The Greatest Threat To The Church Is…

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others” (Matthew 6:5 NIV).

I think when most people think about threats to the local church, they think about declining membership and attendance and associated financial issues.  Yes, it is true that many small churches have closed or will close in the near future due to insufficient membership and finances.  However, in the book The Myth of the Dying Church by Glenn T. Stanton, the author presents a strong case that churches that are offering Biblically-based teachings and programs are thriving and those that have drifted away from the Bible are hurting. 

I don’t consider church membership or finances to be the biggest threat to the church because I know the Church does not need our money.  Of course, the local church needs money to operate, but the Church universal is the bride of Christ and wants for nothing. 

The Church universal comes alive when it is actively engaged in evangelism in accordance with the Great Commission.  Evangelism of new members is hurt by the hypocrisy of existing members.   I understand that there would be no need for the church if we did not sin.  The cross would have no meaning if we were without sin.  The problem occurs when men attend church on a regular basis and do not live out what they hear on Sunday mornings.  It is easy to fool your pastor, family, and friends with regular church attendance, clean clothes, and a warm smile.   However, if you are living a lie, it will eventually become known.  Luke 12:2 warns us, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.”  You can fool other people, but they will not judge you on the day of your death.  Matthew 6:4 tells us that our Father “sees what is done in secret.” 

Men are visual creatures and as such some men struggle with perversion in their private lives.  They may appear as a “great guy” in public but are slaves to filth and obscenity in private.  These men commit adultery, rape, view pornography, sleep with prostitutes, and are spiritually perverted.  These men do not honor their own bodies.  More importantly they do not honor the women in their lives, and they certainly do not honor God.   The Bible warns us against sin of this nature.  “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.   Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).

These men can not lead their family to Christ because they themselves are separated from Christ due to unrepented sin.  The blood of Christ will forgive us our sins but there must be confession and repentance.  The Bible teaches, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).   Now, if we do not confess our sins, He will not forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Men that are living in unrepentant sin are already dead.  God hates sin. We may be very strong and healthy physically, and yet be spiritually dead, which is far more serious.  The right next step could not be clearer.  Confess your sin to God and repent.  Chose life everlasting. Chose Christ.  Chose wisely. 

Prayer:  Dear God, Pour out your Holy Spirit on us and search us for anything that separates us from you.  Help us to break the chains of sin and death and chose a life in you which is everlasting.  Amen. 

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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