How to Kill A Church, Part 3 of 3

By Davis W. Huckabee





In the Scriptures, stubbornness is a sin that is compared to witchcraft and idolatry, I Sam. 15:22, and yet some people seem to delight in stubbornly resisting all spiritual progress and activity in the church. It is no virtue to be so set in one's ways that one hinders a church from changing for the better. No church was ever so perfect when it started but that it has room to change for the better. Indeed, sanctification is itself a pro gressive changing for the better of individuals, and if the members daily change for the better, so should the church. The sin of the Sardis Church was that it stubbornly refused to repent of sin, Rev. 3:3, and consequently it slowly died on the vine, all the while refusing to admit its cold and indifferent state. There is such a thing as dead orthodoxy - a doctrinal soundness which is devoid of any real love to Christ.

Some say, "Well, it is my life, and it is my business whether I repent or not," but this is not true, for every person is an example to someone else, and his bad example will lead others astray, perhaps concerning something much worse. Besides, the corruption of a church member is a corruption of that much of the church, and "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, " I Cor. 5:6. No one can afford to indulge any sin, because sin in church members is what kills churches.

There are many ways to kill a church, but the important thing to notice is the solemn consequences of tearing down a church of the living God: "If any man defile ('destroy'-the Greek word is the same as that translated 'destroy') the temple of God (a church, as the preceding verse shows), him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are, " I Cor. 3:17. It matters not what excuses may be given, if an individual or group of individuals so conduct themselves as to cause the death of a church, they had better prepare to shortly face the judgment of God in the loss of their physical lives.

A church is of more importance than the collective rights of all the members, for a church exists, not just for its own present members, but is a witness to many who may never join it, but who may be led to the Lord through its ministry. Not only so, but the rights of future members must also be considered when taking any action that might be detrimental to the church . Many carnal church members, in their zeal to get their own way, justify their own sins, sooth their own pride and hurt feelings do not care that they may quench the only faithful lighthouse of the truth in their community. Nor that future generations may not have opportunity to hear the gospel and to be saved because a church was destroyed by the carnality of its members. The attitude of some is "I'm saved, so let the rest of the world go to hell for all I care." Such an attitude hardly evidences genuine salvation. if it be true that "Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" (I Jn. 3:17), how much more so is this true of those who have no concern for the welfare of the souls of others? God pity the man who destroys a church: if he is saved at all, he puts himself under the judgment of physical death for putting his own selfish wants and will above the welfare of a church of the living God.


All of the foregoing points may be summed up in this one, but we venture to make a few more comments which fall specifically under this heading. We live in the most affluent society that this world has ever known. Add to this the fact that this generation has greater means to get the gospel to every race, nation and tribe of people than any previous generation. Radio, TV, and the press make evangelism possible as never before. But what happens? Instead of using these means for the glory of God, men become so selfishly involved in them that all of these become definite detriments to the truth.

It has been found that people spend hundreds of times more on pets than on all religious enterprises combined, and Newscaster Paul Harvey reports that for every dollar that is spent on churches, $12,000 is spent on crime. It should be obvious from this that we are working at the wrong end of the problem.

There are many foreign mission fields on which a native missionary can be supported for only $25 to $30 per month - no more than what many people spend per month on cigarettes alone, yet how many individual Christians does one hear of doing this? Often when mission needs are presented to the church by the pastor, someone will counter with the proposition that "We ought to use some of our money on home missions. " Certainly home missions are essential, if they are truly mission projects, but unfortunately all too often the term is used to excuse the spending of the Lord's money on something that caters only to the fleshly nature of the church members, such as having the tallest steeple in town, or the most modernistic building design, or the largest organ, or the fanciest choir robes, etc. By "home missions" some only mean, "Let's spend the money locally on something that we can get the benefit of." For the money that the Lord's people have spent foolishly and for mere fleshly gratification in the last hundred years, the world could have been reached with the gospel several times.

What has all this to do with killing a church? Just this: giving to missions is the thermometer which shows the spiritual atmosphere of a church. It is generally the gauge of godliness in the church. Call it home missions or whatever one pleases, but the selfish use of the Lord's money for the gratification of the members of a church will kill that church as quickly as almost any one thing. May God give us more sound and serviceable churches by stirring up church members to be more dedicated and obedient.

Are you killing your church by your sinfulness, by your selfishness, by your neglect? Then repent before both the church and yourself are destroyed.

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