If most churches were honest about what it is they REALLY teach...this might be how the sign out front would look.
(The Fellowship of the Itching Ear)
In regard to church signs: Do you really need to advertise a fire? Is there ANY need to place a sign in front of a burning building that reads: "This building is on fire"? I always found it ironic how some churches advertise a "revival" for such and such a date on the sign out front. If there REALLY was a revival...people wouldn't need a sign informing them of it. If there really was a fire burning from the very annals of heaven...this would be self evident and a sign would be foolishly advertising the obvious. But unfortunately, here in modern Laodicea, we over-state, stretch the truth or better put: "lie in faith" to a whole community via our church signs. Why? To draw a crowd to a synthetic fire that is on our terms. Church signs (not all of them) are an admittance to an obvious state of deadness and lukewarmness. When a "revival" is advertised, we're not so much advertising the revival...as we are our current state and status of "non-revival".
When "revival" is advertised as such, it exposes the underlying condition of insecurity and self-defeat. If you have to advertise something that should be self-evident...it's not self-evident. This is why "announcing a revival" to the public on a sign, is actually announcing your state of deadness...not revival. It is announcing you have an innate insecurity that the public knows you are dead...but you hope to change their mind through the medium of a sign (a faith filled lie). On the Day of Pentecost in the Book of Acts, do you think Peter placed a sign out front, near the steps of the upper room? Oh yes, it declared "Holy Spirit Outpouring 9AM...coffee and doughnuts to follow". No, once revival began to occur...outsiders KNEW...the Holy Spirit was the only advertisement they needed.
What have we done to Christianity?
When true revival occurs, movie theaters, bars, pubs, taverns, supermarkets, factories, strip joints and malls are EMPTIED. When He truly fills all in all...He empties whole communities by filling them with Himself. When He truly becomes THE ONLY THING WE SEEK...His Church will find Him. Think this is impossible? Read the history surrounding the revival's of Charles Finney. Businesses shut down, never to reopen. There are descendants of families who were involved in those revivals who are saved today because of them. It truly had LASTING effects. It wasn't a Friday-Sunday fundraiser so many churches today, falsely label a revival. The only thing getting "revived" in those meetings, are the Pastor's wallet.
One of the leading causes for the church not having revival today is because we're content to live without it. The other reason we're not seeing revival is because "revivals" that are advertised on our church signs, are just a series of meetings featuring an over-hyped motivational speech on how to be excited about the things of God while remaining in your sin. They are just a "have your cake and eat it too" promotion of "Holy Ghost" filled licentiousness while the pastor's wallet gets filled. (The only thing being filled in these revivals are the offering plate and peoples appetite to sin). The reason we're not seeing a revival and influx of sinners TRULY repenting and coming to Christ...is because the church must FIRST repent and come to Him before the world can. Most pastors are looking outside of the four walls of their church for a "sinner mission field" when the "sinner mission field" is sitting right there in their pews.
The vast majority of the church can now be used as a descriptive verb to be used interchangeably with describing the world. So goes the world...so goes the church is the pattern anymore. What is evil is good and what is good is evil. To gain the world, the church becomes like the world (when the world is the very thing we need deliverance from). Our so-called "leaders" refuse to lift Him up. They instead lift themselves up. Our so-called pastors REFUSE to preach against sin...lest they offend their listeners and lose money. Christ is limited to only draw a "few" men unto Him in our day and age. Why? Because pastor's are too busy drawing all men unto themselves. The Lord will have nothing to do with idolatry.
When you rob God of His glory, a church sign advertising the revival of man is an absolute MUST...it is imperative if you wish to draw large crowds as an end in itself. Selfishness and the usurping of Christ can't help BUT promote it's self-evident arrogance by drawing all men unto men. It is selfishness, spiritual bankruptcy and man-centered glory that gives credence to the absolute NEED and necessity of having a sign out front in order for people to know what's going on. (If God is doing something inside...He won't need your help telling people).
When you empty yourself of SELF and give God His due Glory, the fire advertises itself as it draws all men unto Him. A fire can't help BUT being self-evident. It's this self-evidence that gives credence and authenticity to the reality of the fire that burns. And in most cases, the sign out front gives credence and proof of the LACK of authenticity that awaits church-goers within. If this isn't the case: why are we advertising the obvious? Is it really possible for a true revival to occur and have those in the community not know (thus the necessity of the sign)?
Did Moses need a sign or billboard to advertise the parting of the Red Sea?
Did Joshua need a sign declaring that the sun stood still in the sky?
Did Paul need a sign declaring his trip to the third heaven?
Did John need a sign promoting boat tours to the Isle of Patmos?
Did Christ's tomb need a sign declaring that it's empty? I rest my case...
Just like the modern church needn't a sign declaring that it's riddled through and through with sin...a True Revival of the Spirit of Christ needn't one either (some things are just self-evident).
When God comes down, He brings to naught the necessity of the sign out front (metaphorical or literal), or the many other things we use to "advertise" ourselves as Christian. Christianity isn't a sign, a bumper sticker, or a Facebook post. Christianity is a fire that burns...a fire that consumes with white heat intensity all the dross and trivializations we've reduced it to.
Yes, True Christianity needn't a sign. Much like the beauty and majesty of creation doesn't need a sign declaring: "This is beautiful". The fire of true Christianity needs not the theatrics of man to advertise it's presence or announce that it's arrived. It doesn't need the recommendation of man to attest to it's beauty, power, presence or authenticity. When God comes down, True Christianity is fully realized and experienced; it becomes self evident. And when people come in contact with the very flame of God...they will know.
And the church isn't that building down the road with a sign pointing to it...the church is YOU and I.
We all have "metaphorically invisible" signs that advertise us for what we really are. What's your sign pointing people to?
(No I do not think having a church sign is a sin. But I think delving into the depths of why we as a church have always done what we've always done, through the mere tradition of men, is a worthy subject to delve into).