Summary: Satan’s goal is to kill the church. Sometimes church members help him and don’t even know it. the good news is Jesus promises that if we are faithfull "the gates og hell cannot prevail"
"WHAT CAN KILL A CHURCH" 2 Cor. 2: 4-11
1. In Re 3:1, the church at Sardis was described as a "dead" church...
2. This reveals that churches can die - and they often do...
3. There are at least two ways a church may die...
a. It may cease to exist
b. It may die inwardly, even while it still lives outwardly
4. What can kill a church?
a. Are we aware of the different weapons Satan uses ?
b. Are there things that threaten our very existence even now ?
A. Satan has often resorted to physical persecution...
1. against the church at Smyrna - Re 2:9,10
2. Indeed, he did so against many churches in the first century - 1 Pe 5:8-9
3. We should not be surprised if he does so today - 1 Pe 4:12
B. people respond to persecution differently...
1. Some are silenced by it - cf. Jn 12:42-43
2. Others rejoice in it - Ac 5:41-42; Ro 5:1-5; Ja 1:2-3
C. how we react will determine our future as a church...
1. A church that is silenced by persecution will soon die
2. A church that rejoices in persecution will not go unnoticed by the Lord -
II. FALSE TEACHING
A. satan has used this tactic to threaten many churches...
1. It threatened the church at Ephesus, - Re 2:2,6
2. It threatened the church at Pergamo - Re 2:13-15
B.. . two things are necessary in guarding against error.
1. We must not turn away from sound doctrine - 2 Ti 4:3-4
2. We must not support those who teach contrary to the doctrine of Christ -
[When a church stands strong against persecution and false doctrine, that is certainly a good sign; but that does not mean Satan cannot yet kill it. Many "sound" churches have been destroyed by one of two more tools used by Satan. The first of these is...]
A. worldliness includes immorality and materialism...
1. Immorality is the lust of the flesh
2. Materialism involves the lust of the eyes
B. satan uses worldliness to destroy churches...
1. the church at Thyatira was threatened by the influence of Jezebel - Re 2:20
2. Immorality has made havoc of many churches today
3. Materialism has drawn many Christians away from their service to the Lord
Churches are hindered when their members are rendered fruitless by worldliness
C. To ward off worldliness...
1. We must have "the love of the Father" - 1 Jn 2:15-17;
2. We must not be conformed to this world, but transformed - Ro 12:1-2
3. We must "watch and pray" - cf. Lk 21:34-36
[A church that is "sound" on certain issues can still be a dead or dying church if worldliness is allowed to infect its members. A similar weapon that Satan can use to destroy churches is...]
A. A subtle, yet effective weapon used by satan...
1. It jeopardized the church at Ephesus, who had left their "first love" - Re 2:4
2. It characterized the church at Laodicea, repulsive to Christ - Re 3:15-17 We do not have to oppose the church to kill it, just be slothful and indifferent! - cf. Pro 18:9; Mt 12:30
B. symptoms of indifference...
1. Irregular attendance of services
2. Lack of participation in the services (worship, Bible classes)
3. Consistently arriving late to services
4. Waning efforts to win souls to Christ
5. No personal and private devotions (Bible study and prayers)
C. fervent service is the only antidote to indifference...
1. We must not grow weary in doing good - Ga 6:9
2. We must be diligent, and not become sluggish - He 6:11-12
3. We must hold fast the hope we confess by encouraging one another
1. While there might be more ways to kill a church, these four are
Certainly effective: Persecution, False teaching, Worldliness, Indifference
2. What about this congregation? Is Satan making any progress in killing us?
a. We might be free from physical persecution, and be known as a "sound" church
b. But is worldliness and indifference taking its toll?
3. To be forewarned is to be forearmed...
a. We need to be honest with ourselves - are we vulnerable in some areas?
b. Don’t let the Great Deceiver succeed in deceiving us!
May we each do our part in our defenses against the one who seeks to destroy us!
"lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices."