The worst people in your church might not be the first ones who pop into your mind. In fact, they might even, from time to time, include you!
All Christ-followers are positionally saints, but they may still have a long way to go in the practical outworking of their faith, obedience and holiness.
I’ve seen some of these unpleasant characters in churches. Maybe you have too.
1. The Pharisees
In the Bible, the proud Pharisees were quick to condemn and judge. Jesus called them hypocrites and revealed their true disposition in Matthew and Luke.
Today’s church Pharisees judge others harshly while making light of their own failings. Some lash out when their prestige is threatened. Others erect burdensome rules for others, hoping to improve their own standing.
People may appear upstanding—but remember, “The LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
2. The False
False teachers creep into the church and spread lies. They have a form of godliness, but their compromising teachings are not solid doctrine.
People embrace falseness when they heed voices in the culture more than the pure Word of God, or redefine biblical truth and then expect others to comply.
Paul warned Timothy “seducers” would get worse, “deceiving and being deceived.” We need to know the scriptures well and not be led astray (2 Timothy 3:13-17).
3. The Fornicators
Paul warned the Corinthian church to “flee sexual immorality,” and told the Galatians to keep in step with the Holy Spirit so they would “not gratify the works of the flesh.” Paul lists sexual immorality, impurity, and sensuality as three evidences of fleshly desires.
It’s hard to imagine God’s people, bought with the blood of His Son and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, participating in sins like fornication, adultery, and pornography. But some do.
Men and women alike struggle with sexual sins. Sadly, so does church leadership.
A 2016 online study by the Barna Group included more than 700 pastors and youth pastors. The study indicated more than half admitted struggling with pornography at some time. More than 1 in 10 youth pastors (12 percent) and 1 in 20 pastors (5 percent) said they were currently addicted.
4. The Fickle
Christians are expected to be loyal to God’s will, Word, and ways, and demonstrate loyalty by standing for the Gospel and taking up their cross to steadfastly follow Jesus wherever He may lead (Mark 8:34-35).
Disloyalty affects church attendance, relationships, and service. Fickle people can’t be counted on to love, encourage, pray for and serve one another.
Believers belong to one another in the family of God. There must be solidarity and wholehearted fidelity as we “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
5. The Fighting
James asked believers, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?” The reasons for fighting are many, including covetousness, jealousy, gossip, nitpicking, and so many pointless and worthless disputes (2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9).
Church members have disrupted their entire congregations over the color of new carpeting or hymn books! Satan loves it when God’s people escalate little issues until they explode in divisiveness.
We’ll stop fighting and build unity when we recognize and utilize the diverse gifts God gives the Body, learn to forgive each other, and focus more on serving Christ and each other than ourselves.
6. The Foolish
Proverbs reveals all sorts of ways a person can “act the fool.”
Fools shun wisdom, despise discipline, argue with common sense, ignore advice, are quickly annoyed, hasten to quarrel, blurt out foolish things, don’t recognize deception, refuse to make amends, trust in material things, are hot-headed, waste money, act recklessly, don’t learn from their mistakes, and so much more.
Foolishness can be subtle too. Several years ago, experiencing burnout, I realized I was not appropriating biblical wisdom concerning rest. I lived a “driven” life rather than a Spirit-led, God-dependent one. Foolish!
Foolishness results when people misuse the good reasoning skills the Creator gave them! Paul wrote, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise.”
7. The Fearful
“The fear of the Lord,” Proverbs 9:10 says, “is the beginning of wisdom.” Fear of God is the type of fear every believer should cultivate, but too often we manifest another kind of fear, the fear of man.
When we’re anxious for approval or derive our value and identity from others, we get caught in Satan’s snare.
In “Lay Aside the Fear of Man,” author Jon Bloom wrote, “We obey the one we fear.” The one we look to for approval is the one we will want to please and obey.
In this sense, the fear of man is akin to idolatry. Christians are called to fear—respect, be in awe of and obey—only the Lord.
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SOURCE: Crosswalk, Dawn Wilson