Never once in the Bible do you see Peter, James and John have a problem with the beatings or the commands from authorities not to preach the gospel. That’s not going to slow the church down. It’s not external pressures or external persecutions that will put off God’s work among his people. It will be chaos and conflict that comes from within the church.
“Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews” (Acts 6:1, ESV). Whenever a church grows, whenever there are a lot of people around, conflict happens. “This person acted in a way I didn’t like; those people are prejudiced.” Suddenly, there’s a complaint against other believers in the church.
When this stuff starts happening, look out. How quickly complaining goes downhill! This is one of the most dangerous things that can take hold of a church.
Bickering, backbiting, failing to serve one another and harming one another will destroy the church. It will corrupt our witness. This will block the flow of anointing that comes from the Holy Spirit. What troubles me most is not the political situation in our country or the ‘sexual revolution,’ although those things are often horrifying. It’s not the world being worldly that worries me. It’s the church being worldly that troubles me.
In the middle of those external pressures, Jesus has a light and a witness with his people, but if that witness is corrupted by conflict, then where are we? If salt loses its saltiness, what is it good for?
Let there be such a hunger for righteousness among us that we move quickly to deal with worldliness within ourselves and also resolve conflict with other believers. Let us strive to serve one another in all humility and love.