Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Church's Spiritual Decline

In their book Comeback Churches, on pages 12 and 13 Ed Stetzer and Mike Dodson give 30 spiritual reasons a might be suffering from decline:

  1. Churches aren't concerned about God's glory, believing the church is just for them (Isa. 42:8; 48:11);
  2. Pastors are more concerned about self-interests than about God and His people (Phil. 2:21);
  3. God withdraws Himself from the church because of sin. He hardens hearts and gives the people over to sin (Isa. 63:15-19; Heb. 3:12-13);
  4. People are unwilling to take hold of God (Isa. 64:70;
  5. People do works for their own honor and not the glory of God (Matt. 5:16);
  6. People think of prayer as being for themselves (Matt 6:5);
  7. People think of giving as being for their own honor (Matt. 6:2-4);
  8. People think of fasting as being for themselves (Matt. 6:16-18; Isa. 58:3ff);
  9. Traditional practices are done without a heart for God (Mal. 1:6ff);
  10. People "do church," but do not teach the true gospel (Gal. 1:6-10);
  11. People grieve the Spirit, resulting in weakness in the church (Eph. 4:29-32);
  12. Sin is not dealt with, bringing weakness to the church (1 Cor. 5:5-7);
  13. A lack of love for Christ devastates the church (1 Cor. 16:22; Rev. 2:4);
  14. A lack of unity brings division (John 17:23; Col. 3:12-15);
  15. A lack of love within the body creates strained relationships (John 13:35);
  16. Wrong or heretical teachings lead people astray (Rev. 2:14);
  17. Immorality in the church is condoned (Rev. 2:20);
  18. Lukewarmness in the church becomes prevalent (Rev. 3:16);
  19. Lack of biblical teaching in the church leaves people unequipped (2 Tim. 3:17; 4:2);
  20. Lack of true and earnest prayer in the church leaves people powerless (Matt. 6:9ff; 2 Thess. 3:1);
  21. Not teaching people what Christ commanded and how to do His commands causes them to be immature and unfocused (Matt. 28:18-20);
  22. People try to substitute self-made religion (Col 2:23);
  23. Saints no equipped in the body (Eph. 4:120; and 
  24. Saints not doing the work of service in the body (Eph. 4:12);
  25. People are not growing spiritually (Eph. 4:12-16);
  26. People must grow spiritually for their work and witness to grow (Mark 16:15);
  27. People must be careful not to deny God by their actions despite their profession (Titus 1:16);
  28. People must speak in a way that opponents of the gospel have nothing bad to say about them (Titus 2:8);
  29. People must live in accordance with sound teaching from God our Savior, not just give lip service to it (Titus 2:12); and
  30. Pride in a church will always bring it down (1 Peter 5:5; Prov. 6:17).

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