I wish to use the following scripture to springboard two messages about the church. The first will be on What’s Wrong with the Church. And the second on What’s Right with the Church.
I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. (Matthew 16:18 NASB)
Churches and conflict are a part of life experiences just as it is in business, politics, and social media. It is a sad reality. It is not a new experience either. Acts 15:1-2 record a much earlier church conflict. Salvation by circumcision cause no small dissension.
Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue. (Acts 15:1-2 NASB)
Now I can’t be specific in the discourse that follows because I’m not writing a book. So as you read think of it as a “general discussion”
What’s wrong with the church? In a word H-U-M-A-N-S. No big surprise huh? Well let me take the word ‘human’s’ and use it as an acrostic.
There simply is not enough of it. The behavior of most humans is one of sellf-gratitfication. Take Herod for example.
Now he was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; and with one accord they came to him, and having won over Blastus the king’s chamberlain, they were asking for peace, because their country was fed by the king’s country. On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. The people kept crying out, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died. (Acts 12:20-23 NASB)
What is it that our Lord wants? Consider these requirements that come from Him.
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 NASB)
Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. (James 4:10 NASB)
There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19 NASB) (haughty eyes = pride)
II. Unity –
There is simply not enough of it. Churches are filled with discord, cliches, groups, power struggles. Don’t believe me? In the last serevice, where did the folks sit at in your church; answer, the same places they usually do. Same people hanging with the same people.
Don’t think there is discord; then ask those being silent what they really think? No ‘groups’ in your church? Have a fellowship meal and watch the same folks sit together time and time again. Others in the church see it and know not to interfere with their routine.
No power struggles in your church? Try pointing out inconsistencies in the spiritual matters of the church and watch your popularity take a nose dive. As long as you are in God’s will, the nose dive is no more than an unfortunate side effect. I believe you would agree it is better to be in the Lord’s favor than in man’s.
Still, unity is God’s desire.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! (Psalms 133:1 NASB)
Let love of the brethren continue. (Hebrews 13:1 NASB)
III. Mischievousness –
There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, (Proverbs 6:16, 18 NASB)
Working behind the scenes to further your personal agenda at the dismiss and ‘care less what others think’ is a sure way to get the attention of those with gifts of discernment. The challenge for them is disclosure. How and when because no matter how or when the evil is brought to light, conflict follows.
IV. Attitudes –
Got the wrong kind in most churches. Generally what we see exhibited is the attitude of “what can the church do for me” rather than “what can I do for the church?”
Enter the ‘sanctuary‘ to worship God in spirit and in truth. We are here for Him.
The earth is the LORD ‘ S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas And established it upon the rivers. Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD And righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face- even Jacob. Selah. Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates, And lift them up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah. (Psalms 24:1-10 NASB)
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24 NASB)
V. Negativism –
Here is where you say, ‘aren’t you being negative with what you are sharing? That would be true if I left all my remarks to what you have read thus far. However, I will move to the positive side in just a few. So bear with me.
The two most common words from church members. “I can’t.” Seldom do you hear ‘I’ll try’ or ‘I will do it.’
VI. Sin – It’s everywhere.
Just because you may not hear your church leader share from the room the various activities are sin does not mean they do not exist. We have church leaders who will not call out sinner much less call sinners to repentance.
It’s a new age. We must be careful with our words because we want to draw a crowd to our service. Getting a crowd to the worship service and not feeding them the true word of God and calling upon all to recognize their sin is like inviting them to dinner and just feeding sweets.
There are people who want to say they did not know such and such was a sin. No one told them. They did not attend church.
You can draw a crowd and get the attention of the community. But if they are not hearing the words of faith, repentance, confession, shedding of Jesus’ blood, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection, then that’s all you have…a crowd.
as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:10, 23 NASB)
This concludes my limited remarks on whats wrong with the church. Please watch for my next blog on what is right with the church.
Until Next Time,
Source: Notes from years ago. Approximately early 1996