[SW254] 10/28/2016 message notes by
Reverend Susan J. Wynn ©2016
[These notes are brief. There is so much more in the video of this message! The links are to the right of this post, on my blog.]
The Corinthians played church. Do you?
1Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child (a spiritual infant), I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man (in a moment of time, filled with God’s nature and His actual love), I did away with (destroyed) childish things.
When I was ages eight to ten, my neighborhood girlfriends and I decided to start clubhouses. There was one at my house, one at Kathy’s house, one at Ann’s house, and so on. One rule was universal — no boys allowed! Beyond that, each club had its own rules. If you broke one, you were out. I was a child. I was childish. I had a club with rules. If you broke them, it was curtains for you.
But then we all grew up. I married, had a career. I was still a child spiritually, though I had grown up, in the natural. I had what I thought was a good life. But then I was brought low, stricken with MS, and met the Author of Life, Jesus Christ, who healed me and in a moment of time, made me a spiritual adult, full of His Spirit, His nature, and His love. Certainly I still grow in Christlikeness, but it is rapid and joyful because I am fully yielded to Him!
In the church at Corinth, as in the church of today, there were infants in high places. Therefore, Chloe’s household contacted the Apostle Paul, who was the founder of the churches in Corinth. Something was terribly wrong! There was jealousy, envy, division, favoritism toward particular preachers, and the church even questioned whether Paul was truly an apostle of Jesus Christ, sent by Him!
Why did they question whether he was sent by God? Because Paul told them the truth about their spiritual condition, and they did not like it.
Paul was very direct in 1Corinthians 3:1-3, telling them that they were infants in Christ. They had not destroyed their childishness. They were still fleshly, acting like mere men. You may tell me that the Spirit always will war against the flesh, and the flesh against the Spirit. But I will tell you, those who are in Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24).
I will tell you that all of us will stand before Jesus Christ at some point, and will have to explain to Him our reasons for doing what we did in this life. Unless the Corinthians, and the church today, heed Paul’s words and those that the Lord has given me today, it will be hard to explain away the actions that defame His name instead of adorning His gospel.
It had even gotten to the point, in the church at Corinth, where Paul had to remind them of the gospel (1Corinthians 15:3-8)! In their childish behavior, they had forgotten what they were charged by Jesus to do — spread that gospel across the face of the earth, living it so that others would not be able to refute its truth.
In today’s church (and I can only speak for America), there are many infants in high places. When people come from other countries to live here and join our churches, they are shocked at what they see. But I tell them they need look no farther than Paul’s letters to the Corinthians to learn why the church has gone so far astray here.
The Corinthians (and today’s church) questioned the called and followed fools (1Corinthians 11:4, 20). They celebrated immorality (1Corinthians 5), and they themselves pursued it (1Corinthians 6:9-20). They spoke, acted, and reasoned in childish ways, slaves to their flesh and its passions and desires.
The Corinthians (and today’s Pentecostal/Charismatic churches) elevated and exalted themselves and their spiritual gifts (1Corinthians 12, 13 and 14), just as a child likes to pretend they are king of the mountain. But we have one King, and
with such behavior He is not pleased! The gifts, beloved are for the common good, not to flaunt so people will think highly of you!
When the church at Corinth did these things, and when the church does such things today, they make it evident that they believe the church is their club, they make their rules, and you follow them or you are out. The stories I could tell you of pastors skewered by infants in Christ in leadership positions!
A friend of mine, Richard Johnson, was a traveling evangelist. He wrote a song called, “Blood on the Pews,” based on his visit to one church in particular. A new pastor came to town, and Big Bart the deacon soon had him in his gunsight. The pastor didn’t play by the clubhouse rules, and angrily threw scripture at the congregation. Big Bart gathered the evidence against him, for the big showdown that he was sure he would win.
But then Jesus walked in, everyone suddenly became quiet, and He said, “Is this what I came for, and then died and then rose? So you, pastor, could condemn their sin, and Big Bart, you could continue to win?” So it is today in the church.
Beloved, this is not the church of Sue, or Jeff, or Wynn, or Smith or Jones. Childish behavior as I have described is evidence that we think it is OUR church. But hear this truth! It is the Church of GOD in CHRIST JESUS. He is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and the captain of the armies of God. You are in dangerous territory when you defy Him, as Ananias and Sapphira did in Acts 5.
I see you through Christ’s eyes and love you with His love because He has made me an adult. So today I exhort you to ask the Lord to destroy the childishness in you, and make you an adult, in a moment of time, filling you with His Holy Spirit, His love, and His nature. As with the church of Laodicea that had gone far astray, He knocks on your heart, O Christian.
I know I cannot force the church to grow up. And I know that in all churches, there will always be infants. But they should never be in leadership positions!
So what do I do, as a watchman on the wall? I pray for revival. I am not praying for a happy time of singing and dancing. I am not praying for two quarreling people to shake hands and make nice to one another. I am praying for weeping and repentance, when God’s holy presence, His weighty kabod, descends on all of our church buildings and the occupants therein, and absolutely convicts each one of their childishness. Come, O Lord, and convict every heart! Then and only then will Your church once again adorn your gospel!