Currently, I and the men in our church are studying through John MacArthur’s commentary on 1 Timothy (Chicago: Moody, 1995). In chapter 4 “Fighting the Noble War,” MacArthur explains the biblical text: “This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience” (1:18-19a), in which he says that Satan and his demonic hosts persistently attack the church. Because Scripture plainly exposes Satan’s tactics, we are not to be “ignorant of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11). According to MacArthur, there are five ways Satan attacks the church today:
- Satan attacks the church by blinding the minds of unbelievers to the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:3-4), thereby keeping them away from the truth and the church. He accomplishes that through ignorance, false religion, pride, lust, and the wickedness that results from his control over the world system.
- Satan attempts to devastate those who are already believers to cripple them and destroy the credibility of their witness.
- Satan attacks the church by attacking marriage and the family.
- Satan attacks the church through her leaders.
- Satan attacks the church through false religious systems.
As a pastor I have witnessed all those at close-hand. I’ve seen some who have attended churches for years, yet blind and ignorant of biblical truth. For some, they can only handle milk when they should be well-advanced into meat (Hebrews 5:12-14). And for others, they’re simply satisfied with little knowledge they have. They don’t want to learn. They don’t see the need to learn. They’re just content with mediocrity or merely being a minimalist. According to D.A. Carson:
Some Christians want enough of Christ to be identified with him but not enough to be seriously inconvenienced; they genuinely cling to the basic Christian orthodoxy but do not want to engage in serious Bible study; they value moral probity, especially of the public sort, but do not engage in war against inner corruptions; they fret over the quality of the preacher’s sermon but do not worry much over the quality of their own prayer life. Such Christians are content with mediocrity [D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), 121].
For some this tells more about the churches they attend or about themselves. So, I concur with #1. In regards to #2, I believe that one of the most effective devilish ways to cripple a church is by allowing and giving heed to gossips. Gossips are detrimental to one’s credibility and Christian testimony, especially, that of the leaders and pastors. And it seems it is always the immature and/or the unregenerate ones that do the most damages in church. Why? It is because the immature and unregenerate ones do not possess the ability to discern. According to Hebrews 5:14, “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
Due to time I need to stop here. But if any of you like to comment on points 3 to 5, feel free to comment. I, especially, like to hear from fellow pastors or other church leaders.