It Is Time for the Church to do Some Serious House Cleaning
by John Clark
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"Jesus entered the temple and cast out all of those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those selling doves." (Matthew 21:12) What a scene that must have been! It definitely got people's attention. When Jesus did this he did not do it out of reactive anger, but it was done as an intentional act with a specific purpose in mind. Jesus was making a point that the purpose of the Temple as a place of worship and honoring God had been turned into something other than that, in this case a place of commerce. This was totally unacceptable.
The Church in the United States of America could use a modern day "cleansing of the Temple," both doctrinally and morally. There are many great local churches that are sticking to the basics of uncompromised biblical teachings and practices, but some local churches, televangelists, and other religious leaders and teachers are not.
Just as the Temple in that day was being used as a marketplace to sell wares so the Church in the U.S., in many cases, has become a marketplace to "sell" prosperity theology, feel-good theology, entertainment, an easy believeism, and religious ritual without the power of God.
There are also other false teachings floating around that say salvation is through baptism, speaking in tongues, or following some law. Some sects say a person must worship on Saturday to be saved. Many other off-the-wall teachings could be listed here. There is legalism within the church concerning things like tithing. I read a comment posted at the end of one of my articles where a reader said she knows a pastor who would not pray for a person unless they were tithing.
I believe if Jesus entered some churches today he would "cast out those" who are teaching false doctrine. He would "overthrow" those churches that have become more of an entertainment venue than a place of worship. He would tell some teachers to get rid of their "marketplace" of prosperity and feel-good theology. Jesus would tell some preachers to get rid of their pornography addiction. He would tell some church members to stop living together before marriage or stop having babies out of wedlock.
Jesus wants biblical teaching, purity, obedience, and sanctification within His Church. He wants it to focus on what he did for the sinful nature of mankind by dying on the cross. The modern day "Temple" needs to be purged from its false teachings, moral decline, and laziness when it comes to discipleship and living a disciplined life.
There also needs to be a purging of individuals within the Church. Several passages tell about people teaching false doctrine or causing trouble within the Church. In every case these people were rebuked, sometimes publicly. Paul says in I Timothy 5:20, "those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all..." In Acts 5 a man and his wife died on the spot because they acted with an attitude of deceit when offering something to God. According to Galatians 2 heresy was being taught by an individual named Cephas. It says in 2:11 that Paul "opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned." Things get even more stringent in II Thessalonians 3 where we read in verses 6, "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us."
Check out what I Corinthians 5 has to say about dealing with immorality within the Church. Talk about being "intolerant!" Starting at verse 1 it says "It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife. And you have become arrogant, and have not mourned instead, in order that the one who had done this deed might be REMOVED FROM YOUR MIDST...I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." (verses 1-2, 5, emphasis mine)
We are told to "guard against" those who promote theological division, in II Timothy 4:15. There are further warnings given in Titus 1:11 and 3:10-11.
Now, one final note on the purging of the Church, in the context of the Lord's Supper, better know as Communion. We read about this in I Corinthians 11:27-32. Communion is so common in churches that it is very easy to overlook one of the main reasons why it is observed. Of course, it is done primarily to remember our Lord's death, but look at what it says in verse 28. It says that a person must examine himself or herself, to see if there is anything that is not right in his or her life or with another person, before partaking of the bread or wine.
May we all do our part to have a Church of purity, obedience, and biblical truth and not be afraid to take a stand against those who seek to compromise it.
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The US church has drifted far....I pray those who believe they are saved but are not, get saved. And those that are but not following the Lord, repent and return to our first love, the Lord....