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What Can Kill a Church

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What can kill a church?
NOTE: different that What can kill THE Church
Sardis was described as Dead
[[Re 3:1]]
Churches can die - we’ve all see it.
Die:
no longer exist
no longer alive

Persecution

Used from the beginning

eg. against Smyrna [[Rev 2:9-10]]
Revelation 2:9–10 NASB95
9 ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 ‘Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
As seen in many places in the First Century [[1Pe 5:8-9]]
1 Peter 5:8–9 NASB95
8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

Responses to Persecution

some are silenced - as many believers were by the Pharisees [[Jn 12:42-43]]
John 12:42–43 NASB95
42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.
Some rejoice in it, and grow stronger [[Jam 1:2-3; Ac 5:41-42]]
James 1:2–3 NASB95
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
cf. Ac 5:41 —So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.
The Lord takes notice of those who endure persecution
Pergamum [[Re 2:13]]
Revelation 2:13 NASB95
13 ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
Philadelphia [[Re 3:8]]
Revelation 3:8 NASB95
8 ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.

False Teaching

This Tactic was used by Satan in the First Century

Overcome in Ephesus [[Re 2:2,6]]
Revelation 2:2 NASB95
2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;
Revelation 2:6 NASB95
6 ‘Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
A challenge to Pergamum - who endured persecution, but struggled with false teachers
As warned against [[2Pe 2:1-2]]
2 Peter 2:1–2 NASB95
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;

Guarding Against False Teaching

Remain in Sound Doctrine [[2Ti 4:3-4]]
2 Timothy 4:3–4 NASB95
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
Do not support those who do not abide in His teaching [[2Jn 9-11]]
2 John 9–11 NASB95
9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

Worldliness

Immorality, Materialism [[1Jn 2:15-17]]

Destroys Churches

Thyatira - both Worldliness and False Teaching [[Re 2:20-21]]
Revelation 2:20–21 NASB95
20 ‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 ‘I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.
Immorality has made havoc of many churches today
Materialism has drawn many Christians away from their service to the Lord
Churches are hindered when their members are rendered fruitless by worldliness - cf. Lk 8:14

To fight Worldliness

Love the Father
c.f. 1 Jn 2:15 —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.
[[Jm 4:4]]
James 4:4 NASB95
4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Renew your mind [[Ro 12:2]]
cf. Ro 12:2 —And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Indifference

A Very Effective weapon

Ephesus had :left it’s First Love” (Re 2:4)
Laodicea - neither Hot nor cold (Re 3:15-17)
Don’t need to take action against a church to destroy it - just do nothing [[Pr 18:9; Mt 12:30]]
Proverbs 18:9 NASB95
9 He also who is slack in his work Is brother to him who destroys.
Matthew 12:30 NASB95
30 “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

Symptoms

Irregular attendance of services
Lack of participation in the services (worship, Bible classes)
Consistently arriving late to services
Waning efforts to win souls to Christ
No personal and private devotions (Bible study and prayers)

Combat Indifference

Do not grow weary, keep in mind the reward [Ga 6:9]]
Galatians 6:9 NASB95
9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
Be diligent, not sluggish [[He 6:11-12]]
Hebrews 6:11–12 NASB95
11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Give and receive encouragement
cf. Heb 10:24–25 —and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
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