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How to Kill a Church

I Corinthians 1:1-17



This is a letter Paul is writing to a church, and look how positively he greets them... [read vv. 1-9]


Then beginning in v. 10, he pulls out a gun and blows them away!


[read vv. 10-17]


“Jesus, yes!  The church, no!”  That was a popular slogan in the 60s...or so I’m told.  And it seems to be a revived notion today as many are put off by organized religion.  I believe that could have been the sentiment in AD 56 in the city of Corinth where we see Paul’s 2nd epistle being written to because that church was in serious trouble.  I share this today not because we have big problems but because we don’t!  Let’s keep it that way.


It was a defiled church, full of sexual immorality and drunkenness.  Some lived very worldly, taking God’s grace and forgiveness lightly.


It was also a divided church with differing cliques and factions vying for leadership.  People talking behind the scenes, and taking sides.


And so it was a disgraced church.  Not only were they not glorifying God, they were hindering the progress of the gospel all around.


Now, none of us are perfect.  Actually very far from it.  We cannot be sinless but we can sin less.  If you knew me like I know myself you wouldn’t listen to me.  But hold on, because if I knew you like you know yourself I wouldn’t talk to you! 


Positionally in Christ we are seen as perfect [vv. 1-9], but the world is watching us outwardly and they see something far different.  They aren’t even looking for perfection, just ‘reflection’ of Christ.  They want to see results, an effort, a change, something relevant for them...hope!


This church was a “Church on the Rocks.”  This church was not doing all that they were supposed to be doing. There were some in the church that were really hurting it. In fact they were allowing the devil to use them to destroy the church.


Rom. 1:18-32 is Paul’s record as he looked out the window while there.  It lists what he saw. [read]


Satan wants to kill this church, but he’ll use people to carry out the dirty deed.  He wants to use you!  Like he did at Sardis - which was a dead church. 

Revelation 3:1-3
1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

Some die and close their doors, but many still have meetings - and yet are dead.


The angel at the tomb said, ‘Why seek the living among the dead?’  And many are finding it true as they seek a church.

If you want to kill your church, let me show you how.

Kill Unity.
The first way to kill your church is by killing the unity within the church. There are a couple of ways [listed in our text] to kill the unity within the Church.
1 Corinthians 1:10

1. Forget Whose You Are:

Once you surrender your life to Jesus Christ, you are no longer yours but God’s.


He owns you. It's not YOUR life!  You have a new master now. He's a good master. It's fine to be HIS slave, but a slave you are, and don't forget it!  You owe Him! There's a bond involved in your slavery.  You are a servant. 


Why do we forget?  Perhaps if He beat us and abused us it would help us to remember that we are His slave?  Should it really count against our Father that He is so good to us...and so we forget that He owns us?


When you forget Whom you belong to, you stop acting like a child of God’s and start acting like a child of the devil’s.

2. Forget Who You Are:

As a Christian, you are a representative of God here on this earth. When you forget that, you are prone to live opposite of what God wants you to. You are an ambassador from a foreign land. 


You don't belong here!  You aren't supposed to adapt to the culture and blend in. The locals are supposed to know that you are a dignitary...a representative from another place!


And while we're remembering who we are, let's not forget who we used to be.  What were you saved from, specifically.  Go over it now in your head.  What are you being saved from in the present day?  Will you sin at all in your future?  You'd better believe you will - you're a sinner!


But, God has saved you, and changed you inside and out, and now is sending you on assignment to a lost and dying world.  Don't forget who you were and who you are in Christ!

Why does God leave us here on this earth after we are saved? It is to lead the lost to Jesus Christ.

You can't do this alone.  It takes a team.  It's the body of Christ, seated all around you.  While you are remembering who you are, remember who THEY are!  They are your brothers and sisters ... family ... teammates!  We're in a tug of war for this world.  It's supposed to be the world on one side and us on the other.  What's this monkey business about us being on different sides from brothers and sisters?


In order for the Church to be able to reach out to the lost, we must have unity within our congregation. The devil is going to try to cause you to forget whose you are, who you are, and what your mission is so that he can destroy the ministry of this church.


How do you kill a church?  Kill unity...

Kill Harmony.
The second way to kill the Church is by killing the harmony within the Church. There are 2 ways to kill the harmony within the church.
1 Corinthians 1:11-12

1. Fight About Everything:

We've all heard about Churches that have been destroyed over the color of carpet or who is going to say the prayer during the service, who didn't shake my hand or come visit me, etc. The devil will use anything for us to fight about.


ill.--Think about this. For those of you who are married, what do you fight about most often? Is it the things in life that are really important, or is it silly little things that don’t matter; like leaving the toilet seat up?  Who took my keys?  And should the TP roll over the top or under the bottom?


We are the same way in Church. We will fight over anything, whether it matters or not and this will destroy the harmony within the church.  Often we fight over secondary issues, not what is truly important.  And the devil loves it when he can get us off course in that way.

2. Fight About Who Is In Charge:

We as humans want to be in charge. The problem with this? 150 people can’t all be in charge. That is chaos. There is a reason that God calls a man to pastor a Church. It isn’t because the pastor is a better person than anyone else, but it is because that is the way God set it up. Anything with two heads is a ... monster!


By the way, allow me to make it clear who IS in charge of THIS church...

...It had better be God or we are all in trouble. If you want to kill the harmony of your Church, fight one another for power.

Kill Humility.
If you want to kill your Church: Kill the unity, kill the harmony and kill the humility within the Church. There are 3 ways to kill humility within the Church.
1 Corinthians 1:13-17

1. Forget Who Died For Us:

We sometimes forget that Jesus went to the cross because of our sins. It is easy for us as good Church going people to start feeling better than everyone else but don’t forget that Jesus had to die for you too.

2. Forget Who Gets The Credit For What God Is Doing:

When God uses you to see great things happen, please never forget Who did that and Who gets the credit. It's wonderful when phenomenal things are happening in lives here… But, never forget Who actually did that!

3. Forget Who Has the Power:

We are just instruments of God.  He is the leader and we are slaves.  Our job is to submit to the authority over us.  When we begin to feel powerful because God is using us, don’t forget that Jesus is the One that died on the cross and rose again. The power of the Gospel is not in this building or our programs but in the cross of Jesus Christ!


Kill Purity.
God works thru a clean vessel.  His power flows thru purity.  The first 9 verses show who they were positionally in Christ, [perfect] and the next few verses show a stark contrast as he talks about how men saw them in practice.  It’s no wonder the world won’t listen to the truth we have for them when they see us not really living it!

Isaiah 53:1
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

[some source material from Shawn Drake]


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