Romans 16:17 – “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.”  NASU

 Philippians 3:17 – “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.”  NASU

Let’s take a brief look at this enemy we are fighting in the local church today.  There are a number of things worthy of note and will help us to understand our struggle and how to defeat this defeated foe.

  1. He Wants to Cause Division in The Church.
  2. The Way He Causes Division is by Working on Us Individually.

The only people the devil can use in any local congregation or those in that congregation.  Tragically, he sometimes manipulates and uses people without them being aware of what is happening.  HOW?  By encouraging temper outburst, critical attitudes, dividing into cliques, and much more.

The devil never makes anyone an ‘outlaw’ immediately.  No, he slips in with a Bad Attitude and maybe the pastor calls for someone to pray or do a certain task and the devil suggests, “Why didn’t he call on you? He must have something against you.”  Maybe the pastor rushes down the aisle after a service and fails to shake your hand and the devil suggests, “Well, did you see that?  He didn’t shake your hand so he must be purposefully avoiding you.”  Suppose that happens two or three times and then the devil has his foot in the door and says, “SEE, He Avoided You!”

When we love each other and have confidence in each other through Christ we know that we or they would never hurt another intentionally.  So, reject a Bad Attitude.  When the devil suggests things like that REJECT IT and the Bible says that if we resist he flees.  If a brother or sister prospers twice as much as you, REJECT a spirit of jealousy and say, “Praise the Lord.”  It is well to remember the Law of Harvest and understand that if we sow, a Bad Attitude we will reap a Terrible Attitude.  Our Attitude must be right and that is another reason to have on the Helmet of Salvation and to have our minds renewed through God’s Word, Grace, Spirit, and Love.

  1. The Devil Then Moves You into Fault Finding.

Some people will love you and embrace you but gradually their attitude changes toward you.  As far as you are concerned, nothing has changed but they begin to find fault, become critical and stab you in the back and you do not know why.  The devil would like for you to ‘find fault’ with others, become ‘critical’ of them, and engage in ‘criticism’ and ‘gossip’.  I have heard people complain about everything in the local congregation such as the order of worship, song or choruses were sung, the music director, the teacher, or preacher.  I’ve heard people criticize the way the pastor or his wife dresses, what they drive, where they live, and much more.  Much of it is trivial and has nothing to do with the kingdom of God and the lost.

I had a man tell me once, “We want to attract quality people to our church.”  Quality?  What quality were you before you were saved?  I refuse to cater to anyone.  I love everyone equally and want each person to make it to heaven.  If a man wears overalls or has a $5,000 suit they are the same to me.

If you look for fault you will have an easy time finding it in me.  I’m human, I make mistakes.  I asked a church board once, as a visiting speaker, “Do you want your pastor to live in a nice house, drive a nice car, and wear nice clothes?”  They all agreed that would be good and right.  I then said, “If he cannot because of the wages he is paid, then it is not a reflection on him it is a reflection on you.”  It is not easy being a Good Shepherd.  He cannot please everyone all the time.  A preacher is somewhat like a politician in that his success often depends on public opinion.  Remember he has to walk with God and if he is pleasing God we should be pleased as well.  Not all shepherds are good defenders of the sheep but an elder who does well, according to Paul is worthy of double pay.  I never asked for nor wanted double pay, I only wanted to care for my family and be able to give to good causes that God set before me.  My heart is people and winning the lost for the Kingdom not amassing material wealth.

Briefly, I will mention but not address a few more things.  The devil then encourages people to develop an “Unforgiving Spirit” engage in “Fault Finding” and “Sow Discord.”  He then seeks to encourage people to become “Self-Centered” and participate in the “Me, Me, Me” world in which we live.  One of the deadliest things that people in a congregation can participate in is “Wearing their feelings on their sleeves and being easily offended.”  The next is “Gossip” and that destroys relationships and taints spirits like little else.  Never allow yourself to be drawn into “cliques” and refuse to participate in “secret meetings” or become one who “shifts the blame.”

Every church is in one of two categories:  A sinking ship that needs to be abandoned or a leaking ship that needs to be repaired.  Every person comes in one of two categories:  We are either part of the problem or we are part of the solution.  You can either plug the holes or make them larger and be a part of the problem or part of the solution.  WHICH ARE YOU?

God, bless you as you enjoy His love, mercy, and grace on this wonderful day!

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