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SEVEN PILLARS OF THE CHURCH

SEVEN PILLARS OF THE CHURCH

 

Our lesson evening comes from,

 

Proverbs 9:1 Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars;

 

The number 7 in the Bible is used to symbolize perfection, fullness, abundance, rest, and completion. A few examples of how this number is used are as follows:

 

  • After the sixth day of Creation God rested on the 7th (Gen. 2)
  • The Jews were to keep the 7th day as a day of rest (Ex. 20:8).
  • Naaman had to dip 7 times in the Jordan River before he was healed (2 Kgs. 5).
  • The Pharaoh dreamed about two groups of animals containing 7 each, which represented 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine (Gen. 41).
  • Jesus cast out 7 demons from Mary Magdalene (Lk. 8:2).
  • Jesus fed 4000 with 7 loaves and few small fish (Mt. 15).
  • The book of revelation uses the number 7 frequently.

 

Altogether the Bible uses the number 7 433 times, so it is very significant number.

 

The word pillar has a couple different meanings. Webster defines it this way:

 

1. The general and popular term for a firm, upright, insulated support for a superstructure; a pier, column, or post; also, a column or shaft not supporting a superstructure, as one erected for a monument or an ornament.

 

2. Figuratively, that which resembles such a pillar in appearance, character, or office.

 

The Bible uses the word pillar both literally and figuratively, but for our lesson today I mainly concerned about how this word is used figuratively. Sometime this term is used to describe those who are strong leaders in the church.

 

Galatians 2:9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

 

These men were great leaders in the church and they stood firm in God's truth. Now a pillar must have a foundation to stand on and Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the church and the truth that came through Him is the foundation.

 

Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,  20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 

 

The Bible pictures the church as a great spiritual house of God. As Paul told Timothy:

 

1 Timothy 3:15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

 

Finally Bible makes it clear that all Christians make up the house of God.

 

Ephesians 2:21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,  22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

 

1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

 

So you and I will determine how strong the church will be based on our ability to build upon the foundation of God's truth. So, we are going to be looking at seven pillars that must be in place in ever church in order for it to be a strong productive church for the Lord.

 

1. A Converted membership

 

The first pillar that must be in place is Christians themselves because without Christians there can be no church because we make up the body of Christ. However, we cannot just call ourselves a Christian and be one because we must be converted to Christ based on His truth because His Word is truth Jn. 17:17 and only it can set us free. As Jesus said,

 

John 8:31 If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

 

Unfortunately there are many good sincere people out in the religious world who think that have been set free from their sins and they think they are a pillar in the church. Paul describes them best as he describes some of his fellow Jews of his day:

 

Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.  2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 

 

Just like these Jews many today have a great zeal for God and they will even do many good works in the name of God, but the problem is that they have traded the truth for a lie. They allowed themselves to be tricked into thinking they are Christians and that are in His fold and devil loves it when this happens.  I want you to understand that just doing good works in the name of God will not get you to heaven because you must be a Christian. Jesus talks about this in,

 

Matthew 7:21 " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'  23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'  24 " Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:  25 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.  26 "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:  27 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."  

 

Jesus makes it clear that simply doing good works or saying Lord Lord is not enough to get you into heaven. No, you must do the will of God and it only when obey all God's commands that you can be known by Christ and be like the man who built his on the rock.

 

Many in the religious world teach most of the truth when it comes to becoming a Christian. However, most of anything will not make the complete truth. Most will teach that you must believe the Jesus is the Son of God as Jn. 8:24 states. They will even teach that you must repent and start living your for God as Lk 13:3 states. They will even say that you must confess Jesus as your Lord as Rom. 10:9-10 says. However most will stop there and some will even add the sinner's prayers, which doesn't exist in the Bible.

