The Enemies of a Church

July 17th,  2011 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction (Philippians 1:28)


A.    We all have enemies, adversaries – people who just don’t like us

B.     Don’t be terrified of enemies (Philp 1:28)

C.     Just mark them, and stay clear of them

D.    Worry about them – about how they might just ruin everything that God has started in our lives – if we are not careful! Why worry about them? Because they go after the young, and the weakest, and they destroy the work of God

E.     Especially worry the enemies that are on the inside of a church!


1.      We usually worry about the political winds that turn against Christianity – as they are turning today

2.      We usually worry about how TV and the movies mock Biblical Christianity

3.      But we had better start waking up the enemies that sneak into our meetings, and right into our thinking!


II.    Message


A.    The First Enemy - Apathy (Judges 18:7)


1.      A group of Israelites (tribe of Dan) were looking for a place to settle in the Promised Land, and came to a town called Laish way up in the northern region near what is now Lebanon). Notice the description of the people:


a.       They dwelt careless – didn’t pay attention to possible threats - neglect

b.      quiet and secure – they felt fine and safe as they were

c.       there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing – didn’t think they needed authority over their lives

d.      Those people in Laish were easily defeated/conquered!

e.       This describes most modern “Christians”


2.      The problem with Christianity is not that we are not well trained, and well equipped to stand against the wiles of the devil

3.      The problem is that most just don’t care!

4.      Apathy means:


a.       Uncaring, coldness, not interested in spiritual things, no passion, passive, callous, careless, numbness, boredom

b.      It is an “I don’t care attitude”

c.       A “I’m doing just fine” way of thinking (Matthew 13:15)

d.      Just lukewarm (Rev 3)


5.      To many modern Christians, there is no battle to fight, no reason to stand, no cause to die for

6.      And so, the devil walks right in, and tears up a church, and leaves it in bits

7.      This enemy creeps into a church in three ways:


a.       When its people rest on the spirituality of others – when they are lazy


1)      Christianity is hard work

2)      Reading your Bible every day – reading 2,4 10 chapters a day is work

3)      Complaining and griping is easy – praying is much harder!

4)      Studying what God means is so much harder than just believing what everyone else is believing

5)      Too many of you rest on MY spirituality, or on the spiritual walk of your parents, or your wife, or your husband



b.      When its people have Success and Talent – have no need of God


1)      No one wants people to be failures

2)      But there is an awful danger in the smartness, abilities, talent, and natural successes of the people in a church (1Cor 1:27,28)

3)      This was Samson’s great sin – not needing God! And in the end it destroyed him! Not the Philistines, not Delilah, but his own pride and arrogance!

4)      The worst arrogance today is the lack of dependence upon a loving God!

5)      Apathetic Christians are


a)      Unthankful, ungrateful – don’t appreciate GOD’S goodness to them

b)      Lack of praying about and for everything


c.       And that apathy allows the devil to just come right in, and destroy the work of God in our homes, and in our community


8.      How cold are YOU? How callous, passive, numb?

9.      Those are warning signs that you are the devil’s next target!

10.  Blessed are they that do HUNGER and THIRST for righteousness (Mt 5:6)


B.     Second Enemy – Carnality – Worldliness (John 17:16)


1.      Carnal means of the body, fleshly, sensual, unspiritual! Living only to please yourself!

2.      This enemy is the opposite of apathy, but in the wrong direction!


a.       It is passionate, and sacrificial, active and sensitive about things

b.      But only about things that please THEMSELVES – lovers of self more than lovers of God (2Tim 3:4) They love the praise of men more than of God!


