How to Kill a Church
I Corinthians 1:1-17
“Jesus, yes! The church, no!” That was a popular slogan in the 60s...or so I’m told. And it seems to be a revived notion today as many are put off by organized religion. I believe that could have been the sentiment in AD 56 in the city of Corinth where we see Paul’s 2nd epistle being written to because that church was in serious trouble. I share this new series with you not because we have big problems but because we don’t! Let’s keep it that way.
It was a defiled church, full of sexual immorality and drunkenness. Some lived very worldly, taking God’s grace and forgiveness very lightly.
It was also a divided church with differing cliques and factions vying for leadership.
And so it was a disgraced church. Not only were they not glorifying God, they were hindering the progress of the gospel all around.
Now, none of us are perfect. Actually very far from it. We cannot be sinless but we can sin less. If you knew me like I know myself you wouldn’t listen to me. But hold on, because if I knew you like you know yourself I wouldn’t talk to you!
Positionally in Christ we are seen as perfect, but the world is watching us outwardly and they see something far different. They aren’t even looking for perfection, just ‘reflection’ of Christ. They want to see results, an effort, a change, something relevant for them...hope!
This church was a “Church on the Rocks”. This church was not doing all that they were supposed to be doing. There were some in the church that were really hurting it. In fact they were allowing the devil to use them to destroy the church.
Rom. 1:18-32 is Paul’s record as he looked out the window while there. It lists what he saw. [read]
Satan wants to kill this church, but he’ll use people to carry out the dirty deed. He wants to use you! Sardis was a dead church. Some die and close their doors, but many have meetings and yet are dead.
The angel at the tomb said, ‘why seek the living among the dead?’ And many are finding it true as they seek a church.
If you want to kill your church, let me show you how.
The first way to kill your church is by killing the unity within the church. There are 3 ways to kill the unity within the Church listed in our text.
1 Corinthians 1:10
1. Forget Whose You Are: Once you surrender your life to Jesus Christ, you are no longer yours but God’s. When you forget to Whom you belong you stop acting like a child of God’s and start acting like a child of the devil.
2. Forget Who You Are: As a Christian, you are a representative of God here on this earth. When you forget that, you are prone to live opposite of what God wants you to.
3. Forget Your Mission: Why does God leave us here on this earth after we are saved? Is it to critique the pastor, the sermon, the church, the music, etc? No, it is to lead the lost to Jesus Christ.
In order for the Church to be able to reach out to the lost, we must have unity within our congregation. The devil is going to try to cause you to forget whose you are, who you are, and what your mission is so that he can destroy the ministry of this church.
The second way to kill the Church is by killing the harmony within the Church. There are 2 ways to kill the harmony within the church.
1 Corinthians 1:11-12
1. Fight about Everything: Do you realize that Churches have been destroyed over the color of carpet or who is going to say the prayer during the service? The devil will use anything for us to fight about. Think about this. For those of you who are married, what do you fight about most often? Is it the things in life that are really important, or is it silly little things that don’t matter; like leaving the toilet seat up? We are the same way in Church. We will fight over anything, whether it matters or not and this will destroy the harmony within the church.
Often we fight over secondary issues, not what is truly important. And the devil loves it when he can get us off course in that way.
2. Fight about Who Is In Charge: In so many places this is a problem. We as humans want to be in charge. The problem with this is, 100 people can’t all be in charge. That is chaos. There is a reason that God calls a man to pastor a Church. It isn’t because the pastor is a better person than anyone else, but it is because that is the way God set it up. By the way, I am not in charge of this Church. Who is? It better be God or we are all in trouble. If you want to kill the harmony of your Church, fight one another for power.
If you want to kill your Church: Kill the unity, kill the harmony and kill the humility within the Church. There are 3 ways to kill humility within the Church.
1 Corinthians 1:13-17
1. Forget Who Died For Us: We sometimes forget that it was Jesus on the cross because of our sins. It is easy for us as good Church going people to start feeling better than everyone else but don’t forget that Jesus had to die for you too.
2. Forget Who Gets The Credit For What God Is Doing: When God uses you to see great things happen, please never forget Who did that and Who gets the credit. Our Church is having a blessed restart with new families, good numbers, good finances, etc… But, never forget Who did that!
3. Forget Who Has Power: We are just instruments of God and when we begin to feel powerful because God is using us, don’t forget that Jesus is the One that died on the cross and rose again. The power of the Gospel is not in this building or our programs but in the cross of Jesus Christ.
God works thru a clean vessel. His power flows thru purity. The first 9 verses show who they were positionally in Christ, [perfect] and the next few verses show a stark contrast as he talks about how men saw them in practice. It’s no wonder the world won’t listen to the truth we have for them when they see us not really living it!
[some source material from Shawn Drake]
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