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In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul was addressing some deeply concerning, in fact, disturbing issues within the church in Corinth.

In chapter 13, verse 5, Paul stated, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Can’t you see for yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you are actually found counterfeit?”

The local church is commanded, in fact, ordained, and compelled by The Word of God to examine and test itself to ensure its faithfulness to King Jesus.

Most churches today rightly uphold the ordinances of The Lord’s Supper and baptism. But even these must be subservient to the ordinance of obedience, surrender, and abandon to the sovereignty and Lordship of Christ and the authority of The Word of God, i.e. Scripture.

Churches that have no overt, explicit, intentional systems, checks, balances, and processes for internal examination and testing will inevitably and invariably fall victim to human traditions, financial pitfalls, cultural whims, and the corruption and praises of men.

Rather than seeking the will of God Almighty, they will be lured into the idols of “good intentions,” like charity, philanthropy, social justice, pristine doctrine, etc. They are choosing the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good... (which is still evil!) rather than choosing the fruit from the tree of life, i.e. abiding in the presence of God.

That slippery slope is a path that seems right to us, but it always leads to destruction (Pr 14:12). Soon they’re promoting endless speculations rather than God’s plan. Soon they’re steeped in fruitless discussions without understanding what they’re talking about or insisting (1 Tim 1:4-7). Soon they're departing from the faith and paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared (1 Tim 4:1-2).

Soon, these originally “well-intentioned” churches become indistinguishable from the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, the very ones who plotted and planned His execution. These churches won’t tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, they will surround themselves with a multitude of experts to scratch itching ears in telling them what they want to hear. They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to elaborate fabrications (2 Tim 4:3-4).

A great resource for church leadership is Thom S. Rainer’s book, AUTOPSY OF A DECEASED CHURCH.

Is our desire for more members, more programs, more campuses, bigger budgets, better performances, global recognition, and the praise of men? Or is our desire that Christ Jesus our Gracious Redeemer be glorified in our obedience and faithfulness - finding His Bride dressed in gleaming white linen - the righteous acts of the saints - having accomplished the Father’s will in eager expectation of Christ’s imminent return?

If you’re looking for a church like the latter… alive and well, come join me this Sunday at Generations Church in Royce City, TX!

Grace and Peace

Kevin M. Kelley

ALIVE & WELL by cLife Worship

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