The church is not protected by a large bubble that prevents danger from getting to it. It never has had that kind of protection and never will. In a sense, in certain areas, we are protected (1 Corinthians 10:13), but in others there is none as God will not force us to look for or use the “way of escape” He provides. During the time following the death of Christ and the institution of the church we see that the church suffered many dangers.
There was the danger of division – John 17:21; 1 Corinthians 1:10
The danger of false teachers – 2 Peter 2:1; 2 Corinthians 11:26
And the danger of backsliding – 2 Timothy 4:10; Acts 13:13; 15:38
In many places the early church faithfully faced its dangers and we should be prepared to do so. In this article I would like for us to examine a few of these dangers so as to be better prepared for them when they come our way.
THE DANGER OF SUBSTITUTING WORSHIP FOR CHRISTIAN LIVING – I fear that we have reached the point where many brethren believe that baptism and attendance is the only true mark of discipleship. This is seen when we ask someone if they believe if another is faithful and as we take note of the criteria they use to determine their faithfulness. By saying this, I am not denying that attendance is important (Hebrews 10:25), but what I am denying is the idea that if one attends services they are “faithful” based solely upon that. The reason I say this is for true faithfulness to be found in our lives we must continue to stress Biblical concepts such as “growing,” “every good work,” “complete,” and “perfection.”
I also fear that many brethren have a good dose of what I call “churchianity,” but have no idea what “Christianity” is. Of course one cannot be a Christian without faithfully attending the services of the church, but one can attend with the regularity of a Pharisee and never be a Christian. Over the years I have known of a number of people that attended on a regular basis who had never obeyed the gospel.
THE DANGER OF THE CARES OF THE WORLD – It has been said of the present generation that we are a busy people who do nothing. There is no question, we are always on the go, but it seems that we are not getting anywhere. We constantly “complain” about not having enough time, but what do we want additional time for? Looking around us, we take note that we face the following struggles of the day.
Making a living
Entertaining and being entertained
The education of our children
Running a busy “bus” schedule for a family on the go
Ball games, trips, side trips, the newspaper, and T.V.
In so many cases people’s lives will pass as a “vapor,” (James 4:14), yet they have not taken the “time to be holy.” This is one of the greatest dangers facing the church today. Our streamlined society has almost excluded the church. Rather than the church being the center of our lives, with everything revolving around it, it has become one of those things which revolve around something else. Many people are only an hour or two away from quitting the Lord. Too many people attend the services of the church when they have time. However, this seldom happens because they are too busy taking care of the cares of the world. So what is the answer to the problem? The only answer I know is found in the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:33.
THE DANGER OF CHRISTIAN HOMES BREAKING DOWN – Marriages are ending in divorce to the tune of approximately one out of every two, which has been the case since 1975. We are living in an age of “freedom,” which is simply another word for moral decay. Marriage vows are no longer sacred. Marriage ceremonies are nothing more than a formality that people go through in order to live together until they grow tired of one another.
God, on the other hand, intended that marriage begin and end in success. When only Adam existed, God said it was “not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18), but when Eve was created things became “very good” (Genesis 1:31). When God said that marriage was good or honorable (Hebrews 13:4), He did not have Hollywood type marriages in mind. Our society has become so lax in regard to this matter that people obtain a divorce for no reason at all as seen in the “no fault” divorces that are being decreed every day.
How do we resolve this matter? If we have a headache, we get rid of the ache, not the head. And if we are having trouble in our marriage, we ought to get rid of the trouble rather than the marriage. The sad reality is, in our society today, marriages are as disposable as razors.
THE DANGER OF INDIFFERENCE TO THE LOST WORLD - The church should be vitally interested in evangelism. This includes preaching the gospel to every country, every state, every city, and every soul (Mark 16:15). It has been said, “The whole purpose of the whole church is to take the whole gospel to the whole world.” The pulse of a person helps determine whether that person is living or not. The “pulse” of the church can determine the same. The “pulse” of the church can be checked by several means.
In the interest we have in bringing others to services and the Lord
In the training of our children – Ephesians 6:4
By our growth
As we look about us today, and look to the future of the church, we need to pay attention to these dangers while we have the opportunity. Careful consideration of a number of communities reveals the fact that when such has not been done in the past; the Lord’s church no longer exists in them. Let us be care that such does not become the case here.