3.      Carnality is…


a.       Natural – it just happens when we don’t walk in the Spirit

b.      Carnality slowly cools our love for God and for the things of God (Mt 24:12)

c.       Carnal people are saved from a devil’s hell, but live only emotionally, and physically – never spiritually!

d.      Carnal believers long for the world, live in lust and have eyes full of adultery, and cannot cease from sin (2Pet 2:14)


4.      In other words…


a.       It is YOU wanting the water IN the ship that you are in

b.      It is YOU missing the leaks and onions of Egypt and so are willing to go back into the slavery of Egypt so that you can just have a bit of fun again

c.       Carnality is YOU inviting the thief into your own home simply because he looks like he is having more fun than you are!

d.      Carnal Christians are FearLESS only about one thing! They don’t fear sin and its affect!

e.       And so you, and your church end up, robbed, sinking, and in bondage!

f.       That’s why I want to live, walk in the Spirit of God, not in the lusts of the flesh!


5.      How do you know if you are carnal, or worldly?


a.       Haven’t grown spiritually (1Cor 3:1)

b.      You don’t enjoy learning the meat of the Bible (1Cor 3:2)

c.       Easily offended (1Cor 3:3; Gal 4:16)

d.      Full of bad attitudes

e.       You follow personalities (1Cor 3:4)

f.       Uncontrolled tongue


1)      Sowing discord among brethren

2)      Anger, wrath, hurtful words


g.      Your friends are of the world – unsaved, and uncommitted to Christ!


1)      You love the music of the world – Beyonce, gaga

2)      Its philosophies – don’t offend anyone, don’t mention hell, don’t mention sin, learn to forgive yourself, do as THOU wilt

3)      Its lifestyles – live together, try homosexuality, transgender people are normal

4)      Its dress and fashions – as low as you can go, as scummy as you can look


C.     Third Enemy - Fake Believers (Mt 13:24-30)


1.      These are tares amongst the wheat


a.       Look like wheat

b.      But are worthless – have no fruit – no use

c.       Jesus explains where they came from (Mt 13:36-43)

d.      Pretty scary! It ought to be!

e.       You can’t fake the new birth! Not to God!


2.      Fake believers are like…


a.       A Banana skin, with no banana inside!

b.      A pile of peanut shells, with no peanuts inside


3.      William Law (from the 18th century) wrote,


a.       "The church is filled with professing Christians whose faith has never gone beyond a conviction that the words of Scripture are true. They believe in the Christ of the Bible, but do not know Him personally. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is sound doctrine to their minds, but their lives are empty of His manifest power either to overcome the power of sin within, or to convert others to Christ."

b.      This certainly describes the church today. James 2:19 said "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble."

c.       There are so many who believe that they are saved, but they do not even know what salvation is. To them, it is merely the mental belief that their sins are forgiven and they are going to heaven when they die. Yet most people could not even define what repentance, faith, or even love means, many cannot even give testimony or evidence of ever having experienced them in their own lives.


4.      Too many people have only a form of godliness, but they daily deny, reject the power of God over their lives (2Tim 3:5)

5.      False believers are enemies of a church


a.       They hate it when there is an emphasis on prayer

b.      They come only when they are praised and appreciated

c.       They come only when there is excitement and fun

d.      They drain the Church folks because of the spirit they carry

e.       They emphasize only outward appearances, instead of a broken, and humble walk with God!

f.       They constantly try and change the church into something other than what the Bible says – anything other than what the Bible says it is to be!

g.      A church does not exists to fill itself with sinners, but rather with those who are tired of sin, and who want to be full of the HOLY Spirit of God!


D.    Fourth Enemy - False Doctrines (2Peter 2:1)


1.      Are you careful about what you eat?


a.       Would you drink a glass of diesel?

b.      Would you eat a spoonful of caustic soda?

c.       Why not?

d.      Because they are deadly!


2.      False doctrines abound today – amongst CHRISTIANS


a.       Superstitions everywhere


1)      Crucifixes in the homes

2)      The saying of special prayers by special saints

3)      The sign of the cross


b.       “A loving God would never send anyone to hell”

c.       “Baptism is part of a person’s salvation”

d.      No one really can know if they are saved for sure…

e.       God saves and damns whoever He wants – a false doctrine

f.       We should avoid meats in order to be more spiritual!

g.      Tongues and healings are for today – false!

h.      We can live ANY way we want! FALSE!

i.        God only wants you to be wealthy and successful – false!


