Three Things You Will Not See in a Spirit Filled ChurchGuest Editorial – Marcel Turner

“On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity. ’On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land.  And if anyone still prophesies, their father and mother, to whom they were born, will say to them, ‘You must die, because you have told lies in the Lord’s name.’ Then their own parents will stab the one who prophesies. On that day every prophet will be ashamed of their prophetic vision. They will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive.” – Zechariah 13:1-4

The Holy Spirit is a fountain for every believer to drink from at any time. The Spirit is a source of life for the thirsty. To sooth any anxious soul to the peace that only the Holy Spirit can bring! Starting in Acts 2:38 the Spirit now indwells in those who: believe, repent, and are baptized. It’s powerful to see how the first church lived in awe while seeing the Spirit save desperate souls every single day. What a powerful church! The Spirit moves by driving out evil spirits in every person who obeys the truth. Seeing the Spirit move is essential for every single disciple. What happens when they don’t see the Spirit moving? When impurity is rampant in a church? When idolatry is evident? When doctrine becomes fuzzy and “optional”? What should a disciple do who wants to live out a powerful life for Christ? The power of the Spirit is snuffed out when churches are filled with impurity, idolatry, and “fuzzy doctrine”.

Has your church lost its power? Is there a lifestyle of impurity in many of the members? Does it seem like the priorities of the congregation are in other things? Were there once convictions that defined the ministry that are now optional and vague? Biblically you are in a church that is not living according to the Spirit. You are in ABSOLUTE danger and despair. Galatians 5:19-21 states, “The acts of the flesh are obvious; impurity… idolatry, dissensions, factions, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Some churches just don’t see it this way, and that’s to their destruction. According to Zechariah 13, there are three things you will not see in a Spirit Filled Church. These include:

  1. Idolatry
  2. Impurity
  3. “Fuzzy Doctrine”

Before we know what these look like we have to know what they are exactly. The Bible makes clear the definition of each sin and how to overcome them.

Idolatry and Idleness

“For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” – 1 Samuel 15:23

In Saul’s day, idolatry was very evident. It was the literal worship of a wooden shape or figure which resembled a god of some other religion or culture. Idolatry nowadays is hard to define. We don’t see idolatry as much in the context of physically worshiping an idol day by day. Our idolatry more roots in what we prioritize in our hearts and minds. What we do know is that it is VERY, VERY evil.

How do you know your church struggles with idolatry? You look directly at its priorities. What are your churches priorities? It is all in the direction the church is heading. When idolatry is present what you see is a lot of work (or no work) and a lack of baptisms, restorations, placed memberships, and mission team plantings. Financial misplacement is another huge indicator the church is idolatrous with overspending on frivolous activities. 2 Thessalonians 3:11 says “We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.” These churches don’t make any progress and eventually fall into being filled with busybodies. What this means is the appearance of making huge strides in advancement, but in reality, there is nothing being done for the advancement of God’s kingdom only for a few individuals within the congregation. They become survivalists and lack the power needed that every disciple needs in their walk with God. Church plantings become scarce and rare, ministries become imbalanced (campus is amazing all others are dead), and dreams for the Lord begin to cease.

If the church is very defensive and overly protective of its members you can be sure idolatry is present. They begin to mark and accuse without biblical basis for their divisions. Instead of teaching the truth and trusting God, they cause disunity and fear in the hearts of the naive sheep they are called to take care of.

If this is familiar, you must flee. Unless of course, you’re the leader then you must call people to repentance. You will face persecution and possible loss of relationships. But why lose your relationship with God because the people around you are ok with idolatry? They prioritize work, school, family, and self over the advancement of God’s kingdom. Two practicals for leaving an idolatrous church: leave immediately (Mark 1:18), and become a part of a church where it is evident the kingdom is advancing (Acts 2:42-47). You need to live in the power of the Spirit and lead a life filled with power given by God.

Impurity and Insecurity

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.” – Romans 1:24

Impurity (unclean thoughts, lust, pornography, masturbation, sexual fantasy or acting out), as a whole, is far too accepted throughout churches worldwide. Comments like “everyone struggles with it” or even books being written like “Every Man’s Battle”, are used to pacify the fact that many are in a constant lack of repentance. These people are in danger of living a life of religiosity and heading to hell at death because they did not believe the Scriptures.

I’ve been that person that does not have a conviction against impurity and it lead to a Romans 1:24 type lifestyle because the bible does not lie. How long will you stay in your impurity before finding out it is an absolute disgust in God’s holy eyes? It is degrading and does not please God who values purity. Using “grace” as an outlet and escape from responsibility for your impurity only brings God’s wrath (Romans 1:18). When will you repent and when will the church you’re a part of draw the line? Recently I did a survey and out of 50 people 46 of them knew “Christians” who were in habitual immorality and drunkenness. This is completely unacceptable and if Jesus were to come back there would be some serious differences being made!

