If one feels fulfilled in being the center of attention on his or her Facebook site, Youtube broadcast, or Podcast, then there is no longer any driving force to seek out a personal face-to-face relationship with someone at an assembly of peers.
If you doubt this, then the next time you encounter several young people together, notice how many of them are focusing on what is transpiring on their cellphones. Ask these slaves to their smartphones how often they check the number of “likes” or “views” of something that they have just posted. Even worse, if they come to an assembly, notice how many will not turn off their cellphones just in case some “important” message comes their way. We were even in a prayer group where one attendee refused to turn off his cellphone.
It is difficult to assemble narcissists together in an assembly that does not appeal to the narcissistic obsessions of each individual. It was in times of the past that the “pastor” wanted to be the center of attention when the saints came together. It is now, and will be in the future, that all the attendees, if they show up, will want to be the center of attention of the assembly.
At this time in history, the celebration assembly is often focused on those who have come “to get something out of the assembly.” And if the attendees do not get what they want out of the assembly, they are on their way to the next assembly. They will go from one assembly to another until they get what they want. But in all their search, they have forgotten that they, as a part of any gathering of the saints, must be as Jesus. And Jesus came to give, not to get. It is the nature of any assembly of gospel-obedient slaves of Jesus to give. They give their voices in singing. They give their gratitude in the Supper. They give their ears to the teaching of the word of God. They give their money as their time in thanksgiving for all that God has given to them. If all this is reversed to receiving, then a narcissistic religion has been born.
We continually need a reality check on these matters. If we wake up and find ourselves to have lost our first love, or smell the stench of dead in the air, then it is time to realize that we have lost our way and need to repent. Dead churches that present themselves to be alive send forth no campaigners to mission areas. Dead churches support no mission efforts. Dead churches produce no evangelists who will go forth with the gospel. Therefore, if we are neither sending nor being sent, then we have lost our first love. We are dead to the purpose for which the Son of God was incarnate into the flesh of man for our salvation.
Dead churches usually have no idea that they are dead, simply because they present the ruse that they are alive. Death becomes so gradual in our excitement that it is not detected. The church in Sardis did not know that they were dead until Jesus showed up and wrote their name in the obituary of Revelation. The church in Ephesus did not know that they had lost their first love until the One who came to seek and save the lost pronounced that their first love was gone.
Once we realize that our love for the lost is lost, we lose our drive to go into all the world and preach the gospel to those who are lost. If we surround ourselves with those who have likewise lost their purpose, then King Jesus offers only one recourse: REPENT! Resurrection is the only answer for death!
My friend, I stand in the judgment now,
And feel that you’re to blame somehow.
On earth, I walked with you day by day,
And never did you point the way.
You knew the Lord in truth and glory,
But never did you tell me the story.
My knowledge then was very dim,
You could have led the way to Him.
Though we lived together on the earth,
You never told me of the second birth,
And now I stand here, condemned,
Because you failed to mention Him.
You taught me many things, that’s true;
I called you “friend” and trusted you,
But now I learn, when it’s too late —
You could have saved me from this fate.
We walked and talked by dawn and night,
And yet, you showed me not His light.
You let me live and love and die,
You knew I’d never live on high.
Yes, I called you “friend” in life,
And trusted you through joy and strife,
And yet on coming to this end —
I cannot now call you “my friend.”
[End of series]