A Life of Failure

If you read my last post you will know that there are many failures in the church. You can see it. The church time and time again has failed the Lord because we are all just failures. It is in our nature. We fail and fail, but just like Peter we have a hope. We have a  precious treasure contained within our earthen vessel. If we look to this treasure, to this One whom we have in our spirit, we can overcome!

However, we must be wary. We must realize the tendency of our fallen nature. We must have our eyes opened to all these failures so that we are not ensnared and so that we do not fall into the same destruction and degradation of the church in the past. May the Lord enlighten us to see the next eleven failures in the churches in the New Testament.

Judging one another in eating and observing of days

We are each so full of tradition and doctrinal concepts. These things, which we ourselves may or may not follow, become our basis for criticizing and judging others. We see this was the case of the believers in Rome in the epistle to the Romans chapter 14. Saints, do we realize that one, we ourselves will stand before the judgement seat of God? We should not concern ourselves with judging others but instead be wary in how we ourselves walk because we will stand before His judgement seat. Do we desire mercy or judgement from Him? As He told us, show mercy that we may obtain mercy. And two, dear saints, do you realize that, “If we cause any one of the believers to stumble by our doctrinal concepts, we break down, destroy, God’s work of grace in him.” ? Oh Lord. May we be those taking care of God’s building work and not our doctrinal concepts.

Making divisions

Though we do not want to cause stumbling in other believers due to our doctrinal concepts and traditions we must be those watchful concerning those who make divisions that are apart from the Apostles’ teaching. This is the teaching of the Apostles which we find in the New Testament. In 1 Timothy 6:3 Paul writes to us regarding the healthy teaching. This healthy teaching is the teaching of the Apostles. How do we know if it is healthy or not? Well, as the point before says, God is concerned with His building. He is doing a building work in the believers. When we place healthy food into the body this food does not damage the body but becomes a supply of life that causes healthy growth. The words and teaching that are according to the Apostles’ teaching supply God’s people with life and produce growth resulting in godliness, that is a life that lives Christ and expresses God in Christ.

Strife and divisions because of gifted persons

Who do you prefer? Paul or Apollos? Or maybe you prefer someone a lot closer to failures like us, maybe you prefer Peter? Or maybe you will condemn them all and choose to be puffed up that you choose Christ. No, saints, we need to set aside our preferences. We need to denounce all these things that lead to our causing strife and division among the saints. We need to be those whose only, unique, choice and preference in Christ. Not as a doctrine that causes strife and our judging others, but as a reality. He must be our unique center, in this way all strife and division will be terminated.

Fornication

We must always be on our guard against our flesh. It will NEVER get any better. Saints, we may think that such a sin as fornication, a gross sin like incest could never happen in a church with a genuine believer. However we have this record in 1 Corinthians 5:1 which states, “It is actually reported that there is fornication among you, and such fornication which is not even among the nations, that someone has his father’s wife.” Saints, we are failures because in our flesh Satan, the evil one resides. We must be on our guard that we do not fall into such sin, especially fornication since it is not only sinful but damaging to our humanity.

Lawsuits

The believers in Corinth were fighting with one another to such an extent that they filed lawsuits against one another. This is a matter of our being unwilling to suffer loss but instead demand our rights. This came in because of the believers preference and their lusts. The saints in Corinth were quite soulish and fleshly. Saints, may we be on our guard from this. May the Lord have mercy on us to be those walking in our mingled spirit.

Questioning the Apostle’s Apostleship

In Corinthians we see that because of money matters Satan came in to try to damage the relationship between the Apostle and the believers. We, like Paul, must be wise in our dealing with money matters, and we must allow the Lord to touch this matter in our being that we would not be lovers of money, greedy for gain, but would be pure so that the enemy has no ground to come in and destroy our relationship with the saints.

The Lord’s table

First we cannot partake of the Lord’s table and the table of demons. What does that mean? When we partake of the Lord’s table we are being identified with the Lord. If we partake of idol and idol sacrifices, though idols are nothing, we are being identified with idols and behind the idols are demons. Thus we are identifying ourselves with them. Our God is a jealous God, idolatry is utterly abominable and hateful to Him. Thus we must flee from idolatry.

Second, we must not eat the Lord’s bread in an unworthy manner, without discerning the body. To eat the bread in this way is to not see the significance of the Lord’s table. The bread and blood signify His body broken for us and His blood shed for our sins through His death for our redemption. Discerning the body means making the distinction that this is no ordinary bread, it is not common food, but it is our God as our portion. It is also the mystical body of Christ into which we have been placed and of whom we are a part.

Tongue-Speaking

We must not be those who abuse the gift of tongue-speaking. Paul wrote, “In the church I would rather speak five words with my mind that I might instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:19). What we need today in the church meetings is not gifted-persons speaking unintelligible words in a tongue, but each believer speaking words of wisdom for the building up of the body.

Saying there is no resurrection

Resurrection is the life pulse of the divine economy. Resurrection is the living proof of justification by His death (Rom. 4:25). Because of resurrection there is the imparting of life (John 12:24). Because of resurrection there is regeneration (John 3:5). Because of resurrection there is renewing (Titus 3:5). Because of resurrection there is transformation (Rom. 812:2; 2 Cor. 3:18). Because of resurrection there is conformation to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). Because of resurrection we are members of Christ (Rom. 12:5). Because of resurrection we are the fulness of Christ (Eph. 1:20-23). Because of resurrection there is the Bride of Christ (John 3:29). Because of resurrection there is the new man (Eph. 2:15; 4:24; Col. 3:10-11). Yet, the believers in Corinth were saying that there is no resurrection of the dead. However, we must be like the apostle Paul who taught and emphasized Christ’s resurrection.

Walking Disorderly

Having a disorderly walk is a practical point. I enjoyed our brother’s sharing:

“I believe that the disorderliness in Thessalonica came from the misconception regarding the Lord’s coming back. Some believers thought that the Lord Jesus would be coming back soon, and therefore that it was not necessary for them to work. Their concept may have been that as long as they had something to eat and could survive, that was adequate. Those who hold such a concept go beyond the level of proper spirituality and walk disorderly.”

Oh Lord, have mercy on us that we would not be careless in our walk and in our life in the church. May we, by Your great mercy be kept from repeating the same failures in the churches and instead may we be those who excel in the building up work that You may have a built-up Bride, prepared and ready for Your return, for Your rest and satisfaction.

 

(From message 222 of The Conclusion of the New Testament: “The Church: The Failures in the Churches (2)”. This message can be read here.)