I heard an illustration given one time that the church is like an archway in a garden inscribed with the words “We Preach Christ Crucified.” Overtime, the vines around that archway begin to grow and, as they move upward, they cover part of the writing so that it then says, “We Preach Christ.” The church is still preaching God’s Word but skipping the uncomfortable sections. More time passes by and the vine continues to grow thicker and higher until the sign reads, “We Preach.” The church is teaching how to live a good and moral life, how to raise your children and what to do when decisions must be made but they have forgotten Christ. Time continues to pass and, eventually, the vines cover so much of the archway that all that is left is simply, “We.” Thus, the church has become merely a social club and they have forgotten why they exist.
No one church is immune to this tragic possibility. We must always be on guard. We must never forsake any teaching of Scripture. The churches in Revelation are long gone because there came a time when they allowed worldliness to creep into their doors and take them captive. It is easy for us to separate ourselves from the equation by referring to this church or that church, but we must never forget that we are a part of the church and, ultimately speaking, a part of the problem. There is a plank in our eye if we judge the church for slacking off while at the same time we spend our days watching and listening to immorality. If we desire the church to succeed, then we must strive to be holy in every area of our lives. Where, in our lives, are we willingly giving the world the upper hand?
Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD!