Intersection of Life and Faith

10 Dangerous Things to Look Out for in Your Church

  • DiAne Gates GriefShare
  • 2017 13 Jul
10 Dangerous Things to Look Out for in Your Church

Everywhere you turn danger lurks—yes, even in your church. While this is nothing new, according to the Book of Jude, we seem to have developed an attitude of false security behind the doors of our churches. But truth is, the church has always been a spiritual battlefield.

If you could see the invisible battle going on around you during the eleven o’clock hour on Sunday morning it would scare the bejeebers outta you. And if there are lost people in your congregation, the battle wages intensely.

Sunday after Sunday, Satan and his demons walk away with the high attendance award.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 5:12 NAS)

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  • 1. Spiritual Blindness

    1. Spiritual Blindness

    Jude, a half-brother of our Lord Jesus, appeals for believers of every generation to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”

    The word "contend" instructs believers to wage war against error in all forms. To fight boldly for the truth of the Word of God. But today many in the church are blinded by their apathy toward absolute truth. How long has it been since you’ve sung Onward Christian Soldiers? You gasp, “We’re Christians. We’re supposed to love everyone—not wage war.” Oh, but we are called to wage war against the lies presented by “…certain persons who’ve crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4 NAS).

    The problem is, many sitting in the pew don’t know enough of God’s Word to discern truth from lies and have grown comfortable in the dark.

     

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  • 2. Lack of Discernment

    2. Lack of Discernment

    Applying God’s truth requires spiritual discernment. If we look back through history, we know God chose Israel. He delivered them out of slavery, brought them across the desert into the land He promised, but they listened to the lies of 10 cowards rather than trusting God. Scripture says that generation died in their unbelief. 

    Jude says: “… just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties.” (Jude 1:7-8)

    Only the Spirit of God gives the ability to discern truth from lies. And many people, even in the church, are filled to the brim with what everyone but God thinks. They have no interest or appetite to discern His truth. Our young people have been taught there is no such thing as absolute truth. Therefore, they have nothing to frame their lives, but lies from those who’ve crept in unnoticed among us and defiled their hearts.

     

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  • 3. Apostate Preachers

    3. Apostate Preachers

    There are preachers today who refuse to mention the word “sin.” They never mention the blood of Jesus Christ that satisfied, once for all, the death penalty our sin requires. They preach a social gospel of giving and receiving love that tickles ears but doesn’t save souls.

    Apostate preachers care only for themselves, their popularity, and the collection plate. Jude calls them “…clouds without water, carried along by winds, autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted, wild waves of the sea casting up their own shame like foam, wandering stars (comets that aimlessly shoot across the sky) for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.” (Jude 1:12-13 NAS)

    The most loving thing you can do or say to those whose lives reflect the lies of the enemy rather than the fruit of the Spirit of God is tell and show them—Jesus loves you. He died to pay the penalty for your sin. And lives to forgive your sin—if you will trust and obey Him.

    God saved you to go make disciples, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

     

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  • 4. False Teachers

    4. False Teachers

    Political correctness is alive and well within the church and many refuse the Bible’s explanation of creation. Or they attempt to blend the Genesis beginnings with the evolutional process. Or they may teach, in direct opposition to the Word of God, there are many ways to salvation—Jesus is just one way. This is heresy! 

    Jude calls these teachers ungodly sinners who have spoken harsh things against Christ Jesus. 

    “These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.” (Jude 1:16 NAS)

    Their message may be attractive, but no divine truth abides in these lies.

     

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  • 5. Believers Behaving Badly

    5. Believers Behaving Badly

    Have you ever been in a group of church folks where the conversation didn’t match their boasts of being righteous and holy? Borderline naughty jokes? Critical conversations? Gossipping and  causing divisions. Tearing down rather than building up the body of believers. Devoid of the Spirit. 

    What are we to do? Jude tells us: 

    “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. Have mercy on some who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” (Jude 1:22-23 NAS)

    We’re not to give up. We’re called to be rescuers!

     

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  • 6. Entertainment Instead of Worship

    6. Entertainment Instead of Worship

    I had a teacher who said, “When the foot goes to tappin’ before the Spirit’s in control, it ain’t of the Lord.” In this time of two sentence choruses, repeated over and over again, growing louder with each verse, I wonder at what point it ceases to praise God and becomes our entertainment.

