Updated: Aug 3
In modern-day churches, we see all of the capabilities for growth and many have grown very large in their memberships, but there are far fewer who attend and serve as commissioned by Jesus. What has happened? In the early stages of growth, they can become lax in discipling new converts and deepening the Bible growth of established believers and the fellowship becomes more like a "club" than a church. In Luke 13:20 Jesus speaks about the kingdom of God and how this modern-day church might think we are going to bring in the kingdom of God here on earth, but the wrong kind of leaven has been spread throughout and there will be no better days ahead. 20 Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to?21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”It is only when Jesus comes for His church that we will see the good that God has promised to those who believe. There will not be a paradise here on earth, even though some think we can get so good in our faith that we are ushering one in.
All of this comes from the pride monster, who seems to give us the opinion that we are "so good" and forget that we are all sinners saved by His grace. This "good" feeling leads us to rely on our knowledge and our own accomplishments and that is a kind of evil leaven that permeates a wrong pride throughout a church. The end result of these kinds of impressions is a church pride that is worthless and wrong. We begin to think we are doing something great when all we are doing is relying on our own strength and not the power that comes from God. This kind of leaven is deceptive and very distracting and it causes us to forget that there is a lost world that needs to hear the gospel message of Jesus. Our "club" members begin to pat themselves on their backs and disregard that we "need" Jesus and begin to believe that we are "all that."
I am totally all about church growth and outreach to grow the church in numbers, but these verses serve as a strong reminder that God gives us ideas for reaching others, but it is only through the Holy Spirit that we see true growth. The evil leaven might lead us to believe that we are so special, but in reality, God must be the one who gets the glory. An active church will be one that makes sure that there is a major follow-up on new converts and a deeper growth in the Word of God to ensure we stay on track and not get caught up in the pride monster. We must keep the world's leaven out of the church and make sure that we elevate the Lord in all our efforts.
The Pilgrimage Continues