State of the Church part 2: Are you tending your anchor?

Part 1: Love growing cold
Part 3: The numbers aren’t good
Part 4: Carnal Carnival, &; the greatest sin pastors commit
Part 5a: When carnality leads to spiritual abuse
Part 5b: Is your church spiritually abusive?
Conclusion: Spiritual Leaders and Humble Relationships

In the Introduction/Part 1 of this series, I discussed the Matthew 24:12 prophecy Jesus gave of “love growing cold”, and showed how that prophecy relates to believers. So then if love of believers for God and of each other is predicted to grow cold, in this series I ask what causes love to grow cold. I will also take a look at what will love growing looks like at your local church or in your life. Last, this series will hopefully (by God’s grace) discuss how to spot waning love and what to do about it.

In this section I want to take a look at the primary reason love grows cold. In my opinion, Hebrews 2:1 has the answer. In the NKJV the paragraph is introduced with the title “Do Not Neglect Salvation.” The first verse says “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.”

I love the nautical metaphors the bible writers use. Marine allusions never change throughout time. If we picture the church as a bunch of people on an anchored boat in front of a lighthouse, and we fail to tend the anchor frequently, it slips. It slips because there are tides, and currents and winds trying to push the boat off its anchorage, just as culture buffets us in the world trying to push us away from Christ. As the anchor slips, we drift away slowly at first. As any mariner knows, the less the anchor digs in the faster the drift becomes. Pretty soon the ground under the boat deepens enough so the anchor is still attached to the boat but it’s just hanging there, not doing its job of digging in and keeping the boat close to the Lighthouse. Away the boat goes and in between the boat and the Light are many perils and things that could sink the boat. It does not take long in the neglect of tending the anchor, to become adrift on a cultural tide and too busy trying to control the boat in the currents, tides, waves, and wind to think of the Lighthouse anymore.

What are people doing on the boat that causes no one to notice the slipping anchor? Well, some are on the foredeck, sunning themselves. They say they are warm and comfortable, the sun feels good, and they leave the anchor-tending to someone else. (Sardis failed to keep watch, they are dead- Rev 3:1-3). Others go below, to cook and eat and play cards and to watch TV. (worldly spirit- 2 Timothy 4:10). They say that they finally have a chance to relax, being on this nice yacht, and they are going to take advantage of it. (wilful sin-Hebrews 10:25-31). Others are doing boat-things, like repairing sails, or changing the oil in the engine, but still they don’t take the time to go up and glance at the anchor line because they are too busy. (appearance of Godliness- 2 Tim 3:5). One person noticed a fraying anchor line but when he told his fellow boat-dwellers, they said he shouldn’t worry about it, the rope was strong enough for now. (They heard, but did not do- James 1:22). What they didn’t know was that a storm was on the horizon that would fray the rest of it and cause them to drift. (Matthew 16:3; Luke 12:56). Everyone is supposed to be vigilant and take his or her watch, looking out for storms, fraying anchor line, slipping anchorage. We are a body and we all take a watch. We as individuals and corporately must monitor our position in front of the Lighthouse! Leaving the anchor-tending to one person (the pastor) or worse, no one, means for sure sometime you will slip away. The Lighthouse is still there and always will be. It is the boat that drifted away. We have love growing cold because too many people are abdicating their watch.

I used to live on a sailboat for two years, me and my husband. We rarely went in to a dock, which means we anchored each night. We handled the anchor twice a day, letting it down at dusk for the night and lifting it up in the morning when we left. We would look for two things: good anchoring ground and a protected area. Then we would make a plan for anchoring, me at the helm and him at the bow pointing us to the spot he had decided on. Next, we made a pass over the spot, ensuring there were no hidden dangers that would give a nasty surprise that night. Then we would go through the process of anchoring, making sure the anchor was well set. Finally, though we were stopped for the day and relaxing, we never fully relaxed. One or the other of us would continually take sightings, check the anchor line and generally be on guard, even getting up in the night, lest we drift away. Props to my husband (and me) because our vigilance and fore-planning meant we never slipped anchor. We always awoke the next morning where we had stopped the night before.

We up anchor at sunrise on a Georgia river, circa 1994.

The thing that begins love growing cold is taking your eyes off Jesus the Light and replacing Him with a world view. A world view is satan. The second you give satan an inch, he will bring his crowbar in and pry you away from your first love, inch by incremental inch. That is why it takes an entire body to be on guard, you may not notice your own drift away by inches, but someone else looking at you may spot it. Admittedly, it is a lot of work to tend the anchor of our salvation. You cannot relax, yet our carnal nature very much wants to.  I understand that. What people consistently fail to understand is how devastating even a few moments of relaxing are. Ultimately, failure to tend the anchor is a neglecting of our salvation and that salvation was bought at too great a price to neglect it. (1 Corinthians 6:20). So, in part 3, let’s talk about how many people fail to maintain their biblical worldview by the cold, stark numbers.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns. (Psalm 46:1-5)

Part 1: Love growing cold
Part 3: The numbers aren’t good
Part 4: Carnal Carnival, &; the greatest sin pastors commit
Part 5a: When carnality leads to spiritual abuse
Part 5b: Is your church spiritually abusive?
http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jshttp://www.facebook.com/widgets/like.php?href=http://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2011/12/state-of-church-part-2-are-you-tending.html

http://s7.addthis.com/js/250/addthis_widget.js#pubid=xa-4df8df7d18b59150