“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:12-13).
Far too many believers have no concern about God’s calling on their lives and are content with simply being saved. Our churches house those who show very little commitment to the Lord and are suffering the consequences. We have allowed sin to creep in so that our lives are crippled and the church is weakened. There are many things that can destroy the church from within, but let us look at just five of these.
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
It is great to see people making the effort to get to church on Sunday evening, but our Prayer and Bible Study meeting is very important too. Almost every church suffers from absenteeism when it comes to midweek meetings. The assembling or gathering of ourselves for fellowship is symbolic of our being gathered together with Christ at His appearing. Unity is strength; fellowshipping together makes for love and peace, and creates opportunities for provoking “to good works,” by “exhorting one another.” Paul reveals one of the major reasons why Christians keep away from church, “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrew 3:13). Sinners do not like it when the church preaches about holiness and righteousness.
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot” (Revelation 3:15).
Do we bother to pray outside the walls of the church? Do we pray for the meetings and those who attend? When was the last time we picked up our Bibles to read and study? Our indifference (or apathy) affects the way we live our lives both as a Christian and as part of a secular world. Testimonies have been ruined because of this. Only God can heal us of this deadly disease. Being indifferent means being neither hostile to Christ, nor zealous for Him. This may feel like being in a safe zone, but in reality it is a very dangerous position to be in. Being lukewarm means we have been brought within reach of the holy fire, but without being heated by it into true love for Christ: it is having enough outward show of religion to lull the conscience in false security, but not enough to save the soul. “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16).
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
The world has taught believers to value the corruptible things of life; such as riches, possessions and the flesh. What is it we value above all else? Are we willing to lay down absolutely everything for the cause of Christ? Until we can, we actually are guilty of loving the world and making ourselves God’s enemy. The world which is full of wicked desires, lusts, pleasures, and pride, is hated by our Heavenly Father, therefore God and the world cannot be loved together. John Wesley writes, “Love not the world – Pursue your victory by overcoming the world. If any man love the world – Seeking happiness in visible things, he does not love God” (Notes on The New Testament).
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2:4).
We can all remember that day we came to Christ for salvation. We were full of joy and happiness knowing that our sins were washed away in the precious blood of Christ. We were willing to stand up and declare that we loved the Lord with all of our heart, soul and strength, but something has changed, and that something is our heart. We, like the church at Ephesus, might have many things to be commended, but God’s “nevertheless” indicates that there is a stain on our otherwise pure robes. We do not have to remain in such a state, but instead we can choose to put things right again. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come quickly, and remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:5).
“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you” … “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Corinthians 1:10-11 and 3:3).
Through contention churches are allowing Satan to rob them of God’s blessing. We may just about survive with the previous problems mentioned above, but contention, backbiting and strife sounds the death knell of any church. Satan has always endeavoured to stir up strife among Christians, as one of his chief devices against the proclamation of God’s word. Those who engage in contention prove that they do not know the Lord. They act and speak just like the fallen world. God does not work through a church where contention reigns, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:4) … “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:25-26). “Many professors and preachers also, show themselves to be yet carnal, by vain-glorious strife, eagerness for dispute, and readiness to despise and speak evil of others” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary).
These points should encourage us to see that we can do better in our Christian life. The way we live our private lives will affect our relationship with God and His people. We have to be careful that we do not just go through the motions of being Christians. Christianity is not just for Sunday but for every day of our lives. “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).