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5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Worry about the Church

Declining attendance, evaporating finances, sexual scandals, and the threat of false doctrine can cause the staunchest believer to doubt the future of the localized body of believers known as the church. She has survived civil wars, world wars, pandemics, dictators, and civil discourse; yet, today, we worry that the social, economic, and spiritual climate will be her demise. Rest assured Christian, the church founded on the rock of Jesus Christ is not suffering a depression requiring pharmaceutical medication or in bankruptcy needing governmental funding.

We often recite the words of our Savior, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it", but do we really believe it? Our local church may not be progressing at the speed or in the manner that we desire, but do not be mistaken, her founder is not concerned. The church is not in a downturn or a depression, but she is preparing for the soon return of the Savior for His bride. We need not be waiting on a sign, but listening for a sound – the sound of the glorious trumpet announcing the arrival of our Lord and Savior. So, what are you worried about?

1. Quit Thinking So Much

We suffer from “paralysis by analysis” by reasoning that we will always be privy to the understanding of the higher ways of the Almighty. We worry about our effectiveness as preachers when the altars are not full each Sunday morning at noon or we are failing because attendance is declining. Isaiah was warned he would not see great positive results in the people’s spiritual obedience from his prophetic ministry. He was dealing with a “stiff-necked” society who fought like an ox against the yoke. Isaiah would have to deal with this supposed ineffectiveness for over six years. Immediately after the prophet Isaiah’s confirmation and agreement of service, he was warned by the Lord, “Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.”

Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 accepted such and wrote to the church, “For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?” Our primary concern is our personal and direct calling to distribute the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, we should desire and pray for the efficacy of the Word of God to convict and save sinners. However, the double-edged sword of the Word also further hardens the hearts of wicked which is an incidental result of the gospel. The purpose of the Word is to save, but man, in his rejection of salvation, allows his heart to become unreceptive and cold to the Holy Ghost. We still must persevere in our teaching and preaching. We have a duty to “exhort one another daily, while it is called to day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

Rest assured, the result of His message will be successful. Either lives will be changed and salvation realized or, alternatively, the Word will be used as a witness in the forthcoming judgment. God’s will cannot be thwarted by the world or the supposed lack of success as defined by our perceptions.

2. Do What You Are Called to Do

The Lord continued and instructed Isaiah to “make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” The modern preacher is best served by putting these goals in the byline for his ministry. We all would love to have full altars with sinners placing faith in a Savior and backsliders returning to service, but our successes cannot be subjectively or objectively judged by numbers. Our duty is to preach and teach the Word of God while living a life full of love toward our neighbors and congregation.

The preaching of the unadulterated, unabridged Word of God makes hearts fat and ears heavy. Isaiah 55:11 promises that His word “shall not return unto my voice, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper I the thing whereto I sent it.” By doing what Christ empowers us to do, we are living desirous for the Kingdom and the fulfillment of our duty under the great commission.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Pixelheadphoto 

3. Absence May Be from the Lord

Isaiah inquired how long he was to engage in this service. The Lord answered him, “until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, and the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.” There are seasons in our Christian lives when we feel removed from the Lord. Rest assured, He does not disappear and abandon His children.

Even though we do not know the duration of our pain, sickness, or distress, our Lord knows the expiration date. Elisha was placed to serve in a desperate time in 2 Kings 6-7. Samaria was in the midst of a famine so severe that a woman cried unto Elisha, “give thy son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.” The conditions caused the king to “rent his clothes” and put a “sackcloth within upon his flesh.” Elisha was given a message from the Lord that, “to morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.” As desperation sat in further, the men “rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there.” The opposition was nowhere to be found. “Tomorrow” had come. It is God who has set a “tomorrow” for the end of our distress as well as the end of our duty.  

4. It’s Going to Happen As He Said

Just as prophesied by Isaiah and Jeremiah, Israel would indeed become a desolate land. Jeremiah 29:1 explained, “now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon.”

Jeremiah warned the people to give themselves up to the captors and they would later be restored with their land. Some, however, did not heed the advice and fled to Egypt in continued disobedience. The land was utterly destroyed except “Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for the husbandmen.” {Jeremiah 52:16)

Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 4 that before Christ returns for His church, there will be a departing of the faith, the allowing of the influence of seducing spirits, and the preaching of false doctrine. Just as Isaiah was not confounded by the destruction, we cannot doubt God when we see these things take place within the church.

5. God Sees What We Can’t

In verse 13, the Lord told Isaiah, “but yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.”

When we find ourselves under the juniper tree like Elijah sulking in self-pity, we believe things are hopeless in viewing the low attendance at our local churches and the evilness of our country. The spiritual trees of the church and many believers have shed their leaves and the bark is falling from the branches. The naked eyes see death and demise without hope. Similarly, the trees mentioned by Isaiah looked on the verge of death and destitute from an external viewpoint. Certainly, the visible consequences of God’s judgment were dire. However, the great prophet gave the people hope because of the remnant. God knew and had not forgotten about “the holy seed [which] shall be the substance thereof.”

In Isaiah 37:32, came the promise “for out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the real of the Lord of hosts shall do this.” Paul wrote about Isaiah in Romans 9:27 who “crieth concerning Israel, though the number of children of Israel be as the sand of the sea a remnant shall be saved.” Then in Revelation 11:13, John saw at “the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” If we think we are blessed today, imagine the glory when God’s chosen people are gathered together in Jerusalem during the Millennial Reign. Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:9 assured the church that believers may be “persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”

The message to the church is to hold your head up high in great expectation. The happenings of today are not a failure of the gospel, but a fulfillment. Our Lord has preserved “the holy seed” of His church and we are “the substance thereof.”

Photo Credit: Sincerely Media/Unsplash 


Chad Napier is a believer in Christ, attorney at law, wannabe golfer, runner, dog lover, and writer. He enjoys serving his church as a deacon, Sunday School teacher, fill-in preacher, and pandemic televangelist. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter. He and his wife Brandi reside in Tennessee with their canine son Alistair.

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