2 CHRONICLES 7:14c
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
For Concord Baptist Association, September 25, 2004

“. . .and turn from their wicked ways,. . .”

I don’t know of staff members in my church guilty of the sins we Baptist preachers tend to trumpet against in our pulpits, such as homosexuality, abortion, drunkenness, etc. Wanting to teach a lesson pertinent to this occasion, I asked my staff to help me list some of the “wicked ways” of church members.

EGOCENTRICISM

It’s all about God, not us. This is easy to say, but too often we don’t live out this truth. We tend to over-indulge our flesh. The Old Man is strong.

A vast majority of our members don’t tithe, and preachers are afraid to confront them about it, despite Matthew 23:23. Many Christians drive to church in a car they bought with God’s tithe.

Some say tithing is legalistic. Legalism refers to rules fabricated, added on to direct admonitions from Scriptures. The term does not apply to forthright commands from Jesus. His Word is law.

Credit card debt is choking us. The borrower truly is a slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7). Don’t blame credit card companies. The money is theirs. They can do with it whatever they want.

College loans are keeping our young adults out of missions. Start talking to your children about this when they are in Jr. High.

To satisfy our material desires we become workaholics, neglecting our families and disregarding Sabbath rest. I’m not talking about a particular day of the week as much as about taking time to be quiet before God. Hurry kills prayer.

We eat too much. I have two heart attacks and a stroke to show due to this one. Not till I get to Heaven will I ever run again. Don’t make the mistake I did.

Pornography use among church leaders is rampant. Computers and the internet allow church members to sin anonymously.

We have become numb to sexually explicit materials. We go to movies (eg. Titanic), watch TV shows (eg. Sex in the City), and listen to songs (Country and Rock) that are pornographic.

PRIDE

Leaning on our own strength, we pray extremely little. Many wrongly think the solution to this is to pump up prayer meetings. This amounts to striving in the flesh to accomplish a spiritual result. Prayer has to be our obsession, not an item on our to do list.

We’re reading the Bible less, convinced our own ways are good enough, wiser and better than God’s. Have we read the Scripture from cover to cover?

One ugly manifestation of pride is racism. Ethnocentricism kept me out of missions for 45 years. I was always most excited to hear about USA salvations.

Pride often manifests itself through church members thinking they are better than the lost. Where is our zeal for prechristians? Our theme has become “me, my four, and no more.”

What has our smugness done to Jesus’ reputation? Pharisees deemed him a friend of sinners; now sinners view Him a friend of Pharisees.

We are not evangelizing as we should. We need to quit being angry at lost people for acting like lost people.

Young seminarians sometimes think a church owes them something. They often don’t have a servant’s heart. God hates a proud look (Proverbs 6:17).

Every pastor is subject to abusing their authority, trying to lead by bossing rather than by setting a good example (see I Peter 5:1-3). “Humble themselves and pray” is the only antidote here.

MEANNESS

In worship wars, many demand “My way or the highway.” Church splits are too common among us.

We have much unforgiveness abounding among us. He who sows discord among brethren is an abomination to God (Proberbs 6:19).

Learn to keep short accounts. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath (Eph. 4:26). This rule enhanced my marriage and our relationship with the children.

Envy and jealousy dog us. Anytime people claim ownership over something in the kingdom, (eg. my class, my teacher, my church, my room, my job), trouble follows.

HYPOCRISY

We seem to be facing a crisis of spiritual leadership in homes. Something is missing. There is a disconnect between what’s happening at church versus what goes on in the home.

Behind closed doors, are we living what we sang out loud about in church? We attend churches that talk about prayer; do our children see us pray at home? Do we pray before meals? Are we kinder to others than to our own families?

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