“But I have this against you: You have abandoned your first love.”
We’ve lost sight of our first love in our churches: Jesus.
As a result, many Sunday gatherings are extremely damaging to the souls of patrons. Because the “devout” have taken their gaze off Christ, the New Covenant isn’t being taught. Instead, a mixture of Law and grace is. Legalists attempt to water-down the Law and then pressure others to obey it like them. On Sundays–and Wednesdays if you’re really holy–you’ll get trained up on this.
They absolutely refuse to hold the Law to its highest standard as Christ commanded–perfection (see Matthew 5:48)–and then, repent toward grace. These addicts of religion are the ones truly not respecting the Law. We actually are. We are saying, “I can’t do that! 613 commandments or none? I’ll stick with Jesus!”
They are not. They want parts of Law and parts of grace, but God won’t allow it. We must decide–one or the other–because Law plus grace is still Law (see Romans 7:4-5, 11:6, Galatians 5:18, Hebrews 7:19).
To be clear, yes, fellowship with other believers is important, but it’s better to stay home than to repeatedly hear mixed-Covenant messages. Law-based sermons and treatments, such as:
This catastrophe, located in so many churches, is rampant and not the gospel. Yet millions will hear this trash because, “Don’t you dare forsake the assembly of one another!”–a person yells, taking Hebrews 10:25 way out of context, which had nothing to do with church attendance (read the whole chapter). It’s as if stepping inside a building to hear this dung is supposed to make us more sanctified and acceptable to God? It does not.
Go fishing, play golf, read, write, knit, spend time with your family. Kiss your spouse on the couch. Drink some coffee or tea and relax. Drive the countryside and enjoy the beautiful vistas. Do anything except go to church if this is what you experience each week.
You are free, friend. So live free.
It was for freedom that Christ set you free. Don’t allow yourself to be burdened again by the yoke of sanctimonious slavery (see Galatians 5:1, Romans 5:1, Matthew 11:28-30).
“Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy!” they’ll harp, applying one of the 613 commands for the Jews only to us while overlooking the fact that the Sabbath was not on Sunday. It was from Friday to Saturday. So who’s really not keeping the Sabbath holy? Them. The Law-lovers. Those who crucify Christ again and again. We Christians have repented from a specific holy day and turned to Jesus as our holiness–as our Sabbath (see Colossians 2:16, Matthew 12:8, Hebrews 4:9-11, 6:6).
“God created the Sabbath for man, not the other way around,” Jesus’ own words (see Mark 2:27).
In some churches, many drink from the toilet of legalism and try to shove the heads of others down into the same pot. They want us to believe our Creator gives gold stars on our Good Little Christian Chart for putting our butts in the pews and listening to lies. No. It doesn’t work that way. We must stand up to this. We need to recenter our gatherings onto the truth of the simplicity of the gospel:
JUST JESUS. He is enough.
The number one problem with our assemblies is the mixture of the Old and New Covenants. Moses plus Jesus. Law plus grace. If Paul could see what we’re doing by not being clear about Christians being dead to the Law–100% no relationship with it–he’d call us, “Fools!” (See Galatians 3:1). The double-talkers who are teaching a mixture, he’d tell them to castrate themselves (see Galatians 5:12).
That’s how serious he was.
“STOP MIXING IN THE LAW WITH THE GOSPEL!”
But we don’t like to listen to that. We think we need the Law, when we don’t, because we have the Spirit. We’ll trust Jesus for His blood and forgiveness but stonewall at trusting His Spirit to guide us choice by choice–as if He’s silent or something. He’s not (see Galatians 5:22-23, Hebrews 1:2, Philippians 4:8, 1 Corinthians 2:16, 13:1-13, 2 Corinthians 3:7-9, 10:5, John 13:34, 14:26).
This will infuriate someone who’s worked way too hard at being obedient to the Law–parts of it anyway, “You’re a liar, Matt! Without the commandments from Moses how will we know what to do?!”
Jesus. Him. His Spirit. He’s infused with your spirit, believer (see 1 Corinthians 6:17). He teaches you, not Moses (see John 1:17, Titus 2:11-12, Galatians 3:24). He’ll never lead you into sin, don’t worry. You can still choose to sin, but that’s not coming from Him. That’s coming from the power of sin, demonic influences, and your own unrenewed thoughts and coping mechanisms. You’ll know what to do on a moment by moment basis because of His Spirit–not because of the Law.
