|(Holy Word Of God)|
Hebrews 10:23-25 KJV
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching...
|(The Only Constant Is Change)|
Romans 12:1-2 KJV
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God...
In the above verses, Paul implored the church of Rome to present themselves as living sacrifices unto the Lord by not becoming conformed to the world that they lived in, that same warning applies equally to us today. One may ask the question, what does it mean to be conformed to this world, and that is a great question, and here is the answer. To become conformed, according to dictionary.com, is to act in accordance or harmony with prevailing standards, attitudes, and practices os a society or group. For the church, lowering expectations, and creating an atmosphere in which the statement "God accepts us as we are but He doesn't want us to stay that way," no longer applies and perpetuating a climate in which terms such as holiness, moderation, modesty, and maturity have been replaced by modernization, comfort and a quick dismissal, this is what it is for the church, as a whole, to be conformed to the world.
|(Drive Thru Church Service)|
There was a time not so long ago when the instructions passed down through the preacher were adhered to without hesitation, nor question, a time when to stand up and walk about while the pastor was speaking was considered completely unacceptable, never to be done. Growing up as a child, I was taught that we should never walk across the front of the church, onto the platform, or in any area adjacent to or in front of the pulpit/alter area after church services had begun; however, these very acts have become commonplace in today’s church.
Unfortunately, gone are the days of men and women dressing appropriately for church, when change on the inside was reflected by change on the outside. Sadly, class, and modesty have now been replaced by shorts and flip flops, and wearing our “Sunday Best” occurs for business meetings and holidays only, no more are Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings the best dressed days of the week, displaced by Friday and Saturday nights, these two days have been regulated to “come as you are, and stay as you are,” apparently, God no longer expects us to reflect the change within, onto the surface without, no more must we offer ourselves up to God as living sacrifices for the world around us to see, no longer is the church a cultural leader, but she has now become a follower of trends.
The title of the article you are reading today is simply, Landmarks, and before we proceed any further, we must take a look at what exactly the term Landmark really means according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
Definition of Landmark:
|(1936 Texas Centennial Marker)|
- An object, such as a stone or tree, that marks the boundary of land.
- An event or development that marks a turning point or a stage.
- An object or structure that marks a locality, a point of orientation.
- A structure of historical interest, one that is officially designated and set aside for preservation.
Now, looking at the word Landmark, its definitions as listed above, and the “spirit” in which we are discussing the word today, a Landmark can be described as the traditions, rites, rituals, and standards established to help govern the church, and the Body of Christ as a whole. Many of these standards and landmarks, have endured over the millennia, from decade to decade, and century after century, when it comes to church culture, and one of these traditions is simply referred to as wearing your “Sunday Best.” Your Sunday Best is often used to describe an individual’s best looking outfits, or clothing reserved for Sunday church services, or other special occasions. As far back as I can remember, no one ever attended church services without wearing their very best, whether that was a suit and tie, slacks and a button down, or a fresh pair of jeans and a polo shirt, one common thread ran through everyone attending services, they had worn their Sunday Best to honor Christ Jesus, the One who died in place of us all.
Giving of oneself to the local church is another Landmark or standard that has clearly changed for the worse. You see, there was a time when giving to the church meant more than just a couple bucks on Sunday, but it was your time, your sweat, your tears, your love, and even your blood if need be, whatever it took, whatever you could give, was shared with the church, and those around you; however, nowadays, it is not uncommon for someone to place a five dollar bill in the offering tray, and then ask the usher for four dollars in change. Yep, that "old time religion," that saved souls, men, women, and children alike has become as rare as an African White Rhino, they’re just so hard to find. You see, If we keep selling out the old traditions and landmarks for the sake of making “things easier,” we may just end up losing our souls along the way. There’s a saying, and we have all heard it, the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions.
II Thessalonians 2:15
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle...
The traditions, standards, and Landmarks that once helped govern the Body of Christ and hold them accountable have all been replaced by special programs and home groups. Now, before we move any further, it must be stated that special programs and home groups aren’t in themselves a negative or “bad thing,” it is only when these types of programs are used to remove the ministers and pastors from the process of discipling the saints, that the results can become devastating.
|(Old Country Church)|
Honoring our pastors and leaders is actually an ordinance and requirement found in scriptures, but more than that, we should honor them simply out of reverence and respect for God. You see, the Lord has given our pastors charge over us, and they have expended immeasurable time and energy in prayer and study on our behalf. Our leaders put forth untold amounts of time and energy in order to help guide and lead us to heaven, they deserve our honor and respect. Unfortunately, just as some of the other Landmarks mentioned above have expired, the days when our ministers and spiritual leaders were honored and revered have seemed to have also passed us by, never to return.
To serve God is to serve the people, it is to honor His Word, by adhering to the instructions of those He has set over us, and it is to adhere to the Landmarks set before us by God and the elders who have gone before us.
Fred Blackman Jr
Fred Blackman Jr