    We attend a Baptist church in Dallas, Texas, where we have a blend of old and new. Old hymns have messages of hope, comfort, and relief in Jesus Christ, while praise choruses ramp our joy. But worship is all about Jesus—not us.

    Music must honor our Sovereign God, His Son, The Lord Jesus Christ, and draw us into worship of the One who will rule and reign for all eternity… anything else it just entertainment. I find myself uncomfortable chanting the chorus, “I am a friend of God, He calls me friend.” That’s His call, not mine. I am a sinner, saved by His mercy and grace.

     

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  • 7. Cold, Mechanical Congregations

    7. Cold, Mechanical Congregations

    According to Revelation, the church at Ephesus had grown cold and mechanical. They had left their first love, The Lord Jesus Christ, to become a loveless church. His command was to repent and return to their first love, else He would take away their candlestick.

    So, how does a church become cold and mechanical? In today’s never-a-quiet-moment world, it’s easier to operate like a machine. But the church isn’t the building, it’s the congregation. And people and their needs and problems require time. Time, we don’t think we have.

    I don’t know about you, but the thinner I spread myself, the less of me there is to go around. And no one gets a real taste of who or what I am—including God and your sisters and brothers in Christ. You can become so busy doing urgent stuff, you forget the important things, like reading and meditating on the Word, listening to the voice of the Spirit, and falling more in love with Jesus each day. Neglect Him and everything else is futile. Be sure to check the church thermostat before you settle into the pew.

     

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  • 8. Compromising, Corrupt, Dead Members

    8. Compromising, Corrupt, Dead Members

    Pergamum’s church compromised their faith. Built in the middle of a pagan city, they allowed their surroundings to influence their behavior and lapsed into fornication and idolatry. But God called them to repent. Has your church adopted the lies of political correctness?

    Thyatira’s church was corrupt. They tolerated a prophetess who led them into immorality and eating things sacrificed to idols. God called those who did not hold to this teaching to hold fast until He came with their reward. Are you condoning immorality in your congregation?

    Sardis’ was alive, but dead. A dead church. God commanded them to wake up and repent. A few believers at Sardis had not soiled their garments. He promised they would walk with Him in white and He would not erase their names from the Book of Life. What kind of church do you want teaching your children?

     

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  • 9. Lukewarm Believers

    9. Lukewarm Believers

    Finally, there was Laodicea. Neither hot nor cold, a lukewarm body of believers. God said they were putrid. Offensive. He would spit them out of His mouth. They thought they were rich and needed nothing, but did not know they were poor, blind, and naked. He called them to repent and buy eye salve so they could see their dire circumstances.

    Have you ever visited a church and realized people looked through you—not at you? Their pretense left you lacking—The fire of the Spirit that God lights in your life and in mine, when we spend time with Him and love Him, just wasn’t there. You came seeking warmth that draws you closer to His flame, but left with a bad taste in your mouth and in your soul.

    You are responsible before God for seeing the flaming fire of the fervor of God’s love is taught to your children. A love so hot, God gave His Only Son to die on that splintered cross for the likes of you and me.

     

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  • 10. Country Club Style

    10. Country Club Style

    Every congregation of believers is called to love the Lord their God with all their heart, mind, and strength. Called to be a hospital for sinners. Called to be a lighthouse that rescues people lost in the darkness of sin and shame. But many churches in America have so much money, so much wealth, so much education, like the Laodiceans, they don’t need Jesus—they’ve become a social club. A place of entertainment rather than a house of worship.

    Jesus reminds us: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:20-22 NAS)

    You are your child’s watchman on the church wall. Are your ears tuned to the voice of the Spirit of God or to those who’ve slipped in unnoticed among us?

     

    DiAne Gates illustrates and writes fiction for children and YA, and serious non-fiction for the folks. Her passion is calling the church’s attention to how far we’ve catapulted from God’s order as evidenced by her blog Moving the Ancient Boundaries. DiAne worked as a photographer and writer for the East Texas Youth Rodeo Association magazine, and had the opportunity to be in the rodeo arena, giving birth to her western rodeo adventure series, ROPED, (available on Amazon), which was named #5 in the Top Ten Reads for Christians Teens and Tweens. The sequel, TWISTED, will be released by Prism in July 2017. She also facilitates GriefShare, an international support ministry for those who’ve lost loved ones. 

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