The church’s condition should demonstrate a holy and righteous testimony to the world.
It should demonstrate the life of Christ and the way of salvation. Through the love, grace and mercy of God, it should demonstrate and preach a holy God Who offers salvation in His Son Jesus Christ. This salvation will come by grace through faith and not of good human works. If salvation could be obtained by good works then man could boast of how he saved himself by his own righteous works.
If a man has experienced a true rebirth, his regeneration will produce the character of Christ. His righteousness is through Christ and Christ alone; nothing of his own good works can achieve righteousness. Accompanying this rebirth in Christ will be an instilled desire for holy living which will involve good works born out of his supernatural conversion. Since the church should be comprised of such individuals, the church as a whole should desire and demonstrate Christ’s holy character to the world.
Unfortunately, the majority of churches today have lost this witness. The church has become so filled with unregenerate membership that it has taken on the character of the world. Over the years, we have seen this happen to both individual churches and entire denominations.
Churches have gone from preaching and living the true gospel, to preaching but not living it, to finally no longer preaching it.
It is true the world is in a condition of sin and people need the Lord. Certainly the sin of the world needs to be reproved. This is both for sake of the lost that they might desire a Savior and the Christians’ sake that they might demonstrate a Savior. But the world’s sin cannot be addressed from a position of hypocrisy. If the church attempts to reprove the world from a position of hypocrisy, it will only demonstrate its own self-righteousness, which will result in resentment from the lost.
Today, the greatest problem is not sin in the world, but sin in the church. The real travesty against the world today is preachers and church members who want to address the world’s sin while they overlook sin in their own lives and churches. The preacher, who sets about to reprove the sins of the world without dealing with sin in his church, is himself sinning against God.
Brethren, before we, as Christians, attempt to reprove sin in the world, we must first deal with sin in ourselves, our family and our church—in this order.
I Pet. 4:17 For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?