The Church Has A Hole In It

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Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes” (Haggai 1:6).

 

There are a lot of activities churches are engaged in these days. There are loads of programs inside the church setting and there are evangelistic and social outreaches of various kinds that go on outside the church. I am speaking for the most part about the church in America. There is also the other side where a large part of the church membership is happy to go and fulfill their little Sunday morning commitment and then go on the rest of the week with their worldly business as usual. On one hand, we have a church that is busy with doing a lot of things like the church in Ephesus who lost their first love. “And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2:3-4). Then on the other hand, we have a church like the one that is seen in Samaria when the king of Assyria sent men from Babylon and other nations to go and dwell there. “And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof…. . They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence” (II Kings 17:24,33). The last verse of the chapter says, “So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day” (II Kings 17:41). So from generation to generation, we have had a church full of Babylonians who claim they fear the Lord, but they serve their graven images. People may not literally bow down to statues, but when men seek after riches and success, instead of God, then they are serving false idols. Come on saints, you know there are those who say they love God, but yet they still serve their appetites and seek acceptance in this world. They go through the religious rituals on Sunday morning and then live like the world from Sunday afternoon till church starts again next Sunday.

With much of the church in the condition that she is in, she is like a bag with a hole in it. I have lost some change because I put them in my pant pocket that had a hole in it. What if the church were to experience a great successful season of evangelism and lost sinners were coming to Christ. If the church continues to have a hole in it, those new members of the body of Christ will enter the church, but will eventually fall out of the church.

I am convinced that this is the reason the Lord has put such a strong burden on my heart for His church. That is why the focus of ministry today needs to be concerned with the spiritual health of the church first. Ministers, as well as the whole body of Christ need to once again understand the reason the church exists. To make as simple of an analogy as possible, I ask this question. If you were going berry picking, but discovered your container had a hole in it, would you not close up the hole first before you went to pick the berries? Of course you would. In the same way, don’t you think the Lord wants the church to be strong and healthy with no hole in it before He is going to put a fresh picked harvest in it?

I have a thought that I want to share with you. It is certainly not a conventional thought of our day. What if the Lord is postponing the conversion of souls until the church seals up the hole that is in her? What if the Spirit of God is keeping conviction down, in particular lost souls, until He has a church that is ready to receive them? Could it be that the Spirit is withholding His power to save souls until the timing is right? Just as you would not be so foolish as to collect berries in a container with a hole, God as well would not be so foolish as to save people only to put them in a place that they would just fall out and be lost again. Haggai says, you sow much, but bring in little. This could be the very reason much sowing is being done by the church, but little has come in. It could be the very hand of God that keeps the lost reserved for a day when His vessel, His church, is mended and ready to be filled with souls.

I suppose there are some skeptical Christians who would think that the church will never be mended. I am not one of those. I have the highest hope that God will have for Himself, in this generation and this nation, a church that will fully represent Him. A church that represents Christ and has an abundance of His presence amongst them, is a church that has no hole in it. It is a safe place. It is a place where God can send freshly saved souls to grow. A place He knows they will be discipled and perfected into real genuine men and women of God.

I have run into many so-called Christians who don’t believe in church any more. Some of them are just rebels against authority or not even really Christians. But then there are those genuine born-again believers who have been hurt by the church to such a point that they no longer attend. There are those people who were saved, but then brought into a church that has a lot of false doctrine or a lot of bickering and it eventually left them on the outside all confused. I know of a precious elderly sister in Christ who found herself, after many years of faithful church attendance, being rejected by some of the saints in her church. They would force on her some false doctrines that had come in. The church developed a hole and she fell out. She was so frustrated that she said she would never attend church again. Thank the Lord that she was not true to those words and did find a healthy church. Now she flows with such love she has become a patch to close up any hole.

When churches forget that they are called to make disciples, not just converts, then a hole is created. The main reason the church is to gather is, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). When the ministers and elders of any church understand this, then it keeps their churches from having a hole in it. It is then that they can begin to sow much and reap much.

I understand that any believer can fall away from the church, but let it not be because the church has a hole in it.

Is It True, That Christians Shouldn’t Judge?

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“But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (I Corinthians 5:11-13).

