Rev 2:14-16 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. (15) So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. (16) Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.
How many times have you seen those church signs as you drive along?
And so it seems in most local churches, everyone is welcome. “Come on in. Feel the love.” How foolish (or just plain rebellious) can we be!
Just a few moments of serious thought about what the Lord has written in the Scriptures will show us that in fact, not everyone is welcome in the Lord Jesus Christ’s church. Certainly not by Him. Why aren’t we following His lead?
Who does the Lord not welcome in His church?
- The willful unbelieving with hearts hardened against Him
- Hypocrites who put on wool to hide their wolfness
- The unrepentant man who claims to be a Christian but habitually walks in sin (check 1 Cor 5 on that one)
- False teachers
Who does the Lord welcome in His church?
- Genuine Christians, born again, indwelt by Christ’s Spirit
- Unsaved people who the Lord is bringing under conviction of sin and of their need for Christ
What has all of this got to do with the subject of domestic abuse hiding in the church? Plenty. A “church” where everyone is welcome is a place where domestic abusers are welcome. Where the wicked don’t have to worry about being “judged.” As I have written numbers of times before, a church that calls people Christians who habitually walk in sin, without repentance, and insists that the targets of these wicked people need to exercise more “love, mercy, patience” toward them becomes a den of evildoers.
Every single church that I have been a pastor of in these past 36 years shared one thing in common when I first arrived. They had tolerated rank hypocrites and insisted on embracing them as Christians for years.
- A devilish husband and wife team who had driven off the previous pastor were allowed to continue to revile others who did not “measure up” to their legalism (they were Bob Jones University grads by the way). No one ever challenged their salvation.
- Drunkards and sexually immoral people all of whom professed to be Christians made up a good majority of the congregation of still another church that called me. They were considered to be Christians by the rest of the church
- A large number of individuals, once again professing Christians, hated others in the church. They were envious, contentious, and hungered for power and control. And the church leadership knew it. T leaders’ response? “Well, we must just love them anyway since they are fellow Christians.” But of course, they were not Christians at all.
People like this are not welcome by the Lord in His church. In fact, He commands us to confront them and put them out if they will not repent (and the kind I had to deal with so many times never repent. Why? Because they had been playing sheep for decades and had become completely hardened in their evil). In the 36 years now that I have been a pastor, not a single one – not one! – of these counterfeits who we ultimately confronted have ever repented. Not a single one has ever contacted me to ask for forgiveness.
Any previous pastor who permitted these people to continue in their sin, being too cowardly to confront them and call them to repentance, bears a huge amount of responsibility for their sin. Years ago after first coming to our present church, two of these hypocrites had a blowup between themselves. I phoned the previous pastor (who everyone “just loved” by the way) and told him about the situation, asking if he had any insights as to how to handle these men. His answer? “Oh, you know, those guys and their wives have been fighting and quarreling for years. It isn’t surprising.” But he insisted they were Christians.
Oh really? And what, pastor, did you do about it? I didn’t need to ask him because I already knew – nothing. He did nothing. He just let them float along and reassured them that they were true Christians and therefore should try to “get along.”
Is that what the Bible says? Doesn’t the Apostle John say something like this? –
1Jn 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. (8) Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Yes, John does say that. In fact he says it over and over and over again. And so did Jesus (see John 13:34ff).
Do you see the point? Churches are welcoming domestic abuser hypocrites into their midst, allying with and enabling them by continuing to teach that such evil ones are still our brothers in Christ. But everyone is not welcome in Christ’s church. If your church has one of those signs out front, ask you pastor why? Ask him to show you from the Bible that everyone is welcome. Ask him if he would shake hands with the devil and welcome him on in if that serpent ever showed up on a Sunday morning.
Oh, wait. You already have the answer to that one. He has been hand-shaking and back-slapping the devil for years. “Come right on in, brother. The water here is just fine!”