Summary: Are you on the Lord's side or aiding and abetting the enemy?
Philippians 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
Rome fell from within before it fell from without. In like manner, it is the enemies within that harm the Kingdom more so than those who attack it from outside.
Indeed, the more the faith once delivered to the saints is attacked the stronger it becomes. Where persecution is great church growth is greater. The more atheists try to disprove God the more they find their arguments defeated.
Ah, but those who claim the name of Christ and live contrary to sound doctrine are the worst enemies of the Cross. They are like double agents living in the community of the saints while also dining at the table of the world, the flesh and the devil.
Their apathy and often complicity with evil bring confusion within the Church as well as giving the open enemies of Christ reason to blaspheme Him because of their hypocritical or blasé lifestyle.
They will stand with evil like abortion and yet claim to be Christians. They preach prosperity as a sign of godliness thus encouraging lust and greed rather than teaching that godliness with contentment is great gain. They are often heretics in many areas of doctrine. Indeed, some use His name but deny the deity of the One that died for them.
Yet, these open enemies within can also be used to strengthen the Body by providing the opportunity to sharpen our apologetic and polemic skills and strategies. We can use our spiritual weapons of warfare against them as we would against those who attack from within.
The open enemies are bad, but worse are the ones who are apathetic. They have gifts because they are saved, but live the normal human life instead of the abundant life Christ provided for them. They seldom hit the church doors and no one may even know they are Christians in their workplace. If they do know they see no real difference in the lives of these Christians and see the name as being no different than aligning with a sports team. They are fans when they should be fanatics. Fanatic means zealous for God, but we have twisted the meaning to someone off the edge.
Would to God more of us would be as off the edge as those who will go shirtless in freezing weather to paint their team colors on their bodies or those who wait in line for many hours for the latest electronic gizmo or tickets to a concert.
The open enemies of Christ will receive their just dues when Christ comes. Hell will be filled with church members that were not in Christ. It would shock many pastors if the could look out on their congregations and see halos over the heads of the saints and rings of fire over the lost in the building. They may find that not even one in ten are truly saved. Hopefully, that would change their sermons and set the pastor on fire especially if he looked in a mirror and saw a ring of fire over his head.
The apathetic and blasé Christians that are truly saved but AWOL will be saved though as by fire even though their lack of zeal aided and abetted the enemy by not fighting the good fight and allowing people to go to Hell they could have won. It will not be pretty at the Bema. There will be much weeping over our failures and loss of blessings here and there. Indeed, I often wonder if I will even have a seed pearl to give back to Him who has been so good and faithful to me when I have not been the same.
May the open enemies of Christ be granted grace to be saved. May the blasé be revived and set on fire to earn some gold, silver and precious stones to survive the Bema flames. Thank God that His mercies are new every morning and His mercy endures forever or we would have no hope. Maranatha!