As we continue looking at what destroys churches; we know that we can overcome persecution with courageous faith and we know that a continual focus on God’s Word will keep us from falling prey to false teaching.
There are two more dangers that face churches. These two dangers are by far the most difficult that we face today – especially those of us who live in industrial and technological countries.
The first of these is Worldliness. Worldliness destroys churches from the inside. Worldliness includes immorality and materialism. Satan is the influence behind this worldliness that destroys churches. Consider Thytaria, “But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works,” Revelation 2:20-22.
As Paul tells Timothy to warn the rich and those that long for wealth, he speaks to many of us in the 21st Century, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. . . . As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:9-10, 17-19.
To keep our churches strong we obviously must avoid worldliness. Avoiding worldliness involves the following:
- “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever,” 1 John 2:15-17. Stated simply: Love God.
- “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God,” Romans 12:1-2 (ASV). Again stated simply: Transform your mind to Godliness.
- “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36. Simply put: Watch and pray.
Tomorrow we will conclude this series on What Destroys Churches.