But no, many think He’s not suffice and His grace is useless. For this reason, they won’t center their teachings on Him. Jesus is just a footnote to their incorrect opinion about Him. Confused pastors will pull stuff He said out of context–as well as the things Paul wrote–and everything Moses commanded. Their weak “Top Ten” they’ll fight tooth and nail for, in order to keep some obsolete stone tablets on their courthouse square. Yet ALL OF THEM fail miserably at obeying even the Ten Commandments and still pressure others to do them! Talk about HYPOCRITES! That’s exactly what Law observance does! Which was exactly the point of the Law from the beginning:
EXPOSE THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS, GRACELESS, GODLESS, FAITHLESS HYPOCRITES.
(See Romans 3:9,20, 5:20, 6:14, Matthew 23:1-37, James 2:10, Galatians 2:19, 3:10-11)
No matter, they’ll ignore this truth and scream, “Not one jot or tittle can be ignored!” Well no duh. But those jots and tittles only apply to unbelievers, not Christians. Paul told Timothy the same; that the Law is not for us. Instead, it’s for those who are not born of the Spirit–natural sinners (see 1 Timothy 1:7-11).
WE ARE NOT SINNERS! WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD! CHILDREN OF GOD DO NOT NEED THE LAW! (See 1 John 3:1, Romans 6:14).
THE LAW IS THE POWER OF SIN! PLEASE STOP PUTTING PEOPLE UNDER IT! (See 1 Corinthians 15:56).
Dear preacher, do you want sin? Do you want sin to be powerful in your congregation? Then dip your teachings into the Law. Cover Moses with Jesus and create candy-coated crap, then hand it out each week. Watch the place get sick and fall apart. Go ahead, just use a dollop–just one commandment from the Old Testament–then sit back and observe demonic gremlins go to work. Put a drop of poison into the spiritual food you feed your flock and watch sin thrive (see Galatians 5:9, Romans 7:8,11).
Or repent and teach Christ. Repent and teach the Spirit as our Guide, not Law. Repent and stop pointing out “what all is wrong with the ministries of others who are easy on sin.” Repent and teach complete reconciliation with God. STOP FOCUSING ON SIN. Focus on Jesus. Truth be told, that’s the only thing we’re all competent to teach:
100% RECONCILIATION WITH GOD THROUGH CHRIST.
(See 2 Corinthians 5:11-21)
Context-contortion of Old and New Covenants has ruined countless churches. We’re hard-pressed to find New Covenant teachings coming from any pulpit. The mixture of Jesus and Moses has caused quasi-grace country clubs to pop up everywhere; congregations instructed to inspect peoples’ fruits when Jesus only mentioned fruit inspection as He chastised some unbelieving jerks–not us. For us, it’s His fruit being produced through us. We are simply branches. He is the vine. Branches don’t produce, we rest. The vine does the work by way of us (see John 15:5, Galatians 5:22-23, Philippians 2:13).
So today, my friends, know this: The number one problem of today’s church is the message. The message we hear isn’t centered on Jesus in us and through us. It’s riddled with unnecessary garbage which pulls our attention off Him. We must repent back toward our first love, Christ alone. His grace. Covenant-mixing churches pervade our planet when Paul clearly stated the Letter kills. The Letter is the Law (see 2 Corinthians 3:6). The Law is the Old Covenant between God and Israel. Yet many pastors want to tell people to give the Law their best shot and come back next week for a new, convicting pep-talk. No! Repent! Christ is for you, friend! Paul said the Spirit gives life! He said the only message anyone is competent to teach is the New Covenant! He said we’re all ministers of it, not just those who deacon boards vote into supposed power (see 2 Corinthians 3:6). That’s you, dear Christian! You are qualified to minister the New Covenant because the Spirit who gave you life lives in you! (See 1 Corinthians 6:19, Hebrews 3:6).
A prayer for you: Father, thank you so much for another day alive! Thank you for your Spirit within me! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. Please help our church gatherings to turn from the Law and back toward Jesus. Yes, they can know the Law, they can learn the history of Israel–the lineage of our Savior. But more importantly, they need to know where WE came in–the Cross. The blood of Jesus brought in the New Covenant and that’s where human history changed for the better. Inform them that Moses, David, Daniel, Jeremiah–all of Israel–longed for what we now have! Since Pentecost, Christ’s very own Spirit joins all who will believe! He’s guiding us, counseling us, and teaching us how to live our lives every second of the day! He’s our only hope of glory and we have Him in full as your children! Guide our churches into repentance, right back to our first love, Jesus. In His name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from my upcoming book, The Christian Identity, Volume 3. Check out my other bestselling books here!