There's a very interesting story from Mark chapter 1. Jesus was in the synagogue preaching when a man possessed by a demon began to "act up." The man disturbed the services. He disrupted the order at the church house - created a ruckus in the sanctuary.
So I ask, if the devil will disrupt the services when Jesus is preaching, might he also do the same during your church services?
I never cease to be amazed at the statements I hear concerning safety practices at church. Two statements I often hear are along these lines:
- The Lord will protect us - so we trust Him.
- That would never happen at our church.
One pastor reportedly told someone that he was not concerned with church security since he had a "big ole angel" protecting him. Now consider carefully that statement, and then go to the scripture and study the role of angels. You will find that they often played a part in "church safety."
What would this pastor say about protecting the children at his house of worship? Do we exercise no safety precautions on their behalf and just trust a "big ole angel" to keep them safe? How could we ever act in this manner in light of the evidence of so many children being sexually abused by church workers and church volunteers (recent reports estimate 10 children molested on church property every day)?
Do you remember when Joseph was visited in a dream by a "big ole angel?" It was right after the Wise Men had brought gifts to the Newborn Child, and King Herod was about to go on a killing rampage. Herod would kill the baby boys under 2 years of age in hopes of destroying the Christ Child.
An angel visits Joseph and warns him about the impending danger, giving him directions on what to do: "And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way" (Matthew 2:12).
Joseph took Mary and the Baby and fled to Egypt. After Herod died, Joseph and his family headed back to Israel, only to be warned a second time by an angel. This latter warning led Joseph to go to Nazareth, instead of where Herod's son, Archelaus, was ruling. Thus the holy family is spared from violence. The "big ole angel" did not stop Herod from the massacre, but did tell Joseph how to avoid it.
So, the truth is there are times when angels fight on our behalf - and there are other times when they convey messages to us about how to avoid danger (messages one might learn while attending a safety seminar)!
AND WHAT MAKES US THINK THAT THE SANCTUARY IS SOMEHOW PROTECTED IN SUCH A WAY THAT NO HARM CAN COME TO THOSE WHO ENTER?
How foolish! I suggest you not say that to the members of Wedgwood Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas. In September of 1999, Larry Ashbrook entered their sanctuary while several hundred people were worshiping - and killed seven (and wounded 7 more). Two ministers at a church in Florida were praying when a gunman entered and shot them both (he had killed his wife earlier). What were they doing "wrong?"
Pastor Carol Daniels was sitting inside her Oklahoma church when someone entered and murdered her. They cut her with a knife, stripped her of her clothing, laid her in a crucified position, and before leaving, set her hair on fire.
Do we really believe that there is some kind of "force-field" that surrounds our house of worship that will ward off evil? To admit to such is to deny the facts of what has happened hundreds of times since 1999 (and even before that).
Of course the reason some people believe that no harm comes to those in the sanctuary is based on the statement, "It's the Lord's house - He will protect His house."
Such a belief reveals our ignorance of the Word of God. Anyone who has seriously studied the Bible knows that the "Almighty does not dwell in temples made with hands." As Stephen boldly preached in Acts 7 (minutes before he was murdered)... "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?"
There is another passage you should also consider. Jesus made it clear that the criminal mind doesn't care where he is when he desires to commit his crime: be it a dark alley or a church sanctuary..."Beware of men...they will harm you in the synagogue." (Matthew 10:17). These words of Jesus are quite troubling. He is telling us that there will be those who will kill you even if you're "at church."
We are told in Acts 9 that Paul and his preaching upset a lot of people; so much so that a group of men vowed to kill him. What was Paul's response? Did he just stay there and "trust the Lord" and weather what came? No. Instead, he had a group of men who cared about him (his disciples we are told). They put him in a basket and let him down the side of a wall so that he could escape. They implemented a safe plan so that Paul's life could be spared.
Another thing puzzles me about churches who deny the possibility of violence at their house of worship. What do you have to say to those churches who have been victimized by horrible violence? Over 430 people have now died a violent death on church-related property.
What makes your church more special than them? Are you more "holier," more "sanctified?" Does God grant you a type of favor that He does not grant to His other children?
And what do you say to those 200 million Christians who suffer terribly for their faith every year? Do they suffer because they have sinned? Is there something awry in their life that opens the door to such suffering - or does their faith beckon the wrath of the evil one?
Dear brother, or sister, I do not mean to offend you, however, you must come to grips with your arrogance. It is not faith you are exercising; it is superstition.
BUT CAN'T WE JUST TRUST GOD TO PROTECT US WHEN WE GATHER IN HIS HOUSE?
Does faith mean we "do nothing?" Of course not. Jesus told us to have faith in God when it came to food and clothing (Matthew 6). But does that mean we no longer go to work and earn money so we can place food on the table? Does that mean we wake up in the morning and suddenly food falls into our mouth and clothes appear on our body? Of course not.
We understand there is a need to do something on our part. So we go to work, etc. If we fail to do so, we may well suffer hunger.
There are many things that happen at church, in terms of violence, that could have been prevented. It is high time that we heed the words of Solomon in Proverbs 22:3 - "...foresee danger and take precautions..."
One final word. As Christians we, more than anyone else, should understand the value of human life. We protect our people because we believe they are worth it! Period. This is the effect of Jesus on our lives.
The people who come to our church are not mere "numbers" - they are human beings with worth, souls that Jesus treasures, lives He longs to redeem. Let us learn to place such value in people.
You lock your doors when you go to bed at night. You lock your car when you're away from it. You're constantly taking measures to safeguard your possessions, protect your family, and your self...
AND RIGHTLY SO...
Why would you not do so when gathered at a church - especially in light of the growing number of statistics that reveal the violence taking place at houses of worship?
- Over 430 people have lost their lives in over 600 deadly force incidents at faith-based property sine 1999.
- Over 140 dead bodies found at church.
- Thousands of children sexually molested while under the care of church workers or at a church-related function.
And what if there really is a creature known as "Satan?" What if there actually is some real personality that is evil through and through - and is committed to the destruction of Christian churches?
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VIDEO: The killing of Sunday School Teacher Nellie Pelts (near Oklahoma City - Feb 2010) is one of the saddest stories we have ever come across in reference to church related violence. She was killed by a man she was sharing the gospel with...