John T. Willis

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Church Politics: This is a Heart Issue

One of the most pervasive problems ravaging and destroying the church is church politics. This has always been a major portion of the wiles of the devil. The church does not fall because of external opposition, but because of internal strife and division. This always has to do with personal preferences, self-centered goals, and arrogant behavior. The Bible presents numerous examples of this. Here are only a very few. 1. Certain groups of Pharisees in the First Century A. D. spent their lives attempting to put themselves in control of the masses. They were a very small group compared with the entire community of faith. Jesus addressed this problem in Matthew 23:2-12: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hardto bear, and ley them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquests and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father--the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted." Personally, I do not want anyone to think of me or call me in an exalted way like Doctor or Elder in the sense of an authority figure or Pastor in the sense of someone spiritually superior to others in the body of Christ. Jesus emphasizes this point. 2. A major problem in the Corinthian church was small divisive groups. Some of them declared: "I belong to Paul." Others declared: "I belong to Apollos." Others declared: "I belong to Cephas [Peter]." Others declared: "I belong to Christ." (1 Corinthians 1:12). When all is said and done, this is a heart problem. Paul clearly responded by stating emphatically: "What then is Apollos? What is Paul? SERVANTS through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants northe one who waters is anything, but ONLY GOD who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. For we are GOD'S SERVANTS; you are God's field, God's building." (1 Corinthians 3:5-9). What a travesty--What a great sin--when we parade ourselves as leaders, masters, domineers, dictators of God's people when God teaches us to be followers, disciples, ministers, slaves, servants of God. See Matthew 4:18-22; 18:1-4; 20:20-28; Mark 10:35-45; Romans 6:15-18; and very often. The idea of leadership--smeadership is laughable before God our only master, king, lord, and leader. 3. The tiny letter called Third John contains these lines in verse 9-10: "I have written something to the church; but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing in spreading false charges against us. And not content with those charges, he refuses to welcome the friends, and even prevents those who want to do so and expels them from the church." These types of groups of people isolate themselves from others whom they disapprove, and refuse them to have true fellowship with them and threaten their jobs, their families, and their future. Most people have encountered groups like this in your church or city or nations or community. Share YOUR experiences and testimonies and ideas and reservations and misgivings with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis


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