The Death of The Church

Phil 2:19-21 (ESV) – I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. They all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

This passage always causes me grief–almost in the same way I grieve when I consider the necessity of the cross on my behalf.

Here Paul is making a statement–it seems almost as if in passing–about the condition of the ministry around him.

I have found this to often be true in today’s ministry.

Years ago, I sat in the office of a well-known pastor of a large denominational church. In answer to a question about his practices, he said, “No question about it, Dale. I am out to build me a kingdom.” Sadly, he was dead less than two years later.

But, his sentiment, though not as plainly stated by most, is still manifest today.

I’ve had other ministers tell me that they do not agree with some fundamental aspect of their particular denomination, but, “We go along to get along.” Where is their interest?

What does Paul mean when he says, “…not those [interests] of Jesus Christ”?

What are the interests of Jesus Christ?

Should we not try to make those our focal point?

He says this after qualifying it with ministry who only seek their own interests, and this is set in juxtaposition with Timothy being concerned for the Philippians’ welfare.

Those of us in the ministry should make the welfare of the church our priority–even down to the wandering little sheep. That is our charge.

Isa 57:1 ESV – The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;

 I know this verse speaks to the death of the righteous in order to remove them from the coming calamity, but it also speaks to the back-door revivals that many churches experience–some even now. People leave one-by-one, and in groups all at once, and no one lays it to heart as to what is happening or why.

1 John 2:19 is often quoted in defense: They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Sometimes, however, (probably more often than we like to think) people leave because they can smell the odor of death beginning to creep in. They see the calamity coming, and they make a quiet exit.

“Leaders Leave” is an oft-quoted reality that we would do well to consider whenever we see influential people exiting our churches.

Why does this occur? Most often it is because, though they are not in the forefront of ministry, they can see that the leaders are taking the people down a dangerous path of no return. That is the only direction possible when “they seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”

NOTE: This is the second in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Philippians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter two of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put the following link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: and make it a point to visit everyday.

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