Disclaimer: I do not profess to teach or have any sort of authority over men. I share the Word of GOD and any matters of the world that directly applies to our lives and walk as Christians.
Many churches have been brought down by individuals who came in with their yeast and let it spread among the members. Fellowship has been tainted, churches have lost their way, and people are lost in the wilderness. Is the Church in need of a purge?
I have been to a handful of churches in the past, and as with many people unaware of the Born Again factor, you just attend church, listen to the sermon, and then go home. Unchanged. No spiritual growth. No closer to GOD than before. It used to upset me that I could read the Bible and understand the words I read, but not truly understand what I was reading. It was only when I became Born Again that I realised that you need the Holy Spirit in your life if you hope to understand His Word as He intended. Before then, I would open my Bible every now and again, read it, think that I had done my job as a Christian, and then go about my life as per usual. Listening to church sermons was no help either as everything sounded monotonous. We were told to be good, to love one another, follow GOD’S commandments and a bunch in between that I cannot remember. Back then I was unaware of wolves in sheep’s clothing; people who were not true Christians but called themselves that to keep up a certain image of propriety in the community. I genuinely believed that the people who attended church every Sunday were good people, upstanding members who were involved in community projects and life in general. When I became Born Again, it was as though a veil had been lifted from my eyes (2 Cor 4:3). I began to see a whole lot of wrong that I had never noticed before.
When we, as the Body of Christ, gather together in a building or even out in the open, our fellowship must be Spirit-led. The word/message that the preacher will share must be from the Holy Spirit, we need to listen with a discerning spirit, and we need to be open to the teaching from the man of GOD. Our worship and praise need to be in truth and spirit, and when we offer up our prayers to our Heavenly Father, it must be with a clear heart. This is how I believe that the church in the Book of Acts was like. The first Christians were so grateful, humbled, and appreciative of their salvation that they wholeheartedly served the LORD mind, body, and spirit. Of course, there were a few bad eggs, but they were dealt with. I do not recall a professing Christian being allowed to bring sin into the Body of Christ without being called out for it. It was a serious thing back then! However, it seems that we have lost this principle.
Judgement is lumped up into one bag of avoidance. We all know that we are not to judge each other for we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of GOD (Rom 3:23), but there is a type of judgement allowed, and that is the judgement of immorality within the Church. As I grew in the LORD, I started to notice unsavoury details about professing Christians. While I endeavoured never to judge them (I failed at times), I could not ignore that their lives did not reflect the fruits of the Spirit. It bothered me to sit in church, knowing that there were people who disregarded GOD’S Word in their lives. They were living in sin, but somehow they vindicated themselves because of how ‘good’ they otherwise were. As far as I know, no one is good but our LORD, but we must be faithful.
Grown men would be out partying the night before and come to church reeking of hard liquor, but because they attended church, were helpful in the community, and good givers (money wise), it was deemed okay. You can’t judge, right? No one is perfect. But I didn’t buy that. I have taught myself to think in Scriptures, so when something good or bad happens, I have a Scripture for it- this helps me to avoid temptation as well. Well, these men didn’t just slip up, this was their life, this was how they lived. Now, we have to understand that we are to be ambassadors of Christ, our lives are meant to be a reflection of Him. Of course, we don’t always get it right because we are at war with our own flesh, but to live in sin, justify it, and have the world see you doing it, what kind of message are we sending out to non-Believers?
One of the churches that I attended had a Whatsapp group chat. It was a handy thing because we were able to communicate with one another, notices could be sent out quickly, any events happening in the church would reach all the members, and basically, any updates would be given. One of the leaders of the church, a woman, posted a crude and vulgar joke. Of course, the other women were quick to tell her that it was not acceptable and she apologised, but I had to wonder why she herself thought it was acceptable even to wish to read and share such a thing? As a leader, you lead by example, and I couldn’t help but think about her own state of mind. Did she find this type of thing funny? And if she did, had she never read GOD’S Word concerning coarse jesting? What message was she giving to the people in her life? I was worried for her and the people that she was influencing! One last example that I wish to give is concerning a sangoma (traditional African witchdoctor) who also professed to be Christian. Now we know that Deuteronomy 18:10-12 forbids the consulting of spirits, charms, incantations, etc., but this woman was and is living a dual existence with her life as a sangoma and a Christian. This is simply not possible. Again, what message is she giving out to others concerning our faith? I am sure that many of you are aware of this type of problem in churches, and there is a solution for it, but it’s not exactly an easy one to do.
