In the book of James we are told
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27
In other words the faith that God commends is the one that is poured out for the weak, vulnerable, afflicted and less fortunate members of the Church & society as well as keeps itself from being corrupted by the ideologies and influence of this present world.
This is bible Christianity or apostolic Christianity, much of the ‘Christian’ influence today is driven by the same spirits that drives the satanic agenda of these days. There is a glamorization and commercialization of the message of the gospel that makes the modern Church a very poor image of the apostolic Church we see in the Acts
This influence has caused the Church to develop a model more suitable for the business world, making the true meaning of the Church to be lost, Church essentially is community, a shared faith and life based on the work of the cross. In the early Church we read that all that believed were together and had all things in common
The desire for visibility and to have the aura of success has corrupted us; we want bigger buildings, more extensive facilities, leaders who look like the epitome of corporate success and prosperity. Is there anything bad about great buildings, nice facilities or successful (looking) leaders? Not really, except that none of these things mean much without the core values of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
The Church, that is you & I, needs to rediscover what the Christian life is all about, Christ centeredness, bible centered faith, community, heavenly mindedness, love that produces true holiness, a faith based life of good works, evangelism and a life of power. These things keep us free from the influence of this world and are proof of our love and devotion to Jesus.
When I pastored our last work, there were things that happened among the leadership, that caused me to question the integrity of what I was building, every structural engineer knows that the only cure for a defective foundation is to re lay it, no amount of masking of it will do, if we are conscious of the fact that it is not man that will assess the rightness of what we are building, perhaps we will be better served to relay some foundations.
Sometimes the problem is with the builder(set man) usually is, other times it is with the materials, the people at leadership level.
Jesus was so particular about how he chose his leaders and how he prepared them for what they were to do. If the Lord must heal the Church as he has promised, the healing must begin with leadership.
Isa 57:18 NKJV The Holy Bible
I have seen his ways, and will heal him;
I will also lead him,
And restore comforts to him
And to his mourners.
I believe the Lord is raising new leadership, not necessarily in terms of their age but in terms of their spirit and understanding. Years ago, he said to me ‘ Moses my servant is dead, it is now time for Joshua to rise’ While I don’t want to go into any details about that now, suffice it to say that Moses has to become ‘dead’ if Joshua must rise. Moses & Joshua describe two different ministries, assignments and spirits.
Notice our text says genuine religion, this suggests that there is a false or counterfeit religion, this is why we must be careful how we assess what we have or practice, in my publications the pillars of the apostolic church and the apostolic Christianity I identified as I saw it the distinguishing characteristics of true Christianity or apostolic Christianity. We need to rediscover the meaning of Church, who we are and what we are, this is a part of what James calls contending for the faith that was delivered to the saints.
The world corrupts us when we adopt its value systems, its principles and its ways of doing things, we see this in the Church today; the craze for power, titles, preeminence, the glorification of individuals and the celebration of the material over the spiritual, adopting of worldly means and methods even in the pursuit of spiritual objectives for example when Church buildings and meetings have been turned into comedy shows all in an attempt to ‘attract’ people to them.
We all have a responsibility before God not be led about with a herd mentality but to soberly and rationally examine not only what you believe but also how you live in the light of the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus Christ and his apostles. Those of us who are teachers must be careful to remember that we will not only be accountable for ourselves but to a great degree for those who listen to us.
God bless you