Cancer in the Church: the Cause and Cure
There is a cancer that is eating away at the health and fiber of Christian teaching and the Christian church itself. Not a physical condition, but a spiritual one that is slowly piece-by-piece replacing the good portions of the Christian faith with malignant substitutes. You may think, “No that is not me and that is not my church…I/we are Bible-based and following the truth as Jesus would want it to be taught.” Please bear with my exhortation for a moment. For, you see, every fellowship, group, denomination, church, sect and synod seems to go by this same motto, “We are the ones who are Bible-based,” all of whom quote the Bible to support their positions. So who is correct and how can we tell? Well, this is where the cancer comes in. This cancer that exists, robs people from the ability to tell what is truth and what is truly “Bible-based”. It distorts and twists the understanding of an individual to the point where one believes they are doing God a service while doing the exact opposite of what He commands. “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”—John 14:21
Maybe, by now you have figured out what the cancer is. But remember! We cannot just treat symptoms of the cancer, and we cannot just get part of the growth. The entire ROOT OF THE CANCER must be removed. Otherwise, it will grow back even stronger and more evasive and destructive than before. THIS CANCER MUST BE STOPPED BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!! Moment by moment this intrusion of the body is continuing to spread and destroy organs, tissues, lives, relationships and even the foundation of Biblical Christianity today. You may have understanding…this cancer is the world!
Why is the world this cancer-like force that is working in churches across the globe today? Let’s see how important our relationship with the world is “according to the Scriptures”. I would encourage you to have your Bible with you and to prayerfully seek God and meditate on the Scriptures provided in this study. This is a sorely abused and misunderstood area that is causing terrible destruction…possibly even in your own life today. The power of God and the Holy Spirit have renewal and strength for you in the Word of Life but you must be truly humble to receive the Word that is able to save you. Do not merely listen to this word of exhortation…take it to heart and apply it to your life. If necessary, make appropriate confession to God and repentance which will be shown in the way you respond to the truth of God’s Word. God is longsuffering toward you, not wanting anyone to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). “22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.”—James 1:22-25
What is “The World”?
The world is a carnal, sensual, self-supporting, pleasure-focused environment that pollutes the truth and robs people of salvation and true godliness and right-standing with God resulting in deception and ultimate damnation.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”—1 John 2:15-17
Warnings about the World
“Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! 8If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.”—Matt 18:7-8
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”—Colossians 2:8-10
“…A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."—2 Peter 2:19b-22
Consequences of Loving the World
Worldliness Will Be Judged
God’s judgment against worldly/carnal religion is just and is based on truth:
John 12:31-32—“Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
1 Corinthians 11:31—But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
John 16:7-11“But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”
Psalm 17:13-14a—“Rise up, O LORD , confront them,
bring them down; rescue me from the wicked by your sword. 14 O LORD ,
by your hand save me from such men,
Promises to the Believer
“We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”—1 Corinthians 2:12
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”—John 14:16-18
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”—1 John 4:4
We Will Be Separate from the World
John 15:19—“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
1 Peter 2:11—“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
1 John 5:19—“We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”
Hebrews 11:37-40—“They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented-- 38of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”
Overcoming the World
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. 5Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”—1 John 5:1-5
Doing God’s will by faith has eternal value that will not spoil or fade away and results in the following things taking place in the life of the believer in this present life:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”—Romans 12:1-2
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come
from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but
don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel
and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you
ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend
what you get on your pleasures.
Jesus’ Prayer for All Who Believe“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name--the name you gave me--so that they may be one as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13"I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. 20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."—John 17:6-26
Grace to all of you who love our
Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth--Ephesians