If community is so important then why does it seem to crumble so easily? Satan likes to target things that can have a lasting impact on the believer. If you can cut off the supplies and reinforcements in a war then you could damage the morale of your enemy, and eventually starve them out. Unfortunately, the best way Satan damages community is by using the people in it. He appeals to the desires of our flesh in order to harm others. I believe there are some very key dangers towards the church community.
1. Pointless debating.
I talked about this one a little bit yesterday. Christians know how to argue, and often they know how to argue childishly. We don’t like hearing that, but we need to face the truth. It is so easy for as to be manipulative. We have no problem giving off a bluff in order to get things our way. Maybe you saw it from the wealthy people in your church. When something would happen they didn’t like they would withhold their tithe.
We debate over the pointless things. Maybe it is something about the building, a course of action, a minor theological issue, or just a simple misunderstanding. I always strive to major in the majors and minor in the minors. I’m not saying the small things should be ignored, but they should have the value placed on them that they deserve.
2. False teaching.
This can really throw things off. I‘m not one to run around with a torch and pitchfork proclaiming people to be heretics, but I see the need for keeping a watchful eye on teaching taking place. When lies begin to be believed in the church decay begins to do its work. Just look at the Corinthian church. In Paul’s first letter he is pointing out multiple false teachings they bought into, and the damage it caused. If it is so dangerous than why do people allow it? Because it appeals to them. They like what they hear. False teaching normally tries to make the hearer feel better.
3. Loyalty to men.
This is what leads to painful and destructive church splits. We put our faith and confidence in a pastor or elder rather than in God. Whenever dissension breaks out between two leaders in the church people dig deep into their opposing sides. They seek their flawed leader for guidance, and follow his lead. We turn to the men in our church rather than to God for wisdom in assessing the situation. If we did this more what we would likely find that both sides have wronged each other. Perhaps if we spent more time praying to God, and less time picking sides we would see more restoration between people in the church.
This one hurts. The biggest reasons why I hear people do not want to go to church is because they feel it is judging, and full of gossip. Now I have talked a fair amount about judging, and the fine line there, but there is only one stance on gossip that you should take. Gossip is the well-known, but rarely treated, cancer in the church. We know it exists, we hear it and even indulge in it, but we never seem to confront it.
5. Ignoring sin.
This is sort of the opposite end to number four. When we ignore sin we are damaging the community. When there is active sin taking place in the body of believers then it must be confronted. If not it begins to spread. People see this lack of accountability and begin to follow along with the person who sinned. A congregation who never sees the consequences of sin is a congregation that bas blended in with the world to the point where you can tell no difference. We would rather be silent in fear of being judged by the outside world ourselves rather than confront a brother/sister in their sin I hopes they will be restored.
What’s really the biggest danger to the church community? It is you. This is why we must strive to have pure hearts and live a life that is honoring to God. We need to stop being us focused, and become others focused. The church community for the individual is not about taking, but rather it is about giving. What are you going to do to make the church community a place worth being?