Thirteen Evil Traps that kill churches
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
1. Beware of feeling
deficient if you cannot do all of the
Nine Essentials, but desire and provoke them
You should back up and read the Nine Essentials to see what we are talking about. The point is, many of you have been in local churches with programs and complex leaderships and activities for many years. You will be tempted to try to duplicate what you experienced in your House Church. Forget it.
Set a schedule which fits your assembly, which will probably include a single service on Sunday near midday. You should plan to take advantage of the blessings of being small. You don't have to watch the clock and begin "on time," for the Bible does not say anywhere that the clock is important to the local church.
Do not add documents like a church constitution and by laws. They are an infringement on the Word of God as your guide, and you don't need them for Caesar if you are not incorporated.
KISS-- Keep It Simple Saint
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
2. Beware of ritual,
method, and process
Consider one Service
This is covered partly above. While you want to worship God, don't get into rituals of doing things the same way every time you meet. Don't go bonkers with novelty, but also do NOT let your past Fundamental Baptist (or Pentecostal) rituals dictate how you worship and fellowship. That is what you FLED from.
Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
3. Beware of Sunday School,
the Clock, and
I mentioned the clock above. Do not let the clock lead. Keep the homey feeling. But, don't let some perpetual late comer hold up progress either. Encourage them to come sooner, or early with a bribe of a cup of coffee.
As to Sunday School, the Lord's Church did without it for 1700 years until Robert Rakes in Scotland invented it, AND Robert did not start Sunday School at the church house.
We will be listing a flannelgraph resource which is really an exceptional resource, for it covers the whole Bible in I believe two or three years. If you have younger children, it would be helpful for someone to take them out during the Bible teaching time for a lesson with this flannelgraph series and a missionary story. Never send any kids out of the worship and praise time. Include them in everything as much as possible.
4. Beware of breaking up the families in your assembly
As in the above item. But, also stop this thing of entertaining youth to keep them. Do everything as families, and if someone "wants something for every member of the family" tell them to go back to the big Jackboot church house.
5. Beware of including Caesar in your assembly (Registration)
Do NOT register your House Church. Why would you want to? There is no advantage in it, and if you register you House Church, you will have all manner of red tape and liabilities to deal with. Your meetings can be forcibly crashed by witches and sodomite since a registered church is a "public facility." And, Caesar can demand you comply with his notions of fiscal responsibility. If you are too weak in Christian ethics to get these things right, you have no business starting anything, let alone a House Church.
Mark 12:17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.
6. Beware of Phariseeism,
the Order of the Peck, and Guruism,
from within and without
Did the church you escaped from have lots of clothing codes, and did they enforce their codes with certain protocols which were cruel? Well, pray tell, why would you want to bring this excess baggage along with you to your new House Church. Study the section on Church Discipline, and deal with these things as they arise from the Word of God. Don't make rules ahead of time.
If some lady comes up to the door in hot pants and wants to enter the House Church and join in, ask a mature Christian lady to explain that the hot pants are just too distracting and sensual for a gathering of people who want to worship God. Invite her back etc, and try to be sweet and firm in dealing with her. She will probably not be back, but don't panic and start making rules for all the things which COULD happen.
1 Peter 5:3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
7. Beware of Democracy,
paper membership, formal
associations, and "Church Business Meetings"
I mentioned letting Caesar into the church life through registration and incorporation. Never, please.
But, what about church business meetings and Robert's Rules of Order? Why would you want to bring along that trash from the past? Democracy is NOT part of the New Testament church life, so never decide an issue by voting. Seek one mind as Paul instructed you:
Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Do all things in the model of Paul, and you won't need democracy, and you won't divide the church. If you don't have one mind, it is not God's will. Only a Jackboot would disagree with that.
8. Beware: Outside are
dogs and the concision--
Avoid them and keep them out
Under Church Discipline there is more on this, but let us say only this. The House Church movement is under way now as a fad. The Assembly of God has a house church program in which you can start one and they will help you and send you material etc. There will be those who will come seeking out your House Church because they are looking for a new thing to charm their egos or their lust for novelty. Send them packing unless they repent of their silly ways.
There are other dogs out there. They are pagans and witches, sodomites and perverts, who see you as weak. They will come in, playing sweet and cuddley, and they will be there for only one thing-- to satisfy their lusts. You must be firm and quick with these types.
We had a family join our House Church some time back, and they seemed to really love the Lord. As they became more familiar with our people, I noticed that the husband would get fresh with the young ladies while his wife ignored him. I called him during the week and told him to go elsewhere. No second chance and no mercy, for he was with us to hustle, and for no other reason.
Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
Philippians 3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
The concision refers to those who circumcised a boy and in the process mutilated him. There are those who come with laws and a special piety which they claim to have patented. You have to get the true spirituality from them alone. If you let them in, they will mutilate the saints.
9. Beware of trendy CCM,
trying to buy zeal,
and the warm fuzzies
Contemporary Christian Music was the stuff of the flesh which you used in the Jackboot church program to woo the people in. Maybe you had worship leaders, or you may have had a comedian type deacon or pastor who cracked jokes and turned Sunday morning into a stand up comedy. This is sensual and destroys worship.
Sing the old hymns of the faith. Our resources area has help to find and order old time hymn books. Avoid all chorus unless they have real Bible truth in them and are of the old time Gospel era. No Jesus Dooo-waa please. Do not do trendy things to bring in the visitors. If you do, you will have to keep it up to satisfy these people you gather around you. It will wear you out and grieve the Holy Ghost.
