Summary: There’s a bullseye atop our churches which the prince of the power of the air sees as he roams, seeking whom he may devour. His method of harming the church is "infiltration." Link included to Formatted Text and Powerpoint Template.
Formalism will expose itself by the following characteristics:
First, it is outward and not inward. Everything will be done to please people, and every decision is made in light of what others will say or do.
Second, it is based on law and not love. Under law men serve God because it is compulsory, but love serves God voluntarily.
Third, it is for men and not for God. God’s will and plan are not regarded. The plain teaching of the Bible is ignored.
Fourth, it is a religion of flesh and not Spirit. Galatians 6:8 tells us, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” In other words, they that smoke cigarettes shall, more than likely, get lung cancer.
Finally, notice that formalism is all action and no unction.
Lots of programs but little power…churches are busy with clubs, sales, bakes, projects and all the rest—but where is the power of God? The words of Jesus need to be heard as found in Matthew 15:3: “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?”
When a poor needy sinner, with an upset heart, goes to one of these formal churches for help, they quickly recommend that he see a psychiatrist or go to the local mission.
Even a sinner, who is blind to God’s plan, can see that the Devil is in the church.
The devil infiltrates churches which are:
II. FLESHLY IN TRANSGRESSION
Some think that sin can be sanctified by bringing it into the church. The members of many churches are living sinful, lascivious lives under the cloak of church membership and even leadership. To them the church is just another club that will help them feel good about themselves or advance their business or give them more contacts. It seems to be profitable to join the church. A little religion is very convenient at times.
In Galatians 5:16,17 the Word of God declares, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh . . . .” Again we read, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption . . .” (Gal. 6:8). Peter tells us, “ . . .abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (I Pet. 2:11).
What to do with your flesh:
Put it off Eph. 4:22
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
Crucify it Galatians 5:24
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Reckon/pronounce it dead Romans 6:11
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Don’t resurrect it/Make no provision for it Romans 13:14
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
The church at Corinth was filled with carnal Christians with problems, strife, divisions, contentions and envies. On the other hand, notice that the church in the book of Acts was in one accord and unified. When they prayed, great power came and miracles took place. This contrast points out the vast difference between a church led by the Spirit of God and one that the Devil is in, walking after the lusts of the flesh.