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Summary: Four "small" things that kill the body of Christ.

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SERIES: HEALTHY CHURCH!

“THE MORTIFICATION FACTOR”

SELECTED SCRIPTURES

OPEN

There was once a fellow who became convinced that he was dead. In reality he was very much alive. His delusion became such a problem that his family finally paid for him to see a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist spent many hours trying to convince the man he was still alive. Nothing seemed to work. Finally the doctor tried one last approach. He took out his medical books and proceeded to show the patient that dead men don't bleed. After hours of tedious study, the patient seemed convinced that dead men don't bleed.

“Do you now agree that dead men don't bleed?” the doctor asked.

“Yes, I do,” the patient replied.

“Very well, then,” the doctor said. He took out a pin and pricked the patient's finger. Out came a trickle of blood.

The doctor asked, “What does that tell you?”

“Oh my goodness!” the patient exclaimed as he stared incredulously at his finger ... "Dead men do bleed!!"

This man was convinced that he was physically dead but he was really physically alive. In the book pf Revelation, Jesus addresses a church that was convinced it was spiritually alive but in reality was almost completely spiritually dead.

Rev. 3:1-6 – “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven

spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of

my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has

ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

We’re in our series on church health. Although I have been focused on factors that increase church health, I would be very remiss if I failed to talk about factors that kill a church. Thom Rainer said that unhealthy churches tend to be more concerned about self-comfort – doing what pleases personal taste – rather than the Great Commission and the Great Commandments.

Today’s message is about the mortification factor. The word “mortification” comes from the Latin for “death.” We use other words with the same root word – such as mortician and mortuary. In medical terminology, mortification is a synonym of necrosis – the localized death of living cells caused by infection or lack of blood supply. Another synonym would be “gangrene.”

Did you ever notice that many times it is “small things” that kill? Good examples are poisonous insect bites, bacteria, and viruses. Although very small, they are effective killers of the human body. This morning, I want us to look at four “small things” that effectively kill the body of Christ.

SMALL HEARTS

By small hearts, I mean a lack of love. Jesus said in Mt. 22:37-39 – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

There’s a lack of love for God. This happens when we put other things in front of God. When we’re frequently absent from the worship services. When we’re avoidant of opportunities to serve. When we fail to spend time during our day to pray and read our Bibles. When we willingly rebel against God’s instructions for our lives. Those things and more exhibit a lack of love for God

There’s a lack of love for others. We like to pick and choose the people we’re going to love. But our love should be modeled on God’s love and God “so loved the world.” God loves everyone equally. And we’re called to do the same.

When we fail to be gracious and merciful to others. When we judge others more harshly than we do ourselves. When we think we’re better than someone else. When we fail to offer forgiveness to those we feel have wronged us. Those things and more demonstrate a lack of love for others.

SMALL MINDS

“Small minds” points to short-sighted thinking. It’s when people will only see what they want to see. It’s when people have narrowed their thinking on non-essential items in the church such as musical styles and methodology.

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