salvation, and yes, God is the one who leads them to himself. Our job is just to teach the truth and to leave the results with Him. God bless you, my friend.
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Thanks, Sue. Yes, that makes sense. I think the most meaningful “Easter” I’ve ever experienced was in 2020, the year all the “fluff” was lacking – fancy clothes and hats, baskets of jellybeans and chocolate bunnies, big brunches …Everything was online – zoom church services and music videos proclaiming the real reason to celebrate. That year the “JESUS” movie aired on secular TV in over 70 countries (and in many languages), including countries that you wouldn’t expect to be open to the Gospel. People were cooped up, bored, and open to the message of hope.
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Perhaps, Annie, that is why God allowed things to go the way that they did to get our eyes off of all the fluff and to get us just to see Jesus and his cross and his resurrection and what he did for us and how that is supposed to make a difference in our lives. Sometimes he has to strip away all the extras so that we do look up and we do listen to what he has to say to us. Glad to know that the message of the gospel got out to so many people during that time. Praise Jesus! Thank you for sharing that encouragement with me. Always glad to hear from you.
Annie, I read “A Dead Superstar” and I wrote a reply but the reply did not show up so please let me know if you received it or not. Thanks.