PURGE THE CHURCH?

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89 shares, 57 points

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.


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Stephanie Jafta
'A bondservant of Jesus Christ who loves to share and speak GOD'S Word as He wills it'.

12 Comments

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  1. This post is awesome! I couldn’t really find a word to describe it. Thank you for this! This has ignited my fire this morning!

  2. I keep hearing that Socialism is different this generation and they are going to do it different. The question of the day is Socialism sinful? Then the person tells the audience show me in the good book. Anytime you come into my house and try to impose your will on me that is a sin. Anytime you tell me lies, ie…climate change, open borders is good, that is a sin. Anytime you tell me I cannot defend my family, 2nd Amendment that is a sin. Anytime mankind wants to put me in slavery to his lies that is a sin. The 10th Commandment, ” Do not covet my house…..requires a change of heart to one Almighty God. You can put a fresh cosmetics on the face of Socialism and let yourself be deceived by others that now it looks beautiful you are lying to yourself and to others. Throw the good book out the window for a sec, take a look at Venezuela , Socialism is the killing of the people by denying them basic elements food and shelter. Socialism and open borders look at Europe it is burning to the ground. The reason it is burning to the ground because man has an intrinsic nature not to be held in slavery by other men, when it starts to affect their food, shelter and economics of their families. Man enslaves men under whatever name, Socialism, European Unions, Communism ect. It takes a change of heart to serve one God who does not enslave my Freedoms and Liberties in a changing world within the confines of my house. Once you start imposing death on me a reinvented Socialism that is mass death for all in Society, me I will step on your head. Man has always created slavery to one idea or another. One Almighty God has been around longer then the governments of man. You serve man your spiritually dead you put yourself into death by your own hand and you want others to die with you for a lie. I chose how I want to die and it is not at the hands of Man. Jesus who man crucified on the Cross by men. Socialism is a sin, yes, it is slavery to mass death in any society. God has a measure of weight against a man’s worth, man created a VAT tax as a measure of your value on what your produce. My God does not put a VAT tax on what I produce for Him.

    1. Dear brother, when you are able to listen to reason and not political bias, I can debate with you. Until then, be happy in your ignorance and just follow Jesus, as I intend to do. Shalom.

  3. First, it truly is difficult in some cases to discern sin. You give a lot of examples of Christians ‘out drinking and partying’ but that’s exactly what Jesus was accused of by the Pharisees:

    “Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’

    Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’

    They said to him, ‘John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.’” – Luke 5:29-33.

    Second, we tend to focus on some sins but not others. Do you think a gluttonous person should be ejected from the church? Once they became morbidly obese, or before that? What about the greedy person, like the rich young ruler whom Jesus dismissed for NOT relinquishing his wealth? Would you expect someone with millions in their bank account to be approached by church leaders over it? There are also many preachers who have been unfaithful and have divorced their wives and shacked up with the ‘new’ woman, yet continue to preach and be listened to as ‘men of God’ to coin the too oft-used phrase, which you used yourself.

    Third, it’s actually NOT biblical to take these matters straight to church leadership! As Jesus taught us himself:

    “‘If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that “every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” – Matt. 18:15-17.

    I think the church that came, after Christ had left, started some practices that were never in keeping with Jesus, because it gave more credence to them as ‘leaders’ and to be able to apply that ‘man of God’ label (I cannot find that anywhere in the NT). WE, followers of Jesus, since we have the Holy Spirit, are able to do many things we are often told we cannot, and to sit in silence under these self-appointed people. Note that Jesus didn’t say ‘church leadership’ but ‘the church’!

    I say these things in love, hoping to establish a balanced view from scripture. Shalom.

    1. The balanced view is to start with the 10th Commandment,”Do not covet my house… that only occurs in a person when they regain their reasoning, common sense and realize that Jesus was not a Baptist, Lutheran, Roman Catholic or whatever of man’s religions they have come up with. God in the Garden of Eden, seven days of creation you and me never created a church building but a nuclear family that finds its redemption in one God not redemption within the walls of mans church but in the walls within my shelter.

      1. Dear brother you can’t debate the 10th Commandment really, you need to walk away from the mimics of the church and find your own path in God instead of man. A good place to start is to reread the 7 days of Creation and then see what you did on the 8th day when you created your church. Debate there is no debate you corrupt the Word by mimicking others instead of finding God on your own. The good book is clear no one can teach you but the Holy Spirit I do not listen to the mimics of the church, you can I don,t. I walked away from mimics of the word 14 yrs ago and found God in the Old Testament. So you got your head bruised and you lash out like a viper. That is you imposing your will on me that is a sin brother. Me I do not rightly care about your salvation that is your deal but when you mimic lies of the good book that is my arena. The church is you, me, male and female not the sanctuary of man’s idea of God. Apparently you forgot that the Woman is the church the helpmeet of God. Man has his church, I have my church through the eyes of my wife of 50yrs and see the creation of God within her. I am an elder within the realm of God’s kingdom and you belittle me says alot about your God. Just for sake of argument I have a 165 IQ so just to let you know your not bullying a child but a Texas Rattlesnake that will draw the sword on mimics. Shalom Mr Higgins.

