This weekend I begin a new chapter in my life. Sunday, May 25 is my first Sunday serving the Central Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Some of you may be familiar with Central from April 27, 2011. The tornado outbreak destroyed the building but not the Church. Fire, storms, earthquakes, or floods may damage buildings but what can destroy the Church? Over the next few articles we will look at a few things that have the potential to destroy churches. We will also look at what we can do about them. Read on and stay tuned!
Rev 3:1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ` These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” Looking at Sardis I realize, churches Can Die. Where are the congregations we read about in the New Testament?
There are two types of dead churches: 1. Churches that simply cease to exist, and 2. Churches that die inwardly while continuing to exist.
Today we recognize that Persecution Can Destroy a Church. This is a Favorite of Satan. He used persecution against Smyrna – Rev 2:9-10. Many in the 1st Century faced various kinds and levels of persecution – 1 Pet 5:8-9. Satan can and does use persecution to destroy churches today! – 1 Pet 4:12. What matters is how we respond to persecution. Will we be silenced? Like the religious leaders who feared persecution – Joh 12:42-43? Or will we rejoiced that we suffer with Christ – Rom 5:1-5? How we react determines the future of the church.
- Allowing Persecution to Silence Us Destroys Churches.
- Rejoice in the Face of Persecution while Continuing to Speak for God and God notices. Matt 5:11-12, “”Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
The early disciples in Acts 7 and 8 faced terrible persecution. They scattered out of Jerusalem because of the threats against them. Yet, even as they ran, they did not keep silent. They went everywhere preaching the message of the gospel and the church grew (Acts 8:1-5). What Satan meant as a way to destroy the God’s Kingdom (the Church) and His plan backfired into growth all because these disciples refused to be quiet.
Today, when the world ridicules us for standing for truth and Godly morality, refuse to give in to their call for so-called tolerance. Instead, speak the truth in love sharing with them the wonderful, marvelous grace of our Savior and King.