We have just posted a new sermon on the Keep Believing weblog called Trouble in the Church! Here’s an excerpt:
"Churches sometimes have difficulty getting enough
members together to make up a quorum for a business meeting. But
there’s one easy way to get far more than a quorum: Announce a moral
scandal, a doctrinal controversy or an impending church split. The
sanctuary will be jammed with people. Conflict always draws a crowd
And every church has problems, some large, some small, and every church will face a time of crisis sooner or later. You can’t avoid it completely, and you can’t always head it off at the pass or manage your way around it. It doesn’t matter whether your church is young or old or what denomination it is or who the pastor is or what sort of church government you have. None of that cancels basic human nature and the reality that sometimes unholy people end up inside the church.
That’s exactly the situation Paul confronts as he nears the end of his letter to the church at Rome. Having given warm greetings, he issues a final, solemn warning. After all, Paul had seen a lot in his ministry. He had seen churches start well and then decline. He had seen churches split into arguing factions and lose their effectiveness for Christ. And in some sad cases he had seen good churches become infected with heresy that ultimately turned them away from Christ altogether.
Could that happen? The answer is yes.
Could that happen in your church? The answer is yes.
It may be that your church has no serious problems at the moment. It may be that you attend a congregation of Spirit-filled believers who love the Lord, love his Word, love each other, and love those outside the church. That’s wonderful when it happens—and it does happen—and if that is true of your church, get on your knees and give thanks to God because it is all too rare."