Tuesday, December 22, 2009

HOW TO DESTROY A CHURCH

"The ways of destroying the church are many and colorful. Raw factionalism will do it. Rank heresy will do it. Taking your eyes off the cross and letting other, more peripheral matters dominate the agenda will do it-admittedly more slowly than frank heresy, but just as effectively over the long haul. Building the church with superficial ‘conversions’ and wonderful programs that rarely bring people into a deepening knowledge of the living God will do it. Entertaining people to death but never fostering the beauty of holiness or the centrality of self-crucifying love will build an assembling of religious people, but it will destroy the church of the living God. Gossip, prayerlessness, bitterness, sustained biblical illiteracy, self-promotion, materialism-all of these things, and many more, can destroy a church. And to do so is dangerous: ‘If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple (1 Cor. 3:17).” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
~ D.A. Carson ("The Cross and Christian Ministry")

This quote is a reminder to all of us that the local church is supposed to be a representation of Jesus Christ. The message of the Cross should be the primary function of every church which means, preaching the Gospel and discipling believers to share the Gospel outside of the church. When the church becomes known for its entertainment value, social programs, trendy "How To" messages or when people go there simply because everyone else does, that church has lost its purpose.

Church is about worshipping, glorifying and honoring God. It's a place for true followers of Christ to gather and praise Him; to learn more about Him. It's where the Word is taught and the Gospel comes alive through Holy-Spirit inspired preaching. The local church should be open to everyone and judgmental of none but never catering to or compromising for the world in order to make itself attractive to the so-called "seeker". Every church that claims to follow Christ ought to be focused on the Word and not what the latest marketing study determines is culturally relevant. When the church devotes its energy towards promoting itself in order to appeal to the unsaved person, something is wrong.

"If they don't hear the truth, cool music won't help. If they don't see the light, PowerPoint won't help. They're blind and dead. Our task is to go on preaching not ourselves, not our manipulated message, but repentance and submission to Christ Jesus as Lord." ~ John MacArthur ("Hard To Believe")

Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). That alone should be the core mission statement behind every church; in their teaching, preaching, outreach and programs. We don't need to soften the message to make it easier for the unsaved world. We don't need to make the Word exciting to get their attention. Church doesn't need to be entertaining in order to lead people to the life transforming power of the Gospel. If people see God and His word as boring, the problem is not with the church but the soul of that person. Every true follower of Christ will hunger for the Word. Church should be a place of reverence for God where His Word is treated as Holy. The Sunday message or experience should be about theology not psychology. If the Word is preached rightly, hearts will be softened, eyes will be opened and lives will be transformed.

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile." ~ Romans 1:16

We need not dress-up the Word or church to make it appealing to the unregenerate world. Who are we to think that we know how to reach people with our silly methods, programs and research-proven topical series forms of entertainment? Has the local church forgotten who draws people to God? Have they forgotten what it is that humbles a heart and leads people to their knees in repentance? God doesn't expect us to attract people; He simply expects us to be obedient in teaching His Word. He is quite capable of doing the rest.

“No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” ~John. 6:44

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." ~ Matthew 28: 19-20



~ktf~
John

3 comments:

GodisFreedom said...

A church is a huge responsibility. People may only pass through a church ONE time in their life. Should that ONE time inlcude how to play electric guitar, or how to make a church feel like a night club full of really nice people ? Or might it be better to include the real "Purpose Driven Bible" which should be the reason for the get together each week in the first place as apposed to a "star search" or "winning personality" on display. The "Purpose" of the Bible was to tell the "Purpose" of Christ. The Old Testament tells us how we should live, and Prophesies of Christ coming as God in the flesh to make a way for you to avoid eternal punishment for your raggedy sinfilled dirty rag righteousness. The New Testament tells how Christ came to end the Law that we couldn't keep even if it meant staying out of Hell. It explains how Christ shed his innocent blood so that through FAITH and mere BELIEF in HIM as a payment for your raggedy filthy sinful self, you can now much more easily avoid an eternal punishment in the literal fires of a literal Hell. It this is not preached, you may be responsible for sending more people to Hell than AC/DC ever did ! The Church has an Awsome responsibility, not just attendance in church each week, but attendance in Heaven one day where money and personality matter not.
Mike

The Old Geezer said...

You have a very interesting blog

The quote by D.A. Carson is right on the money

God bless you and your family
Keep up the good work for Jesus

pennedpebbles said...

Great post! I think Christians and christians alike have forgotten (or perhaps never learned) what the real purpose of church is. So, I'm thrilled to have found this blog. I will be back! God bless!