Thursday, September 3, 2015

Signs of A Dying Church

The very nature of complacency is to say, "It's no big deal," then when it's no big deal, you become complacent. Then when you become complacent it is no big deal. Like one big circle. It's a spiral. It's fatal. When we as Christians, say, "I've done that before, I can pull that off. I won't bother you, God with that." It's a self reliance upon our own resources and that is a dangerous thing. We need God in everything we do. When a church begins to die, it departs from a Holy Spirit dependent position. It happens so slowly we don't even realize it is happening. Do you remember when our church used to...? Beware of those words, those churches are coasting on their former victories.

Instead of marching forward, it had become easily to boast of it's former victories and that is just what was happening in the Church of Sardis. Some churches have become mausoleums, you whisper when you walk in. May our churches never sound like coffins. If you don't have the Holy Spirit controlling your life, you may as well crawl into your own coffin. Some churches have big names in certain cities. What goes on in those churches? Just because it is big, doesn't mean its successful and that God is dwelling there. Is it walking and exhibiting the power of the Holy Spirit? A church can be like a big train, and just because you cut the power off, it will still keep going. It's moving off of the old power is used to have. Is the Spirit of God moving there?

Jesus told the church of Sardis that they were alive. They had it all. Mission outreaches, internet and radio broadcasts, right off the freeway, big church with a grand name. We should be going where the Holy Spirit is moving. It's exhibited in the love of God's people. They should be dependent on God. A church should not be concerned about how much money it raises, it needs to be God dependent, not church dependent. They should never ask you to belly up to the bar and cash out. "Where God guides, God provides."

When a church begins to die, Jesus says with His eyes of fire, "I know how much money this church makes, I know exactly where your priorities are, I know what the pastor is doing?" It's source of power is gone. When the Holy Spirit is no longer the source of power for the church. He gives 4 scathing diagnosis to the church.

1. You. Me, myself and I. Jesus says to the Church of Sardis. "You have a name." That is all they were concerned about. 'How to become a successful church' was their best seller at their local stores. Isn't it interesting how many of those programs are out there. Tips on how to grow churches by 10%. Why in the world would you limit what God can do? How about going to churches that are growing for FREE. You want to be careful you don't curse yourself by boasting how well you are doing. If it's not the Holy Spirit, its nothing but what will burn in the end. It's a tragic thing. Jesus pleads with them, to strengthen the things that remain. He always gives hope even when He is denouncing a church. Jesus always ruined a perfectly good funeral by raising their dead. He always gives hope.

He said there is a few that have not defiled their garments, in that church. Can you imagine Jesus saying that in your church? Jesus holds the power to the churches in His hand. He is the one responsible for the successes of churches not man's power. They boast that His blessings are the results of their efforts. Those are the signs that we are dead. If our lives are so fine, we don't need God, or prayer meetings. We have our salvation, we don't need anything else. We got a healthy family, home on a hill, great job, clothes, I am fine. Jesus could say, you have a name that you are alive, but in reality, You are dead!

If Jesus doesn't return soon, where will your church be? What will we leave the next generation after we are gone? Will be pass along to them to passionately seek Jesus, to not grieve the Holy Spirit, and live your life that people who see you will see Jesus glorified in your life.

Beware of the signs of a dying church:

1. We see our past experiences more exciting that our present ones. 
2. We go to church to attend, without the expectation of God speaking to us. We attend rather than be attentive.
3. When our financial investments in the church begins to wane. Your checkbook never lies about where your passion is.
4. Prayer meetings will begin to evaporate in your church. When prayer is put on the back burner.

If we stick to God's Word, we won't have to worry about the future.

Isaiah 55:11 ~ "So is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty."

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