Today I want to talk about what promises to be a controversial subject, that is, where’s the Glory of God in the churches today?  Before I even start, I know many will say “God IS in our church.”  To that, my response is, “Then show me the results.  Show me hundreds, thousands of lives changed, REALLY changed! Show me miracles.”  And if you can’t, then He wasn’t there.  I’m not talking about hype and emotion and Goose bumps.  I’m talking about the presence of Almighty God like Moses witnessed, or like the early church experienced, with VERIFIABLE signs and wonders in evidence. 

    Now, I’ve talked to many people over the years from many churches who “experienced a touch from God” but a few hours later, things were back to normal, like nothing ever happened.  To that, I have to say, they didn’t get a touch from God at all, else their lives would be changed forever! 

    I’ve spoken to people who say they were healed in church, but when seeing them a few hours or days later, they were still dealing with whatever it was they were “healed” of.  What gives?  They were caught up in the excitement of the moment, but that isn’t the same as the presence of God there.    Many people think goose bumps are the sign that God was there.  Sorry.  The Bible doesn’t mention goose bumps.   The worship music can be so wonderful it brings tears of joy to your eyes, but if God isn’t there, really, nothing lasting is going to come of it.  You can hear a wonderful sermon, but if it doesn’t bring God on the scene, your life will not be changed on a permanent basis.   For example, when Moses was in the presence of God, his life was forever changed.  It wasn’t just goose bumps, and so terrible was the sight that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake. (Heb 12-21).  The early church witnessed VERIFIABLE miracles, the real stuff, not just hype.    How does that differ from today?  There are far too few genuine moves of God today.  Here could be the reason why.

        Recently I preached about “Where’s the Glory?” in a church. There was a hamburger commercial years ago, “Where’s the Beef?”  There’s a nice bun, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mustard and ketchup, but where’s the beef?  And today the churches are like that.  And it’s not just me.  Many people are wondering, Where’s the Glory?

We have been told for so long the Glory is coming, so where is it?

If it’s coming, then it’s not here, that’s for sure.  If it isn’t here, where did it go and why??

The healing crusades of the ’50′s are not seen much anymore. The great evangelists like Billy Graham are pretty much silent.  For the most part, not much is happening, no nation-changing revivals are taking place like in the early church in the book of Acts.

ICHABOD…the Glory is gone.

 But why?  Because sin and the Glory cannot co-exist.

            It said in 1 Kings 8:10,  “And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the Holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the Glory of the LORD had filled the House of the LORD.”

            Are we being bowled over by the Glory of God when we walk into a church?  No?  Then that proves the Glory of God is not there.  Now, I’m not talking about people who can “fall out in the spirit on cue”, because there are some of those in churches.  But that isn’t what was described in 1 Kings 8:10.

    When I spoke to the church, I apologized that I was able to stand to minister before them, because I would much rather the Glory of God be there to minister to them, instead of me.  They need the Glory, not a man.

            We read in 1 Samuel 2:12 of the sons of Eli, Phinehas and Hophni. They were priests who were evil, and knew not the Lord.  The Philistines warred with Israel, in 1 Samuel 4:7-11,

“And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp.

And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore.

Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.

Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.

And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and the fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter, for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen.

And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.

 The Philistines heard what the presence of God did to Israel’s enemies.  They saw the Ark of God and trembled with fear.  But even though the Ark of the Covenant was with Israel, sin was in Israel’s camp caused the Glory of God, and His protection to leave, and even the Ark was captured.  Israel thought they had the Glory.  Wrong. 

            I read from Joshua 7:1-26 about the sin of Achan not only caused the death of Achan, but his whole family and all he had!  Plus it caused the death of many soldiers of Israel.  Why?  The Glory had left the camp of Israel because of sin there.  They thought the Glory of God was there because the had the Ark. They found out that wasn’t enough.  And the church thinks the Glory is there because of a nice building, or the sign on the church, or because they have an anointed pastor or good programs.  All that is well and good, but if the very presence of God is not there, it’s all just the works of men, let’s face it. 

    Plain and simple, friends, if the Glory of God is not there, it’s because there’s sin in the camp. And the sin of one person can cause the destruction of a whole family or church.   We see from what happened to the Army of Israel, and to Achan and his family that God takes this stuff SERIOUSLY !

            Many churches today preach a “feel good” message so people will come and get comfortable and bring their offerings.  Don’t make them uncomfortable by coming down hard on sin, lest they leave and you can’t “minister” to them anymore.  If that’s your church’s concern, then it’s really not about the Glory, it’s about the money. But if you love their soul, you will warn people to repent and be saved.  God will take care of the finances for the church.

            God has no pleasure in the death of the sinner, Ezekiel 18:23-32

            Whether we like to face it or not, the church will be an empty box until the Glory of God returns.  Until sin is purged, it won’t be back.  There is no excuse for sin, because Jesus came to remove it from us if we will make Him Lord and Savior.  The church is made up of individuals, all of who need to deeply repent of their sins, and turn from them, or the Glory will never return to the church.  Why does the church need the Glory to come?  So the sinners all about will be drawn to God and come, and likewise repent and be saved.  However, the cry of today’s church is BLESS ME!  BLESS ME!  BLESS ME!, not REPENT AND BE SAVED!  We need to preach what the early church preached, not some watered-down Gospel-lite version that caters to the flesh. 

            You don’t save a person who is dying from eating rat poison every day, by serving it up on a nicer plate.  You must get them to stop eating it-RIGHT NOW!

            How do we get the Glory to come?  2 Chronicles 7:14 is a good place to start.  “If My people…(God’s people, we’re not talking about the unsaved here) which are called by My name, shall humble themselves , and pray, and seek my face, and TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

    You mean church people do wicked things?  Hello…..Who do you think God is talking to here?

            Until then, we can shout “The Glory is coming” or “The Glory is here”, till we’re blue in the face.  But we’ll know the truth, won’t we?  It’s like when Elvis gave a concert, everyone was all excited.  When it was over, they were still excited.  Up until the time they announced “Elvis has left the building” they were still jumping up and down and all excited, but now something was missing and it wasn’t quite the same.  Church is much like that.  And it will be “business as usual” (man’s glory) with something missing, until we get sin out of the camp and the Glory of God returns.  I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of playing “Church”.

     I want the Glory of God to come and will do my part to bring it.  Please, will you join me?