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 is clear that immorality in the Body of Christ must be judged. A little earlier, the Apostle Paul states that a little leaven leavens the whole lump (1 Cor 5:6). Paul said: But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner- not even to eat with such a person (1 Cor 5:11). He is saying that if someone professes to be Christian, but does these things, then you should have nothing to do with them. This is the last resort for an erring brother or sister in Christ. First, I imagine that a leader of the church would sit down the person and speak with them concerning their sin. If they are unwilling to repent of it, then out they must go. We cannot have their sin influencing our weaker brothers and sisters in Christ. This is easily enough done in smaller churches, but I do not know how this would be monitored in mega churches.
I know that many people would have a problem with asking members to leave a church, but how can we continue to allow blatant sin in the church? Doesn’t it bother us? By telling them to leave the church does not mean that we do not love them, but that we do not accept their sin. Now, we are not to go all willy nilly telling people that they need to leave the church, this is for the leaders of the church to do so. There must be order in a church, and appointed leaders are the ones to make the final decision (after prayer) based on the situation. Too often we will begin to gossip, condemn people, ostracise them, and basically forget Whose we are and Whose they are. If we cannot do something in love, even when disciplining, then we should not do it at all. Imagine a non-Believer were to come to church, searching for Someone whom they do not know but need. He/she would witness the division in the church, perhaps even recognise a local club goer singing praises to the LORD. What would be going through that person’s head? Likely that Christians are no better than the rest of the world. A young Muslim girl once questioned me about this: why were supposed Christians frequenting bars, going to parties, drinking, and carrying on like the rest of the world? What were they doing in church? She concluded that Jesus had to be a weakling for His own followers not to be obedient. Of course, I explained things to her and told her what a mighty GOD we serve. She went away thoughtful that day.
We also need to bear in mind that there are Christians new to the faith, those who are still growing. They need guidance, not condemnation. I was quite stubborn as a new Believer, and there were some areas of my life that I would not change out of pride and fear. I found it difficult to forgive people who had wronged me, and I hated to be told that I was wrong. I did not yet see wrong in what I was doing, I believed that I was justified. I would hold onto a grudge as though my life depended on it. I actually removed myself from a church because some members would speak to me about it and I just didn’t want to hear it. Sometimes when you carry deep emotional scars, it’s difficult to listen to the truth. It was in the ‘wilderness’ that GOD taught me the importance of forgiveness. It is better to have a person leave the church than have them believe that their sin is justified.
Of course, there will always be wolves in sheep’s clothing in the church, those who are not Christian but use the cover of Christianity for their own means. These people are more difficult to pick out especially if you are not as spiritually discerning as you should be. Then again, some churches have ceased to be a place of true fellowship, and it is far better to leave that church than to sit through services/sermons that do not honour GOD. I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, although I do have moments where I wish to give them a piece of my mind. The Holy Spirit will always then remind me of where I came from, how I started this walk of faith. That is quite humbling, to say the least! At the end of the day, you have to make sure that you are right with GOD because there is nothing that you can hide from Him. Search your hearts daily for anything contrary to Him, and keep Jesus at the centre of all you do.
Note: Perhaps the word purge sounds harsh, but according to the Oxford Dictionary, it means to make yourself sb/sth pure, healthy, or clean by getting rid of bad thoughts or feelings. Now we know that sin starts in our minds- we think it before we do it. These bad (sinful) thoughts often driven by emotions or vice versa. Get the sin out, and keep the Church clean:)
Disclaimer: I do not profess to teach or have any sort of authority over men. I share the Word of GOD and any matters of the world that directly applies to our lives and walk as Christians.Recommended1 recommendationPublished in