Matthew 15:7-9, “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” John 4:24, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Revelation 3:15-16, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
We've all heard the saying “playing church,” but what does it mean? Playing church is when religious people merely go through the motions of attending church and living the Christian life outwardly, but they have become indifferent toward the truth and people—apathetic toward the purity of God's Word, unconcerned about the accuracy of the Gospel, woefully lacking genuine compassion for others; all the while maintaining the masquerade of loving God and being a good Christian. Jesus calls them HYPOCRITES!!! To the same degree that you are active in church, but don't care about the purity, integrity and soundness of THE TRUTH, you are merely playing church. Right doctrine matters!!!
Our text passages of Scripture are very fitting for this topic. Jesus quotes Isaiah the prophet, who called the people “hypocrites” because they were superficial. Here is the passage from the Old Testament that Jesus quoted. ...
Isaiah 29:13-14, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.”
Jesus told the Samaritan woman at Jacob's Well in John 4:24 that God can only be worshiped in “truth” and in “spirit.” God cannot be worshipped in rituals, ceremonies or traditions. Likewise, Jesus said that God can only be worshiped in TRUTH.
Let me also quote to you this passage from the book of Mark, which elaborates a bit more...
Mark 7:6-13, “He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”
Jesus plainly said that the Word of God is no longer effective when people replace it with traditions and the commandments of men. And may I say, the Word of God also becomes ineffective when replaced by the Devil's corrupt modern Bible revisions. For example:
KING JAMES BIBLE (KJB) - 1st Corinthians 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION (ESV) - 1st Corinthians 1:18, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Someone ADDED the word “being,” which is not found in the King James Bible. Born-again believers “ARE SAVED,” we are not “BEING SAVED.” Receiving eternal life is a new birth, not an ongoing process. Contrary to theological false prophets like Ray Comfort, Steve Pettit and John MacArthur—you don't have to run the race, live a lifestyle of repentance, nor surrender all to Christ as “Lord” to be saved. To be saved you simply trust Jesus as your Savior. Christ died on the cross for your sins, He was buried. Three days later He physically resurrected from the dead. This is “the Gospel” (or Good News) according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4.
“Playing church” refers to people who have become so shallow, that nothing matters to them anymore. These are today's churches that use more than one Bible version, confusing everybody. The Bible says in 1st Corinthians 14:33b that “God is NOT the author of confusion.” Yet, over 90% of your churches today use multiple Bible versions. What is wrong with today's pastors and churches that they don't care? They are merely playing church.
“Playing church” refers to people who go along with embellishments of the Gospel. There is only one Gospel, which I just mentioned to you. Turning away from one's sin is not part of the Gospel. Surrendering all to Christ as “Lord” is not part of the Gospel. Following Jesus no matter what the cost is not a part of the Gospel. The preceding teachings are popular in today's apostate churches, but none of these things comprise the Gospel of free grace. Far too many congregations and pastors today are merely “playing church.” They draw nigh unto God with their mouths, singing sycophantic praises unto Him, but their hearts are far from Him. Instead of loving the truth as they ought, they love the praise of men and tolerate heresy. Our churches are full of lies and heresies today, but people couldn't care less!
Bob Jones University (BJU) and their alumni are a perfect example. Somewhere along the way BJU changed their doctrine from that of a free grace Gospel, to that of the Devil's heresy of Lordship Salvation. BJU today says you must turn away from your sin to be saved, which is a work, and nowhere taught in the Word of God. Hebrews 4:10-11 says to cease from your works to have God's rest (salvation), but BJU says you have to “turn away from sin” (i.e., live a righteous life) to be saved. Kindly said, BJU are theological liars and deceivers!!! They are playing church. Truth doesn't matter to them. The accuracy of the Gospel doesn't matter to them. The purity of God's Word doesn't matter to them.
Instead of upholding the inspired and infallible Word of God, the Bob Jones crowd follow the doctrines of men, using the manmade Bible revisions of greedy men, which are corrupt. Instead of preaching the pure unadulterated Gospel of free grace, the BJU crowd preach another gospel of turning from sins, surrendering all to Christ, following Jesus no matter what the cost, faithfully running the race, persevering unto the end, and exchanging all that you are for all that Christ is! I'm not kidding, that is the junk theology that they all teach!
Hardly anyone cares anymore. It is sadly the direction which America has gone. It doesn't matter where you go these days, people just don't care. Cops don't care. Politicians don't care. Pastors don't care. People at the front desk at car rentals, hotels and restaurants don't care. Go look online at complaints against any business you can think of, and you'll likely find thousands of complaints, but no one cares! I just searched Google for “PayPal complaints” and at the Better Business Bureau found 14,476 complaints filed against them! Who cares, right? So what, people filed 14,476 complaints against PayPal. Does anybody care? PayPal is booming in business! What are all those complaints going to accomplish? Those people are all angry. They were mistreated. But there is no consequence anymore for bad service. Companies can treat you like total crap and get away with it! That is one main reason why I don't like living in America anymore, people just don't care.
The Lord said in Revelation 3:15-16 that He rejects and vomits lukewarm churches out of His mouth. How can any church be right with God when they promote, sanction and go along with this type of insanity? There are so many bad attitudes in churches today. People just don't care anymore. Proverbs 14:15, “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.” Most churches are installing overhead projectors, investing in fancy music programs, doing all they can to draw in more crowds; but they don't care about which Bible they use, which gospel they preach, or hurting people who are difficult. They just don't care. They are academic types who lack compassion.
Churches want the easy cases, and people with money. They don't want to suffer persecution for the name of Jesus, so they avoid anything controversial. They don't want to be put outside the gate with Jesus. So they dip their sails in sinful compromise, going along with the herd. If a pastor denies the inspiration of the King James Bible, then his church congregation will follow him over the same cliff. If a pastor preaches a corrupted gospel message, then most of the people will follow his perverse teachings. Jesus told the Samaritan woman that God CANNOT be worshipped in error. Pastor John MacArthur worships God in vain, and so does everyone who follows his false teachings!
Dear friend, I see churches across the United States swelling with rot. They are not growing! As an example: The First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida is one of the largest and most influential churches in the country, yet they are Gospel perverts! If you go look at their Statement of Faith, they require FIVE THINGS to be saved! One of these things is to “Stop practicing the sin that is separating you from God.” What blasphemy! Dear friend, nowhere does the Bible require sinners to “Stop practicing the sin” to be saved.
While it is true that our sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), it is the blood of Jesus Christ alone that brings us nigh to God. Ephesians 2:13, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” The First Baptist Church Jacksonville is of the Devil, preaching another gospel of partial faith in Christ plus works, playing church without truth. Galatians 1:6-9 teaches that GOD'S CURSE is upon them. They sing their 7-11 (7 words repeated 11 times) sycophantic worship that nauseates God. I don't care how popular a church may be, or how loving the people may be, they are FAR AWAY FROM GOD when they talk about stopping your sins to be saved.