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Scripture Reading: Romans 8:1-9
1 Corinthians 3:1-4
When asked the question, “What is the greatest enemy of the local church?”, there would be a myriad of answers given.
Many would be mistaken because they thing it was some evil thing out there.
Some would say it is Humanism/Paganism or Cults
say that Satan was the greatest enemy of the church - Matthew 16:18
Matthew 16:18 AV
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Others would point to the apostasy of these last days - but true Believers in a church that is holding to strong doctrine is safe.
1 John 2:20–21 AV
But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
1 John 2:27 AV
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
God’s people under good teaching are not confused.
Others would mention that the big problem is compromised pulpits.
But as 1 Kings 19:13-14, 18 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. (God always has his men)
The Greatest threat is not the LGBTQ+ agenda.
It is not liberals or big business, not the greatest threat, the only thing that can defeat the church or the individual Believer is not from without Rather - THE THREAT FROM WITHIN.
But the greatest enemy is not from any of those things. The greatest threat to the church is not from without - it is actually from within.
It is the result of carnality among the believers.
You never hear about JW’s - Kingdom Hall having division; the Mormon temple having strife, nor to you hear of the Masonic lodge having a split. Satan does not attack his own! He tries to conquer the local church and destroy its effectiveness.
Romans 8:6–7 AV
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
The Apostle Paul dealt with the carnality of the Corinthian believers because it was the root of the rest of their problems.
CARNAL - having the nature of flesh, i.e. under the control of the animal appetites - governed by mere human nature not by the Spirit of God.

I. The Convenience of Carnality

– vs. 1 Believers who remain just like the world.
The Flesh leans toward that which is sinful
Romans 7:18 AV
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
– vs. 2 Believers refuse to grow in spite of biblical preaching.
2 Timothy 2:25 AV
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
a. It Is A Disappointment To The Pastor (He is constantly trying to unruffle feathers.)
b. It Is A Discouragement To The People (Many leave the church because of the never ending problems on the pews.)
c. It Is A Detriment to The Purpose (Their perspective is warped and self becomes more important that the souls of men.)

II. Hard proof of carnality

These are what we can classify as contentions – people who always have issues.

A. Envying - Jealous of others

Galatians 5:26 AV
Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Envious jealous people always want what others have and they always think that their Family Is Mistreated.
I have lost more families over perceived mistreatment than anything.

B. Strife - Cannot get along with others

James 3:16 AV
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Feelings are always getting hurt
They disregard
Psalm 119:165 AV
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
Words are said that cannot be taken back.
Hurt People Will Not Forgive And Forget.

C. Divisions - I disagree with that!

2 Timothy 4:14–15 (AV)
Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
These people are the chief fault finders, are always opinionated and very vocal.

III. The Downward slide

There is a progression in our lives for right and for wrong. When invest ourselves in spiritual things, we grow - we do right and it begets right. At the same time when we walk carnally - it leads us down a path that is wrong and harmful.
1 Corinthians 3:3 AV
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

A. Carnality brings about envy

It is what the carnal man; the man driven by the flesh is

B. Envy brings about strife

1 Timothy 6:4 AV
He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

C. Strife brings about division

Genesis 13:7-9 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

D. Division brings about destruction

Matthew 12:25 AV
And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:

IV. How To Fix the Church’s Greatest Threat

A. Stop feeding the flesh

We stop feeding the flesh by cutting off the supply to feed it.
There are two ways we do this:
Separate from an unholy
Romans 13:14 AV
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

B. Kill the flesh

There are several things involved in killing the flesh.
For a church to continue we must continually die to self.
Die to our will.
Our wants and goals.
Our feelings, our pride.
Romans 8:13 AV
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
They Need To Realize Their Fault And Not The Faults Of Others
They Need To Realize That The Welfare Of The Church Is Foremost
They Need To Determine To Be A Blessing Instead Of A Liability
They Need To Lift Up Their Eyes And Look Upon The Harvest That Is Perishing!
Colossians 3:5 AV
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

C. Nourish the Spirit

It is not enough to just say no to flesh - you must yield, nourish and feed the Spirit of God in your life.
Galatians 6:8 AV
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Romans 6:13 AV
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Yielding to God, means yielding to:
Obedience in study of the Word.
Obedience in private prayer and walking through the day in constant communication with Christ.
Listen, a dry, anemic Christianity isn’t going to cut it. Anything less than total devotion ins’t going to make through this day we are living in. We are going to half to find something deeper, something real - and that is a devoted, disciplined, and ever deepening walk with Christ.
Your success as a Believer is not dependent on who your leadership is or even what church you go to - as much s it depends on you allowing God to change your attitude or your character, or a transformation of your heart and mind - you will not do well either.
There is a fellow who left the church, rebelled against it, he caused a church split, close to 10% of the church left with him.
A couple of things got to him.
One of the big things that got to him was how the pastor handled the finances. He thought some of he ministry expenditures were not worth it.
He thought that the pastor favored a select group of the membership, they were his cronies, because they followed him and got behind his agenda. This man was not going to be one of those - he said, “I think for myself.”
He thought the pastor was losing people because he was too hard of a preacher.
His name was Judas Iscariot. His Pastor was Jesus Christ himself.
He had the best pastor; the best leader, the best counselor, the best example, the truest friend. There was no better preacher, no better decision maker, perfect, sinless and Judas quit, because Judas was the epitome of carnality. He failed because he never got saved, but the carnality in any Christian will do the same.
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