Thursday, February 20, 2014

Examine your congregational priorities

If “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4), then why is that which is being produced by the churches – sermons, lessons, members, music and youth – focused more on the flesh and less on the Spirit? Prayer times are spent listing out physical concerns rather than spiritual ones. Sermons and lessons are preferred which are 'relevant to real life,' rather than relevant to “the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). Any shepherding of the flock that is actually accomplished seems to be focused on feeding the ego more than nourishing the soul. Music is selected because of its ability to tug at the heartstrings or cause the toe to tap rather than for doctrinal words which teach and admonish (Colossians 3:16). And our youth are submersed in 'activities' rather than taught that which will cause them to grow “in favor with God and men” (1 Samuel 2:26; Luke 2:52).

The warning has been given on so many occasions. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). “Do not be worried about your life” (Matthew 6:25). “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Paul taught, “If you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13). Peter taught, “Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). “I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). John taught, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

If the body of Christ is to grow … if it is to achieve “the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13) … then there must be less attention given to the world, and more attention given to Christ. It should be every Christian leader's first priority to weed out that which is worldly and temporary within their congregations and replace it with that which is heavenly and eternal. If those who lead us follow a Biblical pattern - “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30) – then that which is of man should never outweigh or obscure that which is of God.

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