3.      The problem is that most people PREFER false doctrines and false teachers (2Cor 11:1-4; 2Tim 4:1-4)


E.     LAST ENEMY - Satan Himself (1Peter 5:8; Eph 6:12)


1.      Satan is a bad enemy!


a.       He is called our ADVERSARY!

b.      He is the enemy of everything clean, everything good, everything wholesome, everything godly, everything true in this world!


2.      He seeks to ruin, defile, destroy everything (John 10:10  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy)! He was fired from his job as musician (he was the worship leader in heaven) and ever since then, has sought revenge against everything God has going!


a.       He ruined Adam and Eve

b.      He has sought to ruin the human race again in Genesis 6

c.       He sought to ruin the nation of Israel over and over throughout the OT

d.      He sought to kill Jesus before birth, at 2 years old, a dozen times during His ministry, and finally in the Garden of Gethsemane

e.       And he seeks to ruin every Church that wants to follow Jesus!


3.      He is not concerned with anything that is already false, or already corrupt


a.       He couldn’t care less about other religions, and other denominations – he already has them!

b.      He doesn’t attack those people who are at home in bed this morning, and those who got drunk last night – he already owns them!


4.      He is only out to destroy them that live godly! All they that live godly shall suffer “persecution” (2Tim 3:12) – not just bad days


a.       It is the Bible believing Christians, who are the ones that face the most attack (Luke 22:31)

b.      It is the young ladies who want to stay pure till marriage

c.       It is the young men who want to live for God and keep their minds clean

d.      Every God fearing, sin-hating, Bible believing church is going to be marked for attack by the devil


5.      Well, AMEN then! That means we actually are doing something right!


III. Conclusion


A.    How do we get rid of, and defeat these enemies?

B.     Don’t fear your enemies - learn how to resist them (Luke 12:4,5)

1.      Apathy is defeated by a FIGHT (1Peter 5:8,9)


a.       Let your light get you into trouble – if you are born again, quite hiding it!

b.      The greatest need of today’s Christian is the need to be alert (1Peter 5:8) – wide awake. But you won’t get sober until you get attacked


1)      People don’t purchase burglar alarms until AFTER they have been robbed

2)      So, step out of your comfort zone and live godly, and see just how hard you get hit!


c.       If you only knew the enemy that waits right outside your home, and right at the very tips of your fingers on the internet

d.      If you only knew who was looking over your shoulder, waiting for you to become careless

e.       People are pacifists until they hear bullets whiz by their ears and feel bombs falling all around them – THEN they are ready to fight


2.      Carnality is defeated by HOLINESS (2Cor 7:1)


a.       There needs to be a fear of God, and fear of sin and what it will do to your life and your future!


1)      Sin is killing our homes

2)      Thinking pornography, and rock music, and the casual drink are all that bad is ruining not only your life and your marriage, it is ruining your church!


b.      It is high time Christians started


1)      Treating girls as SISTERS

2)      Treating your body as God’s TEMPLE

3)      Treating the Bible as PURE WATER

4)      Treating your lusts as SEWAGE

5)      Treating Jesus as GOD


3.      Tares are won by EXPOSURE


a.       Showing them that they are NOT like a believer

b.      Showing them where they are headed! HELL

c.       Showing them that they are wasting their time faking it – they might as well get all the way in, or out

d.      We don’t aim to make everyone just feel comfortable at church

e.       The best meeting will be the one that gets you off your butt and going forward for Christ! Not the one that just pats you on the back


4.      Religions are defeated by BIBLICAL TRUTH (2Cor 4:2)

5.      Satan is defeated by SUBMISSION to God (James 4:7)


IV. Challenge - Are you wanting to defeat any of these enemies?


A.    Beg God for a heart for holiness, and for the things of God

B.     Make your Bible, and this church the priority it should be

C.     Open your eyes to the attacks of the devil

D.    Let’s get busy being a Church that Jesus loves!