Deception and death quietly slip in under the disguise of "spirituality". It may look and sound good, and be wrong. Satan himself is known as masquerading as an "angel of light." 2 Cor. 11:14. He knows exactly how to deceive man with religious spirits, kindred spirits, and a mesmerizing spirit.
Here's a few areas that need to be assessed to determine if "your" church is sick - unhealthy - lukewarm:
- Leadership is authoritarian. They lead by control, not by humility.
- Leaders focus on their authority, and remind others of it.
- Misplaced loyalty to leadership, instead of Jesus.
- Leaders say one thing and do another.
- Leaders contradict themselves. Their words and actions do not line up.
- Leaders strive to keep up a good appearance.
- Leaders self-appoint themselves with honorable titles and elevate themselves above others.
- Leaders use emotional control: affection, guilt and fear to manipulate others into loyalty and devotion.
- Leadership makes church a place of slavery, a place people want to leave.
- Leadership controls people, worship, offerings, makes all decisions and puts others down. They believe they are the one who can do the "job" right.
- Leadership controls all meetings. They will even come in and stop a meeting if they succumb to their paranoia.
Actions in a lukewarm church is often motivated by selfish ambition, pride, and manipulation, rather than by faith, love, grace and mercy.
A healthy environment is:
- A place where leadership is concerned about loyalty to its members.
- A place of blessing and refuge.
- A place people want to attend.
- A place where leadership is concerned and tries to meet the needs of their people.
- A place where leadership inspires, builds up and genuinely loves its people.
- A place leadership has totally surrendered to the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 7:15-23 (The Message)
15 - 20 "Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don't be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.
21 - 23 "Knowing the correct password—saying 'Master, Master,' for instance— isn't going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, 'Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.' And do you know what I am going to say? 'You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don't impress me one bit. You're out of here."