 

Now all of these things belief, repentance and confessing Jesus as Lord are absolutely necessary to become a Christian, but it is not everything that is necessary because notice what Jesus told Nicodemus in,

 

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."  4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"  5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

 

If you do not enter the kingdom of God you cannot be saved and you cannot be a Christian and Jesus just said that we must be born of water and the spirit and this referring to water baptism. Jesus stressed the importance of baptism in The Great Commission because he told his disciples,

 

Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

 

At the birth of the church we find his disciples doing this very thing in Acts 2. They taught the Jews about Jesus death, burial resurrection and 3000 people that day were pricked in their heart and they wanted to know what they must do and Peter told them:

 

Acts 2:38  Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins;

 

This same message is taught throughout the book of Acts and Peter makes it clear that one must be baptized in order to be saved:

 

1 Peter 3:21  There is also an antitype which now saves us -- baptism

 

If you have never been baptized for the remission of your sins and you were taught that baptism is just something you do to symbolize that you have already been saved, then I want you to understand that you are not a Christian and you cannot become a pillar in God's church until you obey all of God's Word.

 

Once you obey this truth and you become a Christian you must continue to grow in God's Word and His grace so that you can become a strong pillar in God's church. As Paul said,

 

Colossians 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.  3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

 

When Christians learn to grow, then they will become a strong pillar in the church and those that are pillars will not constantly need to be encouraged to:

 

  • Assemble with saints.
  • Dress Correctly.
  • Give of their means.
  • Study God's Word.
  • Put God first in their lives.
  • Live a pure and holy life.

 

Instead they will be the example and they will encourage the new Christians and the weaker ones to become stronger in the faith so they to can become a pillar in the church.

 

2. Pure and sincere worship of God

 

The second pillar that ever church must have is a pure and sincere worship of God. Again, this is area that many in religious world want to do it there way, by either adding or taking away from what God's Word authorizes. If we want the church to be pleasing to God and to be a pillar, then we need to listen to what Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well:

 

John 4:23 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

 

Notice Jesus did not say that God was seeking worshipers that would worship Him their way, no, He said that we must worship Him in Spirit and truth. Both of these are necessary to be pleasing to God. In spirit means from the heart and we are to fully engage our mind and our emotions when we worship Him. Worshiping God in truth means that we worship Him according to His Word because His Word is truth.

 

No matter how smart we think we are or much better we think we can make the worship service, we need to understand that God wants us to do it His way, which is why Jesus used that strong word called must. We need to follow the example of the first century Christians that read about in,

 

Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

 

You will notice as we look at the pillars that all of them come from the foundation of the truth from God's Word. If we worship God any other way than his will then it considered as vain worship as Jesus said,

 

Matthew 15:7 "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:  8 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.  9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' "

 

For a church to be productive and pleasing to God we must worship God according to His Word and we need to remember that the whole point of assembling with the saints is to worship and be pleasing to Him. Some people like to make the assembly it a social hour and the only reason they come is so they visit with their friends or loved one. While gathering together creates a great opportunity for socializing we need to understand that this is just a secondary because our number 1 reason for assembling should be to worship God and be pleasing to Him.

 

So, if you come to church just for the social aspect of it, you have your priorities wrong. When people start making the church about them and what they can get out of it, which is when manmade doctrines can sneak in and take over because we start shifting our focus from being pleasing to God to being pleasing to men.

 

This is when things like musical instruments are added to the services. Now a lot of people do not understand what the big deal about using instruments are and I can understand there thinking because for several years after I became a Christian I had that mentality. I didn't have problem not using them, but I thought to myself what harm could using musical instruments do.

 

Well, at that point in my life, I was still a babe in Christ and I was still relying upon my own way of thinking, but I matured in my Christianity and realized that God was wiser than me and that I needed to respect the authority of the Bible, I then understood why it is wrong to add musical instruments to the worship of God.

 

You see the New Testament does not authorized by command or example for us to use musical instruments it only commands us to sing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) and history shows that for the first 6 centuries the musical instrument was not used in the church. Since God's Word is the truth and we must worship Him in truth, this means that we must only sing with our voices and not add musical instruments because if we do we are worshiping Him in vain.

 

This same idea applies to anything else our society tries to get us to add or take away from our worship to God such as having women elders and preacher, accepting the homosexual lifestyle, or bending God's rules when it comes to divorce and remarriage.

 

If want to pleasing to God and be a strong pillar for the church, then we must keep our worship to God pure and sincere based on God's Word.

