I have long held the view that, as a pastor, I should not take a political stand. The only stand I felt should be taken is on the uncompromising Word of God. I have been careful never to make a political statement on Facebook or comment on one that I see posted.

However, my heart is broken! While reading Isaiah 1, I felt led to write my thoughts. I don’t want to be accused of comparing myself to Isaiah; however, I felt I had Isaiah’s reaction in chapter 6 when he finds himself before God. “Woe is me…” He is full of fear because his sin is before him in the presence of a Holy God. What strikes me is that it is not only his sin that breaks him, but also the sin of his people, his nation.

I am a sinful person with my own history and baggage. We all have secrets that would kill us if others found out about them. However, there is truth in this passage. We are a sinful people! We are a sinful nation! The problem is that we don’t care!

Church sizes are dwindling, and instead of taking a stand on the living Word of God, we are compromising to fill seats. We have bought into the lie that the church is contained within the walls of a building. We are more afraid of church attendees who threaten to leave and take their money with them than we are of the authority of the Word of God.

We are afraid of taking a stand on marriage, fidelity, sexuality and morality. Why? Because we are afraid of people walking out the door. This is going to sound harsh and unpastor-like of me…but let them!

We have become convinced of the lie that church is for the unbeliever. The church by definition is the bride or body of Christ. The church is for believers. We want unbelievers to come, but the purpose is to train and strengthen believers to be Christ to their families, friends, coworkers and neighbors. Church is the place for us to have a place of fellowship, prayer and worship; to be challenged to be salt with flavor and light that refuses to darken. It is where we are to be empowered to be Christ to the multitudes!

It scares me how we have redefined church. I am afraid of the Scripture where Christ separates the sheep from the goats and says He does not know them. The statement, “Lord, Lord, haven’t I done great things in your name?” What scares me is they are convinced they are sheep—so convinced that they are blind to the fact they are goats!

The body of Christ needs to go out as the Great Commission commands. In doing so, we are to make disciples, which requires us to share our faith. Then, they are part of the church, the body! We cannot be shining beacons if our lights are dim at home.

So if people leave because we teach truth, let them! The church is healthy when the pretenders and hypocrites are absent. Go to them, invite them,welcome them; but don’t compromise for them! Be the church the Bible says we are, not who the world says we should be.

When they return, let it be because they heard truth and it intrigued and penetrated them. Let it be because they experienced love. Jesus and the Pharisees preached holiness and righteous living. The difference is Jesus loved the ones to whom He spoke.

Pastors and churches need to change if we want to see a significant change in America. I think of America and what it was as opposed to what it has become, and Isaiah 1:4 comes to mind: “Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on Him.” We have forsaken Him! As in Revelation, we have forgotten our first love. We have turned our backs on the One who promised never to leave or forsake us!

Isaiah 1:5-9 is asking a question similar to the one I remember my mom asking me when I struggled with lying, “Why do you continue to lie? Do you enjoy being punished?” Our Father, in verse 5, is asking that same type of question, “Why do you persist in rebellion?” Verse 7 reveals the result: There is desolation, destruction and ruin. Apparently our way of doing things has not helped. Why don’t we change as a church before we try to change society? If we change, we will influence the world, and the world will notice.

We are guilty of talking out of both sides of our mouths. In verses 11 and 12, God lists the offerings the people have given. In verse 13, He reveals how He views them. In fact, He declares, “Stop bringing meaningless offerings!” God does not like it! He told King Saul that He desired obedience rather than sacrifice. Just because we, as believers, have grace does not give us a license to sin. We saw what happened to King Saul. Let’s learn from him rather than ignore that life lesson. Jesus did not die for a part of us; He died for all of us!

Pastors, Christians, churches: Stop apologizing for God. Stop trying to justify His teachings. His Word is truth! It is holy! We can’t change it, and we have no right to apologize for it. We are called to preach, proclaim and live it! We have to let it penetrate hearts. The Word of God is compared to a sword. The sharpest of any sword! It can penetrate bone and marrow. That sounds painful! Let the Word of God do what it was meant to do. Sometimes change hurts. It’s OK!

He calls the people to repentance in verses 18-20. Let’s call our churches back to repentance. Let’s come back to Him, and let’s watch Him bless this land. I love a line from Bill Gaither’s concert in San Antonio when he said, “The church is alive and well. Let the church be the church.” Our churches need to come together for encouragement and support.

We need to obey verse 16 and 17: “Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of My sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

It is a simple list the church should seek to do. When I say church, I mean the body of Christ.

An instructor in JROTC paid me a compliment once when I was a senior. He made everyone look and listen as he believed I would be the next Billy Graham. I was embarrassed and honored. I am no Billy Graham and will not pretend to be. I don’t think I ever could have a ministry such as his. However, I can be the Chris Pope of my community. I can, without compromise, preach the gospel and communicate love, grace and forgiveness. I can watch the Word as it leads people to repentance. I can stand on the truth at any cost. I can be like the disciples who considered it joy to suffer as Christ. Persecution will come. I pray I can embrace it and witness through such trials.

Pastors, it is time we stand up and prepare the bride for her Groom. The wedding day is coming.

Share This On: