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The Greatest Threat to the Church – Part II

There is animosity between Christ’s true church and the devil’s world. They cannot co-exist in harmony. Either the church will triumph and separate the saints of God from the world; or the world will win out and separate the saints of God from the church. The influence of the world separated Demas from the work of the Lord. See II Timothy 4:10.

Satan’s greatest tools are iniquity and idolatry. Iniquity is a direct attack on the church. It may be subtle, but it challenges the teachings of the ministry, the authority of the church, or the operation of the Spirit. God hates iniquity. Psalms 5:4-6. But sadly, most workers of iniquity do not know that they are working iniquity. See Ezekiel 33:30-33.

Its doubtful Hymenaeus and Philetus knew they were the workers of iniquity. See II Timothy 2:17-18. Diotrephes thought he was doing the right thing; but worked iniquity. See III John. They probably spoke dreams and words – but they were not of God. Jeremiah 23:25-28.

Idolatry is even more subtle than iniquity. It is an indirect attack. Idolatry, today, means far more than just worshipping an idol. Idols today are anything that lessens your love and committment to the Lord and His church. There is much idolatry in the 21st Century. It isn’t the mere bowing down to worship statues; rather, it is a frame of mind. Anything that diminishes your ability to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is idolatry. Matthew 22:37-39.

That can be a job, your family, your leisure activities, money, prestige, pride, or a multitude of other things. These are the things that choke the Word, and render you unfruitful in the things that really matter. See Luke 8:14; 21:34.

Satan’s greatest tools are iniquity and idolatry. Ezekiel 14:3 says that the people of Israel had set up idols in their hearts; not statues in their living rooms. Worldliness and materialism are idolatry. If the enticements of this world separate you from your first love, you have become an idolater.

If we align with the worldly order and system, we commit spiritual adultery. God’s people have a mission; to be a light to the world. Isaiah 49:6. To fulfill that mission, there must be a separation from the world. Ezra 9:1-2, 12-14.

Ministers are to feed God’s people with knowledge and understanding. Jeremiah 3:15. God sets watchmen to warn His saints. Ezekiel 3:17. Someone must warn them against iniquity and idolatry – lest they grow cold and draw back from the very thing that can prepare them to inherit eternal life.

Persecution will not destroy the church. Never has; never will. But iniquity and idolatry have destroyed many once-powerful churches and movements. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,┬áRedeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16.

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The Greatest Threat to the Church

The two greatest threats to the church are the two greatest threats to your salvation. Satan destroys the church one person at a time. I Peter 5:8. He is unremitting in his attacks. He marshalls forces and pressures to defeat the work of God by enticing the saints to defect.

The two greatest threats we face are iniquity and idolatry. Iniquity causes saints to stumble into unbelief; idolatry is placing anything on the throne of your heart other than the Lord. God said through His prophet: “Son, of man, these men have set up idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face…” Ezekiel 14:3. Note that idolatry was in their heart; not a statue on a shelf.

The light of the glorious Gospel has shined in our hearts. We are the temple of the Holy Ghost. If we are not careful, the light of God can go out in our lives, and in our churches. See I Samuel 3:3. But like the priests of old, we are to see to it that the fire of God never goes our on the altar. Leviticus 6:13.

There are forces in this world that would extinguish the light. The true church of Jesus Christ does not belong to this world. Romans 12:2. It is a small outpost of heaven, surrounded by hostile forces, deep in enemy territory. It’s only chance of survival is to be protected by “air cover” from heaven – with regular supply drops. There is a war of epic proportions being fought between the forces of good and evil. Ephesians 6:12.

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The Future of the Church

Make sure the young people growing up in your home, or your church, are involved in the work of the Lord. Are they engaged or disengaged? Do they participate or observe? Do they know how the Lord added their family to the church? Do they testify in church? Engage them in conversation. Ask them about their salvation, their understanding of the mission of the body of Christ, and the future. Above all, make sure they know they are a part of the church. It is easier to walk away when someone feels no attachment. They will not be the church of tomorrow if they are not an active part of the church today.