Summary: This message deals with how the members of a church can kill the church without recognizing it.
How To Kill A Church
We have a started a new series for the next four weeks and the topic is “Moving Things To The Next Level.” There are times in our lives, when we want to get one result, but we actually get something different and we may wonder what went wrong. Sometimes, the very things we are doing can produce the exact opposite result that we had in mind.
Even though we are going to be looking at the church, the same principles are going to apply in other areas of our lives if we want to move to the next level. We are going to look at “How To Kill The Church.”, “How To Heal The Church,” “How To Build The Church” and “How To Change The World.” I get to start the series off with “How To Kill The Church.” Now I know that Jesus said to Peter, “Upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Well I don’t believe that Satan has ever killed a church and does not have the power to do so. I do believe, the saints in the church are the only ones who have the power to kill it by ignoring the word of God. Satan may use us, but we have to choose to be used by Him by refusing to yield to Christ.
There will be times in our lives, when we are the source of a serious problem , and we won’t know that we’re causing the problem.
A couple of years ago, I noticed that I had a difficult time sleeping on Saturday nights. The other six nights, there wasn’t any problems. But on Saturdays, I would wake up at 2 in the morning with the worse pain in my stomach. I’d practically have to sit up in the bed to go to sleep. I took every stomach medicine we had in the bathroom.
Since this only happened on Saturdays, I assumed it was the devil attacking me to keep me from being rested for Sunday mornings. So I would rebuke the devil left and right. I would then pray for the pain to go away. I spent my hours awake praying so as to discourage the devil from waking me up. Surely the devil didn’t want me praying.
I finally went to the doctor and he gave me some kind of medicine to take for upset stomachs. I took the medicine and felt better. By Saturday I was really feeling great. But that Saturday night the whole process started all over again. It happened for the next couple of weeks. Pastor Toby would pray over me, but about 2am, I’d be in pain all over again.
Then one Saturday night as I was leaving from the bathroom to the bed, God had mercy on me. For The first time, I noticed my hand reached into this bag for some chocolate covered something out of a beautiful bag that someone had given to us as an anniversary gift a long time ago. Saturday night was the only night I allowed myself to get some of this delicious snack. I dropped it back into the bag without eating any of it. I slept that night with no problem.
That chocolate food in that bag had gone bad. Each Saturday night I was slowly poisoning myself. But because the poison tasted good, and the pain did not show up for our hours later, I didn’t connect the two events together. Yet I was feeding myself poison food and my body was trying to let me know I was in danger of killing myself.
We have a vision at Calvary, to be the people Jesus Christ is calling us to be and to grow this congregation to have an impact in our lives as well as in the lives of those who are on their way to getting to know God. Even though we may say we want to grow this church, we can have a part in killing this church and not even being aware that we are killing it. Just as I was getting what I wanted, what I wanted was hurting me. The same can be true in hurting the church.
One of the ways in which we start to kill the church is by not knowing what the church is. We think that we come to church. But we don’t. We actually bring the church to this building. It would be better if we had the name Calvary Presbyterian Building on the outside, and reserved the name Calvary Presbyterian Church only to be used when two or more of us are gathered in Christ’s name.
Otherwise we start to honor the building more than the gathering. Jesus never promised us, he would be in this building. The word of God tells us, that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. This building is simply a tool or a gift that God has given to us, to carry out his work in the world. The building is neither saved nor unsaved. When Jesus comes to take away the church, this building is going to be left behind.