A church that has an acceptance of impurity will be very loose on “dating” and relationships outside of marriage. They are lower the standard of purity and the result is men and women spending time alone setting a horrible example to the world (Ephesians 5:3). I’m grateful in the GICC we practice pure dating and encourage single men and women to go on double-dates to protect purity. Also, in churches without the Spirit; accountability will be soft and optional. Members will have doubts of salvation because a disciple cannot go on sinning (3 John 3:9). It would be common to find people in the same sins for years and years but yet still in leadership or good stance with God. Immorality becomes common and thought of as a weakness. Fact is: SIN IS NOT WEAKNESS! Sin is separation from God!

If you’re in a lifestyle of impurity and aren’t changing you have to surround yourself with men and women who will call you to repentance and continual strides to biblical recovery and not just a “help group”. Pornography, masturbation, “making out”, touching inappropriately, and loose accountability are signs of an impure church. You have to see the dangers of this sin even if it is unseen by men, it is seen by God and every deed will be disclosed to God in the end.

Two practicals to overcoming impurity: be a part of a church that teaches discipling as a command (Matthew 28:18-20), and hold yourself to a biblical standard of purity which is the only standard of Christianity.

“Fuzzy Doctrine”

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” – 2 Timothy 4:3

In the Zechariah passage at the top, the Spirit would remove false prophets from God’s people! Probably the most infectious and dangerous problem a church can have is fuzzy doctrine. False preachers won’t outright teach an opposite doctrine of the Bible, yet subtly change the message making it “fuzzy”. Where there is permissiveness to allow false teaching to be preached from the pulpit. Where there was once a sound conviction it has become an optional ideal which only a few are a part of. Disunity and confusion are throughout the congregation and it is almost ok and common to miss church by the week.

Is this familiar? Are you ok with this? Are you alarmed? Does this strike you as odd that people are missing church week by week and nobody is saying anything? That discipling is an option and there are rare baptisms because few are sharing their faith as the bible commands? Lukewarmness becomes the norm and people who are committed are considered “missionaries” and staff members. Contrarily, scriptures state that every disciple is a missionary and called to the same commitment to Jesus (Luke 14:33). There are questionable teachings being taught to youth and different standards for churches under the same umbrella of authority (Church of Christ, Assemblies of God, International Churches of Christ, etc.). For instance: one church teaches that discipling is a biblical command and the other teaches it’s optional. Also you see 2 or more of the same churches in one city and have disunity in focus and spiritual destination. This should not be!

In 1 Corinthians 1:10 it teaches every church should be the same mind and thought. This is where autonomy loses its grip. How can a self governing churches be completely unified with each other? It is impossible and can’t be a biblical church unless every church is unified under the same office. Central leadership is biblically sound (1 Corithians 4:17) and the only answer to unify a movement of sold-out disciples of Christ to fulfill the plan to evangelize the world in one generation under a central leadership (Acts 1:8, Acts 15:13-22). Unity is lost when churches do not have these convictions. Churches stop growing, people start losing love, and baptisms and additions are scarce.

Also, being loose on salvation doctrines (discipleship, salvation, baptism, church commitment, which church is the right church, etc.) is an indicator that there is an acceptance of false teaching and fuzzy doctrine. What will happen to these people? They will fall into the traps of false teachers and join them in their spread of these teachings which are completely unsound and lead many astray (Ezekiel 13:10). There has to be a complete separation from these kinds of people and churches.

If you can relate and are in a situation similar to what we see in a church that is fuzzy in doctrine you have to join a unified movement of churches. Jesus teaches in Luke 5:37 that if you are in a church of “old wine” you can’t as a “new wineskin” expect to make it spiritually. You must have new wine (church) and new wineskin (doctrine). Very simply you must leave that ministry and join one that will teach sound doctrine no matter what! Don’t let your dreams die because your church is dead. Come to a place where God is moving POWERFULLY.

We here in the Sold-Out Movement are calling all people to a sold out commitment to Jesus including: young and old, single or married, divorced or widowed all to the same standard. To be a part of a unified movement around the world that has a plan to cover the earth with likeminded disciples in every city, country, and continent! The Holy Spirit desires to get the gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). I am so grateful to be a part of a Spirit-filled church in the International Christian Churches. Let us not like so many others loose the Spirit’s dream and focus but come be a part of history and see the world won for Jesus in the way he calls us to win the world over!