Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 27 : Beware of Leaven | Day 188

Know When to Leave Leaven!

A father named Tim had been a member of a particular church since he was a boy. Recently, however, he had become alarmed by increasing hypocrisy within the church and had become grieved by the tolerance of worldly influences, which were quickly spreading throughout the fellowship. He did everything he could to encourage the church leadership to hold fast to the Biblical truth on which it was founded; however, as the church continued to embrace more of the world's ways, he realized that his efforts were in vain and that he needed to leave.

After Tim left, he made a heartbreaking discovery. While he had been trying to help the church, the "leaven" of worldliness had infiltrated the lives of his own son and daughter. They now rejected God's standards and desired to be like their worldly friends.

A little leaven can be removed by church discipline, but if this is neglected and the entire church becomes permeated, it is time to leave.

The ministry of the Apostle Paul provides an example that can be considered when determining whether or not to leave a church. He and his disciples remained at a synagogue until there was reaction to the kingdom message they were teaching: “And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers [some] were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples …" (Acts 19:8-9).

By its desire to "fit in" with the world, Tim's church had violated the message of the kingdom of God, which says: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). Its dual message was hindering the spiritual growth of those who sincerely wanted to follow Christ.

If the leaven in the church increases, our fervent prayer for its leaders must also increase.

Before leaving a church, we should make sure that we have humbly followed the Biblical instruction for confronting sin. Another father I know also became concerned about the carnality that he saw in his church's services. He shared his concern privately with the pastor and asked the pastor how he could support him. The pastor later told me that the love and loyalty of this one man was the greatest encouragement for him to make major changes in the church.

This man showed wisdom by following the instruction Paul gave to Timothy, “Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father …" (I Timothy 5:1). We must not forget that the Church belongs to Christ, and we must be faithful to fervently pray for our fellow believers, especially those in positions of authority. (See I Timothy 2:1-2.)

Are you alert to the influences that your church and others with whom you fellowship are having on your family? Are you praying for the leadership at your church and doing everything you can to support their Godly goals? Are you personally discipling others in the commands of Christ?

“Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard