Summary: Fourth and final part of the series pertaining to working together as one body under Christ.
WORKING TOGETHER AS ONE BODY – Part IV
(A continuation of teaching concerning the Body of Christ)
By Rev. James May
As we discussed in our last message, we know that the Body of Christ, the local church can begin to have symptoms of spiritual illness. Sometimes we can know the reason and begin the healing process and the church quickly recovers and continues on.
Then there are times when the body is really hurting. We know where the problem is and we know it must be taken care of. When a member has gone so far from God’s will as to develop a terrible spirit they are like a diseased organ of the body. If that disease is not treated quickly, it will soon infect the whole body like a cancer.
I have seen those whose attitudes began to be very sour towards the church. Their heart was no longer for the local church. Perhaps their whole focus had shifted and it was time for a change according to God’s will and perhaps it wasn’t. There are some who will go after their own will, regardless of what God is saying. They have detached themselves from hearing the true voice of God and have begun to listen to their own voice, their own desires or the voice of another who draw them away from God’s perfect will to satisfy their own desires.
God will attempt to speak to them by his Word but they won’t hear. It’s always for someone else but not for them. They will justify every move they make and every word they say no matter how much it is damaging to the church. They will eventually lose all feeling for anything that God is doing in the local church.
Whatever the reason, their attitude towards the church turns sour and their vision for the church is blinded. Their ministry is no longer fulfilling, in fact it becomes a drudgery. They no longer feel at home and they are uncomfortable. That’s when God must perform spiritual surgery to remove the diseased member from the church. That’s when I may have to do my duty as the Pastor and ask someone to leave before they injure the church even more. There is no more painful duty for a minister than to have to ask someone to step down from a position or to leave the church under those circumstances.
Sometimes these same symptoms occur when we have remained in our comfort zone long after God has told us that it was time to move out in faith, but most of the time it is because of our own lack of spirituality.
Paul referred to this same thing in his letter to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 5:5-7, "To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:"
There are others who just decide to leave on their own without God’s will at the forefront of their decision. It is a decision that is solely based upon their personal desire. I have seen a number of people make decisions to move on when I knew without any doubt that they were making the wrong choice. I could not and would not attempt to make them stay for to do so would only allow that member to fester and bring a greater sickness into the church but it was hard to watch them leave.
It has been my experience that when this happens, it isn’t because they wanted to find a better place to serve God, it was for one of two reasons; either to satisfy the desires of the flesh or to get away from serving the Lord altogether. Either way they are headed for a spiritual disaster.
Nearly every time people leave the church there is a lingering turmoil and a lot of pain that stays around for a while. Whether they leave by following the will of God or not this can and does happen. While it may be lesser of an effect when they leave by God’s will, it still is there.
Another thing that we must realize is that some who leave will leave a greater turmoil for a longer period of time than others. It isn’t hard to understand why this happens.
I can remember when I had nearly 80 warts on my own hands when I was drafted to serve in the U. S. Army. It took a number of trips while the military doctor did his treatment. Some had to be burned off with electrical tools. Some of them had to be frozen off by using liquid Nitrogen. Others would not come off except by cutting them away. It was a minor surgery compared to most but it was still a long and painful process. By God’s mercy they all came off or went away and today I have none.