Sins That Threaten The Church

Sins That Threaten The Church

Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.
–1 Timothy 5:20

Some sins in the church demand drastic action. Let me give you three kinds of sin that have to be corrected in the body of Christ. First of all, we have to deal with sins that threaten the moral health of the church. A church member who engages in well-known sexual immorality or in financial impropriety weakens the moral authority of the church. When there is well-known sin that we in the church refuse to handle, it is like giving our stamp of approval to that behavior. That is why Paul said, “Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning” (1 Timothy 5:20).

Second, we have to confront sins that threaten the doctrinal health of the church. Any teaching that denies the deity of Jesus Christ, the inerrancy of Scripture, or the blood atonement of Jesus for our sins is a serious doctrinal error that must be dealt with. In the church of Thyatira, there was a woman who was guilty of serious doctrinal error. In Revelation 2:20, Jesus condemned the church for not dealing with this false teacher: “I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray.” God has zero tolerance for false teaching in the church.

Third, we must deal with sins that threaten the emotional health of the church. Gossip, criticism, and slander can destroy a congregation if not dealt with. Remember what James said about the power of our words: “See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!” (3:5). We have all read those stories about one cigarette butt that sets hundreds of acres on fire. That is what one careless word can do in a congregation–one little piece of gossip can destroy an entire church.

How do we keep that from happening? Ephesians 4:3 says, “[Be] diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” I like to remind our congregation that we are all carrying two buckets: a bucket of water and a bucket of gasoline. When we come upon a spark of controversy, we can either douse it with water, or we can fuel that flame until it destroys everything. We are called as members of the body of Christ to be fire extinguishers. And when somebody is continually fueling the flame of controversy, we cannot afford to leave that alone. Romans 16:17 says, “Keep your eye on those who cause dissentions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.” Or Titus 3:10: “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning.” When a sin threatens the moral, doctrinal, or emotional health of a congregation, it has to be dealt with.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Good-Grace Spiritual Surgery” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2021.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.