Summary: Pacifism and Passivism can be serious stumbling blocks to our progress as members of the Body of Christ. If we are to grow both need to be eliminated from of our lives and our church.
OBSTACLES TO INDIVIDUAL AND CHURCH GROWTH
INTRODUCTION: Last week we considered three obstacles that hinder Christian growth. Today I want to examine another pair of obstacles that impede individual and corporate growth and spiritual development – Pacifism and Passivism. Both of these can be serious stumbling blocks to our progress as members of the Body of Christ. If we are to grow both need to be eliminated from of our lives and our church.
I. Pacifism - Attitude of appeasement and avoidance of conflict at any cost - Compromise
A. 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you may show forth the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
B. 2 Timothy 2:4 No one who wars tangles with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who chose him to be a soldier.
C. The motivation of the believer ought to be first, last, always to please God.
D. Many churches today are not unlike the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3. The Laodicean Church compromised on every possible level so as to be acceptable to the world around it. It had great wealth and claimed to be open-minded.
E. For many, today, Biblical standards have fallen as worldliness has tarnished the church and its message by church seeking to be “sensitive”, “user friendly” and “non-threatening” to the world.
F. Perhaps one of the best and saddest examples of pacification is that of Lot in Genesis 19 where he hoped to win his neighbors, and to persuade them from pursuing their unnatural homosexual actions against the messengers of God by offering his two daughters to the Sodomites. Listen to his words in verses 7 and 8, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof." It should be noted that his attempts were futile. Read verse 9!
G. Joseph Lewis Preston, of the Free Thinkers of America, told an Associated Press reporter, “Organized interest in atheism has lagged because the opposition isn’t as strong as it used to be. There has been considerable liberalizing of religion and the lines of conflict aren’t nearly as strong.” Charles Smith, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism, reported that the lack of opposition was the cause of the decline of atheism. “We don’t have the old repressive religion that stimulates atheism, and they don’t preach hell-fire and Jonah in the whale anymore. They go in for this cheer-them-up religion. That’s not the old-time religion. It may be that this new sort is not so bad but they don’t let it interfere with their lives. They spent more time in the old days pleasing God. Now they try to please their fellow men.” – Excerpt from Back to Bethel by J. Vernon McGee, quoted in “Thru the Bible Radio” (Pasadena, June 1996).
H. The church will never be acceptable to the world as long as it stands upon God’s Word as light and salt for the truth. When the church ceases to be light and salt it ceases to be the church.
I. The early 1st century Christian were offered their lives if they would but cast a touch of incense on the fire that burned before the image of the Emperor. A very small gesture of political support compared with being fed to the loins or being burned at the stake. They could have argued that they could do more good by living than by dying. "He who fights and runs away, will live to fight another day. Better a live dog than a dead loin." But, when men catch a glimpse of the face of God, they do not fear the face of man! - W. A. Criswell
J. Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade (seek the favor of) men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
K. Paul makes it clear that his object in life is God’s approval and not man’s. A man who lives to please people by making their approval of more importance than God’s is not serving God. Regardless of what we do or where we do it our goal should be to please God.
L. Ephesians 6:5-6 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;