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The Changing Church

by David Gibson

Churches, like individuals, change. Changes may be good or bad. Some changes must be avoided at all costs. The Ephesian church was still active, but had left its first love (Rev. 2:1-7). The churches of Galatia started strong but had allowed themselves to be corrupted by false teachers. Paul asks them, "You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?" (Gal. 5:7)

Years ago W. R. Smith told a congregation, "Satan has been having a field day in this church." He was right. Satan was using members to disturb the peace and cause division. That church no longer exists.

Satan hates the church and does all he can to hurt it. His strategies include promoting sin within the ranks, apathy, doctrinal drift, and division. Elders must constantly be on guard against false teachers who would try "to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:28-32). All of us who are members of the church must heed Paul's warning: "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!" (2 Cor. 13:5). Satan is so subtle that if we're not careful, before we know it we have drifted from the truth.

Now what are the positive changes a church can enjoy? One is repentance. Jesus tells five of the seven churches of Asia that repentance was needed among them (Rev. 2:5, 16, 21, 22; 3:3, 19). Five out of seven!

Another good change a church needs is growth: both numerical and spiritual. The best kind of numerical growth comes from evangelism (Acts 2:41, 47; 5:14; 6:1, 7; 11:21). The more seed is sown, the greater the harvest.

Spiritual growth occurs when we as individual members develop the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:5-11) and increase in the knowledge of God (Col. 1:10; 2 Peter 3:18). Positive changes like these help prevent the negative changes Satan introduces.

If our congregation is to change, and it will, let's just make sure it's change of the right kind!

"...upon this rock I will build My church..." Matt.16:18

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