“A person does not have to openly oppose the work of the Lord to hinder it. Jesus said, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." What kind of picture does that verse conjure up for us? To me I see the Lord busy in the work, and there are two groups of folks in view. One group is actively involved in the 'gathering' and another group is involved in the 'scattering'.” You can read more about this here.
Those who conspired to hinder the work that God’s people were doing in the name of the Lord.
4Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: 5And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders. 6So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work. 7But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth. 8And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it. 9Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. (Nehemiah 4:4-9)
The apostle indicates his concern that no action should be taken which could hinder the progress of the gospel:
12If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. (1 Corinthians 9:12)
Questions to ponder:
How is God’s work being hindered today?
What in a church is powerless and ineffective?
Why isn’t God’s power more evident through the testimony of His people?
Things that hinder the work of God:
Unconverted ministry: Many people engaged in God’s work do not know Him and have not experienced His saving grace. When we deceive ourselves that “our” way is the way to Heaven.
- 5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2 Timothy 3:5)
- 6They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. (Titus 1:16)
- The first requirement is to know the Lord for ourselves by being born again child of God who is washed in the blood of Christ (John 3, 1 John 3:1, & 1John 1:7)
- Look up Matthew 25:11-12 and Luke 13:25-27
- Is it possible that you are an unconverted minister, deacon, or church member?
Un-surrendered Membership: There are two types of church members: those who are surrendered to the Lord and those who are not.
- 1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)
- It is possible to be a Christian, but not a separated Christian (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
- How to recognize an Un-surrendered Membership:
- Worldly, but not spiritual (1 Corinthians 3:1-4)
- Not disciplined (Matt 11:29)
- Walking after flesh instead of Spirit (Galatians 5:16-17)
- Working in God’s work, but are not whole-heartedly dedicated to Him, unlike Caleb who fallowed the Lord whole-heartedly (Joshua 14:14)
- Love of the world (1 John 2:15-17)
- Neglect meeting for prayer (Matthew 6:6)
- Church Attendance is not a priority (Hebrews 10:25)
- Lives are inconsistent and ineffective.
Uncertain messages: Never sharing the whole will/truth of the Lord with others.
- 27For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (Acts 20:27)
- Over and over again, God’s prophets would say “Thus saith the Lord…” When the Apostle Paul gave his farewell address before the Ephesian elders, he said that he had declared “the whole will of God.”
- Too often today, the whole will of God is not declared.
- Many great truths of the Bible are not claimed with authority and power.
- Little mention of sin, judgment, heaven, hell, the need of repentance, and personal faith in the Lord for salvation. “Feel Good Preaching”
- Look up Galatians 1:6-9)
Un-scriptural Methods for God-given tasks: When we let the “worldly views” into church
- Worldly methods are adopted by the church to attract unbelievers
- Instead of the church going into the world to fulfill God’s will, the world has come into the church. (Matthew 28:19)
- Used for raising money for God’s work (example: car washes, teenagers in bathing suits)
- What are the scriptural methods?
- Honor God and He gives us special promises (1 Samuel 2:30)
- Look to God in prayer and trust Him to do His work through the Holy Spirit in all situations
- God will work, but while we rely on man’s method’s, the Holy Spirit ceases to work, for He is “grieved” (Ephesians 4:30)
Un-energized Machinery: You cannot have church without the Holy Spirit.
- When the power isn’t switched on, machinery cannot work.
- To be outwardly beautiful, but it is ineffective and unproductive.
- This is the situation of the Church today:
- Lacks power of Pentecost, power of the Holy Spirit whose power alone can sweep aside every hindrance so that the true work of the Church can be accomplished (salvation of souls, building up the body of Christ in anticipation for the Lord’s return) (1Thessalonians 4:16-17)
**Notes from sermon by Dale Faulkenbury on 02/19/2007 titled “Hindering the Work of the Lord” and “Bread Enough and To Spare” found here.