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.

Solid Foundation

1 Co 3:11-15
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.                                                                                                                                 KJV

This passage is usually taken to apply to our own life and what we do with it in the Lord. It is important that we pay attention to what we are doing with the gifts God has given us. But this passage does not directly address our individual walk with God.

Paul is writing about the work he has done among the Corinthians. He laid the foundation (v. 10). The foundation of all our endeavors is Jesus Christ. Any other foundation is built upon shifting sand and is destined to fail. Our hope is built on nothing less than the blood of Jesus. Make sure your foundation is solid.

Ps 11:3
 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?        KJV

Paul is addressing the work that we do with others. Each of us should be working with at least one other person, helping them to grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(You are discipling someone, aren’t you?)

Make sure that you are building something that will last, that will stand the test of fire. Our denominational doctrines about the right way to be baptized, or to take communion, or to get raptured, or any of the other things we rely on to make us different from other Christians will not help us or our disciples stand in the day of adversity.

Here’s the SHOCKER: when that person falls because the work was not solid, you are held accountable!

In an age of “no-fault” religion, that is not welcome news. I didn’t say that. It’s in the Bible. Read the passage for yourself.

No. Build something solid. Build upon the Word of God. Build upon the promises of God. Build upon the commands of the Lord. Teach people how to overcome the problems in their life. Teach them how to get control fo their anger. Teach them how to handle their finances. Teach them how to be good parents. Teach them how to be a good spouse. Teach them how to handle their business in a godly manner. Teach them how to be godly in all that they say, think, or do.

Teach them all that the Lord commanded us (Matt. 28:20).

Don’t forget to teach yourself at the same time.