There is a yearning for something more in the church today. One young blogger describes it as a search for authenticity. She has identified a problem within the church. What if the church is looking for relevance and truth in all the wrong places? What does it mean to be authentic?
The blogger writes:
The more I talk with others our age, the more I hear stories with the same theme… I have heard account after account of individuals who grew up in church and feel as though they missed it. They sat through countless church services and know the traditions, but they do not know Jesus.
This is why millennials are leaving the church.
It’s not because the church doesn’t have a cool worship band, or fancy lights or stage. It isn’t because the pastor hasn’t updated his look to sport skinny jeans, a beard and tattoo. It isn’t because the church doesn’t have a Starbucks or eco-friendly restrooms… Even though this is what some might say attract people from my generation.
If you want to attract a millennial, you need to be authentic.
One thing is true; it isn’t about the trappings offered at the church! She is absolutely right about that! She has done a masterful job of identifying the trouble with our western gentile churches. She wants truth. She wants a relationship with the Father through the Son. She wants to Love people and actively demonstrate that love! She wants to see obedience to the Father demonstrated by the ministers and by fellow-believers! And she wants to find a way to be close to Him.
She wants to walk like Jesus!
It’s clear that she finds much hypocrisy within the church, and doesn’t want to be preached to about morality. How can the church learn to be more like Jesus in order to deliver truth devoid of hypocrisy? Jesus told his disciples to go and make disciples of men. What did they do that the church is not doing today? What gospel did Jesus teach?
What if I told you that all the answers have been available to us for centuries?
The trouble is that the church is looking for love (and authenticity) in all the wrong places.
All 44,000 different denominations of the present-day church have forgotten their first love.
We have a definition of Love in the Bible. We are told HOW to Love God and HOW to Love our neighbor! It is the very same gospel message that Jesus and his disciples taught. It is the gospel of the kingdom, and it has nothing to do with disco lights, coffee bars or praise and worship bands.
Never did Jesus say, “Go and tell everyone that I am the Messiah and that I am going to die and be resurrected so you don’t have to obey My Father anymore.”
No. He said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
He said, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he spoke about me.” (John 5:45-47)
Every word, deed and teaching from Jesus came directly from the Scriptures. Sometimes we forget that the New Testament writings were not the ‘scriptures’ in His day. The Church rarely looks at the Old Testament in order to understand the ‘New.’ But, that is like looking through the wrong end of a telescope!
Jesus said, “The scribes sit on Moses’ seat (where the Torah was read to the people). Whatever they Say (when they read the Torah) to do, DO. But, do not DO what they DO.” (Matt 23: 1-4)
This sounds confusing until you understand that the scribes and Pharisees had corrupted the words handed to Moses by adding to the Law. Once that happens we no longer have the pure words of YHVH. What’s authentic about that?
What is truth? According to Psalm 119 the Torah is Truth. It is also the Way and the Light. It brings Life. Just as Jesus described himself: The Way, Truth and Life! The Psalm is a kind of ‘proof-text’ that demonstrates that Jesus is the Word made flesh. In other words, He is the walking-talking-Torah!
Jesus was and IS the Word made flesh. That is more than just a cute phrase that we learned in church. It actually means that the Word of God took on flesh and walked among us. How can He be the ‘Word of God’ if He walked contrary to the instructions given to Moses by the very hand of God?
The short answer to that question is that He didn’t! He was our model for living in the spirit of GOD’s Law (Torah).
Jesus, walked, talked, and performed miracles under the authority of his Father by PERFECTLY following the Law of GOD.
We are told to look for a prophet like unto Moses. What did Moses do? He received the Law at Mt. Sinai and before his death he made sure to remind the Israelites of that Law. You can see this recounting of the law in the book of Deuteronomy. The same book that Jesus referred to more than any other when he was teaching!
If reminding people of the Law given at Mt. Sinai was Moses-like, then it is certain that Jesus is indeed THE Prophet of whom we must ‘shema’ (listen and obey).
Truth is found in the Torah. Obedience is celebrating His feasts and meeting Him at His appointed times! That is when we really have a relationship with Him: when we are in His will meeting Him at His appointed times (including Sabbath!).
If we seek to observe the same truth that was exemplified by Jesus and the disciples there will be no need to worry about attracting the millennial generation. All those who seek the truth, regardless of age, will be drawn unto Him.
You want authenticity? 1Jn 2:6 The one who says that he abides in him must live the same way he himself lived.