10. Beware of Experts and the Tyranny of the Urgent
Urgent was from the past. Don't import it into your church life. If you think this is needed because you have a "Type A" force driving your wee brain into a frenzy, let me challenge you to do this. In under 4 minutes, read all the Gospels through five times. As you do this, write all the texts down in which Jesus showed He was in a hurry to do something and where He told someone else to hurry up. The only one I know of is where He told Judas, "What thou doest, do quickly." Hmmmmm
Beware of experts-- Me included. Examine ALL things with a King James Bible and common sense. If it does not make sense, it probably is a dumb idea. If it is not needed, don't do it. Experts are hatched in seminaries and in monster church houses with obligations to behave in line with some order of the peck. Please don't let these high toned boys bother you.
11. Beware of preaching
for guilt-- Preach and teach and leave
the conviction of sin up to the Holy Ghost.
The classic tool of the trade of the Jackboot preacher is guilt.
I will now make a statement which will bother you, but I want you to check it out. The preaching of the New Testament, and about 99% of the Apostolic writing, had no names attached. Most names used were in greetings and praising God for the faithful life of the saints mentioned.
The teaching was in the form of admonition and convincing, and the Holy Spirit was left to add the guilt. You will look a long time to find someone even mentioned who got guilty. Zacchaeus was a rare exception. Jesus and the Apostles taught, and the listener was left to respond as he saw fit.
Trust the Holy Spirit to do the work of conviction of sin and salvation. Stop this insane fetish with "altar calls." There is no altar in the New Testament in the first place, and there is not one example of calling people "forward" to the front of anything. In Acts Two, Peter preached, and then he shut up. The people got under conviction and asked, "What shall we do?" If the Holy Ghost cannot do that today, we have a mongrel religion, for God changes not. Trust God. You teach and preach, and let the Spirit do the rest.
Nehemiah 8:2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.
4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:
6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.
8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
If you cannot understand why I used the Bible text above, this is an indication that you are NOT ready to be your House Church's Bible teacher.
Here is the "altar call" to the above text.
When have you ever heard a Jackboot preacher preach a sermon and then invite the people to "come backward" to their homes and have a good Sunday dinner in the Name of God? Treason, right?
Nehemiah 8:10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
I think that text would make a real fine "benediction" after a Sunday gathering, don't you? Or, just before a church dinner! Any Jackboot preachers attending might have to have CPR at once, for they would simply be shocked beyond belief. Respond to the sermon in Joy? Have a good time in the Lord? Argh!
Have a little joy every Sunday. Have a lot of exaltation. Lift up Jesus for no reason which has to do with YOU-- only because He is your Head and Lord. Have a little coffee. Have a little good conversation. Have a little time of a merry heart without jokes and slap stick. Have a little time to make a child smile. Have a little peace my friend. Where else can you find peace if you cannot find it in with the saints assembled.
"Happy" is not a sin.
Deuteronomy 33:29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.
Psalm 146:5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
Did "happy" go out with the day of David? I bet some reader here has just learned that "happy" is in the Bible, right? This is not speaking in tongues and frenzy-- this is a state of the soul which God alone makes. Pass some around-- It won't hurt at all, and it will clear away the old Neo-Nazi cobwebs :-)
I want you to play this little melody HERE, and go get a cup of coffee and be happy. Forget that old Jackboot preacher who had you living under guilt night and day-- It is OK to be happy-- honest. David was, in spite of his sorrows and failures. So, try it, it won't hurt at all. Talk a while with your God, and let Him make the "happy" happen to YOU.
Now, call a Christian friend on the narrow way and spread the "happy," OK? :-)
Wasn't that fun? So, why not take your "happy" to the House Church with you Sunday and spread it around there? Huh? Come on now, I know this is just terrifying to contemplate-- Sunday morning all "happy" and all that, but who knows if some downtrodden saint might just need your "happy"? :-)
Hey, send me your "happy" by E-Mail-- I need some too.
12. Beware of Lust, Tongues Speaking, and Charismania
House Churches are prime targets for ego driven people who prey on small groups. These people lust for control over people, and one way to get this is by pretending to be very spiritual, possessing some secret to spirituality, or introducing tongues. If you go for this, your House Church will become merely an extension of these people's personality, which is warped.
Even if you are Pentecostal, introducing tongues will trash your fellowship, for a contest will develop to see who is more spiritual, and I bet that is one of the things you fled from in the Jackboot assembly. Look at the Nine Essentials area, and stick to that. You have a complete Bible, and you don't need tongues if you will teach and preach the whole counsel of God.
13. Beware of the headship of man
We have said a lot more on this elsewhere, but I must repeat it here. The Head of any church is supposed to be Jesus Christ:
Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
If Christ is the Head over His Church, why would you want to be head of anything? The leader in the Lord's Church is there for ONLY ONE THING:
Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Colossians 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
Did you see that? The result of Paul's ministry with these people was that they served God, not Paul!
Revelation 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
Our final destiny is to serve.
1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
If your home is not open to the most lowly saint, you are NOT qualified to be a leader.
John 13:12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Many a Jabberwocky Jackboot talks about this, and even preaches it, but his idea of application is for the saints to serve him and sustain him at all costs. If you transplant this mongrel and profane perversion of Jesus teaching into your House Church, you are wicked. Jesus is your Head, and you serve Him and His Sheep.