4 Signs of a DEAD church

Image result for dead church

A previous post noted 4 shortcuts we THINK are Bible study but really are not, they are…

  • LOOKING over the text but not studying it.
  • Reading AUTHORS other than God.
  • CLASS attendance without studying at home. I
  • KNOWLEDGE in Social media memes which sound right but are very wrong.

Are our Study Habits Killing the Church? God warned the LACK of knowledge was destroying His people. [Hosea 4:6] It was true then and remains true now.

John was told to write the church at Sardis about this very thing. “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” [Rev 3:1]

Taking Bible study shortcuts may leave us also spiritually DEAD. Malnutrition of the bread of life will weaken us spiritually, making us unable to discern between good & evil.

 

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” [Heb 5:14]

 

Is it any wonder that many congregations claiming to be the Lord’s church are ‘progressing’ into many strange activities? When the church becomes spiritually malnourished, they’ll begin to die, or worse be called DEAD.

What Is A Dead Church? A church isn’t dead only when it no longer has any members. Nor is it dead when the young people are no longer present. A DEAD church is one that is no longer faithful to its Founder, Christ Jesus [Rev 3:1]. A church can be growing numerically, having lots of fun, have plenty of money and doing all types of works, but still be dead spiritually because they’re no longer following their Leader [Rev 3:17]. Our country is full of spiritually dead mega-churches.

Appearances can be deceiving. What matters is when every part of the body does its share, “causing growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” [Eph 4:16b] Note 4 signs that a church might be DEAD:

4 SIGNS a church is DEAD:

DOCTRINE gets replaced by TRADITIONS. “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” [Mark 7:7]. Paul warned Timothy that the time would come when they would not endure ‘SOUND DOCTRINE’ [2Tim 4:3]. When tradition becomes doctrine, then the church of Christ becomes a denomination rather than the church built by Christ at Pentecost [Mat 16:18, Acts 2].

EDIFICATION replaced by ENTERTAINMENT. Paul asked, “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?” [1Cor 11:22] So many churches are moving from biblical Edification, which is based on education [Eph 4:11-12], toward FOOD, FUN & FROLIC. The church is not in the entertainment business, it’s the ‘GROUND & PILLAR of the TRUTH.’ [1Tim 3:15, cr. Eph 3:10]

AUTHORITY of the word is replaced with FEELINGS. These feelings come from their own belly, not from the word of God. [Phil 3:19, 2King 5:11]. Children do what ‘FEELS GOOD,’ whereas the mature do what IS GOOD. [Eph 4:14]

DISCIPLINE is replaced with TOLERANCE. Toleration of sin is sweeping across this country like the whirlwind that destroyed Job’s family. We are told, ‘to just love,’ ‘to not judge,’ and ‘let people live as they are.’ These are false teachings from confusion about the love of God. God does love us, but He also requires us to repent. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” [2Peter 3:9]

Paul commanded the church at Corinth to DISCIPLINE an adulterous man [1Cor 5:1-2]. When they obeyed the Lord, they rescued the one in sin, for he repented (the whole church did) and was restored [2Cor 2:6-11; 7:9-10].

Let us be on our guard with the sword of God [Eph 6:17] to fight the good fight of faith [1Tim 6:12] so that our lampstand remains and shines bright in this dark world [Rev 2:5].

—spencer

A New Year Examination

Image result for magnifying glass examine self

 

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

[2Corinthians 13:5]

It’s 2020, let the vision jokes, puns & metaphors begin. All joking aside, a new year is a threshold we cross that inspires many of us to examine how well we’re doing.

Paul wrote about self-examination. It’s a great practice, not just for the new year, but with each new day.

New years resolutions are self-examinations of how we’re doing regarding the outward man. Paul is urging self-examination of the inward.

What does a spiritual examination look like? How do we do it? What do we look for? Paul specifically states, “whether ye be in the faith.” Let’s look to the scriptures for God’s answer to this important question. Since we’re to ‘PROVE’ ourselves, there must then be things we (& others) can see regarding our faith.

5 Things to examine about our FAITH. This is just my list; you search the scriptures to find what else God says on the matter.

FIDELITY: How loyal are we toward God, His church, His doctrine [2John 9]? Do we believe in the ONE church as spoken of in Eph 4:4? Do we attend as we ought [Heb 10:25-26]? Are we giving with regularity and purpose in our hearts [1Cor 16:1-2; 2Cor 9:6]?

 

APTITUDE: How good are you at handling aright the word of God? Do we study as we ought [2Tim 2:15]? Are we able to teach it [Heb 5:12]? It’s called a sword; can we wield it properly & accurately with love [Eph 6:17; 4:15]?

Do you cry out for the study of God’s word as a newborn baby cries for her milk?

Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” [Proverbs 2:3-5; 1Peter 2:2]

INFLUENCE: How well am I at leading others to good works?

in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,” [Titus 2:7] How well do I do at edification of the saints?

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”

[Eph 4:12]

TELLING the Good News: Jesus told the man released of the legion to, “tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee,” how well are we doing? [Mark 5:19]

Are we looking at the field that is “white unto harvest?” [John 4:35] Are we looking for that honest, seeking heart?

And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” [Mark 4:20]

Do people see us as people of hope, in the midst of struggles, that want to ask us about that hope?

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” [1Peter 3:15]

Or do they only hear about how bad people are, how bad life is and how bad we have it in life?

HOPE: Let’s examine our own hope of salvation. Are we living in fear & doubt? Are we uncertain of our salvation? Do we believe that we can be saved?

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” [1John 5:13]

Too many are doubting and this doubt leads to apathy and a negative influence on the rest of us. If we’re in doubt about our salvation then examining of self is in order. We can take the necessary steps of repentance. We have the assurance from God that He will forgive the Christian that will confess her sins. [1John 1:9]

Paul finishes by assuring us, “But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.” [vs6] May we each discover an ever-growing faith within us.

 

—Spencer