Breaching God’s Firewall

fire·wall  (frwôl)
1. a fireproof wall or partition used to impede the progress of a fire, as from one room or compartment to another
2. a computer system that isolates another computer from the Internet in order to prevent unauthorized access

This is ChurchSalt, a blog.  A computer-based internet publication, so to speak.  Everyone, or almost everyone, visiting this site will have some form of firewall on their computer in order to protect it from the evil things lurking on the internet.  A firewall is a must for anyone who wishes to preserve the health and well-being of their computer.  In the same way that a computer needs a firewall because of the evil culture in which it dwells, so does the church.  The church structure we find described in Scripture had a firewall, and it was built around two things: 1) Church Discipline and 2) Evangelism.

What am I talking about?  I am talking about how the Bible teaches us how to grow our churches while keeping them pure in an evil culture.  In Scripture, we do not find unbelievers being invited to join or even visit the church so that they will hear the Gospel.  This idea is not to be found anywhere!  And yet the church still grew, and even grew rapidly.  Why is that?  Evangelism.  Those truly saved, the redeemed of God went forth and spread the bad news of our guilt before God and the good news of a savior who paid the penalty for us.  When someone became a Christian, it was then that they were invited into the Church.  Folks who were unsaved and living in sin were never invited in, as “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (see 1 Corinthians 5:6) or in other words, introducing sin and unbelief into the camp will negatively impact all the others already in the camp.  In fact, if someone from the church was living in unrepentant sin, the elders of the church were to exercise discipline and evict them from the church!  It is with these two practices (evangelism and church discipline) that a firewall was built around the church, so that it might stay pure and separated from the world and bring glory to Christ.  “Now wait,” you may say, “surely there are exceptions!  If someone is a good person who seems to be seeking God, we should invite them to church!”  Well, what do we see in Scripture?  A good man named Cornelius had captured the Lord’s attention, and what happened?  Read for yourself:

“Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.  Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’  So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” Acts 10:30-33

The Lord arranged for someone to go to him to preach the Gospel to Cornelius and his household.  This is the Biblical model… we go preach and then invite those converted into the church.  The church is where the sheep are fed, not where the sheep are made.  If you are planning to invite someone to church, instead why don’t you share with them their guilt before God (using God’s Law) and the wonderful news that they there is a savior?  You wouldn’t disable your computer’s firewall just because it is awkward at times, why would you disable God’s firewall and take a chance at infecting the local church as well as risking the glory that Christ so deserves by marring the outward image of His people?

For more on this subject, read “Bizzarro Church” by clicking HERE
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2 Comments on “Breaching God’s Firewall”

  1. Ezekiel33 Says:

    Great post! So many things you mentioned here, I have shouted at people and they have just closed their ears. Such as the idea of inviting unbelievers into church. This is not biblical in the least. Christ commanded us to go out there and preach the Gospel, then when they get saved accept them into the brethren. The modern church of today is far too convenient. There was no such thing in the early church. They were mostly on the move, they had to be, they were running for their very lives. A Christian, in God’s will is always in a state of flux, if you will, never stagnant, never comfortable.

    We must heed Christ’s command, go to the world, preach the Gospel of repentance and believing that Jesus is Lord and that He rose from the dead and not allow the lost into our midst unless they are ready for salvation. If God compels them, then great, but otherwise we are just allowing the leaven into our midst. This is how the mold starts.

    Reply

    • ChurchSalt Says:

      Amen. I have always been surprised at the shocked looks this Biblical teaching brings about in these modern times. There is nothing loving about neglecting to tell the lost of their condition, and there is nothing about a church building full of thousands of lost people that brings glory to God. So why do we keep inviting the lost in? Show them love by preaching Law and Gospel to them where they are at!

      Reply

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