    2. Hi Tim,

      When I mentioned the men, I spoke from what I know of these men from being in the church and the community. They openly speak of doing these things, of getting drunk. It is the drunk part that is the problem, not necessarily having a party and drinking. The Bible speaks against drunkenness.

      Sin is sin, no matter what it is. The examples I used were drunkenness, speaking in a way that is not befitting a Christian, and communicating with spirits (in the case of the sangoma). I did not mean to come across as though I were picking and choosing, but used the examples that came to mind.

      I did not know that using the term man of GOD or woman of GOD is wrong. For me it means to belong to GOD, to be His or of His. It has been used in the Bible several times when referring to certain prophets and men like Moses and King David. People may use it wrongly, but I have never wished to do so. Perhaps my contexts have not come across clearly at times.

      I can speak to a fellow church member about their sin, but it is not for me to tell them to leave the church. There are leaders appointed in the church based on the Scripture 1 Timothy 3: 1-7 (I know that many who are leaders are not as they should be), and I believe that they should be the ones to deal with this particular matter. I am not saying that we should not speak to someone who is sinning, but in matters of the church, for the sake of order in the church, I cannot go and tell them to leave if they refuse to repent of their sin. I speak of this matter in the church (a group of believers who fellowship in a building etc), not in general. If a sister of mine has some sin in her life, then I will speak to her of it in the hopes that she will repent.
      I do not believe that I said that we shouldn’t speak to them about their sin, but that we cannot tell them to leave the church due to their sin.

      You are right, as followers of Jesus we have every right given to us by Him. We can cast out demons, heal the sick, preach his word, prophesy, etc. I hope to never come across as though I believe anything less! One example of the use of man of GOD in the New Testament is from 1 Timothy 6:11: But thou, O man of GOD, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. I do not believe that only a leader is a man of GOD, but every man that professes Christ and is obedient to Father. I also use the term ‘woman of GOD’.

      I have not taken your words in any way but what you intended. I must admit, had I seen your comment in the past, I might have allowed my temper to get the best of me instead of paying attention to what you were saying. The Holy Spirit has calmed me down immensely! I hope that I have clarified whatever points may have seemed murky to you. All I can say is that I never have the intention of speaking a falsehood, twisting GOD’S Word, or anything of the sort. There are times that I am wrong and I can (now!) accept correction, it is simply a lesson to be learned. There is still so much to learn, and I never tire of learning GOD’S Word.

      Remain blessed.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly with the bulk of your assertions. However, one we do judge by the Word, to make the statement we do not judge is a subtle deception everyday we judge in spirit our out of the spirit only Almighty God knows. Almighty God never created all the churches that you see around the World man by his hand created churches. Almighty God who made you created one thought in the chambers of your heart,”I am here”. You follow mans church there will never be any redemption of your being because your traveling the interstate fools who have not converted to the idea of we serve one Almighty God of the Hebrews not a Judeo Christian God by virtue two houses cannot stand together one must fall. Absolutes have two sides to make them a Truth. You know an Almighty God exist because you hear it in your heart and you see his works around you with your eyes. You touch nature with your hands. Two you have heard his words in your spirit. His voice did not come to you in the crowds of mans church who have not converted to a singular thought, there is only one Almighty God that lives within me. I like you left the church many years ago traveled the wilderness and one day he came to me, “There is only one God, Do you love Me”. Those are absolutes, one God, one word, “God”.

    1. Hi Ron,

      I agree with you concerning judgement. We do judge, but it is the manner in which we judge another that is the problem. Often times, we do the ‘speck in your brother’s eye, plank in your own’ type of judgement. This is the type of judgement that we should not do as it is hypocritical of us. I believe that it is with spiritual maturity that our judgement does not come from a position of comparison and criticism, but a pure hatred for sin. GOD hates sin, and therefore so should we. We are to judge by GOD’S Word, yes you are right, as long as we judge according to His Word and not the world/flesh.

      I have actually left the church that I was in because of the many things said and done that did not sit right in my spirit. I am currently churchless because I refuse to attend a church that does not keep GOD’S Word in Its entirety. Unfortunately, there are no other churches within my reach that have not been tainted by the world and false doctrines. However, isolation is never a terrible thing when you are committed to Him. Better to walk alone with Him than to remain in a church that is not His own.

      As you said, we serve an Almighty GOD Who has made Himself known to us by His works and in our own spirits. It is a blessing to serve Him.

      Remain Blessed.

      1. We judge by the 10 commandments for starters. To not judge,countries like America falls into Socialism. Countries like Europe fly apart at seams millions die. Because someone did not want to judge with absolutes of the Almighty God.

        1. Can you show me where ‘socialism’ is a sinful practice? Surely the ‘all things held in common’ in Acts is one of the earliest examples of a non-capitalistic commune? As a European, I also really get annoyed at the idea that we are falling or flying apart; we’re doing just about the best on this planet in terms of life expectancy, health and educational standards! I would also declare morals too. Plenty of immorality in North America too, you know. :)

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