 

3. Knowledge instead of ignorance.

 

The third pillar the church must have in place is knowledge instead of ignorance. Since the church is the pillar and ground of the truth it should be obvious that a church can only stand strong when it is grounded and rooted in the truth. If we are ignorant of God's truth, how in the world do we think we can be pillar for it? When we don't increase our knowledge of God's Word we open ourselves up to false teachers twisting the Scriptures to make them teach whatever they want them to.

 

This is why Peter warned us in his epistles about those who do this and he teaches us how we can make sure that we don't allow false teachers to trick us into believing a lie.

 

2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;  18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever.

 

As the saying goes, knowledge is power and the more we know about God's truth the more powerful His church will be.

 

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

 

Timothy was like a son to Paul and he great respect for him and he wrote two letters to him teaching him how important it was for him to study God's Word and to teach it to others so that they could pleasing to God. For example Paul wrote:

 

KJV 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

 

2 Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

 

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.  3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;  4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.  5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

 

Statements like these are repeated throughout these letters and throughout the N.T. because it is absolutely essential for us to learn as much as we can about God and what He accepts and rejects. If more people would start studying their Bibles and being like Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily to see if what was being spoken was true, then the false teachers of this world would not have a leg to stand on. This is why John said,

 

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

 

If we fail grow in our knowledge and we choose to be ignorant of God's Word, then we are never going to be able to test ever spirit and we are going to find ourselves taking somebody at their Word. If that person is false teacher or misinformed teacher then you are going to find yourself just as lost as they are. We need take the warning in Hosea 4 to heart. It says:

 

Hosea 4:6  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

 

So, order for the church to be strong and effective for the Lord its members must grow in their knowledge so they can rightly divide the Word of God and so they keep false teachings out of the church.

 

We have examined 3 pillars that every church must have in place to strong and productive for the Lord. I hope that each of us will do our best to make our congregation have these 3 pillars in place and I hope you will join us tonight as we look a 4 more pillars that must be in place to make the church strong and productive for the Lord.

 

 

This morning we began examining the 7 pillars that every church must have to be strong and productive for the Lord. We looked at the first 3.

 

1. A converted membership.

2. Pure and sincere worship to God.

3. Knowledge instead of ignorance.

 

4. Unity that Christ prayed for

 

Our fourth pillar that every church needs is the unity that Christ prayed for in John 17.

 

John 17:20 " I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;  21 "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

 

Being unified is important because when Christians are on the same page and their unity is based on the foundation of God's Word it will make the church strong and cause it to grow.

 

If we saw a building with tall pillars and short pillars and different sizes in between, we might think we are looking at building that needs to be in Ripley's believe or not. Not only would this structure look strange it would not be structurally sound.

 

This is the same way a congregation looks if the Christians are not unified. Without unity there will be strife and many difficulties, and the church will end up devouring itself, which is why the Bible stresses the need for unity. When Jesus was accused of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub, He answered by saying,

 

Matthew 12:25 "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.  26 "If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?

 

Again this same idea holds true for a congregation. If the Christians are not in unity, they are divided, and nothing positive can come from that. As Jesus said, it will end in desolation.

 

Now some have the wrong idea about unity because some are teaching that we should have unity no matter what the cost. This is why some have started allowing worldliness to enter into the church for the sake of unity. So they are willing to compromise God's Word all in the name of unity. This is not the kind of unity that Jesus prayed for, nor is it the kind of unity that we read about in the Bible.

 

First of all, we cannot be in unity with the world because John says,

 

 

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  16 For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world.  17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 

 

John makes it clear that we cannot compromise God's truth to be unified with the Lord because if we do, then we no longer have the love of the Father. When Jesus prayed for unity, He wanted us to have the same kind of unity that He had with the Father. As you study the life of Christ, you will discover that Jesus had perfect unity with the Father because He was obedient to His will to the point of His death. Paul writes:

 

Philippians 2:5  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,  6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,  7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

 

So our unity must be based upon the Word of God. Remember the church is supposed to be the pillar and ground of the truth and the only way that you and I can make the church strong is by being unified based on that truth. If we choose to neglect God's Word for the sake of unity, we will no longer be unified with God as John said,

 

2 John 1:9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.

 

There have been many that have chosen to go beyond God's Word and establish denominations, which are division. Now their foundation usually does have truth in it, and their congregation may even look similar to the church found in the Bible, but in the end it is just a cheap imitation that will not be pleasing to God because God does not want His church build on part of the truth, He wants it build on nothing but the truth, which is why Paul condemned this kind of division that we are seeing today in denominations.

 

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you.  12 Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ."  13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

 

This is something that people need to understand. Jesus died for the church, and it is not to be divided or called after someone's name. This is why Paul said there is but one body in Eph. 4:4.

 

Paul gives us some great advice on how can we achieve the unity that Jesus prayed for in:

 

Philippians 2:1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,  2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.       

 

When we can learn to love one another and not be selfish about our own desires, we will have a congregation that has what it needs to be unified based on God's Word.

 

Another thing that helps a congregation be unified is when it is organized as the Bible says it should be.

 

Philippians 1:1  To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:  

 

God's church will be at it strongest when it has elders, deacons, and saints. There are no substitutes or additions that will make it better. It is unfortunate when a congregation does not have men who desire to serve as elders or who are not qualified to serve as elders because when that happens, the congregation has to resort to mens' business meetings. Now, some prefer men business meetings, but again we need to remember God's way is the best way not matter what we think is better.

 

While good things can happen in men business meeting, sometimes they can become very heated because you have range of new Christian mixed experienced Christians. Sometimes the results will end up just like the men business meeting recorded in the Bible.

 

Acts 19:32  Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together.  

 

I know this is funny, but the sad thing is that it does happen this way sometimes. I had one preacher that told me that their business meetings got very heated and one time two of the men had fist fight because they could not agree. Again, this is why the church functions at it best when Elders are in place and every congregation should do its best to organize the church the way God wants it to be.

 

So, if we want the church to be strong and fruitful for the Lord we must have unity based on God's Word. As David wrote:

 

Psalm 133:1  Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!   

 

5. We must labor together

 

The fifth pillar that every church needs to be strong is for it members to labor together for the cause of God. In a building with pillars, each pillar bears a load, but not all pillars bear the same load because some support a load bearing wall, while others help support the load of others.

 

Well, for the church to be strong and productive this same concept must be in place because each member has something they can do for the cause of God. Some will bear more of burden and some less, but the whole point is that when a church works together in unity using their various talents, great things can be accomplished for the Lord. Paul illustrates the idea in,

 

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free -- and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.  14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.  15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?  16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?  17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?  18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.  19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?  20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.  21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."  22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.  23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,  24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,  25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.  26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

 

I think this is one of the greatest illustrations that could be given because all of us understand that if all the parts of our own body are not functioning as they should, then we don't function as we should. Most of us have probably experienced a temporary injury that made it difficult for us to function as we normally would, and I know that you certainly did not like being limited, but this is exactly what happens in the church.

 

If the members are not using their talents and joining in by laboring for the Lord, then the body of Christ does not function as it should. Yes it may hobble along on some crutches, but just like our body the church always functions at it peek when all the members are involved.

Some seem to think that they have nothing to offer the church, but I can promise you that every person has function and purpose in God's kingdom because He did not create you without any talents, and if you are struggling with what you should do, I suggest that you pray to God for wisdom in the area and trust that you find something that you can do to help the church be stronger and more productive. Again, Paul says,

 

Romans 12:4 for as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,  5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.   

 

We can encourage ourselves to roll our sleeves and getting busy for the Lord by taking to heart what Paul told the Corinthians in:

 

1 Corinthians 15:58  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

 

So, if you want to help make the church stronger and more productive figure out what your talents are and use them to bring glory and honor to God.

 

 

6. Make heaven our goal

 

The sixth pillar a church must have in place is making heaven our goal as Paul said,

 

Philippians 3:14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Also the writer of Hebrew says,

 

Hebrews 12:1Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith

 

Anytime you have a goal, you have to make plans to reach that goal and this is what we must do as a church. We know that God does not want us to be lukewarm in our service to Him, He wants us to be hot, otherwise John tells us He will spew us out of His mouth Rev. 3:16.

