Out of control

Published 11:27 am Saturday, May 19, 2018

by Darnell Whitfield

In the 1939 movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy asks the Scarecrow, “How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?”

And the Scarecrow answers, “I don’t know … but some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t they?”

We see it every day in our culture, in Congress and, sadly, in the church. Please do not think that I am being critical of the church as a whole.

As I have written before, it is my sincere belief that for the most part people attend church because they are truly seeking God, and trying to figure out what is our purpose on earth and where will we end up after our life ends.

But there is a problem that has entered the body of Christ. It attacks the living tissue of the spirit-filled men, women and children. What is it? First, let me tell you what it does in the body of Christ. At the uppermost level it causes bishops, pastors, overseers, apostles, prophets, prophetesses and ministers to be more concerned with their own self-worth rather than being concerned about the people that they are supposed to be leading to Christ.

Secondly, the tail of the church, a.k.a., the membership of the church, are quoting more slogans than the Scriptures, thereby causing them to fail in the work that Jesus commands us to do, and that is to spread the gospel to those who are in darkness, namely the sinners who do not know Jesus as savior.

What is this problem? Simply put, it is ignorance.

Ignorance is what has divided this great country into hatred of one another.

Ignorance has caused a breakdown of the family dynamic to the point where men and women do not see the necessity to cling together in order to build each other up.

Ignorance has caused a lack of compassion for our fellow-person, and so we don’t care about the violence that impacts the poor and needy and close our minds and hearts to each other.

Sad to say, ignorance has permeated the church.

The Apostle Paul states in Ephesians 4:18-19 (NIV,) “18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.”

Christians have become hardened and have no emotion, because they have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. However, the church is supposed to live differently from the world and to rid itself of all “bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander” and “with all malice” Paul goes on to say that we are to “be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

When you have people in the church that are supposed to be following the laws of God (which is the Bible) and their life is contrary to obedience to God, you’ve got a problem.

When men and women who call themselves saints, but will not control their anger, who cause division in the church, but who do not want to fellowship with other Christians, and who refuse to control their mouths and bodies, there is a problem.

In Galatians chapter 5, Paul contrasts a fleshly person verses a spiritual person.

Galatians 5:16, Paul states “16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” And then he further outlines the acts of the flesh in verses 19-21, “19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like” with a warning that, “21b those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

In verses 22-23 Paul states, “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.”

People who have learned to control themselves are people who walk as Jesus did, with the first characteristic being love and the last, but very important characteristic is being able to control your thoughts, your body and your mouth, so that you can receive blessing instead of your life being cursed.

When someone is always mouthing off and will not silence themselves, they are doing what my elders taught me as I grew up, showing their ignorance.

The sad thing about all of this is that few are teaching their children and congregations about how to conduct themselves as spirit-filled people.

We preachers will be held accountable, and there will be cries of ‘Woe is me’ when Jesus says ‘Depart from me.’ We must teach this generation about the truth of God, about the characteristics of a Holy person and how to succeed in this Christian walk and prepare for Jesus return.

Let me leave you with this great tidbit from President Abraham Lincoln: “It is better to remain silent and be thought to be a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Great words to live by as we move forward to do God’s will.

Live your life in truth, because the truth shall set you free.

May God richly bless you, by the movement of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ!

Please remember the many men and women who gave their lives that we may enjoyed the liberties of the pursuit of happiness, Memorial Day on Monday, May 28.

DARNELL WHITFIELD is senior pastor of Diamond Grove Baptist Church in Franklin. Contact him at 742-1343 or revwhitfield@me.com.