In general terms, many churches are diminishing in the number of active members. The churches that are maintaining their numbers and growing are the ones who tell the people what they want to hear. The Apostle Paul told us prophetically this day would come.
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.
In order for pastors to fill their pews, some have compromised God’s Word in order to have a flock. Who are these folks with the itching ears, they are what the Bible calls goats. Well, you can’t pastor goats, believe me, I wore myself out trying. Goats have a tendency to go their own way. They will eat anything and they are always butting heads with someone. They do acknowledge God but they will have Him only on their terms. They are right and everyone else is wrong. I know many pastors who agonize over their stunted church, they have really good people but not many.
There was a time when all the good churches were vibrant and growing, but as time wore on the people were either seduced away or they just lost interest. They fell into the same pattern of error as Israel did. Israel was hot after God when they were oppressed, they turned to God and He delivered them. Once God set them free and blessed them, they forgot Him and they focused on the good life He gave them.
Revelation 3:16-17 So then because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods and have need of nothing and you don’t know that you’re miserable, poor, blind and naked.
Lukewarm Christians take God for granted, they have everything they need so they leave off their relationship with the One who gave them all good things. The nation of Israel did this time and time again, they worshipped God just as long as they needed Him. God would not be mocked. He would not just look the other way. He demands that His people be honest with Him. It is a very foolish idea to think we can fool God in any manner, shape or form.
When a Christian is consumed with the provisions of God in place of God, they have become lukewarm. An honest man would be cold or hot, only a fraudulent person would compromise for personal gain. The Scribes and Pharisees presented themselves before the people as “holy men of God”. They didn’t fool Jesus, He called them hypocrites and serpents, agents of the devil. They deceived the people because the people didn’t believe God’s holy Word. Jesus spoke strange things, He spoke the truth. Something they were not accustomed to. They said this about Jesus, a man who spoke with authority and not like the Scribes.