 

As we work together toward a common goal, we need to commit to it and get it done. Sometimes congregations will come up with some good ideas on things to do for the Lord, but then nobody does anything about it, and those good ideas rot away, but this should not be the case.

 

Just like running a long race, we must endure and keep heading toward the goal of heaven. If we start standing around and we do nothing, then we can end up like church at Sardis.

 

Revelation 3:1 "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ' These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.  2 "Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.  3 "Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.  4 "You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.  5 "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.  6 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." '

 

This church had started the race toward heaven fervently, but somewhere down the line they allowed themselves to get distracted and they stop running. Jesus let them know that they must repent and get busy if they want to make it to finish line.

 

We have to be careful that we don't allow ourselves to take our eye of the goal of heaven or we could find ourselves in the same shape as Sardis. To make sure that we stay on track we need good leaders in the church to make sure that we don't lose sight of our goal.

 

The elders of a congregation need to make sure that flock is being fed with the Word of God. So Sermons and Bible classes should be coming from the Bible and not from some other source. Again, we cannot possibly keep heaven as our goal if we are not building on the foundation of truth.

 

We must encourage and edify one another to make God's Word and His kingdom our number 1 priority as Jesus said,

 

Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness

 

Just like running a long race is not easy, neither is running the race to heaven. So, we must make the commitment to fight the good fight of faith and to realize that standing up for God's truth is worth fighting for. When we can achieve this and maintain this zeal for God, we can all say what Paul did at the end of his life:

 

 

2 Timothy 4:7  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

 

So, if we want to make the church strong and productive, we need to make heaven our goal and be willing to fight the good fight of faith so we can lay hold of eternal life.

 

7. There must be discipline

 

The 7th pillar that every church needs to have in place is there must be discipline.

 

Philippians 3:16  let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.

 

If we allow Christians to do whatever they want without consequence, then no one is going to take the law of God seriously. We all understand this simple concept especially when it comes to society. We have certain rules that we must abide by or their will be consequences. For instances if you steal something and you get caught you are going to have to pay and fine a possible serve jail time. If you murder someone, you will either spend a long time in prison or possibly be put to death. Now if we did not enforce the rules and no one faced any consequences to their crimes, what would happen? The crime rate would go up because no one would respect the law.


The same thing can happen in the church. God didn't give us His Word as a suggestion; He gave it to us a command, which is why we are told to walk by the same rule. If we do not uphold those rules and we tolerate sin in the church, then it will not be long until sin will increase because no one will respect the Law of God. This is why God's Word teaches us to discipline those who stop walking by the same rule.

 

2 Thessalonians 3:6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.

 

Paul practiced what he preached because

 

1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,  19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,  20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. 

 

Discipline is done out of love for that brother or sister in Christ, but it also done to protect the Lord's church because if we allow sin to remain in the church it will break it down and more sin will occur. This idea can be seen from the OT and the NT. From the OT, we learn that Achan took spoils from Jericho when he was not suppose to and it made it to where Joshua and his men could not defeat the next city and they even lost about 36 men. When Joshua prayed to God to find out what the problem was, God's response was:

 

 

 

Joshua 7:10 "Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face?  11 "Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff.  12 "Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you.

 

Achan's sin had to be dealt with before Joshua and his men could continue winning their battles, which shows what sin in the camp can do.

 

Our NT example of this comes from the Thyatira church found in Rev. 2:18ff. This church was actively involved in serving the Lord, but they were allowing sin to overtake their church because they were allowing a woman called Jezebel to seduce the Christians to committing sexual immorality. This is what happens when sin is allowed to go unpunished and we decide to ignore it, hoping it will go way.

 

I can promise you it is highly unlikely that sin will go away on its own, and it must be dealt with early on before it has time to do great damage to the church. While it is painful to mark Christians and withdraw from them, we must do it if we want the church to remain strong and fruitful for Lord.

 

In conclusion, I hope that our congregation will always strive to have these 7 pillars in place so that can be strong and profitable for the Lord. Again those Pillars are:

 

1. A converted membership.

2. Pure and sincere worship to God.

3. Knowledge instead of ignorance.

4. Unity that Christ prayed for.

5. We must labor together.

6. Make heaven our goal.

7. There must be discipline.


 

 

 

 




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