 

It has been said that the most quoted scripture in the Bible is John 3:16. I dispute that and say there is another scripture that is quoted more often, not just by Christians, but by the world too. To be fair, the scripture that I am referring to is not quoted in entirety and it is paraphrased. Matthew 7:1 says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Here is how it is most often said, “Thou shall not judge,” or “Who are you to judge?” If you would ask most people if it is alright to judge anyone, most would say no. Christians and sinners alike, are growing more resistant to the idea of anyone judging their life. I can understand non-believers hate being judged, but true followers of Christ need to understand that it is biblical to judge the body of Christ.

Many Christians have a hard time with the whole thought of judging others. One of the biggest reasons is they do not judge themselves. If believers never evaluate their walk with the Lord, then they may feel uncomfortable with judging others in the body of Christ, and rightfully so. There is nothing that makes one a hypocrite more than rebuking others for sin, when the one who is rebuking everyone is himself living a sinful life. No doubt we have way too many so called believers who live carnal lives and yet are judging and condemning other believers for their short comings. No one appreciates these kind of people speaking into their life.

Even for Christians who do live godly lives, they still may find it hard to judge the body of Christ. That is the reason for this article. Good righteous judgment is very important for the body of Christ to help keep her healthy. It is meant for the good of the individual believer and the whole of the body of Christ. Any of us can get drawn away into idolatry or some other sinful thing. It is a beautiful thing, though not comfortable at first, when a brother or sister sees a saint who is overtaken by sin and lovingly confronts them with the hope they would repent and get back to right standing with the Lord.

Before any believer should judge another they need to remember this important thing. Judging needs to start with yourself first. This is one time you can put yourself first. You need to examine your own life before you speak up to others about theirs.

 

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates” (II Corinthians 3:5)?

 

When you do examine yourself, don’t see how you stack up against man, but see how your life lines up with the word of God. Ask God what He thinks of your walk, not man. I am sure many people appreciate the medical experts teaching us different self-examination techniques we can perform on our bodies to detect unwanted growths that could lead to death. How much more, should we as believers, be thankful that we can examine our walk to see if there is something there that could lead to spiritual death. When the Holy Spirit does put His finger on something in our lives we must then confess it and forsake it. He is a loving God that is patient and always willing to forgive us by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.

The Christian who has sinned at times and then made it right with God, will understand how a believer can fall into sin, and will be much more patient and loving in their judging a brother or sister. They won’t be doing it with a self-righteous spirit. They will do it in such a way that even the one who is being judged should recognize the love. We already read Matthew 7:1, now let’s look at the next two verses. We will see how this speaks to the thought that we can judge only after we dealt with the things in our life.

 

“For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye” (Matthew 7:2-3)?

 

Verse two tells us that when we do judge, we are opening ourselves to be judged the same way. So if you don’t want to be judged by self-righteous people, then you better not judge in self-righteousness. If you don’t want people condemning you for your sinful failures, then don’t go condemning anyone else. In verse three we learn that it is alright to judge another believer, after we get the beam out of our own eye. It is then that we can judge righteously. It is then we can judge in love. The true heart behind righteous judgment is always for the sake of the believer and the body of Christ.

There are those saints who are the most eager to judge their fellow brethren. If you are one of them, make sure your life is right, make sure your heart is pure and make sure it is righteous judgment. The heart of judging anyone must always be for restoration and the desire for the one being judged to live a life that brings glory to God. If one who claims to be a Christian and refuses to repent of a sinful life, then for the sake and spiritual health of the body, that one must be removed. This is a right judgment. In fact, God expects us to have such a love for the body that we should not allow any person, no matter how much they may be loved, to be a cancer to the body of Christ. If the Bible says, “…put away from among yourselves that wicked person,” then a judgment has to be made about that person living in sin. We are not even so supposed to eat with a brother or sister who is living a sinful life. This does not mean that we can’t eat with any Christian who sins. If that were the case, you wouldn’t be able to eat with me. I have sinned many times since I have become a believer, but the difference is that I have confessed those sins to the Lord. It is the person who refuses to repent and continues to live in open sin that the body of Christ must put out. This isn’t an easy thing to do. I have done it a few times in my church because I love Christ and His body too much to allow any individuals to spread their sin amongst the church. So to conclude; Yes judging is right, as long as it is done right.

 

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself” (Galatians 6:1-3).